Opening batter Saim Ayub
and fast bowler Khurram Shahzad
are in line for 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 (January 3-7).
The 21-year-old Ayub 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-e-Azam Trophy final. Shahzad has also been picked on form, having ended the 2023-24 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as its top wicket-taker with 36 at an average 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 recall. The last of his three Tests was against New Zealand in January. Also back in the squad is the seam-bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf
, the last of whose 16 Tests was in December 2022.
Apart from Naseem Shah, who continues his recovery from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the recently concluded World Cup in India, Pakistan’s pace attack will also be without Haris Rauf
, who has made himself unavailable for selection. Newly appointed
chief selector Wahab Riaz made his disappointment clear while announcing the squad: “Haris pulled out at the last moment, and I feel this will hurt Pakistan cricket.”
Pakistan squad for Australia Test series: Shan Masood (capt), Aamer Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Nauman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi