Fast bowler Mohammad Amir and leg-spinner Shadab Khan have been named in the 16-member squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa, while opener Shan Masood will replace the retiring Mohammad Hafeez.
Mohammad Amir, who was dropped for Pakistan's home series against Australia and New Zealand over loss of rhythm has been recalled to the squad for the tour of South Africa to join a pace-attack also featuring Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and even Mohammad Abbas, who missed the third Test against New Zealand with a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, Shadab Khan, who didn't play the Tests against Australia due to a groin injury and then missed out on a place for the squad against New Zealand due to the same reason, seems to have made a full recovery. His comeback has come at the expense of off-spinner Bilal Asif, who failed to make too much of a mark after making a splash in his debut Test against Australia.
Mohammad Hafeez is set to retire from Test cricket at the end of the ongoing Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.— ICC (@ICC) December 4, 2018
Hafeez, who is 38, is playing his 55th and last Test match.
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Fast bowler Mir Hamza and uncapped batsman Saad Ali, both of whom were in the squad for the series against New Zealand but didn't get a game, have also been axed.
Mohammad Hafeez's Test retirement has paved the way for the return of Shan Masood, who has played 12 Tests for Pakistan and has a hundred and three fifties to his name. He'll have competition from Fakhar Zaman, who returns to the squad after sitting the New Zealand Tests out with a knee injury. Zaman has reportedly recovered faster than initially expected.
Also in the squad is Mohammad Rizwan who serves as a second wicket-keeping option after captain Sarfraz Ahmed. Rizwan has played one Test, against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2016.
The three-match Test series begins on Boxing Day, 26 December at Centurion. The following Tests will be played at Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively.
Squad: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi
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