Yasir Shah is fit and available for Test cricket again. The 36-year-old legspinner, who has been on the sidelines owing to a thumb injury he picked up in the National T20 Cup last year, has been named in Pakistan’s 18-player squad for the upcoming two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in July.
There have also been call-ups for spin all-rounders Mohammad Nawaz, who was withdrawn from the squad against Australia due to injury, and the uncapped Salman Ali Agha.
Pakistan squad:Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah
Yasir, who last played a Test match in August 2021, was instrumental in Pakistan’s series win in Sri Lanka back in 2015, picking 24 wickets at an average of 19.33. He comes into the squad at the cost of Sajid Khan.
“We have selected this squad considering the conditions in Sri Lanka and have equipped the team with the best possible resources,” said chief selector Muhammad Wasim. “Our spin department is boosted with the return of Yasir Shah, who proved himself as a match-winner in Sri Lanka on our last tour and Sajid Khan has made the way for him. The spin department also includes two spin all-rounders in Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha and left-arm orthodox Nauman Ali.
“Salman Ali Agha has shown consistent performances with the bat in the past three seasons and he is a handy off-spin option.
“Our team has recently put strong performances in Bangladesh and although results against Australia were not ideal we displayed solid cricket and for that reason we have retained the core to instill consistency and continuity and have trimmed the squad size following the relaxation in Covid-19-induced travel restrictions.
“These two matches are extremely crucial for our side as we have World Test Championship points at stake. I wish our boys all the best and I am sure they will make us proud.”
Pakistan will assemble in Islamabad on June 25 and undergo a seven-day preparation camp at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. They will depart for Sri Lanka on July 6; the first Test is scheduled from July 16 in Galle.