Left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman along with Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali received their maiden call-ups in Pakistan’s Test squad for the tours of Ireland and England on Sunday (April 15).
Fakhar, who made an impression by slamming a glorious ton against arch-rivals India in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, came into the selection reckoning with his consistent showing in the 2016-17 season of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. The southpaw aggregated 663 runs at 51, including a first-class best of 170 in the final.
It is a squad that boasts of a large batting contingent, with youngsters being given more preference than the experienced campaigners. Another batsman who got the reward for his performances in first-class cricket is Saad Ali. The 24-year-old plays for United Bank Limited and has topped the batting chart in this year’s Quaid-Azam Trophy with 957 runs.
The 27-year-old Usman Salahuddin also reaped the fruitful return for his domestic performances. The 99 first-class caps veteran has scored 417 runs at an average of 37.9 during the last season.
The swashbuckling all-rounder, Faheem Ashraf, has also made it to the 16-member squad. In his first-class career, Ashraf has claimed 105 wickets besides amassing 1299 runs. Imam-ul-Haq, who made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka last year, has also found a place in the squad. The southpaw has 1792 runs to his name in first-class cricket.
While the Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan side will play their solitary Test against Ireland from May 11 to 15, they will commence their two-match Test series against England on May 24.
Pakistan Test squad for Ireland and England tours:
Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Inam-Ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salah, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Abbas, Saad Ali, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf and Rahat Ali