Pakistan on Thursday left out struggling pace spearhead Mohammad Amir from the 17-member squad for the two-match Test series against Australia starting in United Arab Emirates next month. The 26-year-old fast bowler, who returned from a five-year ban for match-fixing in January 2016, had a wicketless Asia Cup in which he was dropped for two matches. Pakistan crashed out of the Asia Cup after losing to Bangladesh, who meet India in the final in Dubai on Friday.
Pakistan will heavily rely on its ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah who played a key role in the 2-0 win over Australia in UAE in 2014, when he took 12 wickets.
Besides Yasir the squad has 19-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan and 33-year-old off-spinner Bilal Asif, who has yet to play a Test match but played three one-day internationals in 2015. Shadab has eight wickets in four Tests.
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Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the team was selected keeping in mind the conditions in the UAE, where Pakistan had been forced to play its home matches since 2009.
“The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions of the UAE. Amir has been dropped on lack of form and Wahab Riaz and Mir Hamza comes in the side.
“We have three spinners Yasir, Shadab and Asif who are in the squad keeping in view the UAE wickets,” said Inzamam.
The first Test starts in Dubai from October 7 while the second is in Abu Dhabi from October 16. Both teams will also play three Twenty20 internationals, the squads for which will be announced later.
Left-arm paceman Riaz returns to the squad after playing the last of his 26 Tests in October last year. The squad also has another fast-rising left-arm paceman Hamza who has yet to play for Pakistan. Sarfraz Ahmed will lead the side against Australia.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan.