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Pakistan include 2 uncapped cricketers in 29-player squad for England tour

The selectors have also named four reserves- Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz- as a cover in case any of the players test COVID-19 positive prior to or during the course of the series.

SNS | New Delhi |

In a recent development, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced the 29-member squad for the forthcoming England tour in August-September. The management has decided to include two uncapped players into the squad and they are none other than Haider Ali and Kashif Bhatti. Ali has featured for the Pakistan Under-19 (U-19) team and had a brilliant 2019-20 season, after which he even earned himself a contract for the 2020-21 season.

Ali was Pakistan U-19’s second most successful batsman with 317 runs against South Africa U-19 in June. In the unfinished Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020, he also accumulated as many as 239 runs in nine matches at a  healthy strike rate of over 158 for Peshawar Zalmi.

Meanwhile, Kashif Bhatti who was in the Test squad against Australia and Sri Lanka but did not get to play a Test match, has also been included in the squad.

“An extended squad, including white-ball specialists, is being sent to England as the players, in accordance with series SOPs in the wake of Covid-19, will remain in England from start to finish,” PCB said in a release.

Sohail Khan has also found a spot in the Test squad. He last played for the Pakistan team in the Boxing day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). In the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he picked up 22 wickets in nine matches while he managed to scalped seven wickets in eight PSL 2020 matches for Quetta Gladiators.

The selectors have also named four reserves- Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz- as a cover in case any of the players test COVID-19 positive prior to or during the course of the series.

Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Haris Sohail were not available for selection. While Ali is suffering from a back injury, Amir has withdrawn his name from the squad to attend the birth of his second child in August while Sohail pulled out of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The selectors have picked a squad which gives us the best chance of success in England. It was a challenging process as the players have not played for an extended period of time, but nevertheless, with the month that we will have in England and the intense training we will undergo, we are confident we will get the players up to the mark to be ready for the three Tests,” head coach cum chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq stated.

“But the main focus of the selectors has been red-ball cricket, which we will play for nearly two months with the T20Is to be played at the backend of the ICC World Test Championship fixtures,” he added.