The Pakistan Cricket Board has just announced a 14 member squad to face Australia in a 4-day First Class match, September 29- October 2nd, at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
The match comes as preparation for a new-look Australia side that saw them whitewashed 3-0 last time they toured the UAE.
1. Sami Aslam
2. Abid Ali
3. Iftikhar Ahmed
4. Asad Shafiq (C)
5. Usman Salahuddin
6. Saad Ali
7. Agha Salman
8. Muhammad Rizwan (WK)
9. Waqas Maqsood
10. Wahab Riaz
11. Rahat Ali
12. Aamer Yamin
13. Umaid Asif
14. Saud Shakeel
The squad features many young players who have impressed in recent domestic seasons, as well as players who have had a brief glimpse of International Cricket.
Usman Salahuddin made his Test Debut vs. England this year at Leeds, and although his performance (4 and 33) didn't inspire confidence, Salahuddin himself shows promise. His domestic numbers have consistently topped batting charts, leading to a 46.25 average with 21 centuries at the first class level. This tour match will be a good opportunity for him to firmly affix his name to the Test squad.
Another young batting prospect is 24 year old Saad Ali. A member of Pakistan’s U-19 team, Ali has shown potential at the domestic level, averaging nearly 46 in FC cricket.
Rahat Ali once again finds his way into a Pakistan squad. 21 Tests is a fair sample size, and Ali’s 58 wickets at an average of nearly 40 is far from ideal. In his last outing, the Ireland Test in May, Rahat Ali went wicketless in 30 overs. Pakistan needs to move on from him.
Umaid Asif is included in the squad as well. He made his mark in PS3, taking 13 wickets for Peshawar Zalmi. Although his first class numbers are notable (179 wickets @ 25.21), at 34 years old, Asif is on the wrong side of 30. There really is no use of having a player of his age in the Pakistan A squad, a team which is meant to provide young players the opportunity to face premier talent. Asif, unfortunately for him, is not in plans to play for Pakistan in the future.