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Shaheen makes Test return after a year as Pakistan name squad for Sri Lanka tour

Uncapped Huraira included in the side as well
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Pacer Shaheen Afridi returns to Pakistan’s Test squad for the first time since suffering a knee injury last year as Pakistan name a 16-member squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.

Moreover, uncapped Mohammad Huraira was also named in the squad for the two-match series.

The men’s national selection committee has also included all-rounder Aamir Jamal in the squad for what will be Pakistan’s first assignment in the third cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (vc & wk), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Huraira, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Noman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, and Shan Masood.

The squad has been designed keeping in mind the conditions that the team will encounter in Sri Lanka. The team boasts four spinners, four fast bowlers, six specialist batters, and two keeper-batters.

Shaheen is one wicket away from reaching a century of Test wickets and no Pakistan bowler has picked up more wickets than him since the left-armer made his debut on 3 December 2018. Shaheen, 23, averages 24.86 and has an economy of 3.04.

“I am very excited to be returning to the Pakistan Test side after a year. I dearly missed Test cricket and it was tough for me to be away from this format,” he said.

“After missing our entire home season because of the injury I suffered in Sri Lanka, I am eager to make an impactful comeback in the same country and complete a century of wickets in Test cricket. I want to thank my fans who have provided me support in tough times and I am ready for the challenges ahead.”

Meanwhile, Huraira was the leading run-scorer in the last two iterations of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. In the 2022-23 edition, the 21-year-old, who hails from Sialkot, was the only batter to breach the 1000-run mark, playing an integral role in helping Northern to a maiden first-class title. In 11 matches, Huraira smashed four centuries and two half-centuries on his way to 1,024 runs at an average of 73.14.

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