Veteran pacer Mohammad Abbas was the notable absentee and Abdullah Shafique the surprise inclusion as Pakistan named their 12-man squad for the opening Test against Bangladesh, which starts from Friday.
The match, which will be played at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, will begin at 10am local time.
Pakistan’s 12-player squad as confirmed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is:
- Babar Azam (captain)
- Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain and wicketkeeper)
- Abdullah Shafique
- Abid Ali
- Azhar Ali
- Faheem Ashraf
- Fawad Alam
- Hassan Ali
- Nauman Ali
- Sajid Khan
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
The match will see the two sides face off in the apex form of the game on Bangladeshi soil for the first time since May 2015, when Pakistan won a two-match series by completing a victory in the final Test by a mammoth 328 runs.
Pakistan will start as overwhelming favourites after completing a clean sweep 3-0 in the preceding Twenty20 series. The Green Shirts have an impressive record against Bangladesh, having won nine out of 10 Tests played so far.
Bangladesh’s only draw came in 2015 when Tamim Iqbal scored a maiden Test double hundred in a record 312-run opening stand with Imrul Kayes in the second innings in Khulna.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh team is struggling with battling injuries and enters the series without two of their star players — Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal.
All-rounder Shakib suffered a hamstring injury against the West Indies in Sharjah last month that ended his T20 World Cup, but he had been included in the Test squad in the hope that he would regain his fitness.
But Bangladesh’s chief selector Minhajul Abedin said on Tuesday: “Shakib hasn’t recovered from his injury yet. He needs further rehabilitation. Our physiotherapist is constantly taking care of him.”
The men’s cricket team is in Bangladesh after a gap of five years. It has played three T20Is and will play a second Test match that will start from December 24.