Musa named in Pakistan squads for Australia tour, Irfan makes comeback to T20I side
Pakistan have opted to include teenage pace sensations Musa Khan and Naseem Shah in the Test squad while left-arm seamer Mohammad Irfan makes a comeback to the T20I lineup after playing his last international fixture three years ago.
The experienced duo of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez failed to find a spot in the T20I squad, with the selectors inducting reputed hard-hitting batsman Khushdil Shah into the national side.
Leg-spinner Usman Qadir, who once harboured ambitions of representing Australia, is part of the T20I squad as a 'backup' for the out-of-form Shadab Khan.
Pakistan have left out Usman Shinwari, Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Nawaz from the squad that was defeated 0-3 by Sri Lanka's depleted unit in Lahore.
Pakistan's Test squad, that last suffered a whitewash in South Africa, features a lot of fresh faces and players making their comebacks to the team.
Imran Khan Sr will be bolstering the pace bowling department having last appeared in a Test in 2017 while Iftikhar Ahmed, who played a solitary red-ball game in the 2016 tour to England, has been added as a middle-order batsman.
Domestic veteran Kashif Bhatti has earned a maiden call-up as the second specialist spin option in the Test side besides leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
Bhatti was the second-leading wicket-taker in the previous Quaid-e-Azam Trophy season and boasts a career average of 22.82 in first-class cricket.
Uncapped opener Abid Ali inches closer to making a Test debut after having made an impact in ODI cricket with a century and one fifty in four games.
Hasan Ali misses out on the tour owing to his lingering back injury whereas Shaheen Afridi is not in the T20I squad as he is still undergoing recovery following a bout of dengue fever.
The first of the three T20Is will take place on November 3 with the first Test scheduled to commence on November 21.
'It is a brave and bold decision to select Musa and Naseem'
Pakistan chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq admitted it was a daring move to bank on young pace talent for the Australia Tests.
Pakistan's five fast bowlers have a cumulative experience of 26 Tests as senior paceman Mohammad Amir had announced his retirement from the longer version of the game earlier this summer.
Despite the novice nature of Pakistan's bowling barring Yasir, Misbah said the presence of rookie cricketers Musa and Naseem signalled an attacking mindset under the leadership of Azhar Ali.
“Yes it’s a brave and bold decision to select the likes of Musa and Naseem, but we know that their fresh and attacking approach will give us something different," Misbah said.
"The Australian wickets will give them the opportunity to express themselves, gain valuable experience and it will help us to take 20 wickets to win the Tests."
“We know that Australia will present different and exciting challenges for us. There is a need to play a different type of cricket, the balance of the squads is reflective of us having options to play aggressive, attacking cricket."
Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz
Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imran Khan Sr, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Yasir Shah