Imam-ul-Haq, Bilal Asif, and Kamran Gulam return to Test fold as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announces 20-player squad for two Tests against Bangladesh.
Pakistan’s shortest format team is currently in Bangladesh to play three T20Is, starting November 19. The series will be followed by two Tests to be played in Chittagong from November 26 to 30 and in Dhaka from December 4 t0 8.
The newly included trio will replace, out-of-form Imran But, injured Yasir Shah, and fast bowlers Haris Rauf, and Shahnawaz Dahani.
Imam is making a comeback after two years. He last played donned whites in Adelaide Test against Australia in November/December 2019.
Bilal makes a comeback on the back of his sublime all-round form. The off-spinner has taken 16 wickets in five Tests and has been drafted in the side considering the Bangladesh squad includes left-handed batters and also looking ahead to the home Tests against Australia. He will replace ace spinner Yasir Shah who is still recovering from a thumb injury sustained during the National T20. Yasir has not played a single match of the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
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Kamran has been added to the squad to strengthen Pakistan’s batting lineup. He also comes in handy with the ball as he can bowl off-spin if and when needed. In the last season of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he scored record 1,249 runs, after which he was named in the Test squad against South Africa, but wasn’t given a break. Kamran is presently in Sri Lanka with the Pakistan Shaheens where he scored 58 not out and 45 in two innings of the rain-affected two-match four-day series.
“We have selected the squad following discussions with the team management and after taking into consideration the opposition’s potential make-up and the conditions in which the Tests will be played,” Pakistan Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim was quoted by PCB as saying.
“As we already have four frontline fast bowlers, we have allowed Haris Rauf and Shahnawaz Dahani to return to Pakistan after the T20Is so that they can play in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and prepare for Australia Tests. An in-form left-handed Imam-Ul-Haq has replaced Imran Butt, who managed to score at 17.8 in 10 Test innings, but he has a chance to continue to play and perform in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy so that he can force his way back in the side.
“Bangladesh is a strong side in their backyard but we have the resources, talent, and experience to perform strongly and then carry that momentum into the Australia Tests, which will be part of the ICC World Test Championship.”
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Pakistan Test squad for Bangladesh:
Babar Azam (captain)
Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain)
Shaheen Shah Afridi