Sarfaraz, Wahab included in Pakistan's Test squad for England series
Pakistan have announced a 20-member squad for the impending Test series against hosts England, starting August 5. Notably, former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has been retained by the selectors. Meanwhile, top order batsman Fawad Alam earned a call-up to the Test side after 11 years. The squad has been finalized from a group of 29 players, who recently took part in two four-day intra-squad matches.
Squad: Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Sr, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.
Marquee players Sarfaraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz have returned to the Test set-up. However, the former will likely be the second-choice wicket-keeper behind Mohammad Rizwan, who featured in Australia and Bangladesh series recently. Besides, Wahab confirmed his availability for the England tour after taking an indefinite break from Test cricket last year. Uncapped spinner Kashif Bhatti was also included in the squad.
Left-handed batsman Fawad Alam could make his maiden Test appearance for Pakistan after 11 years. He last played a Test in 2009 (vs New Zealand). The 34-year-old has racked up 250 runs from three Tests at an average of 41.66. He boasts a terrific average of 56.78 in First-class cricket, having amassed 12,265 runs. The tally also includes 34 tons.
The likes of Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain and Musa Khan have been left out. They will continue to train with the squad for the T20I series, which will be played following the Tests.
Pakistan had arrived in England on June 28. They will face England in three Tests matches and as many T20Is. The first Test will begin at the Old Trafford on August 5, while the Ageas Bowl will host the following two Tests from August 13 and 21. Meanwhile, Old Trafford will also play host to three T20Is on August 28, 30, and September 1.