Bilal Asif

Faheem Ashraf, Bilal Asif back in Pakistan squad for first Bangladesh Test

Pakistan news

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf and off-spinner Bilal Asif have been recalled to Pakistan's Test squad for first of two Tests against Bangladesh, which will be played in Rawalpindi from 7 February.

Ashraf had been sidelined from the home series against Sri Lanka in December, while Asif's last appearance dates back to December 2018 against New Zealand.

The duo gets a recall on the back of excellent performances in the Qaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's domestic first-class competition. Asif returned 43 wickets at 23.16, while Ashraf had bagged eight scalps and scored two fifties from four innings during Central Punjab's winning campaign.

Making way for them in the 16-man squad are left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti and medium-pacer Usman Shinwari.

"We have followed the horses for courses policy for the Test against Bangladesh," selector and head coach Misbah ul Haq said. "I know the two players who have been left out will be disappointed, but they remain firmly within our plans for the red-ball cricket we are scheduled to play later this year.

"Bhatti has paved the way for Bilal Asif considering there are left-handed batters in the Bangladesh top and middle-order, while Faheem Ashraf has been preferred over Usman Shinwari due to his all-round abilities. Following our convincing victory in Karachi, I don't envisage any major changes in the playing line-up but we have tried to cover all our bases just in case the wicket has any surprises for us."

Both Tests will be a part of the ICC World Test Championship. Pakistan took the T20I series 2-0 and also won the one-off ODI. The second Test will be played during the second leg of the tour at Karachi's National Stadium in April.

Squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shaan Masood, Yasir Shah

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Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 +1.045 6
2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.058 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 +1.370 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2

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