Pakistan have named three teenagers in their 16-man squad for their forthcoming Test assignment in Australia next month.
Uncapped Musa Khan (17) and Naseem Shah (16), and the young pace sensation Shaheen Afridi (19), have all been included in the Test contingent that will be led by newly-appointed captain Azhar Ali.
Two more players – opener Abid Ali and left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti – complete the list of uncapped Test players in the squad. Iftikhar Ahmed, who has not featured in a Test since his debut in 2016, has been recalled, while right-arm pacer Imran Khan also made a return.
ICYMI: Azhar Ali and Babar Azam to replace Sarfaraz Ahmed as Pakistan's Test and T20I captains respectively.https://t.co/ACD90tCcGJ— ICC (@ICC) October 18, 2019
Mohammad Abbas, who has featured in 14 Tests, is Pakistan's most experienced paceman in the squad.
Pakistan have retained most of their batsmen that had featured in the last Test against South Africa in January this year, with only Fakhar Zaman, who made 32 runs in two Tests, being left out from the mix.
Pakistan's head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq explained that the squad has been picked with the aim of moving up the ladder in the ICC World Test Championship.
"Winning is very important, but building a positive culture is my top priority."— ICC (@ICC) October 19, 2019
Azhar Ali is keen on Test captaincy 👇https://t.co/CWg748Qe3W
"Our aim is to move up the Test rankings and begin the Test Championship strong," said Misbah. "There is a need to play a different brand of cricket, the balance of the squads is reflective of us having options to play aggressive, attacking cricket.
"Yes, it's a brave and bold decision to select the likes of Musa and Naseem, but we know that their fresh and attacking approach will give us something different. The Australian wickets will give them the opportunity to express themselves, gain valuable experience, and it will help us to take 20 wickets to win the Tests.
"I am pretty sure these two lads will surprise a lot of people with their pace, controlled swing and ability to bowl long spells at a consistent speed."
Pakistan will play three T20Is in Australia, with the first match due to be played on 3 November. That will be followed by two Tests, in Brisbane and Adelaide, later that month.
Test squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed , Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah
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