Pakistan on Monday announced their 15-man squad for the two-match T20I series against Scotland beginning on June 12.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed will continue to lead the side with teenage pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi retained after his promising debut against the West Indies in April.
Pacers Rahat Ali and Usman Shinwari also return to the side with spearhead Mohammad Amir included in the squad too despite his knee troubles. Babar Azam, who suffered an elbow injury in the first Test between England and Pakistan, has been replaced by Haris Sohail in the squad.
Also included are the Islamabad United duo of Asif Ali and Hussain Talat, who were given their Pakistan debuts in the three-match series against West Indies.
📰 The National Selection Committee headed by Inzamam ul Haq after consultation with Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Head Coach Mickey Arthur has announced the 15-member T20I squad for the two-match series against Scotland. https://t.co/2eCdArq1IF— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) June 4, 2018
Pakistan’s engagements in England came to an end on Sunday with an innings defeat against the hosts in the second Test at Headingley which saw the two-match series finish all square at 1-1.
The T20I squad will now depart for Edinburgh where the two T20Is against Scotland will be held. Both matches will be played at the Grange Cricket Club on June 12 and 13 respectively.
PAKISTAN 15-MAN SQUAD
Sarfraz Ahmed (wk, c), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammed Amir, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Pakistan were on cloud nine after a nine-wicket win over England in the Lord’s Test. After all, not many gave them a chance to defeat England in their own backyard and that too with a squad that had more limited-overs players than Test specialists.
After Sarfraz Ahmed’s boys huffed and puffed their way to a five-wicket win in Ireland’s inaugural Test, it seemed England needed to simply turn up to the ground to register victory. However, Pakistan surprised even their most ardent supporters by dominating England in all departments to script a famous win.
However, the second Test in Headingley saw the roles being reversed with England giving Pakistan no breathing space as the hosts completed an innings victory inside three days.
Understandably, the Pakistan management will examine the reasons behind the steep fall. Here, we look at three areas where Pakistan need to change their strategy in Tests.
PICK TEST PLAYERS FOR TEST MATCHES
Things looks good for Fawad Alam after Leeds Test.— Abdul Ghaffar (@GhaffarDawnNews) June 3, 2018
Before the series started, many questioned the wisdom of selecting limited-overs specialists for a Test series. Pakistan’s management wanted those players who are likely to be a part of the 2019 World Cup to get acclimatised to UK conditions. But that should never have happened at the expense of an out-and-out Test player.
How domestic heavyweight Fawad Alam remains out of the Pakistan squad, let alone playing XI, is beyond comprehension. If a batsman has scored 10,000 runs and been by far the most consistent performer in first-class cricket in the last 10 years, he has to be a part of your Test team. That is the case especially if you have lost the services of icons like Misbah-ul Haq and Younis Khan.
REDUCE AMIR’S WORKLOAD
Mohammad Amir appears to be struggling with an injury to his left shoulder. It's reflected in his pace, which is 6kph slower than it was at Leeds. #ENGvPAK— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) June 3, 2018
Pakistan pace ace Mohammad Amir is clearly carrying at least one injury. He banged his knee in the Ireland Test and was seen clutching his shoulder on numerous occasions and grimacing in pain during the second Test at Leeds.
Amir is still effective enough to pick up wickets but Pakistan are bowling him to the ground. If he continues to bowl a major share of the overs in Tests, he will break down. And Pakistan can’t afford that as they will need him to be in peak condition for the World Cup in England next year.
TAKE A CALL ON SHADAB’S ROLE
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan’s batting has been a revelation. He has scored fifties in his last three Tests and all have come at crucial moments for the team.
While that is great to watch, it has taken the focus away from his bowling which is why he was selected in the first place. Shadab looked flat during England’s first innings in the second Test when he should have raised his game with the series on the line.
England’s batsmen comfortably played him off the back foot and for wrist spinners that’s a danger sign. It’s all well and good to contribute with the bat but Pakistan would rather have Shadab picking wickets or at least challenging batsmen enough for bowlers to dismiss batsmen at the other end.
Sarfraz and the management would do well to ask Shadab to refocus on his main job – that of an attacking, wicket-taking leg spinner.
Arguably Pakistan‘s greatest-ever cricketer, Wasim Akram, is celebrating his 52nd birthday.
The Sultan of Swing, Akram claimed 916 wickets during a 19-year international career.
Akram is currently in England as part of the Sky Sports broadcasting team and commentating on the second and final Test between England and Pakistan at Headingley.
Here, we look at some of the happy birthday messages that have come in for the 1992 World Cup-winning hero.
33 off 18 with the bat ✅
3/49 with the ball ✅
Player of the Match ✅
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 3, 2018
414 Test wickets
502 ODI wickets
— ICC (@ICC) June 3, 2018
🎂 Happy Birthday to one of the finest bowlers to have ever graced the game.
— Lord’s Cricket Ground (@HomeOfCricket) June 3, 2018
One of the greatest left-arm fast bowlers in history
A record 916 international wickets for Pakistan
6,615 runs in international cricket
A world cup winner
One of the most successful captains of Pakistan
Happy Birthday @wasimakramlive pic.twitter.com/DetaqV1bNg
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) June 3, 2018
— Rumman Raees (@rummanraees15) June 3, 2018
Happy birthday @wasimakramlive bhai. You’ve been a role model & an inspiration for our generation of fast bowlers. Seeing u run in & bowling with whippy quick action still gives me goosebumps even if it’s highlights on YouTube. Not to forget, u r an institute of fast bowling. pic.twitter.com/JGJJKOVJl7
— Imran Khan (@ImeeK218) June 3, 2018
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) June 3, 2018
To me he is THE GREATEST bowler ever. Happy birthday to @wasimakramlive one of the legends of Pakistan cricket & the man who gave us so many memorable moments growing up. May you continue to be successful. #HBDWasimAkram #cricket
— Usama Mir (@iamusamamir) June 3, 2018
Mohammad Amir will be aiming to polish off England’s innings quickly on day three. The Pakistan seamer chats to birthday boy @wasimakramlive and @WardyShorts in our #ENGvPAK build-up from 10am on Sky Sports Cricket. pic.twitter.com/oM4TBqNVxt
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 3, 2018