- Series commences on July 16 with the first Test match scheduled in Galle
Ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah and in-form all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz returned to the national fold as Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim announced Pakistan’s 18-member squad for the Sri Lanka series on Wednesday.
Pakistan would travel to Sri Lank on July 6 for a two-match Test series, which will be part of the ICC Men’s World Test Championship Cycle of 2021-2023.
Yasir was instrumental in Pakistan’s 2-1 victory over Sri Lanka on their last tour of the island in 2015, snaring 24 wickets at 19.33. He comes back into the side after regaining full fitness. Yasir played his 46th and last Test, to date, against the West Indies in August 2021.
Meanwhile, Salman Ali Agha, who has scored 4,224 runs and taken 88 wickets in first-class, is another addition to the squad.
Mohammad Nawaz is the third player to be recalled. He was named in the squad for Australia Tests but was withdrawn due to injury.
The squad includes three openers, four middle-order batters, three all-rounders, two wicketkeepers, two spinners, and four fast bowlers.
Commenting on the selection, Chief Selector Wasim said that he has selected this squad considering the conditions in Sri Lanka and has equipped the team with the best possible resources.
“Our spin department is boosted with the return of Yasir Shah, who proved himself as a match-winner in Sri Lanka on our last tour and Sajid Khan has made the way for him. The spin department also includes two spin all-rounders in Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha and left-arm orthodox Nauman Ali.
“Salman Ali Agha has shown consistent performances with the bat in the past three seasons and he is a handy off-spin option," Wasim noted.
Babar Azam-led squad will converge in Islamabad on 25 June to finalise their preparations for the Test series at the Pindi Cricket Stadium with a seven-day camp that stretches from June 26 to July 2 before departing for Sri Lanka on July 6.
Pakistan will play a three-day warm-up match between July 11 and 13. The first Test will be played at Galle from 16 July, while the second Test will be staged at Colombo from 24 July.
For Pakistan, who are on the fifth spot in the nine-team table, this series is their final away commitment of the current ICC World Test Championship cycle, which stretches from July 2021 to June 2023, and they will be eager to improve their position on the table by repeating the same result as last time with a series win.
Pakistan squad for Sri Lanka Tests
Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah