LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim has announced the squad for the upcoming three-match Test series against England.
Star pacer Shaheen Afridi has been left out of the 18-member squad due to knee injury, which he suffered during the T20 World Cup 2022 final against England on November 13.
The lanky pacer also underwent appendectomy, which is a surgery to remove the appendix when it is infected, on Sunday.
Shaheen will require three-four weeks’ rest after the surgery, following which he will resume his two-week rehabilitation on his right knee.
Shaheen, Pakistan's strike bowler in all formats of the game, has 99 Test, 62 ODI and 58 T20I wickets from a career that started in 2018.
Middle-order batter Fawad Alam, along with pacer Hasan Ali and leg-spinner Yasir Shah, have also been dropped from the squad ahead of the three-match series.
Alam could only score 33 runs in four innings of three Tests against Australia earlier this year, while he scored 25 runs in his only Test in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Hasan took five wickets in his last four Tests against Australia and Sri Lanka, while Yasir Shah bagged nine wickets in Sri Lanka but has managed only 14 wickets in seven Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches to date.
Mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and fast bowler Mohammad Ali have been rewarded for their strong first-class performances with maiden Test call-ups.
"Twenty-four-year-old Abrar is in red-hot form in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Before the start of the last round on Sunday, Abrar had claimed 43 wickets at an average of 21.95. He has recorded five five-wicket hauls in six matches and has played an integral role in turning his side into serious contenders to secure a berth in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final," the PCB said in a press release.
"Central Punjab’s Mohammad Ali has been the best fast bowler in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in the last two editions, taking 56 wickets. His 24 wickets, including two five wicket hauls, at 25.54 in six matches are the most for any fast bowler this first-class season. His 32 wickets at 22.78 in eight matches in 2021-22 were also the most for a fast bowler," it added.
The England team will arrive in Pakistan on November 27 for the much-anticipated tour, with the first Test set to begin on December 1 in Rawalpindi.
This will be the first time England will play a Test in Rawalpindi, which has previously staged 12 matches with the home side winning five and losing three.
The second Test moves to Multan starting on Friday, December 9, and the final Test of the tour will take place at the National Stadium in Karachi, commencing on Saturday, December 17.
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel, Shan Masood and Zahid Mehmood.