- Aamer Jamal expects call in Test squad for Sri Lanka tour.
- Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Hassan Ali likely to lead pace attack.
- Wicketkeepers Sarfaraz, Rizwan to fight for place in playing XI.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Selector Haroon Rashid is all set to announce the team for the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka today, which will be played next month, The News reported.
All-rounder Aamer Jamal is expecting to be called in to join the national squad for the away series, and chances are there that the white-ball specialist will earn a place in the team as a backup seamer.
Though Aamer has played T20 cricket for the country but has never been considered for the selection in the longer format in the recent past.
However, considering the weather and tough playing conditions in Sri Lanka, he may be required to bowl long spells. Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Hassan Ali are expected to lead Pakistan’s pace attack for the two-Test series starting in the third week of July.
When asked why the team was being announced at such an early stage, an official of the PCB said that the board wanted to keep the selected players updated well in time.
The general impression, however, is that such an early announcement may have to do something with the proposed changes in the PCB.
“Chances are there that we may have to see changes at the helm of affairs in the board. These hasty decisions may have to do something with these expected changes,” an inside source said.
When asked whether any change in the team’s management is expected to be made if at all change of guards is confirmed in PCB: “You cannot rule it out. Chances of change always remain within the team and even the management.”
Tayyab Tahir and Haris Sohail are likely to miss the cut in a team that looks balanced otherwise. Meanwhile, both wicketkeepers Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan are expected to fight for a place in the playing XI during the series.
It will be too early to suggest who will be preferred, although captain Babar would definitely prefer Rizwan.
The Sri Lankan Board has yet to confirm the dates of the two Tests. According to the tentative schedule, following the three-day practice match, the first Test would start on July 16, with the second starting on July 25. Both the Tests are expected to be played at Galle.
The national cricket camp will start on July 3 in Karachi, from where the team will depart on July 9.
Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood, Imamul Haq, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Abrar Ahmed, Muhammad Huraira, Aamer Jamal, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Hassan Ali.