“We have kept the pitches in mind"
Wahab Riaz has announced the Pakistan Test squad for the upcoming tour of Australia, comprising of three matches between December 2023 and January 2024.
This is Wahab’s first task since being named Chief Selector.
It is also Shan Masood’s first task since being named Test captain after Babar Azam’s resignation.
At a press conference, Wahab revealed Haris Rauf had initially agreed to play in the Test series but has since told management that he did not have a desire to play in the series.
Wahab said: “It is important to inform you about this because people should have clarity about what is going on.”
Wahab went on to say that Haris Rauf was doubtful about his fitness levels and was not comfortable.
He continued: “We have tried facilitating him in every way, and even if he failed in this tour, I was ready to accept it.
“Our fitness consultant told us that Haris would not have any issues moving forward.
“We could have managed the issues but he pulled out at the last moment, and I believe this will be a setback for Pakistan.”
Opening batsman Saim Ayub has earned himself a place in the 18-man Test team after scoring a praiseworthy run score in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
He scored a total of 553 runs over four matches for Karachi and bagged three centuries, including a double century against Faisalabad in the final.
Saim was named the best batsman of the tournament.
Fast bowler Khurram Shahzad also made the selection following a successful season to date.
Khurram became the highest wicket-taker during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy by taking 36 wickets throughout eight matches.
Faheem Ashraf has also made a return to the team after his last appearance in the 2022 England tour of Pakistan.
Joining the team are Mir Hamza and Mohammad Wasim.
? SQUAD ANNOUNCED ?
Our 18-member squad for the three-match Test series against Australia ??
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) November 20, 2023
Shedding light on his selection, Wahab spoke about his thought process in preparing his team.
He commented: “The squad has been assembled keeping in mind the challenging Australian conditions.
“We have kept the pitches in mind and added more pace bowling resources to the team to ensure that the management can be flexible with the team combination in all three Test matches.
“Saim Ayub has been added to the squad after the extraordinary domestic season he has had in 2023. He has impressed with the bat during the Quaid-e-Azam trophy and Pakistan Cup.
“His inclusion will strengthen our solid batting line-up.
“Pakistan has started the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 well after their success in Sri Lanka earlier this year.
“We hope that the team can carry this momentum ahead in Australia as well.
“We have tried to ensure that the team has all relevant resources to find success in Australia.”
The team is set to get together in Rawalpindi on November 22, 2023, for their training camp in preparation for the matches.
The training camp is set to run from November 23-28 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, before the team flies out from Lahore on November 30.
Also making the team are names such as Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel and Aamir Jamal.