Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood and Ehsan Adil have been included in Pakistan’s 15-member squad for the Test series in Sri Lanka in June.
Offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who was part of the squad in the two-Test series against Bangladesh, was left out because of his lack of impact with the remodelled bowling action. Ajmal picked up a solitary wicket in the tour game before the start of Bangladesh Tests, but couldn’t make it to the Test XI with Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah pipping him for spinners’ spots. He played two ODIs and one T20 on the tour, but managed just one more wicket.
Babar Azam, Bilawal Bhatti, Sami Aslam were also excluded, while Rahat Ali, Sohaib Maqsood and Sohail Khan continued to be unavailable due to their respective injuries.
Shehzad was dropped from both Test and ODI squads after the 2015 World Cup on disciplinary grounds. He was recalled for the Zimbabwe ODIs but remained on the bench throughout the three-match series. Shehzad is one of three openers – Mohammad Hafeez and Masood, being the other two – in the squad.
Interestingly, the selectors said they had considered the performance of Pakistan A players on their tour to Sri Lanka recently but both Umar Amin, the top-scorer in longer format, and Fawad Alam, leading run-getter in the limited-over games, were ignored. For Aslam, his 47 runs from three innings in Bangladesh, went against him.
“While selecting the squad, the selection committee considered the following key areas: suitability to play in varied playing conditions, potential to perform at international level, current form and fitness, performance in the previous tours of Bangladesh and recently concluded Pakistan A team’s tour of Sri Lanka, and feedback from the team management on the performance of players on Bangladesh tour,” PCB chief selector Haroon Rashid said.
“Fawad Alam, Sami Aslam and some other players were also under consideration but could not be included but they remain on the selectors radar. Rahat Ali (hamstring), Sohail Khan (back) and Sohaib Maqsood (wrist) are still on rehab after sustaining injuries and it is hoped that they would be available for selection in the near future. Selection committee has also kept its options open in case of need for the 16th member keeping in mind the extreme weather conditions in Sri Lanka.”
Pakistan squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (vc), Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil.