Pakistan resist change in squad for Australia
Pakistan resisted the temptation to change and retained the same 16-man squad which is currently on tour in New Zealand for their upcoming series in Australia, their chief selector said yesterday.
The two-Test series in New Zealand will be completed today, and the Pakistan team will leave for Australia a day later where they play the first of three Tests-a day-night affair in Brisbane-from December 15. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said continuity is necessary. “We have kept the same 16member squad for the tour of Australia because we believe in continuity and think that the same team has done well in England so it will do well in Australia as well,” Inzamam told AFP.
Pakistan drew a four-match series 2-2 in England in August this year, which briefly lifted them to number one in the Test rankings for the first time in their history. However, they are in danger of losing their first Test series against New Zealand in 31 years after failing the first Test in Christchurch by eight wickets.
They were set a daunting 369-run target by New Zealand in the second Test in Hamilton yesterday. Inzamam said a lot of names were considered but after consultation with captain Misbah-ul-Haq and coach Mickey Arthur the same squad was retained.
Former Test wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, Usman Salahuddin and Asif Zakir were unlucky to not be in the squad after scoring big in an ongoing domestic tournament.
Akmal, who played the last of his 53 Tests at Lord’s in London in 2010, has piled up 826 runs, while Zakir has 811 and Salahuddin 813.
The remaining two Tests will be played in Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (January 3-7). Pakistan will also play five one-day internationals in Australia, a squad for which will be announced later. Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sharjeel Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan. —AFP