Fast bowler Hasan Ali returned while uncapped middle-order batter Kamran Ghulam was given his maiden Test call-up as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced the squad for the New Zealand Tests.
“Kamran has replaced Azhar Ali, who announced his retirement last week, while Hasan Ali has taken over from Mohammad Ali, who, like Faheem Ashraf, has been advised to participate in the ongoing Pakistan Cup in Karachi,” the PCB press release reads.
The Board also announced the return of teenage pace sensation Naseem Shah who missed the Multan and Karachi Tests against England due to a shoulder niggle, saying that he was “declared fit and as such, retained in the squad” for the two-Test series which will commence at Karachi’s National Bank Cricket Arena on Monday.
However, pace spearhead Haris Rauf was left out as the PCB said he was still recovering from an injury he sustained while fielding in the Rawalpindi Test against England.
Test squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Imamul Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Noman Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shan Masood and Zahid Mehmood
The PCB had in October announced the schedule of New Zealand’s dual tours of Pakistan comprising two Tests, eight One Day Internationals (ODIs) and five T20s.
The first leg of the tour will begin on Dec 27 and continue till Jan 15 while the second round of the tour will be held from April 13 to May 7.
The New Zealand cricket team had in September last year backed out of its tour of Pakistan over security concerns minutes before the first match was scheduled to start at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
According to a renewed schedule issued by the PCB, the Kiwis will play Tests in Karachi (December 27-31) and Multan (January 4-8) during the first leg of the tour.
The visitors will then return to Karachi for three ODI matches on Jan 11, Jan 13 and Jan 15.
The Karachi Test will be New Zealand’s first in the metropolitan city since October 1990 and also the first in Pakistan since the May 2002 Test in Lahore, according to the PCB.
New Zealand will be the third high-profile cricket team to tour Pakistan in 2022 after Australia and England.