Saim Ayub, Khurram Shahzad earn maiden call-up to Pakistan Test squad for Australia tour
Lahore, Nov 20: Opener Saim Ayub and fast-bowler Khurram Shahzad have earned maiden call-ups to Pakistan's Test squad for their upcoming tour of Australia. Pakistan will be led by a new captain, Shan Masood and will play three Tests against Australia in Perth (December 14-18), Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (January 3-7, 2024).
Ayub, 22, has eight T20I appearances for Pakistan and scored 553 runs in four matches for Karachi Whites and had three centuries to his name, including a match-winning double-century against Faisalabad in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam tournament. He continued his form in the Pakistan Cup, where he was named the best batter of the tournament, ending as the competition’s highest run-getter.
Shahzad, 23, was the highest wicket-taker in the 2023-24 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 36 wickets in eight matches at an average of 20.31. He also picked up 13 wickets at an average of 16.62 in the recently concluded Pakistan Cup. Pace bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, who last appeared in Tests for Pakistan during a series against England last year, returns to the squad.
Left-arm fast-bowler Mir Hamza, who registered 32 wickets at 20.88 in 2023-24Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, and right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim Jnr are making a return to the squad as well. The two fast bowlers were part of Pakistan’s squad during New Zealand’s tour to the country that took place from December 2022 to January 2023.
“The squad has been assembled keeping in mind the challenging Australian conditions. 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.”
“Saim Ayub has been added to the squad after the extraordinary domestic season he has had this year. He has impressed with the bat during the Quaid-e-Azam trophy and Pakistan Cup, pushing the case for his selection. His inclusion will strengthen our solid batting line-up.”
“Pakistan has started the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 really well, after their success in Sri Lanka earlier this year. We hope that the team can carry this momentum ahead in Australia as well. We have tried to ensure that the team has all relevant resources to find success in Australia,” said chief selector Wahab Riaz.
Pakistan’s Test squad will assemble in Rawalpindi on November 22 for a training camp ahead of the tour. The camp is scheduled to run from November 23 to 28 at Pindi Cricket Stadium. The team will fly out from Lahore on November 30.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) added that some additional players – Arshad Iqbal, Kashif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usama Mir and Usman Qadir - have also been invited to feature in the training camp.
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 Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi