Pakistani selectors on Wednesday named young leg-spinner Shadab Khan in a 16-man squad for their three-match Test series in the West Indies, rewarding him for his strong Twenty20 performance.
Shadab, 18, who rose to fame in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in February-March, took 10 wickets in Pakistan’s 3-1 T20 series victory against the West Indies last week. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Shadab’s inclusion highlights the policy of introducing fresh blood.
“The Test team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions in the West Indies and the recent performances of players during the domestic and international season,” Haq told AFP.
Misbah-ul-Haq will lead Pakistan in the Tests, which follow the three-match one-day series starting in Guyana on Friday. Haq said Shadab had performed better than predicted.
“Everyone felt that Shadab has performed beyond expectations so we thought he should also be used for the five-day format,” he said.
Uncapped medium paceman Mohammad Abbas, 27, won selection thanks to his performance in domestic matches, having taken 61 and 71 wickets in the last two home seasons respectively. Middle-order batsman Usman Salahuddin, 26, was selected for the first time in a Test team after failing in the two one-day internationals on the tour of West Indies in 2011.
But wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, who scored 1,035 in the country’s premier first-class tournament and Asif Zakir—853 runs in the same tournament—were overlooked.
Haq defended Kamran’s exclusion. “We gave Kamran chances in the recent Twenty20 [in West Indies] and he is in the one-day squad but in the presence of the main wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed it was tough to get him in the Test side,” he said.
Openers Ahmed Shehzad and Shan Masood staged comebacks in the Test side but there was no place for Mohammad Hafeez, who was also overlooked for Pakistan’s last two Test series in New Zealand and Australia.
The first Test starts in Jamaica on April 21, the second in Barbados on April 30 and the third in Dominica on May 10.
Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asghar, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.