Pakistan have name off-spinner Bilal Asif and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf to their Test squad for the series against Bangladesh starting with the first Test at Rawalpindi. Asif’s recall likely comes on the back of Bangladesh having a long array of left-handed batsmen in the Test team.
Asif and Ashraf weren’t part of the Test team for the tour of Australia and replace Usman Khan Shinwari and Kashif Bhatti. The off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy this season, with 43 strikes in nine games.
Ashraf has been in good form with bat and ball but his selection is likely due to Pakistan wanting to keep him around the setup with an England tour coming up.
“The Test team is in good shape after winning the last Test against Sri Lanka,” coach and selector Misbah-ul-Haq said. “But now we have a different opponent, we haven’t made a lot of changes and have made only two changes. We went with four fast bowlers in the last Test in Pindi (Rawalpindi) and that’s why we have included an allrounder (Ashraf) if we get the same conditions.
“Bilal Asif has been brought in because of left-handers and it gives us a different option if we need it. In the last series against Sri Lanka, if we consider the wicketkeeper as a batsman, we needed a bowler at No. 7 who can bat. Faheem took five wickets in the final and gives you cushion to score runs too, but we consider him as a bowler. We will try to play with an experienced team in the Test matches; we have a settled batting line-up but have also have back-ups.”
Pakistan Test squad
Azhar Ali (capt), Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Bilal Asif, Naseem Shah, Faheem Ashraf