by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
In a significant announcement, Chief Selector Wahab Riaz revealed the 18-member Pakistan Test squad set to embark on a tour to Australia, featuring a series of three matches scheduled from December 14, 2023, to January 7, 2024. This marks Wahab’s inaugural assignment since assuming leadership of the national men’s selection committee last week.
Shan Masood, recently appointed as the Test captain for the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle, will lead the side in his maiden captaincy role. Taking over from Babar Azam, Masood’s leadership will be tested in the challenging Australian conditions.
Left-handed opening batter Saim Ayub earned his maiden Test call-up on the back of an impressive performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24. The 22-year-old showcased his batting prowess, accumulating 553 runs in four matches for Karachi Whites, including three centuries. His standout performance included a match-winning double century against Faisalabad in the tournament final.
Joining the squad is right-arm fast bowler Khurram Shahzad, also making his debut in Test cricket. The 23-year-old emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24, claiming 36 wickets in eight matches with an average of 20.31. His impressive form continued in the Pakistan Cup, where he concluded as the highest run-getter.
The return of pace bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf adds experience to the squad, marking his comeback to Test cricket after his last appearance during England’s tour of Pakistan in late 2022.
Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza, who notched up 32 wickets at 20.88 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24, and right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim Jnr are also making a return to the squad. Both fast bowlers were part of Pakistan’s squad during New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan from December 2022 to January 2023.
The Pakistan squad for the Australia Tests includes:
– Shan Masood (captain)
– Aamir Jamal
– Abdullah Shafique
– Abrar Ahmed
– Babar Azam
– Faheem Ashraf
– Hasan Ali
– Khurram Shahzad
– Mir Hamza
– Mohammad Rizwan (wk)
– Mohammad Wasim Jnr
– Noman Ali
– Saim Ayub
– Salman Ali Agha
– Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk)
– Saud Shakeel
– Shaheen Shah Afridi
The Australia tour schedule is as follows:
– Four-day match: PM’s XI vs Pakistan – December 6-9: Manuka Oval, Canberra
– 1st Test – Australia vs Pakistan – December 14-18: Perth Stadium
– 2nd Test – Australia vs Pakistan – December 26-30: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
– 3rd Test – Australia vs Pakistan – January 3-7: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)