Pakistan recall Fawad Alam for England Tests
Allrounder Fawad Alam has found his name back in the Test squad for the upcoming series against England in the UAE, as one of two changes to the side that ended a Test series drought in Sri Lanka earlier this summer. Apart from the Test squad for the three-match series starting October 13, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) unveiled the limited-overs squads under Azhar Ali and Shahid Afridi respectively, for the tour of Zimbabwe later this month.
From the Test squad that won 2-1 in Sri Lanka, Ehsan Adil and Babar Azam have been dropped, with Fawad and rehabilitated left-arm quick Wahab Riaz added in their places. Fawad, 29, played the last of his three Test matches in 2009. He averages 41.66 in the format, but has struggled to find a place in the Test setup owing to reshuffles in the batting order as well as what has been widely viewed as the PCB’s unique brand of favouritism. He has not, however, been named in the Twenty20 international squad to tour Zimbabwe, despite ending the recently concluded Haier Mobile T20 Cup as the second-highest run-scorer with 339 in 11 games.
Commenting on the selections for the upcoming series, chief selector Haroon Rashid said: “In the light of Misbah-ul-Haq recommendations, we have kept the options open for the 16th player in the Test squad against England, picking up two left-arm spin bowlers namely Zafar Gohar and Mohammad Asghar for the brace of practice games against England prior to the Test matches in the UAE; whoever amongst the two performs well would be added to the Test squad.”
Notable selections in the 14-man T20I squad are the uncapped fast bowler Imran Khan jar and allrounder Aamer Yamin. Imran Khan jnr finished the leading wicket-taker with 16 in seven matches, a big factor in his team Peshawar Region winning the domestic T20 title. Zia-ul-Haq and Nauman Anwar have been dropped in their places. The rest of the squad resembles that from Pakistan’s previous assignment in Sri Lanka, with the notable exceptions of Anwar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed.
The PCB clarified that fast bowler Ali has been rested for the T20Is against Zimbabwe due to a groin strain but that he will link up with the touring squad for the ODI series after going through rehab at the National Cricket Academy. The wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz, added the PCB, was not considered for the T20I squad because he will he performing Haj.
Bilal Asif and Eshan Adil has been dropped from the ODI squad, with Sohail Tanvir and Sohaib Maqsood their replacements.
The tour of Zimbabwe includes a couple of T20Is and three ODIs, between September 28 and October 5. Pakistan will then host England for Tests in Abu Dhabi (October 13-17), Dubai (October 22-26) and Sharjah (Nov 1-5) followed by four ODIs and three T20Is. The last time they played England in the UAE was in early 2012, when they swept the Tests 3-0 but lost the ODIs 0-4 and the T20Is 1-2.
Test squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Fawad Alam, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqur Babar, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Rahat Ali, Junaid Khan
T2O squad for Zimbabwe: Shahid Afridi (capt), Mohammed Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Mukhtar Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Irfan, Bilal Asif, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imran Khan Jr
ODI squad for Zimbabwe: Azhar Ali (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan