Pakistan selectors have included five uncapped players in the 16-man squad that will take on Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series in United Arab Emirates.
Sialkot batsman Haris Sohail along with Lahore's Usman Salahuddin have been picked to take the responsibility in the middle order as Pakistan prepare for their first game in the longer format following retirements of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
Sohail has previously played 22 One-Day Internationals and four Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan while Salahuddin has featured in two 50-over games that came in 2011.
“We are trying our youngsters. Usman Salahuddin and Haris Sohail have been part of the squad in the last two to three series so that we can play them when the seniors retire,” Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq told reporters in Lahore.
“I wanted to give them opportunity in home conditions to boost their confidence. We are hopeful they can fulfil the spots left by the retirements.”
Fast bowler Mir Hamza and all-rounders Bilal Asif and Mohammad Asghar are the other uncapped players to be part of the squad which sees Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Rizwan overlooked. There has also been a recall for opening batsman Sami Aslam, who last played a Test in December last year.
There were fitness concerns surrounding Azhar Ali and Yasir Shah but Inzamam declared that both the players have battled injuries to make it to the squad.
”Yasir was supposed to undergo a fitness test yesterday but he had pulled a calf muscle,“ former captain Inzamam said. ”He’s taken the test this morning and been passed fit.
“Azhar Ali has a cyst in his knee and the doctors have advised him to play after taking an injection. He isn’t experiencing any pain, so we’re hoping he’ll remain fit to play.”
The two matches will be played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai between 28th September and 10th October with the second one being a day-night encounter.
Pakistan squad for Test series against Sri Lanka:
Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain, wicketkeeper), Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mir Hamza, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Asghar.
© Cricket World 2017