Mustafiz dropped as BD announce squad for first Test against Pakistan, Bilal Asif and Faheem Ashraf recalled

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DHAKA: The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Saturday announced the squad for the first Test against Pakistan, scheduled to commence on February 7. The notable absentee from the squad was pacer Mustafizur Rahman.

Ahead of the Test series, Pakistan have defeated Bangladesh in a three-match T20I series by 2-0 as the third game was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (Captain), Tamim Iqbal, Saif Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudullah, Md Mithun, Litton Kumer Das, Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Ebadat Hossain, Abu Jayed Chowdhury Rahi, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Soumya Sarker.

Pakistan recall players

Pakistan have recalled Bilal Asif and Faheem Ashraf in their 16-member Test squad for the ICC World Test Championship against Bangladesh.

The selectors have recalled off-spinner Asif at the back of his 43 wickets in nine Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches, while Ashraf has been drafted in the side due to his all-round skills that were backed by his six wickets in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against Northern.

Two changes have been made in the side that was named for the Test series against Sri Lanka. Kashif Bhatti and Usman Shinwari have been left out, but they remain in the red-ball plans and have been advised to continue their training and preparation.

While Kashif didn’t play against Sri Lanka, Usman made his only appearance in the Rawalpindi Test where he took one for 54. Pakistan won their last two-match Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0 in December last year.

Azhar Ali will lead the side in the two-match Test series against Bangladesh after clinching the T20I series 2-0.

Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (capt), Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Harris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Bilal Asif, Naseem Shah, and Faheem Ashraf.

The first Test will be played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium from February 7. (ANI)

Azhar Ali

Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali has said that the team “is not taking [Bangladesh] lightly”, a day before the start of the two-Test series between both sides.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday in Rawalpindi — where the first Test will be held — Ali said: “Bangladesh can be a very competitive side, can surprise you, so we are not taking them lightly. They have match winners in their team.”

Ali went on to say that he feels the side “has the opportunity” to win Test matches on the home ground. “We will try our best,” he added.

Speaking of the inclusion of fast bowlers in the composition, the Test captain said that home matches “are played according to your strength”.

“At the moment we feel that our fast bowling is a threat for our opposition,” he said.

When asked whether the Test squad has been selected keeping in mind the upcoming tour to England, where the pitch is similarly green, the captain said that playing beforehand in conditions that mirror foreign ground “is advantageous”.

He, however, was of the opinion that if the opposite side is such that merits making a spin-heavy side, then the team members can always be changed.