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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced Pakistan Test Squad for the World Test Championship home series against England. The 18-men squad was announced on Monday where Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim also congratulated Pakistan’s journey in the Men’s T20 World Cup where they ended as second best.
The 18-men squad sees a few changes from their previous series against Sri Lanka. The breaking news is that Fawad Alam was dropped along with Yasir Shah, Nauman Ali and Hasan Ali. Shaheen Afridi was an obvious exclusion due to his injury that ruled him out of the England and the New Zealand home series.
The new faces included leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed and fast bowlers Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Wasim Junior. We will go into the details of the selected players.
Pakistan Test Squad
|#||Players||Role||Batting Hand||Bowling Type|
|1||Babar Azam (Captain)||Batter||RH Top order||RH Off Break|
|2||Abdullah Shafique||Batter||RH Opener||RH Off Break|
|3||Abrar Ahmed||Bowler||RH Tail||RH Leg Break|
|4||Azhar Ali||Batter||RH Top order||RH Leg Break|
|5||Faheem Ashraf||All Rounder||LH Lower Order||LH Fast M|
|6||Haris Rauf||Bowler||RH Tail||RH Fast|
|7||Imam ul-Haq||Batter||RH Opener|
|8||Mohammad Ali||Bowler||RH Tail||RH Fast|
|9||Mohammad Nawaz||All Rounder||LH Lower Order||LH Off Break|
|10||Mohammad Rizwan (VC)||Wicket Keeper||RH Middle Order|
|11||Mohammad Wasim Jnr||All Rounder||RH Lower Order||RH Fast|
|12||Naseem Shah||Bowler||RH Tail||RH Fast|
|13||Nauman Ali||Bowler||LH Lower Order||LH Off Break|
|14||Salman Ali Agha||All Rounder||RH Middle Order||RH Off Break|
|15||Sarfaraz Ahmed||Wicket Keeper||RH Middle Order|
|16||Saud Shakeel||Batter||LH Middle Order||LH Off Break|
|17||Shan Masood||Batter||RH Opener||RH Medium|
|18||Zahid Mahmood||Bowler||LH Tail||RH Leg Break|
Pakistan Test Squad: Who’s in and who’s out?
Leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed is having a memorable ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy season. He is easily the highest wicket-taker with the next best just 17 wickets behind. During his run for Sindh, he picked up five 5-fers and one 10-fer in 12 innings.
Another uncapped bowler Mohammad Ali is a right-arm fast bowler who represents Central Punjab in the QeAT 2022. In six matches, he has picked 24 wickets at a fine average of 25 with two 5-fers and one 10-fer.
It is expected that both uncapped bowlers will likely make their debuts in the first Test against England at Rawalpindi.
Fawad Alam has been dropped from the selected 18 members. He had a quiet time in 2022. He scored only 58 runs in the six innings he batted against both Australia (at home) and Sri Lanka (away) with an average of just 9.66 and a best of 24.
Though despite that, he was doing well in the ongoing QeAT season. He averaged 47 with a century and three fifties.
Yasir Shah is another big name to miss out on. He made his Test return in the Sri Lanka series this July. Although his stats in that series shows his performance was mediocre, Yasir played a great role in giving PAK wickets at crucial moments. He was in fact the second-best bowler for his side.
In the QeAT 2022, he returned slightly poor figures. He picked up 14 wickets so far with an average return of 50 and an economy of almost four.
Pakistan Test Squad: The Importance of the England series
This series will hold significant importance in Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship Final. In order for Babar Azam and his men to qualify for the final, they must win all five remaining matches or four out of five (with no loss included).
Babar and his team held the top two spots after a 1-1 draw over the West Indies and a 2-0 series win over Bangladesh when the 2023 WTC cycle began. However, things changed following their 1-0 loss to Australia at home and then another 1-1 drawn to Sri Lanka.
After the England series, the Green Team will face New Zealand at home shortly. They will play two matches in Karachi and Multan from December 27. Should lose any one of the games, the chances will dip further and will need results from other series.