Lahore, Pakistan’s Chief Selector Wahab Riaz has announced an 18-member squad for the upcoming Test series in Australia, marking his first assignment since assuming the role last week. The tour, consisting of three Test matches, is scheduled from December 14, 2023, to January 7, 2024.
According to Pakistan Cricket Board, Shan Masood will lead the team as Test captain, succeeding Babar Azam for the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle. The squad features Saim Ayub, who earned his maiden call-up following a remarkable performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24, scoring 553 runs in four matches, including a double century in the final.
Fast bowler Khurram Shahzad also received his first Test call-up, having been the leading wicket-taker in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 36 wickets. The squad sees the return of Faheem Ashraf, last seen in Test cricket during England’s tour of Pakistan in 2022.
Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza and right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim Jnr, both part of the New Zealand tour of Pakistan from December 2022 to January 2023, are also included in the squad. The team comprises experienced players like Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, and Shaheen Shah Afridi, with Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed as wicketkeepers.
Wahab Riaz commented on the selection, emphasizing the adaptation to Australian conditions and the addition of pace bowling resources. He highlighted Saim Ayub’s impressive domestic season, asserting that his inclusion strengthens the batting lineup. Riaz expressed optimism about Pakistan’s momentum in the ICC World Test Championship following their success in Sri Lanka earlier this year.
The squad will convene in Rawalpindi on November 22 for a training camp at Pindi Cricket Stadium, running from November 23 to 28. The team departs on November 30 from Lahore, with additional players invited to participate in the training camp. These players include Arshad Iqbal, Kashif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usama Mir, and Usman Qadir.
The Test series schedule is as follows:
1st Test – Perth, December 14-18, 2023
2nd Test – Melbourne, December 26-30, 2023
3rd Test – Sydney, January 3-7, 2024