KARACHI: Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha and Abdullah Shafiq, the trio of rookie batsmen, were left out as the national selectors kept six other uncapped players while announcing a 17-man squad here at the National Stadium on Sunday for Pakistan’s first test against South Africa.
Kamran, however, Salman and Abdullah will stay with the Pakistan squad this season’s record-breaking run-getter with 1,249 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, but will not be considered for selection, at least for the opening test of the two-match series after new chief selector Mohammad Wasim had included them in the preliminary squad of 20 that was declared on Jan 15.
Batsmen Imran Butt, who is like opening with fellow right-hander Abid Ali, and the left-handed Saud Shakeel along with pace duo Haris Rauf and Tabish Khan and the spin pair of slow-left-armer Nauman Ali and off-spinner Sajid Khan, who during the recent first-class season was the top wicket-taker, are the ‘lucky’ six to hold their positions in the final team.
Star batsman Babar Azam, who was sidelined from all international fixtures during the New Zealand series early on the tour with a thumb injury, is primed to lead Pakistan in Test cricket for the first time when he heads out on Tuesday morning to toss with his South African counterpart Quinton de Kock.
The selectors axed out-of-form trio Shan Masood, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Abbas after the 2-0 defeat to New Zealand while keeping just seven players, vice-captain Mohammad Rizwan, Abid, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Yasir Shah, who played against the side of Kane Williamson.
From Feb 4, the second test will be played in Rawalpindi.
Squad: Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan (Vice-Captain),