Spinner Bilal Asif and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf have been named in Pakistan's squad for the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh.
Asif played the last of five Tests in December 2018. Ashraf was last selected for the longest format in January 2019. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, meanwhile, has been retained.
Pakistan and Bangladesh will contest two Tests. Unibet have Pakistan and Bangladesh offered at 1.45 and 5.50, respectively, to win the series opener.
“The Test team is in good shape after winning the last Test against Sri Lanka,” said former captain and coach-cum-selector Misbah-ul-Haq.
“But now we have a different opponent, we haven't made a lot of changes and have made only two changes. We went with four fast bowlers in the last Test in Rawalpindi) and that's why we have included all-rounder Ashraf if we get the same conditions.
“Bilal has been brought in because of left-handers and it gives us a different option if we need it. In the last series against Sri Lanka, if we consider the wicketkeeper as a batsman, we needed a bowler at number seven who can bat. Faheem took five wickets in the final and gives you cushion to score runs too, but we consider him as a bowler. We will try to play with an experienced team in the Test matches; we have a settled batting line-up but have also have back-ups.”
The first will be played in early February in Rawalpindi. Karachi will host the second almost two months later in early April. The Tests will flank one ODIs and the Pakistan Super League.
“It's very difficult not only for me but for the players too,” added Misbah. “If the player has scored a century in his last Test and then plays after a gap, it's too difficult. When you play back-to-back Test series it gives you rhythm. It's a very tricky situation for the team when you play with a gap of two-three months.”
Pakistan Test squad
Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Harris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Yasir Shah, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Bilal Asif, Naseem Shah, Faheem Ashraf.