LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dropped struggling pacer Mohammad Amir from the 17-member Test squad for the two-match Test series against Australia starting in United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has said the team was selected keeping in mind the conditions in the UAE, where Pakistan had been forced to play its home matches since 2009. “The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions of the UAE. Amir has been dropped on lack of form and Wahab Riaz and Mir Hamza comes in the side,” he said.
“We have three spinners Yasir, Shadab and Asif who are in the squad keeping in view the UAE wickets,” he said and added: “Furthermore, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan makes a comeback in the Test squad.”
Amir, who returned from a five-year ban for match-fixing in January 2016, remained wicket-less during the Asia Cup in which he was dropped for two matches. Amir took just one wicket at 164.00 in Pakistan’s most recent Test series in the UAE, against Sri Lanka last year. The 26-year-old is the most notable absentee from the 17-member squad, while pacer Wahab Riaz has been handed a recall. Wahab returns to the squad after playing the last of his 26 Tests in October last year. The squad also has another fast-rising left-arm paceman Mir Hamza who has yet to play for Pakistan.
Off-spinner Bilal Asif is a notable inclusion alongside leg-spinners Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan, with the 33-year-old – who played three ODIs back in 2015 – to offer a point of difference to the two leggies who both turn the ball predominantly in to left-handers. Australia could field as many as four lefties in their top-seven.
Pakistan will heavily rely on ace bowler Yasir Shah, who played a key role in the 2-0 win over Australia in UAE in 2014, when he took 12 wickets, while teenager Shadab could also play a role having claimed eight wickets in four Tests.
The first Test starts in Dubai from October 7 while the second is in Abu Dhabi from October 16. Both teams will also play three Twenty20 internationals, the squads for which will be announced later.
PAKISTAN TEST SQUAD: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, M Rizwan.