Tour of South Africa: Jamshed, Irfan drafted into Test squad

Published: January 12, 2013

Sarfraz Ahmed’s inclusion, despite his good performance in domestic cricket, has come as a surprise given that Adnan Akmal did not do much wrong behind the stumps. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: 

Flamboyant opener Nasir Jamshed and tall fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan were rewarded for their impressive show on the short India tour after being included in the Test squad for the tour of South Africa.

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) selection committee, headed by Iqbal Qasim, announced the 16-man squad for the three-match series starting early next month. The first Test will start in Johannesburg from February 1 followed by matches in Cape Town and Centurion until February 26.

According to a PCB official, the selectors underwent thorough discussion in the last couple of days with head coach Dav Whatmore and captain Misbahul Haq at the board’s headquarters in Lahore before naming the squad.

Selectors see Test future in Jamshed    

Jamshed, who has played 22 ODIs and 11 Twenty20s, got the Test nod on the basis of his back-to-back centuries in the ODI series against India.

Haris Sohail also got a Test call-up on basis of his domestic show.

“Jamshed proved he has the temperament for Tests,” an official, who was a part of selection process, told The Express Tribune. “We’ll need in-form batsmen in South Africa as it’s not going to be an easy task for Pakistan batting.”

Irfan’s selection was surprising given doubts around his fitness. But the official said, “the tracks will favour the tall pacer which may help the team significantly.”

Apart from Irfan, the selectors also showed faith in 19-year old fast bowler Ehsan Adil after a consistent performance in domestic season, grabbing over 50 wickets. The Pakistan pace attack will be spearheaded by Umar Gul and Junaid Khan as Mohammad Sami and Aizaz Cheema, who were part of Sri Lanka Test series, have been axed.

“We are banking a lot on the pacers,” said the official before hoping for a good show from spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman who returned to Test squad after serving doping ban.

Meanwhile, Asad Shafiq, who missed the India series due to an injury, returned with Younus Khan and Faisal Iqbal being retained.

Sarfraz makes Test comeback 

Meanwhile, wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who played his only Test in 2010 in Australia, returned to the longer version after being preferred over Adnan Akmal.

Sarfraz finished the President’s Trophy with 40 dismissals and averaged over 40 with the bat and was preferred over Adnan..

Pakistan’s Test squad

Misbahul Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Younus Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Harris Sohail, Faisal Iqbal, Taufeeq Umar.

Those who missed out…

Umar Amin, the top scorer in President’s Trophy with 967 runs, was overlooked for series. Adnan Akmal, who became the regular Test wicket-keeper for Pakistan, was dropped despite being consistent behind the wickets as well as with the bat. Ayub Dogar and Afaq Rahim dropped without getting much chance on the tour of Sri Lanka. Aizaz Cheema dropped with ‘injury prone’ Mohammad Irfan preferred. Tanvir Ahmed also ignored despite consistent domestic show and was kept as reserved player.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.

Reader Comments (5)

  • SK5
    Jan 12, 2013 - 7:54AM

    Good team selection, very excited about the series vs the saffas. Pakistan can’t relax now after conquering India, South Africa is 20 times better then them and remember winning their is the pinnacle of cricket supremacy.

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  • Jan 12, 2013 - 11:47AM

    I think Hammad Azam should have been a better choice in place of Faisal Iqbal (a nephew of DG PCB Javaid Maindad) who has been given scores of chances without any result. Moreover, mark my words, Faisal Iqbal is particularly, repeat particularly going to be the biggest failure, on the South African Soil.
    However, if at all Hammad Azam doesn’t succeed in this tour, still it will be a good investment in future. Moreover, this young bloke must not be labelled ONLY as an ODI or T20 player. This is an absolutely wrong perception about Hammad Azam.

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  • Murad Khan
    Jan 12, 2013 - 2:10PM

    Faisal Iqbal has been given chances on and off and he has not be able to raise the level of his game. It is sheer waste to give him another chance the outcome of which is already known.

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  • Asim Zeb
    Jan 12, 2013 - 2:18PM

    Classic problem with the Pakistani Selection Panel. Jamshed is a 20/20 and a one day player. Playing him in tests would ruin his style, mentality and would suffer in one form of te game or the other. Maybe at 30 he can could e drafted in but this time is for him to make a place in one form of the game. As if we don’t have anyone else?

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  • Amir K
    Jan 13, 2013 - 12:35AM

    faisal iqbal is tried sevaral times and yet this player make excuses for not given enough chances, a player who has played more than 25 test matches (that too just because of influence of uncle) with the average of 25 cannot justifiy his selection at all.

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