On Wednesday (June 22), Pakistan announced an 18-member squad for the Sri Lanka tour. Pakistan has received a major boost ahead of their next month’s tour of Sri Lanka, as their experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah is fit and available.
Yasir has been named in Pakistan’s 18-member squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. However, the schedule for the Test series hasn’t yet been announced, but it is expected to be played at the end of July, as Sri Lanka’s ongoing home series against Australia will run till July 12.
Notably, the 36-year-old leg-spinner was on the sidelines due to a thumb injury that he sustained during the National T20 Cup last year. However, Shah is now fit and raring to go.
Opener Shan Masood was recalled to the Test team after his stunning performance in County cricket. Salman Ali Agha, who has scored 4,224 runs and taken 88 wickets in first-class, is another addition to the squad.
Mohammad Nawaz is the third player to be recalled. He was named in the squad for Australia Tests but was withdrawn due to injury.
Pakistan’s chief selector Muhammad Wasim stated: “We have selected this squad considering the conditions in Sri Lanka and have equipped the team with the best possible resources. Our spin department is boosted with the return of Yasir Shah, who proved himself as a match-winner in Sri Lanka on our last tour and Sajid Khan has made the way for him.”
He added, “The spin department also includes two spin all-rounders in Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha and Nauman Ali. Salman Ali Agha has shown consistent performances with the bat in the past three seasons and he is a handy off-spin option. Our team has recently put strong performances in Bangladesh and although results against Australia were not ideal we displayed solid cricket.
And for that reason, we have retained the core to instill consistency and continuity and have trimmed the squad size following the relaxation in Covid-19-induced travel restrictions. These two matches are extremely crucial for our side as we have World Test Championship points at stake. I wish our boys all the best and I am sure they will make us proud.”
Pakistan squad will assemble in Islamabad on June 25 and will undergo a seven-day preparation camp at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium before departing for Sri Lanka on July 6.
Pakistan will play a three-day warm-up match between 11-13 July. The first Test will be played at Galle from 16 July, while the second Test will be staged at Colombo from 24 July.
This is the final away series for Pakistan, who are placed 5th, for the current ICC World Test Championship cycle, which stretches from July 2021 to June 2023. Pakistan have played three series in the current cycle and with wins in three Tests and two draws are ranked fifth in the nine-team table.
Here’s the Pakistan Test squad for the Sri Lanka series:
Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah
(With Cricbuzz Inputs)