Abdul Jabbar Faisal
ISLAMABAD: The Chief Selector, Mohammad Wasim on Monday named 18 players for Pakistan and England Test cricket series, as spinner Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Ali have been included in the squad after showing impressive performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Season 2022-23.
The three-match Test series will start from December 1, 2022 at Pindi Cricket Stadium Rawalpindi. However, the venue can be changed owing to the political situation of the twin cities Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yet to make any decision regarding the changing of the venue.
Abrar Ahmed, 24, a wrist spinner bowler, is in peak form in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He grabbed 43 wickets so far at an average of 21.95. He has recorded five five-wicket hauls in six matches and has played an integral role in turning his side into serious contenders to secure a berth in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final.
Also, Mohammad Ali from Central Punjab, has been the best fast bowler in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in the last two editions, taking 56 wickets. His 24 wickets, including two five wicket hauls, at 25.54 in six matches are the most for any fast bowler this first-class season. His 32 wickets at 22.78 in eight matches in 2021-22 were also the most for a fast bowler.
Uncapped Mohammad Wasim Junior and Zahid Mehmood, who were part of the Test side for the three Tests against Australia earlier in the year, are the other two players to return to the side. Selectors made 4 changes from Pakistan’s last Test assignment, which was in Sri Lanka that resulted in the two-Test series ending 1-1. Injured Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Fawad Alam and Yasir Shah failed to maintain their places in the squad.
Mohammad Wasim said:
“We picked-up the lads on their performance for historic Test series against England. The ongoing playing condition were in our minds, when we selected the players. We provided opportunities to Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Wasim Junior and Zahid Mehmood, who produced remarkable performance in domestic cricket.
“Mohammad Ali has shown great patience and control, and his numbers speak for his consistency. He has been our best fast bowler in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 56 wickets at an average of 24 over the last two seasons.
“I am confident that this team will ensure that the upcoming Test series against England will end in the same manner as it did when they last toured Pakistan in 2005.”
The three Tests are part of the ICC World Test Championship and are scheduled to be played in Rawalpindi (1-5 December), Multan (9-13 December) and Karachi (17-21 December).
Pakistan squad for England Tests:
Babar Azam (captain-Central Punjab), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Abrar Ahmed (Sindh), Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Haris Rauf (Northern), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Mohammad Ali (Central Punjab), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Naseem Shah (Southern Punjab), Nauman Ali (Northern), Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh), Saud Shakeel (Sindh), Shan Masood (Balochistan) and Zahid Mehmood (Sindh)
Player support personnel:
Mansoor Rana (manager), Saqlain Mushtaq (head coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant to head coach), Mohammad Yousuf (batting coach), Shaun Tait (bowling coach), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Drikus Saaiman (strength and conditioning coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Ahsan Iftikhar Nagi (media manager), Ammar Ahsan (digital content producer), Lt Col (retd) Atif Azad (security manager), Dr Najeeb Soomro (team doctor), Talha Ejaz (analyst) and Malang Ali (masseur).