Haris Rauf wins call-up, Babar Azam fit to take over captaincy
Shan Masood, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Abbas have all been dropped for Pakistan’s two-match Test series against South Africa in a dramatically overhauled squad. The home series, which kicks off in Karachi on January 26th, also sees several newcomers into the 20-man squad, with Haris Rauf, Imran Butt, Kamran Ghulam and Salman Ali Agha among a slew of players brought into the fold.
Babar Azam has recovered sufficiently to take over the Test captaincy from Mohammad Rizwan, who deputised for the batsman in New Zealand, where Pakistan lost both Test matches. He is set to take charge of the red-ball side for the first time, and has been handed a squad which could feature several first-timers, with new chief selector Mohammad Wasim ringing the changes in the first side he has been tasked with naming.
Pakistan Test squad to play South Africa:
Openers – Abid Ali (Central Punjab), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab) and Imran Butt (Balochistan)
Middle-order batsmen – Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Kamran Ghulam (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab) and Saud Shakeel (Sindh)
All-rounders – Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab) and Mohammad Nawaz (Northern)
Wicketkeepers – Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh)
Spinners – Nauman Ali (Northern), Sajid Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Yasir Shah (Balochistan)
Fast bowlers – Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Tabish Khan (Sindh)
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000