Pak­istan name five un­capped play­ers for Sri Lanka tests

Stabroek News Sunday - - STABROEK SPORT -

(Reuters) - Pak­istan se­lected fast bowler Mir Hamza among five un­capped play­ers in their 16-man squad for the two-test home se­ries against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emi­rates start­ing later this month.

Bats­men Haris So­hail and Us­man Salahud­din have both played one-day in­ter­na­tion­als for Pak­istan but are yet to make their test de­buts as Pak­istan start life with­out re­tired bat­ting greats Mis­bah-ul-Haq and You­nis Khan.

Long-serv­ing cap­tain Mis­bah and for­mer skip­per You­nis re­tired from in­ter­na­tional cricket at the end of Pak­istan’s test se­ries in West Indies in May.

“We are try­ing our young­sters. Us­man Salahud­din and Haris So­hail have been part of the squad in the last two to three se­ries so that we can play them when the se­niors re­tire,” Pak­istan chief se­lec­tor In­za­mam-ul-Haq told re­porters in La­hore.

“I wanted to give them op­por­tu­nity in home con­di­tions to boost their con­fi­dence. We are hope­ful they can ful­fil the spots left by the re­tire­ments.”

Opener Sami As­lam, who last played a test for Pak­istan in De­cem­ber, was also re­called.

Left-arm fast bowler Hamza, 25, was picked for his strong do­mes­tic form, hav­ing claimed 216 wick­ets in 46 first-class matches.

Spin-bowl­ing all-rounder Bi­lal Asif and left-arm Mo­ham­mad As­ghar were the other play­ers in the squad yet to play in tests.

Leg-spin­ner Yasir Shah and top-or­der bats­man Azhar Ali have both bat­tled re­cent in­juries but were de­clared fit and named in the squad.

“Yasir was sup­posed to un­dergo a fit­ness test yes­ter­day but he had pulled a calf mus­cle,” for­mer cap­tain In­za­mam said. “He’s taken the test this morn­ing and been passed fit.

“Azhar Ali has a cyst in his knee and the doc­tors have ad­vised him to play af­ter tak­ing an in­jec­tion. He isn’t ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any pain, so we’re hop­ing he’ll re­main fit to play.”

The se­ries, played in the UAE due to se­cu­rity con­cerns, will start with the first test in Abu Dhabi from Thurs­day fol­lowed by Sri Lanka’s maiden day-night test in Dubai from Oct. 6.

The two teams will also play five one-day in­ter­na­tion­als and three Twenty20 matches, the last of which will be played on home soil in La­hore on Oct. 29, sub­ject to se­cu­rity clear­ance.

Squad: Azhar Ali, Shan Ma­sood, Sami As­lam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris So­hail, Us­man Salahud­din, Sar­fraz Ahmed (cap­tain, wick­et­keeper), Mo­ham­mad Amir, Wa­hab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas, Mir Hamza, Yasir Shah, Bi­lal Asif, Mo­ham­mad As­ghar.

Mir Hamza

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