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Pakistan turn to youth in cricket squads


Pakistan turn to youth in cricket squads

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LAHORE – New Pakistan captain Azhar Ali will have an exciting pace attack at his disposal in the two-Test series in Australia after two of the quickest bowlers in the country were named in a 16-man squad on Monday.

Sixteen-year-old Naseem Shah and Musa Khan, 17, will join another teenager Shah Afridi in a potent pace attack which also includes Mohammad Abbas and Imran Khan.

Khan, 32, played the last of his nine Tests in 2017 against Australia.

“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,” head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said in a news release.

“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.

“I am pretty sure these two lads will surprise a lot of people with their pace, controlled swing and ability to bowl long spells at a consistent speed.”

Azhar was named Test captain this month in place of Sarfaraz Ahmed whose spot as wicketkeeper has been taken by Mohammad Rizwan.

Brisbane hosts the first Test from November 21 and the second game is a day-nighter at Adelaide from November 29.

Pakistan’s youth policy was also reflected in the omission of former captains Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez from the Twenty20 squad for the three-match series before the Tests.

The uncapped players in the Twenty20 squad include Usman Qadir, a leg-spinner like his father Abdul.

Test squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan(wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah

Twenty20 squad: Babar Azam (captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz. (Reuters)