Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was named in the Pakistan squad for two tests against Sri Lanka to be played from July 16 to July 29 in Galle and Colombo while uncapped all-rounder Salman Ali Agha also made to the 18-member contingent announced here on Wednesday.
Yasir Shah had returned after spending almost a year on the fringes due to fitness problems and he played his 46th and last Test, to date, against the West Indies in August 2021.
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.
Salman Ali Agha’s excellent first-class record has earned him a call-up to the squad. He has scored 4,224 runs and taken 88 wickets in first-class.
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 He was named in the squad for Australia Tests but was withdrawn due to injury.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 named for the latest ICC World Test Championship fixtures include three openers, four middle-order batters, three all-rounders, two wicketkeepers, two spinners and four fast bowlers.
“We have selected this squad considering the conditions in Sri Lanka and have equipped the team with the best possible resources”, said Muhammad Wasim, the Chief selector. “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”, he commented.
The Chief selector said Salman Ali Agha has shown consistent performances with the bat in the past three seasons and he is a handy off-spin option.
“Our team has recently put strong performances in Bangladesh and although results against Australia were not ideal we displayed solid cricket and for that reason we have retained the core to instil consistency and continuity and have trimmed the squad size following the relaxation in Covid-19-induced travel restrictions.”
Pakistan team will attend a seven-day camp at the Pindi cricket Stadium from July 26 and leave for Sri Lanka on July 6.
The team will play a three-day warm-up match from July 11-13. The series will begin in Galle on July 16 while the second and the last test match starts on July 24 in Colombo.
The series is Pakistan’s final away commitment on the ICC World Test Championship Cycle while Pakistan host England and New Zealand in 2022-23 home season. Babar Azam’s side is currently fifth on the table.
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 and Yasir Shah.
Player Support Personnel: Mansoor Rana (manager), Saqlain Mushtaq (head coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant to head coach), Mohammad Yousuf (batting coach), Shaun Tait (bowling coach), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Drikus Saaiman (trainer/strength and conditioning coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Ahsan Iftikhar Nagi (media and digital content manager), Col (retd) Muhammad Mukarram Khan (security manager), Dr Muhammad Khurram Sarwar (team doctor), Talha Ejaz (analyst) and Malang Ali (masseur).
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