Misbah-ul-Haq has rung in the changes for Pakistan’s upcoming tour of Australia with several new faces being named in both the Test and T20I outfits led by Azhar Ali and Babar Azam respectively.
As expected, there was no place for recently deposed skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in either of the squads with the wicketkeeper batsman’s poor form in recent months costing him dearly.
But while Sarfraz has been shown the door, there are plenty of exciting changes for Pakistan fans to look forward to Down Under.
Here, we give you the lowdown on the rookies named in the touring party.
Muhammad Musa Khan
The 19-year-old is one of three teenagers named in the touring squad by Misbah with the young pacer finding a place in both the Test and T20I outfits.
With his pace reaching the high 140s, Musa impressed in brief patches in the 2019 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The Islamabad United youngster has only recently made the jump to senior first-class cricket with seven appearances for the now defunct Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited.
His economy-rate in his maiden PSL campaign was on the high side at over 10 per cent over but he remains an exciting talent nevertheless with his tall frame and steep bounce.
The 24-year-old middle-order batsman has found a place in the T20I squad for the tour with Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad being shown the door after just one series.
The left-hander was the leading run-scorer for Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the 2018-19 Quaid-e-Azam One-Day Cup and registered a sparkling half-century for Khyber Pakhtunwala in the ongoing National T20 Cup.
That most recent display came at just the right time for Shah with his fifty catching the eye of Misbah. Pakistan have struggled to find a consistent performer down the order and the rookie has the chance to impress in Australia.
Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed are the two batsmen who could solve Pakistan's power hitting issues in the near future. Khushdil has hit 79 sixes in 50 overs cricket, most by any batsman in Pakistan since 2016. #PakistanCup— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) April 8, 2019
It has taken the most unusual of routes for Usman Qadir to earn his maiden senior Pakistan call-up with the leg-spinner impressing in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Perth Scorchers to propel himself back into the limelight.
Son of legendary Pakistan spinner Abdul Qadir, Usman was once a promising junior Pakistan cricketer before losing his way. The 26-year-old had even stated his desire to take up Australian citizenship after moving base last year but that won’t be necessary any more with this latest career development.
His action is much a carbon copy of his legendary father and Pakistan will have a gem on their hands if he can replicate even a small percentage of his Abdul’s success.
While there have been plenty of youngsters brought into the Pakistan squad, Kashif Bhatti is one of the exceptions. The veteran left-armed spinner has been rewarded for his years in the domestic circuit with a maiden Test call up.
The 33-year-old has 83 first-class and 95 List A appearances under his belt where he has managed to claim 327 and 146 wickets respectively.
His shock call up is reminiscent of Bilal Asif’s Test debut against Australia last year but Bhatti will hope to have a much longer international career than the now discarded off-spinner. He is the only spinner in the Test squad apart from stalwart Yasir Shah and should get a chance to make his mark.
327 wickets in 83 matches.Bowling Average 22.8.— محمد صائم علی🇵🇰 (@saimali_2001) October 21, 2019
Can bat too.Avg 24.
Very Happy at his selection. pic.twitter.com/GaN7hjesor
The name that has turned most heads out of all the rookies is 16-year-old Naseem Shah who has been named in the Test squad.
Mohammad Amir’s Test retirement and Hassan Ali’s untimely injury have come as a boon for the teen pace sensation who has made only five first-class appearances so far.
Playing at first-class level at his age is an impressive feat but young Nasim has shown he very much belongs at that level with 17 wickets at an average of less than 19.
A Test debut in Australia might be a step too far for the teenager at the moment but he is definitely one for the future.
Seen by many as a future star of Pakistani pace bowling - 17 year old Naseem Shah with match figures of 5/92 in the recent QeA Trophy match for Central Punjab versus Balochistan #Cricket #QEA19 pic.twitter.com/PxjHNTpqtT— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) October 3, 2019
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