Pakistan have included 19-year-old batting sensation Haider Ali in their 29-man squad to travel to England next month for three Test matches and three T20Is.
The Pakistan Cricket Board was forced to select a combined squad for the two formats due to current Covid-19 regulations with the first Test set to get under way in August.
Ali starred for Pakistan at the U19 World Cup in South Africa earlier this year, where he was the leading scorer in the team with 317 and has been named alongside 33-year-old Kashif Bhatti as the two uncapped players in the squad.
Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq is confident that his players can front up to the challenge that England will pose, despite Mohammed Amir and Haris Sohail declaring themselves unavailable for the tour due to personal reasons.
‘It was a challenging process as the players have not played for an extended period of time, but nevertheless, with the month that we will have in England and the intense training we will undergo, we are confident we will get the players up to the mark to be ready for the three Tests.
‘But the main focus of the selectors has been red-ball cricket, which we will play for nearly two months with the T20Is to be played at the backend of the ICC World Test Championship fixtures,’ said the former Pakistan captain.
Pakistan will be the second country to travel to England under strict bio-secure conditions after the West Indies arrived in the UK earlier this week for their upcoming Test series against Joe Root’s men.
The ECB has been forced to make a lot of adjustments to their summer schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic with all matches to be staged outside of London and behind closed doors.
‘The series against England will be challenging as our players have not played any competitive cricket since March, while the home team will come following a series against the West Indies. This means we will have to hit the ground running as soon as we land in England and make the best use of the training sessions and match practice before we enter the first Test,’ added Misbah.
Pakistan Squad: Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (Test captain), Babar Azam (Test vice-captain and T20I captain), Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Kashif Bhatti, Shadab Khan Yasir Shah.