Wahab Riaz, the chief selector, has revealed the formidable 18-member Pakistan Test squad set to embark on the Australia tour, featuring three matches slated from December 14, 2023, to January 7, 2024. This marks Wahab’s inaugural assignment since assuming leadership of the national men’s selection committee just last week.
Shan Masood, taking on the role of Test captain for the first time, will be at the helm. Appointed as Pakistan’s captain for the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle, he assumed the captaincy from Babar Azam in a transition last week.
Saim Ayub, the left-handed opening batter, secures his debut Test team call-up following a stellar performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24. The 22-year-old amassed 553 runs in four matches for Karachi Whites, boasting three centuries, including a match-defining double century against Faisalabad in the tournament final. His exceptional form extended to the Pakistan Cup, where he clinched the title of the tournament’s best batter, emerging as the top run-scorer.
In parallel, the right-arm fast bowler Khurram Shahzad earns his maiden Test call-up, fueled by a triumphant domestic season. The 23-year-old dominated the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24 as the leading wicket-taker with 36 wickets in eight matches at an average of 20.31. He continued his success in the recently concluded Pakistan Cup, securing 13 wickets at an impressive 16.62.
Pace bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, absent since Pakistan’s Tests against England in late 2022, makes a return to the squad.
The left-arm pacer Mir Hamza, who claimed 32 wickets at 20.88 in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24, and right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim Jnr also make their comeback. Both were part of Pakistan’s squad during New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan from December 2022 to January 2023.
The Pakistan squad for the Australia Tests includes: Shan Masood (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel, and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Australia tour schedule:
- Four-day match: PM’s XI vs Pakistan – December 6-9: Manuka Oval, Canberra
- 1st Test – Australia vs Pakistan – December 14-18: Perth Stadium
- 2nd Test – Australia vs Pakistan – December 26-30: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
- 3rd Test – Australia vs Pakistan – January 3-7: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)