Pakistan call up two young sensations for Australia Test series
Pakistan, led by newly-appointed red-ball captain Shan Masood is scheduled to play three Tests in Perth (December 14-18), Melbourne (December 26-30), and Sydney (January 3-7). Opening batter Saim Ayub and fast bowler Khurram Shahzad are poised to make their Test debuts as they find a place in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming tour of Australia.
At 21, Ayub has already represented Pakistan in eight T20Is. His inclusion in the Test team is backed by an impressive first-class record, boasting 1069 runs at an average of 46.47. Notably, he delivered standout performances, scoring 203 and 109 in his most recent game during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final in October.
Similarly, Shahzad earns his Test call-up based on his remarkable form, concluding the 2023-24 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as the leading wicket-taker with 36 wickets at an average of 20.30.
Pakistan to miss services of star pacers
Left-arm fast bowler Mir Hamza, the tournament's second-highest wicket-taker with 32 wickets at 20.87, makes a comeback, securing his place in the squad. His last Test appearance was against New Zealand in January. Additionally, seam-bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf returns to the Test squad after his last appearance in December 2022, adding depth and experience.
Meanwhile, Naseem Shah is still on the path to recovery from a shoulder injury that sidelined him from the recently concluded World Cup in India. Notably absent from the pace attack is Haris Rauf, who has opted to make himself unavailable for selection.
Newly appointed chief selector Wahab Riaz made his disappointment clear while announcing the squad: "Haris pulled out at the last moment, and I feel this will hurt Pakistan cricket."
Pakistan squad for Australia Test series: Shan Masood (capt), Aamer Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Nauman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi