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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Yasir Shah makes a return as Pakistan announce squad for Sri Lanka Tests

CricketYasir Shah makes a return as Pakistan announce squad for Sri Lanka Tests

Lahore: Pakistan are set to tour Sri Lanka in July for two Tests that will be part of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle, with the veteran Yasir Shah making his comeback.

Yasir, 36, was instrumental to Pakistan’s success in red-ball cricket over the last few years before injuries forced him on the sidelines. He last played a Test in August 2021.

However, he has now earned his place back in the side for the upcoming trip to Sri Lanka, where Pakistan will play two WTC23 Tests, starting on 16 July.

Yasir played a vital role the last time Pakistan toured Sri Lanka for a Test series. The visitors won the series 2-1, with the leggie finishing as the highest wicket-taker with 24 wickets in three matches at an average of 19.33.

Mohammad Nawaz too makes a return after missing the Test series at home against Australia.

Uncapped all-rounder Salman Ali Agha has received a maiden call-up to the Test squad. A right-arm batter and a right-arm off-spinner by trade, Salman has been rewarded for his consistent returns in first-class cricket where he aggregated 4224 runs and taken 88 wickets.

Babar Azam will lead the side in the two Tests that will have major implications on the World Test Championship standings. The two sides are nip and tuck in the table with Sri Lanka at fourth with a point percentage of 55.56 while Pakistan are a spot below with 52.38%.

Squad: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.

Speaking on the strong squad selected for the tour, Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said: “We have selected this squad considering the conditions in Sri Lanka and have equipped the team with the best possible resources.

“Our spin department is boosted with the return of Yasir Shah, who proved himself as a match-winner in Sri Lanka on our last tour and Sajid Khan has made the way for him. The spin department also includes two spin all-rounders in Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha and left-arm orthodox Nauman Ali.

“Salman Ali Agha has shown consistent performances with the bat in the past three seasons and he is a handy off-spin option.

“Our team has recently put strong performances in Bangladesh and although results against Australia were not ideal we displayed solid cricket and for that reason we have retained the core to instil consistency and continuity and have trimmed the squad size following the relaxation in Covid-19-induced travel restrictions.

“These two matches are extremely crucial for our side as we have World Test Championship points at stake. I wish our boys all the best and I am sure they will make us proud.”

Pakistan will arrive on 6 July for the series that will begin in Galle on 16 July before the action moves to Colombo for the second Test in Colombo. The visitors will also play a three-day warm-up game before the start of the series.

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