LAHORE: Chief selector and head coach Misbahul Haq on Monday announced the 16-member squads for the upcoming Twenty20 and Test series against Australia in a press conference in Lahore.
The T20 team will be captained by batsman Babar Azam, while the Test team will be led by Azhar Ali.
Speaking to reporters, Misbah said that the only way to defeat Australia was “to play aggressive cricket” and the board while selecting players for the squad had kept that in mind. He said that the board included some “young and exciting” players in both the 20-overs format and Test series.
The T20 squad will travel to Sydney on October 26 and will play a warm-up match on October 31 before the series.
Players in the Test squad will leave for Perth after the fifth round of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy, which will be played from October 28-31. The Test squad will play two warm-up matches before the series begins.
Pakistan will play three T20s against Australia, the first of which will be held on November 3 in Sydney. The second T20 will be played in Canberra on November 5, while the third in Perth on November 8.
The first Test will be played from November 21-25 in Brisbane, while the second will be held in Adelaide from November 29 till December 3.
As announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) earlier, Sarfaraz Ahmed was not included in either squad. Fast bowler Hasan Ali was also left out because he is under a rehab programme after his back injury. Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, who had been included in the T20 team for the series against Sri Lanka, have also been excluded. The chief selector also decided to keep Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik out of the squads.
Squad for 20 overs format
Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imamul Haq, Shadab Khan, Moosa Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Khushdil Shah, and Usman Qadir.
Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imamul Haq, Imran Khan senior, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Moosa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah.
Speaking about Sarfaraz’s removal, Misbah said that the sole reason for the former skipper’s removal from the T20 and Test squads was his poor form. “Strange theories are popping up on the media [regarding Sarfaraz’s removal]. It is a simple thing.
“We have always backed Sarfaraz. He is a good enough player, he has done a lot for Pakistan […] but this decision [to remove him] was taken due to his form recently.”
Talking about Sarfaraz’s future, he said, “I think it is just the matter of regaining his form. As soon as his form is restored. I think the doors are open. There is no conspiracy or any such thing in the matter. It is a straightforward thing. I think it is a clear message for Sarfaraz and others as well.”