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Pakistan’s New Test Chapter: Shan Masood Takes the Helm as Squad Revealed for Australia Series

Pakistan Cricket Board has officially announced its 18-member squad for the upcoming Test series against Australia, set to commence on December 14. The major highlight is Shan Masood leading the team for the first time, taking over the captaincy from Babar Azam.

Inclusions in the squad feature left-handed opening batsman Saim Ayub and right-arm fast bowler Khurram Shahzad, both earning maiden Test call-ups. Their selection is a result of outstanding performances in the domestic circuit, with Ayub amassing 553 runs, including three centuries, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2023-24. Shahzad emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 36 wickets in eight matches during the same tournament.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf returns to the Test squad after almost a year, last featuring for Pakistan in December 2022. Pacers Mir Hamza and Mohammad Wasim also mark their comebacks to the squad.

Complete Pakistan Squad:

  • 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
  • Shaheen Shah Afridi

Chief Selector Wahab Riaz, speaking on the squad announcement, emphasized the consideration of challenging Australian conditions. He highlighted the addition of more pace bowling resources for flexibility in team combinations across the three Test matches. The selection of Saim Ayub was praised for his exceptional domestic season, reinforcing the team’s batting lineup.

Riaz expressed hope that Pakistan’s success in the ICC World Test Championship would continue in Australia. Pakistan currently leads the championship table with 24 points (100% point percentage) after a 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka.

The away Test series signifies a new era in Pakistan cricket, featuring changes after the recent ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, including Babar Azam stepping away from captaincy. Under his leadership, Pakistan made a strong start in the World Test Championship, while Australia, the newly-crowned ODI World Cup Champions, are currently third in the standings with a 30% point percentage after the drawn Ashes series.

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