Pakistan have ignored experienced batsman Mohammad Hafeez for the Test series against the West Indies owing to poor form and included the uncapped Babar Azam and Muhammad Nawaz in the squad.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq told a news conference in Karachi that Hafeez had to still prove his fitness and form before he can be considered for selection. “It is an issue that he is not bowling but if he bats and gets runs we will consider him purely as a batsman but at the moment he is short of form,” Inzamam said.
Hafeez was dropped for the fourth Test against England because of poor form and returned home from England after playing the first ODI due to a fitness problem. The selectors gave him a chance to regain form in the three-day day and night tour match against the West Indies in Sharjah but he failed with the bat.
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Inzamam said that Babar Azam had been included because he had shown he was a quality player for a year now in ODIs against all opposition. “It is not a case that because he hit three hundreds against the West Indies we picked him. He is our future and we wanted to blood him. Also because Younis Khan is not available this gave us an opening to try him out.”
Inzamam said all-rounder Muhammad Nawaz had been included because Pakistan required a batting all-rounder at number six position.
Inzamam said a 14-member squad had been announced for the Test series but when Younis recovers he would be considered. “Younis is our best player and we want him back soon. Doctors have advised him 10 days rest but he will be back soon.”
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), Muhammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Muhammad Aamir, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan senior and Zulfiqar Babar.