LAHORE, Feb 01 (TNS):The national men’s selection committee has named a 16-player squad for the first ICC World Test Championship fixture against Bangladesh to be played in Rawalpindi from 7-11 February.
The selectors have recalled off-spinner Bilal Asif at the back of his 43 wickets in nine Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches, while Faheem Ashraf has been drafted in the side due to his all-round skills that were backed by his six wickets in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against Northern.
Two changes have been made in the side that was named for the two ICC World Test Championship Tests against Sri Lanka.
Kashif Bhatti and Usman Shinwari have been left out, but they remain in the red-ball plans and have been advised to continue their training and preparation.
While Kashif didn’t play against Sri Lanka, Usman made his only appearance in the Rawalpindi Test where he took one for 54.
Azhar Ali (captain) (Central Punjab), Abid Ali (Sindh), Asad Shafiq (Sindh), Babar
Azam (Central Punjab), Bilal Asif (Central Punjab), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Imam-ul-Haq (Southern Punjab), Imran Khan Snr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Abbas (Southern Punjab), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Naseem Shah (Central Punjab), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Northern), Shan Masood (Southern Punjab) and
Yasir Shah (Balochistan).
Chair of the men’s national selection committee and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said here on Saturday at a news conference, “We have followed the horses for courses policy for the Test against Bangladesh.
“I know the two players who have been left out will be disappointed, but they remain firmly within our plans for the red-ball cricket we are scheduled to play later this year”.
“Kashif Bhatti has paved the way for Bilal Asif considering there are left-handed batters in the Bangladesh top and middle-order, while Faheem Ashraf has been preferred over Usman Shinwari due to his all-round abilities”.
“Following our convincing victory in Karachi, I don’t envisage any major changes in the playing line-up but we have tried to cover all our bases just in case the wicket has any surprises for us.”
“We ended 2019 on a high with a victory over Sri Lanka and have made a good start to 2020 by winning the T20I series against Bangladesh. I understand the Test will be a different ball game but I am optimistic we will maintain our good form and translate that into another strong performance that will contribute significantly in the overall confidence building of the Test side.”
“We are aiming to collect maximum points from the two upcoming ICC World Test Championship matches against Bangladesh so that when we take the field for the Lord’s Test against England on 30 July, we are in a strong contention for a top-two finish by the end of the 2020-21 season. This is what our aspiration is and that’s what are aiming and striving for.”
The Pakistan team will depart for Rawalpindi on 3 February, where it will fine-tune its final preparations from 4 February.