Pakistan make big calls in squad for England Tests

Pakistan have announced their 18-member squad for the three-match World Test Championship series against England in December.

Among the omissions, notable names include Fawad Alam, Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah and Shaheen Afridi. Afridi recently underwent surgery on his appendix as the pacer continues his recovery from his ongoing knee injury.

A lean patch in 2022 has cost Fawad a place in the squad. The southpaw scored only 58 runs against his name in four Tests this year after enjoying an incredible 2021 where he scored 571 runs in nine Tests.

Hasan Ali scalped only five wickets in his last four Tests and made way for younger talent in the Test squad.

The 18-member list includes uncapped Mohammad Ali, a fast bowler, and Abrar Ahmed, a mystery spinner, who have received a call-up for the three-match series. Haris Rauf is in line to make his Test debut after impressing everyone with his express pace in white-ball formats.

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Squad: Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan Masood, Saud Shakeel, Salman Agha, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Abrar Ahmed, Zahid Mahmood, Mohammad Nawaz, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Ali.

Speaking about the squad for the series, Pakistan Men’s chief selector Mohammad Wasim said, “I want to congratulate all the players who have been selected for the historic Test series against England. We have selected this 18-man squad keeping in mind the form of the players, the conditions and the opposition.

“This series has provided opportunities to Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Zahid Mehmood. Abrar has been on the radar since his debut first-class season in 2020-21. He is in outstanding form this season, so it makes sense to make him available to Babar Azam so he can use the confidence and talent of this youngster in the upcoming series.”

“I am confident that this team will ensure that the upcoming Test series against England will end in the same manner as it did when they last toured Pakistan in 2005.”

The series will be crucial for Pakistan to keep their hopes of making the World Test Championship Final alive. Babar Azam’s men are currently placed fifth in the standings with a point percentage of 51.85 and winning their remaining five games can take them to a maximum of 69.05%.

Although it may prove to be enough to seal a spot in the final two, they cannot afford any more slip-ups in their remaining series against England and New Zealand.

The three-match series is a historic one for Pakistan, who are set to welcome England for the first time in 17 years since 2005 to play Test cricket. Rawalpindi will host the first Test (1-5 December) before the action moves to Karachi (9-13 December) and Multan (17-21 December) for the subsequent games.

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