Four Pakistan Test regulars have been made to pay the price for their dismal performance in New Zealand as the squad for the Test series against South Africa was named.
Batsmen Shan Masood and Haris Sohail were given the boot after both endured lean runs of late, bottoming out in the 2-0 series defeat to the Black Caps.
Wasim wields the axe
Meanwhile Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah paid the price for Pakistan’s toothless display with ball in hand after a series where Kane Williamson piled on the runs and New Zealand won comfortably.
In all five players who took the field in the second Test against New Zealand have suffered the axe with left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar also left out.
The new Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim has defended the decision to ring the changes, insisting also that players were being rewarded for strong displays in domestic cricket.
Kamran Ghulam (batsman), Saud Shakil (batsman), Nauman Ali (left-arm spinner), Sajid Khan (off-spinner) Tabish Khan (fast bowler) and Agha Salman (batsman) have all been rewarded for excellent showings in the recently concluded Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa batsman Ghulam establsihed a new record for most runs in the domestic first-class tournament with 1249 while teammate Sajid took the most wickets with 67 scalps.
“No, it’s not panic,” said Wasim while announcing the squad.
“We have selected a squad after analysing the performance in New Zealand and areas of improvement are identified.”
Pakistan national selector Mohammad Wasim
Wasim said Naseem and Abbas were not up to the mark in New Zealand.
“Both Naseem and Abbas were lacking that bite so we have not included them in the squad which will be trimmed to 16 before the Test,” said Wasim.
The Proteas will touch down in Pakistan early on Saturday 16 January and after a five-day quarantine followed by intra-squad warm-ups play the first Test in Karachi from 26 January.
The second Test will be in Rawalpindi from 4 February before three Twenty20 internationals on 11, 13 and 14 February in Lahore.
It will be the first time the Proteas play a Test series in Pakistan outside of the month of October.
Pakistan squad for Test series vs South Africa
Babar Azam (capt), Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan.