In the latest development, Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) national selection committee on Saturday (February 1) has announced the 16-member squad for the opening Test match against Bangladesh. The first Test will kick-off on February 7 in Rawalpindi. It will be a part of the ICC World Test Championship and both teams will give absolutely everything to make a real case for themselves in the all-important two-match Test series.
Meanwhile, Pakistan came up with two changes in their squad. Kashif Bhatti and Usman Shinwari have been excluded from the Test side and they make way for Bilal Asif and Faheem Ashraf who have been recalled due to their productive stint in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Bilal Asif impressed the team management with his bowling skills as he picked up 43 wickets in nine Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches while Ashraf has been called due to his all-round potential that were ably supported by his six wickets in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against Northern.
However, Bhatti and Shinwari, still remain in Test team plans and have been advised to continue their preparations for the red-ball cricket.
Moreover, it is worth mentioning that Pakistan won their last two-match Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0 in December last year under Azhar Ali’s captaincy.
PCB did not make major changes to the Test squad:
The Chairman of the national selection committee and Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq added that the team management has chosen suitable players for the Test series against Bangladesh.
Misbah added that owing to Pakistan’s win over Sri Lanka in Karachi, the team management didn’t come up with major changes to the squad.
“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,” Misbah said.
“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,” Misbah added in a statement.
Pakistan national cricket team will fly for Rawalpindi on February 3 and start their ideal preparation for the first Test match.
Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Harris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Yasir Shah, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Bilal Asif, Naseem Shah, and Faheem Ashraf.