Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the squad for the historic Sri Lanka Test series. Fawad Alam was the notable induction in the side.
Fawad Alam, who last represented Pakistan in Tests back in 2009, has finally been rewarded for his excellent performances in domestic cricket. The left-handed batsman replaced Iftikhar Ahmed, who failed to make an impact in the Test series in Australia recently.
Misbah Ul Haq announced the squad on Monday, stating that there were only two changes in the team that played against Australia. He said,” Fawad’s selection is not based on just one year. It is an accumulation of his performances over five to six years. He has a career average of 57 and is in great form right now as well.”
Regarding Iftikhar Ahmed, Misbah added, “Dropping Iftikhar was a difficult decision. He had been doing well in white-ball cricket, but it does not mean that we are cutting him out for good. Whenever we need him, we will call him back.”
“The other change is Usman Shinwari. We have struggled a little bit with bowling and Usman’s bowling and energy, even on flat pitches here, has been good.”
This is not a one-man show: Misbah Ul Haq
Misbah clarified before announcing the squad that contrary to popular belief, he does not select the team unilaterally and that the roster is assembled after a thorough consultation.
The head coach and chief selector added,” The perception is that there is a one-person show going on here. It is not like this at all. There are six selectors, all of who have their say.”
Selection committee coordinator Nadeem Khan backed his remarks and said, ” The revamped model where domestic team’s coaches double as selectors, means that “local talent is being monitored with two different perspectives.”
Misbah Ul Haq, whose young team failed miserably in Australia last month, defended his policy, saying,” There is no choice but to induct young blood as the team is without several seniors and regulars.”
He also asked fans for more time and patience to turn around the team’s fortunes, explaining that “I do not have a magic wand which I will wave and everything will get better.”
In addition to naming a 16-man squad, Misbah said that young pacer Muhammad Musa Khan would also be with the team and work with bowling coach Waqar Younis. He will not be a part of the playing group.
The islanders are scheduled to play a two-match Test series in Rawalpindi and Karachi.
Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah and Usman Khan Shinwari
Sri Lanka Squad:
Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Janith Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha and Lakshan Sandakan