Pakistan call up Saim Ayub, Khurram Shahzad for Test tour of Australia

Pakistan call up Saim Ayub, Khurram Shahzad for Test tour of Australia

Opening batsman Saim Ayub and fast bowler Khurram Shahzad are in line to make their Test debuts after being included in Pakistan’s squad for their upcoming tour of Australia.

Pakistan, under newly appointed red-ball captain Shan Masood, will play three Tests on the tour, in Perth (December 14-18), Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (December 3-7). January).

Ayub, 21, has already played eight T20Is for Pakistan and comes into the Test team with 1069 first-class runs at an average of 46.47, including scores of 203 and 109 in his most recent game in October, the Quaid- Final of the e-Azam Trophy. Shahzad has also been picked for his form as he finished the 2023-24 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as their highest wicket-taker with 36 at an average of 20.30.

Left-arm quick Mir Hamza was the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament (32 at 20.87), and this has earned him a retirement. The last of his three Tests was against New Zealand in January. Also back in the team is all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, whose last of 16 Tests was in December 2022.
In addition to Naseem Shah, who continues to recover from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the recently concluded World Cup in India, Pakistan’s attack will also be without Haris Rauf, who is not available for selection. Newly appointed chief selector Wahab Riaz made his disappointment clear when announcing the team: “Haris pulled out at the last minute and I feel this will hurt Pakistan cricket.”

Goalkeepers Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan were part of the team, and Sarfaraz was understood to be the first choice. He replaced Rizwan in the Test team last year and has retained his place in the last four Tests across two series.

The selection of Abrar Ahmed further cements his place as Pakistan’s leading red-ball bowler, with Noman Ali chosen as his back-up option. Spin options across formats have come under intense scrutiny in Pakistan, where players Shadab Khan and Usama Mir put up disappointing performances during the World Cup. Abrar went to the World Cup as a substitute, but was not called up to the main team.

Pakistan have an unenviable record in Australia, having lost their last 14 Test matches there.

Pakistan squad for Australia Test series: Shan Masood (captain), Aamer Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi