Two new caps as Pakistan name Test squad for New Zealand series
Pakistan have named their 16-member squad for their upcoming two-match home Test series against New Zealand, beginning December 26. The Babar Azam led side recently went down 0-3 against England, their first ever clean-sweep in a three-match Test series at home.
"Pakistan have named an uncapped middle-order batter Kamran Ghulam and fast bowler Hasan Ali in the 16-player squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand, which will commence at Karachi’s National Bank Cricket Arena on Monday, 26 December," stated the official PCB release.
"Kamran has replaced Azhar Ali, who announced his retirement last week, while Hasan Ali has taken over from Mohammad Ali, who, like Faheem Ashraf, has been advised to participate in the ongoing Pakistan Cup in Karachi.
"Haris Rauf has not been included in the squad as he is recovering from an injury he sustained while fielding in the Rawalpindi Test. However, fast bowler Naseem Shah, who missed the Multan and Karachi Tests due to a shoulder niggle, has been being declared fit and as such, retained in the squad."
The series defeat against England saw Pakistan slip down to No.7 in the ongoing World Test Championship 2021-23 points table, with the chances of their top-two finish having been significantly dented.
"We were unfortunate that our main fast bowlers were not fit," Babar said while reflecting on the result after the third Test. "The new players did perform but couldn't execute the way we wanted. When things were in our hands we had soft dismissals in those times and due to that we couldn't win matches which we should have won."
The first Test between Pakistan and New Zealand will be played at the National Stadium, Karachi, beginning December 26, and the second will be played at the Multan Cricket Stadium from January 3.
Pakistan squad for New Zealand Tests
Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Noman Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shan Masood and Zahid Mehmood