ISLAMABAD (AP) — Fast bowler Haris Rauf withdrew from the Pakistan squad and three uncapped players were named Monday…
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Fast bowler Haris Rauf has withdrawn from Pakistan’s squad and three uncapped players were named in an 18-member squad for the Test tour of Australia on Monday.
Left-handed opening batter Saim Ayub, fast bowler Khurram Shahzad and all-rounder Amir Jamal received their maiden call-ups after an impressive run in the recent cricket tournaments.
Newly appointed chief selector Wahab Riaz said Rauf was in the plans for Pakistan’s three Test matches in Australia, but the express fast bowler pulled out on Sunday evening despite confirming his availability two days ago.
“He (Rauf) agreed, but later he changed his mind because he was worried about his fitness and workload,” Riaz said in Lahore while announcing the team. “His absence will affect the team combination.”
Riaz said the Pakistan Cricket Board’s medical committee had informed him that there were no fitness issues with Rauf and he could play Test matches. Chief selector and team director Mohammad Hafeez then sat down with Rauf, but the fast bowler withdrew at the last moment.
“I was even ready to make it easier for him if he hadn’t played in Australia, but he didn’t agree,” Riaz said.
Three frontline fast bowlers – Naseem Shah, Ihsanullah and Mohammad Hasnain – have all been ruled out of the tour due to injuries.
The selectors named Shahzad, a 23-year-old fast bowler, alongside experienced bowlers Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali. Jamal, who represented Pakistan in the T20s against England, is in the squad as a bowling all-rounder.
Left-arm fast bowler Mir Hamza, who took 32 wickets this season in Pakistan’s maiden first-class tournament – the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy – and right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim return to the Test team.
Pakistan has revamped its national team after an early exit from the Cricket World Cup in India, where it finished fifth in the 10-team event.
Babar Azam has resigned as captain and left-handed opening batter Shan Masood will lead the Test team in Australia after being appointed until the end of the 2023-25 World Test Championship cycle.
Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in their first WTC Test series in Sri Lanka, but it will be a huge task for Masood to test the Australian conditions when Pakistan play in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
“We kept the (Australian) pitches in mind and added more bowling resources to the team to ensure the management could be flexible with team combinations,” Riaz said.
Mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and left-arm spinner Noman Ali are the two specialist slow bowlers in the team.
The Pakistan team will hold a training camp in Rawalpindi from Thursday before flying to Australia from Lahore on November 30.
Team: Shan Masood (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Afridi.
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