Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez also left out of upcoming tournament
Pakistan dropped former skipper Sarfraz Ahmed from the country’s Twenty20 and Test squads for their upcoming Australian tour on Monday, while experienced players Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez were also given the axe in the shorter format.
Sarfraz, 32, was stripped last week of his Twenty20 international and Test captaincy, just days after Pakistan were routed 3-0 by Sri Lanka at home in the short format. His place in both squads was taken by 27-year-old Mohammad Rizwan, whose only Test was in New Zealand in 2016.
The exit from Twenty20 internationals means curtains for Malik who had already announced retirement from Tests and one-day internationals. Hafeez was part of Pakistan’s Twenty20 squad in South Africa earlier this year but was not played. At 39, he has little hope of competing in international cricket again.
Pakistan will play three Twenty20 internationals in Sydney (Nov. 3), Canberra (Nov. 5) and Perth (Nov. 8). The two Tests will be in Brisbane (Nov. 21-25) and Adelaide (Nov. 29-Dec. 3).
Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said Pakistan needed to do well in Australia following a disappointing summer. “We need to play aggressive cricket to achieve better results there,” said Misbah. “We have some exciting youngsters in the pace squad who could be surprise packages.”
The Test pace attack—hampered by the untimely retirement of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz earlier this year—includes 16-year-old Nasim Shah and 19-year-old Musa Khan who have played just five and seven first-class matches respectively.
Imran Khan senior, 32, returns to the Test squad after playing his last Test during the Australian tour in 2017. Prolific leg-spinner Yasir Shah will be assisted by 33-year-old left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti in Tests.
And leg-spinner Usman Qadir—son of the late legendary leggie Abdul Qadir—will be part of the Twenty20 squad, with Misbah citing his experience playing in Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 league earlier this year.
The lanky 37-year-old Mohammad Irfan, who played the last of his 20 Twenty20 internationals in the Twenty20 World Cup in India three years ago, is also part of the shorter format.
Twenty20: Babar Azam (captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khusdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir
Test: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan senior, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashid Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Nusa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah