Mohammad Abbas was not considered for the last two Test series against South Africa and Zimbabwe, but made his way back into the side after his impressive performance in the English County Championship. File / Agence France-Presse
Pakistan recalled fast bowlers Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah on Friday for the two Test matches against the West Indies and named uncapped batsman Azam Khan for the Twenty20s.
Abbas was not considered for the last two Test series against South Africa and Zimbabwe, but made his way back into the side after his impressive performances in the English County Championship.
“Mohammad Abbas has regained his form, (while) Naseem Shah and Haris Sohail have reclaimed the required fitness standards,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said.
“This is an extremely important and critical tour for Pakistan as we will be playing the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs against England as well as the T20Is against England and the West Indies as part of our preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The Test matches in Jamaica will count towards the ICC world Test championship.”
Pakistan is scheduled to play three Twenty20s and as many ODIs against England next month before flying out to the Caribbean for five Twenty20s and two Test matches.
Azam Khan, the son of former Pakistan test captain Moin Khan, has impressed the selectors with his power-hitting in the Pakistan Super League and was included for the Twenty20s.
Sohail, a middle-order batsman, was recalled for the ODIs in England after missing the last limited-overs series in South Africa.
All-rounder Imad Wasim, who has been ignored for the last three Twenty20 series, returned to the side as Pakistan eyed the Twenty20 World Cup.
Experienced Test leg-spinner Yasir Shah was named in the squad, but his availability depends on his recovery from a knee injury which sidelined him for the two test matches in Zimbabwe.
The selectors have retained another leg-spinner, Zahid Mahmood, left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, and off-spinner Sajid Khan as part of their plans for the two Test matches in the West Indies.
Hard-hitting batsman Azam earned his maiden Pakistan call-up after shedding 30 kilos (66 pounds) to earn his place on the tours.
Azam, 22, has been on the radar of selectors for the last year, but was asked to trim his nearly 30-kilo weight before being considered.
Azam claims to have lost about 30 kilos in the past 12 months. He has a strike rate of 157 in 36 domestic Twenty20 matches, including the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
“We have... recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam for his domestic performance,” said chief selector Mohammad Wasim.
Babar Azam will captain all three squads on both tours.
Pakistan will fly from Abu Dhabi on June 25 and play the first of three one-day internationals in Cardiff on July 8, after their mandatory quarantine.
Currently most of the national team players are in UAE as the remaining Pakistan Super League matches scheduled to resume in Abu Dhabi from June 9 the Pakistan Cricket Board said on Thursday.
“We have continued to take decisive actions in the face of ongoing pressures and major challenges outside of our control over the last 10 days,” PCB chief executive Wasim said.
The strict quarantine rules in Abu Dhabi delayed the PSL’s resumption after the league was postponed in March when several players and support staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in a bio-secure bubble in Karachi.
The PSL was earlier scheduled to resume on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, but there were problems with obtaining visas for production crew members.
The PSL final is June 24 and the Pakistan national team is scheduled to fly to England the next day for the ODIs and Twenty20s.