Pakistan Cricket's new chief selector and former pacer Wahab Riaz announced the squad for three test match series in Australia starting from December 14, 2023. Three uncapped players namely Saim Ayub, Aamir Jamal and Khurrum Shahzad have been included in the 18-member squad with Shan Masood leading the national side for the first time. (World Cup 2023 | Cricket News)
Fast bowler Naseem Shah's unavailability due to shoulder injury allowed left arm pacer Mir Hamza's call-up into the test team. Nine players from the World Cup squad have also been retained. Pakistan will continue their tour Down Under with a stop in New Zealand to play five T20 internationals. But Wahab Riaz only announced the squad for the three test matches in Australia.
Flamboyant and daring opener Saim Ayub has impressed the selectors with his performance in domestic cricket. He has already made his debut in T20Is and has played 8 T20 internationals so far. Left-arm fast bowler Aamir Jamal has the experience of 4 T20Is. Right-arm medium pacer Khurram Shahzad will make his debut in international cricket if he gets picked in the playing XI. Both pacers have impressed with their line, length and pace in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy and Pakistan Cup.
Wahab stated that Naseem, who was injured during the Asia Cup and then underwent shoulder surgery in the UK, would be able to bowl at 50-60 percent capability in three weeks. That's why his inclusion was not considered. However, about pacer Haris Rauf's unavailability, he said that Rauf has some concerns about workload and fitness. Hence, he made himself unavailable for the tour.
Mir Hamza last played a Test against New Zealand in Karachi in January of this year, but he was then omitted for the Sri Lankan tour. He has also been called up into the team. Former captain Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, and Mohammad Wasim Junior were all included in the World Cup team and have been selected for the test series in Australia as well.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, the former captain and keeper, spinners Abrar Ahmed and Noman Ali, and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf have all been named to the team. Selectors have passed over opener Fakhar Zaman, leg spinner Usama Mir, and allrounders Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed for the test tour.
Wahab stated that the squad was chosen keeping the difficult Australian conditions in mind.
"We have kept the pitches in mind and added more pace bowling resources to the team to ensure that the management can be flexible with the team combinations in all three Test matches," he said.
The squad will have a training camp in Rawalpindi from November 23 to 28 before they fly out on November 30 from Lahore.
1st Test – Perth, 14-18 December 2023
2nd Test – Melbourne, 26-30 December 2023
3rd Test – Sydney, 3-7 January 2024.
Pakistan squad for Australia Tests: 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 Junior, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi