PCB announced a 29-man strong squad for the upcoming England tour. The squad will be travelling well ahead of the 1st match to absorb the SOPs regarding Covid-19. All members of the squad will travel together and stay in England for the duration of the three-Test and T20Is.
Two relatively surprise selections came of players on the opposite end of their career. Pakistan U-19 batsman Haider Ali has been picked on the back of his exploits in the HBLPSL. Sohail Khan, who had a few decent outings in the Quaid e Azam Trophy has also been selected in a squad loaded with fast bowlers. His last test match came in 2016. Left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti is another uncapped player for the squad. Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Haris Sohail are not part of the group due to varying reasons.
A reserve group of players have been selected in Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz. If any of the current squad tests positives for coronavirus, a reverse player could be selected in his place.
Chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said: “The selectors have picked a squad which gives us the best chance of success in England. It was a challenging process as the players have not played for an extended period of time, but nevertheless, with the month that we will have in England and the intense training we will undergo, we are confident we will get the players up to the mark to be ready for the three Tests.
“But the main focus of the selectors has been red-ball cricket, which we will play for nearly two months with the T20Is to be played at the backend of the ICC World Test Championship fixtures.
“The series against England will be challenging as our players have not played any competitive cricket since March, while the home team will come following a series against the West Indies. This means we will have to hit the ground running as soon as we land in England and make the best use of the training sessions and match practice before we enter the first Test.
“The players have also been selected with one eye on the future. I want these players to acquire as much cricket knowledge as possible from the additional backroom staff of Mushtaq Ahmed and Younis Khan that can help them post the England tour.
“Sohail Khan has been recalled to further strengthen our fast bowling department. He had two five-fors when he last played in England in 2016. The selectors also felt he bowled much better in the 2019-20 domestic season than his figures reflected.”
The breakdown of the 29-player squad is:
Openers (4) – Abid Ali (Sindh, Lahore Qalandars), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Lahore Qalandars), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan, Peshawar Zalmi) and Shan Masood (Southern Punjab, Multan Sultans)
Middle-order batsmen (9) – Azhar Ali (captain) (Central Punjab), Babar Azam (Test vice-captain and T20I captain) (Central Punjab, Karachi Kings), Asad Shafiq (Sindh, Multan Sultans), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Haider Ali (Northern, Peshawar Zalmi), Iftikhar Ahmad (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi Kings), Khushdil Shah (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Multan Sultans), Mohammad Hafeez (Southern Punjab, Lahore Qalandars), and Shoaib Malik (Southern Punjab, Peshawar Zalmi)
Wicketkeepers (2) – Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi Kings) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh, Quetta Gladiators)
Fast bowlers (10) – Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab, Islamabad United), Haris Rauf (Northern, Lahore Qalandars), Imran Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Abbas (Southern Punjab), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh, Quetta Gladiators), Naseem Shah (Central Punjab, Quetta Gladiators), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Northern, Lahore Qalandars), Sohail Khan (Sindh, Quetta Gladiators), Usman Shinwari (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Lahore Qalandars) and Wahab Riaz (Southern Punjab, Peshawar Zalmi)
Spinners (4) – Imad Wasim (Northern, Karachi Kings), Kashif Bhatti (Sindh), Shadab Khan (Northern, Islamabad United) and Yasir Shah (Balochistan, Peshawar Zalmi).