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T20/Test series against Australia, Misbah names young pace bowlers

On Monday, Misbah ul Haq, chief selector and head coach, revealed the 16-member squads at a press conference in Lahore for the upcoming Twenty20 and Test series against Australia.

Batsman Babar Azam will be captaining the T20 team, though Azhar Ali will be leading the test team. Speaking to reporters, Misbah said it was “playing rough cricket” and the board that was the only way to defeat Australia, while picking players for the squad kept that in mind.

He said there were some “young and exciting” players on the board in both the 20-over format and the Test series.

On October 26, the T20 squad will go to Sydney and play a warmup match ahead of the series on October 31.

After the fifth round of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy, which will be played from October 28-31, players in the Test squad will leave for Perth. Before the series starts, the test squad must play two warm-up games.

Pakistan will play three T20s against Australia, the first of which will be held on November 3 in Sydney. The second T20 will be played in Canberra on November 5, while the third in Perth on November 8.

The first Test will be played from November 21-25 in Brisbane, while the second will be held in Adelaide from November 29 till December 3.

As announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) earlier, Sarfaraz Ahmed was not included in either squad. Fast bowler Hasan Ali was also left out because he is under a rehab programme after his back injury. Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, who had been included in the T20 team for the series against Sri Lanka, have also been excluded. The chief selector also decided to keep Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik out of the squads.

The squad for the 20-overs format includes: Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imamul Haq, Shadab Khan, Moosa Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Khushdil Shah, and Usman Qadir.

The squad for the Test series includes: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imamul Haq, Imran Khan senior, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Moosa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah.

Sarfaraz removal due to poor form

Speaking about Ahmed’s removal, Misbah said that the sole reason for Ahmed’s removal from the T20 and Test squad was his poor form.

“Strange theories are propping up on the media [regarding Ahmed’s removal]. It is a simple thing.

“We have always backed Sarfaraz. He is a good enough player, he has done a lot for Pakistan […] But this decision [to remove him] was taken due to his form recently.”

Talking about Ahmed’s future, he said, “I think it is just the matter of regaining his form. As soon as his form is restored. I think the doors are open. There is no conspiracy or any such thing in the matter. It is a straight forward thing. I think it is a clear message for Sarfaraz and others as well.”

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