Pakistan Selectors Lean Towards Experience for West Indies Tour

pakistan west indies series
Pakistan's Mohammad Abbas, center, celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia's Aaron Finch during their test match.(AP)

Pakistan has recalled fast bowlers Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah for the Test tour of West Indies while including the uncapped batsman Azam Khan for the five-match Twenty20 International series.

Abbas, 31, and the 18-year-old Naseem, both missed recent series against South Africa and Zimbabwe, but have found favor with selectors for the July 27 to August 25 tour.

Veteran leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who earned Pakistan a dramatic 2-1 series win on their last tour of the Caribbean four years ago, has been included subject to an improvement in his fitness.

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The 35-year-old missed the tour of Zimbabwe with a knee injury and is yet to fully recover.

In any case, selectors have included 33-year-old uncapped leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood, 34-year-old left-arm spinner Nauman Ali and 27-year-old off-spinner Sajid Khan for the trip.

Another left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, 32, has been recalled for the T20 series after missing Pakistan’s last three assignments.

Pakistan will first travel to England for three One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals from July 8-20 before heading to the Caribbean on July 21.

“We have remained consistent in our selection and kept the same core of cricketers who have been in the set-up for a while,” said chief selector, Muhammad Wasim.

“This is an extremely important and critical tour for Pakistan as we will be playing the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs against England as well as the T20Is against England and the West Indies as part of our preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“The Jamaica Tests will count towards the ICC World Test Championship.”

He continued: “As such, keeping in view the above and in consultation with captain Babar Azam and head Misbah-ul-Haq, we have tried our best to maintain the winning combinations but at the same time recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam Khan for his domestic performance, while also giving him the required confidence for the future challenges.

“Mohammad Abbas has regained his form, Naseem Shah and Haris Sohail have reclaimed the required fitness standards, while Imad Wasim has been recalled considering the T20 World Cup is likely to be held in the UAE and he enjoys an excellent record there.”

Azam, meanwhile, is an aggressive 22-year-old right-hander with a strike-rate of 157 in T20s and is poised to make his debut in the Caribbean, with the first two matches set for Barbados and last three carded for Guyana.

The first Test is set for Sabina Park in Jamaica from August 12-16 with the second match bowling off August 2-24.

Stylish right-hander Babar Azam, who averages 42 in Tests and 47 in T20 Internationals, will captain both sides on the Caribbean tour.


TEST – Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah, and Zahid Mahmood.

T20Is – Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim JR, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Usman Qadir.