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Saim Ayub and Khurram Shahzad Included in Pakistan’s Test Squad for Australia Tour

Saim Ayub and Khurram Shahzad Included in Pakistan's Test Squad for Australia Tour
Image via Pakistan Observer

  • Saim Ayub and Khurram Shahzad make their debut in the Pakistan Test squad.
  • Mir Hamza and Faheem Ashraf rejoin Pakistan’s Test squad.
  • Shan Masood leads the team for the first time, aiming to break the 14-match losing streak in Australia.

Pakistan has announced its Test squad for the upcoming tour of Australia, and there are some notable inclusions and comebacks. Opening batsman Saim Ayub and fast bowler Khurram Shahzad are set to make their Test debuts, adding a fresh dimension to the team led by the newly appointed red-ball captain, Shan Masood.

Saim Ayub, a 21-year-old batsman, has already made a mark in T20Is, having played eight matches for Pakistan. His inclusion in the Test squad is well-deserved, given his impressive performance in first-class cricket, where he boasts 1069 runs at an impressive average of 46.47. Notably, Ayub showcased his potential with outstanding scores of 203 and 109 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final in October, underlining his readiness for the longer format.

Joining Ayub in the potential debutants’ list is fast bowler Khurram Shahzad, who emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the 2023-24 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Shahzad’s stellar performance, securing 36 wickets at an average of 20.30, has earned him a well-deserved spot in the Test squad. His inclusion bolsters Pakistan’s pace attack for the challenging Australian conditions.

In a significant development, Shan Masood will be leading the side in his first assignment as Test captain. Recently appointed to captain Pakistan for the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle, Masood takes over the reins from Babar Azam. The team will be aiming to overcome their struggles in Australia, having lost their last 14 Test matches on the continent.

Mir Hamza, the left-arm quick, makes a comeback to the squad after a notable performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, where he secured 32 wickets at an average of 20.87. Also returning to the squad is seam-bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf, who last played a Test in December 2022.

However, the squad will miss the services of Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf. Naseem continues his recovery from a shoulder injury, while Rauf has made himself unavailable for selection, much to the disappointment of chief selector Wahab Riaz.

Related: Haris Raufs last-minute withdrawal from Australia tour stirs controversy

In the spin department, Abrar Ahmed, Pakistan’s premier red-ball spinner, retains his place, with Noman Ali serving as the backup option. The spin selection gains significance in the backdrop of disappointing performances by leg spinners Shadab Khan and Usama Mir in the recent World Cup.

The wicketkeeping duties will be shared between Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan, with Sarfaraz likely to be the first choice. His consistent performances have seen him retain his place in the side over the last four Tests across two series.

Pakistan’s Test squad for the Australia tour

Shan Masood (c), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafiq, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Nauman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed

Schedule of Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia

Test Number Dates Venue
1 December 14-18 Perth Stadium
2 December 26-30 MCG
3 January 3-7 SCG

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