LAHORE: Under a new skipper in Shan Masood, Pakistan on Monday named a squad of fresh faces for a tough tour of Australia starting next month, seeking a fresh start after a disastrous World Cup campaign.
Following the World Cup where Pakistan lost five of their nine matches and finished fifth, the country’s cricket board overhauled the national team, with Babar Azam resigning as captain of all three formats.
Team director Mickey Arthur and head coach Grant Bradburn have been removed from their positions with former skipper Mohammad Hafeez taking over both their roles.
Masood was given the reins of the Test captaincy while Shaheen Shah Afridi was appointed Twenty20 captain.
Wahab Riaz, another former fast bowler, was appointed chief selector following Inzamam-ul-Haq’s resignation and stressed performers in domestic competition were chosen for the three-match Test tour.
“Australia is always a tough tour but we think that these players have the capability and capacity to not only do well, but come out winners.”
Pakistan have performed poorly in Australia, however, losing 14 Tests on the trot with a last success in 1995.
The series starts with the first Test in Perth (December 14-18) followed by the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne (26-30) and Sydney (January 3-7).
Uncapped fast bowler Khurram Shahzad is rewarded for being the highest wicket-taker in the country’s premier first-class tournament this year with 36.
Dashing left-hander Saim Ayub and allrounder Aamer Jamal have represented Pakistan in Twenty20 internationals but are untested in the five-day format.
Shaheen is the only fast bowler to have played in Australia, while Naseem Shah was not considered as he was still recovering from a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.
Squad: Shan Masood (captain), Aamer Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi