Pakistan recall Faheem Ashraf, Bilal Asif for the Rawalpindi Test against Bangladesh

Pakistan recall Faheem Ashraf, Bilal Asif for the Rawalpindi Test against Bangladesh

Usman Shinwari and Kashif Bhatti have been left out from the squad

Bilal Asif
Bilal Asif. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Pakistan have called back all-rounders Faheem Ashraf and Bilal Asif for the first Test against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi. Asif made his debut against Australia in 2018 and has played all his five matches in the format in the UAE itself in the same year. Faheem, on the other hand, have played four Tests, the last of which came versus South Africa at the Wanderers in January 2019.

Both were in decent form in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Even as Asif picked up 43 wickets, Ashraf churned out 118 runs in three matches in addition to picking up eight wickets. The first Test gets underway on Friday, February 7 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. It’s also a part of the ICC World Test Championship where Pakistan are placed fourth with 80 points from four matches.

“We have followed the horses for courses policy for the Test against Bangladesh,” head coach Misbah-ul-Haq was quoted as saying in Cricbuzz.

Meanwhile, Pakistan have left out left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari and Kashif Bhatti from the squad. However, Misbah stated that the duo hasn’t gone out of radar for red-ball selections in the national squad.

Faheem makes way for all-round abilities

“I know the two players who have been left out will be disappointed, but they remain firmly within our plans for the red-ball cricket we are scheduled to play later this year,” Misbah, who has 5222 runs from 75 Tests in a 16-year career, added.

Throwing light on the team changes, Misbah said: “Bhatti has paved the way for Bilal Asif considering there are left-handed batters in the Bangladesh top and middle-order, while Faheem Ashraf has been preferred over Usman Shinwari due to his all-round abilities.”

“Following our convincing victory in Karachi, I don’t envisage any major changes in the playing line-up but we have tried to cover all our bases just in case the wicket has any surprises for us.”

Pakistan are scheduled to play another Test against Bangladesh, starting April 3 at the National Stadium in Karachi. It will be followed by a one-off ODI at the same venue. Bangladesh are yet to open their account in the Test Championship, having lost matches at the hands of India.

Here is Pakistan’s squad

Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shaan Masood, Yasir Shah