Pakistan recall Imam
for Test series
against Bangladesh

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Imam-ul-Haq

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan have recalled opening batter Imam-ul-Haq after two years for the two-Test series against Bangladesh. 

Imam, who played his last Test against Australia at Adelaide in 2019, has impressed the selectors during the ongoing domestic first class tournament, scoring 488 runs in four matches, including a double century. 

The two Test matches, which are part of World Test Championship, will be played at Chittagong from Nov. 26-30 and at Dhaka from Dec. 4-8. 

Imam replaced Imran Butt, who was part of the team which toured the West Indies. Butt took some scintillating slip catches since making his Test debut against South Africa earlier this year, but has scored just 178 runs in 10 test innings at an average of 17.8. 

“He (Butt) has a chance to continue to play and perform in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first class tournament) so that he can force his way back into the side,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said in a statement. 

Pakistan also included uncapped opener Kamran Ghulam and offspinner Bilal Asif while fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Shahnawaz Dahani will return after the three-match Twenty20 series, which begins from Friday. 

Asif has been drafted into the squad after legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out of the series due to thumb injury. Shah sustained the injury during the National T20 Cup last month and is still recovering. 

Pak cricket squad

Asif has taken 16 wickets in five Test matches and has been included in the side to challenge lefthanded batters in the Bangladesh team and also prepare for the home test series against Australia in March. 

Bilal has replaced Yasir Shah who is still recovering from a thumb injury he sustained during the National T20 and is yet to feature in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. The off-spinner has taken 16 wickets in five Tests and has been drafted into the side as a weapon against Bangladesh’s left-handed batters and also looking ahead to the home Tests against Australia. 

Pakistan Squad

Babar Azam (captain)

Mohammad Rizwan

Abdullah Shafique

Abid Ali

Azhar Ali

Bilal Asif

Faheem Ashraf

Fawad Alam

Hasan Ali

Imam-ul-Haq

Kamran Ghulam

Mohammad Abbas

Mohammad Nawaz

Naseem Shah

Nauman Ali

Sajid Khan

Sarfaraz Ahmed

Saud Shakeel

Shaheen Afridi

Zahid Mahmood

Mohammad Rizwan

Meanwhile, Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan said Monday he was feeling well after a spell in intensive care for a chest infection and would begin training for a series in Bangladesh. 

Rizwan made a miraculous recovery last week after two days in hospital to turn in a headline-grabbing performance in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE where he top-scored with 67 in the semi-final against Australia. 

Mohammad Rizwan

He finished the tournament with 281 runs, the third-highest among all batsmen, despite missing out on the final after Pakistan’s heartbreaking five-wicket loss to the eventual winners. 

His exploits in the tournament took his tally to 1,033 in 2021, making him the first man to score over 1,000 runs in a calendar year in Twenty20 internationals. 

“I’m happy that I have scored the most runs in the calendar year. But I’m more delighted that I was able to secure this record for my country,” Rizwan told reporters in Dhaka. 

Pak-BD logo

Rizwan, who scored 1,743 runs in all Twenty20s in 2021, also a calendar year record, now has the chance to add a few more runs to his tally as Pakistan take on Bangladesh in a three-match series starting on Friday in Dhaka. 

He struggled in the early years of his Twenty20 international career averaging just four runs in 2016 and 14.80 in 2019. 

But he showed promise in 2020 by scoring his maiden fifty against New Zealand in December before realising his full potential this year. 

The second and third Twenty20 internationals against Bangladesh will be held on November 20 and 22, also in Dhaka. 

The matches will be day-night games, with fans returning to the gallery in Bangladesh for the first time since March 2020.