ISLAMABAD, June 17 (AP): Shaheen Shah Afridi is set to return to test cricket after being included in Pakistan’s squad for next month’s two-test series against Sri Lanka.
The 23-year-old left-arm fast bowler sustained a knee injury during a test in Sri Lanka in July last year and has since missed home test series against England and New Zealand.
“I dearly missed test cricket and it was tough for me to be away from this format,” Afridi said Saturday. “After missing our entire home season because of the injury, I’m eager to make an impactful comeback in the same country and complete a century of wickets in test cricket.
“I want to thank my fans who have provided me support in tough times and I am ready for the challenges ahead.”
Afridi has 99 wickets in 25 test matches since making his test debut in 2018.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said the itinerary for the two test matches will be announced by Sri Lanka Cricket in due course, but a short camp will be organized at Karachi from July 3.
Pakistan’s 16-member squad includes uncapped 21-year-old batter Mohammad Huraira and allrounder Aamir Jamal. Selectors kept faith in former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed as the second wicketkeeper option.
Huraira has been Pakistan’s leading run-scorer over the last two seasons in domestic first-class cricket. He smashed 1,024 runs with four centuries and two half-centuries in the last season and led his team, Northern, to its maiden first-class title in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Huraira became Pakistan’s second-youngest batter to score a first-class triple century behind legendary Javed Miandad when he made 311 against Baluchistan during the 2021-22 season.
The 27-year-old Jamal took 31 wickets with his fast bowling in the last domestic season, including two five-wicket hauls. He was also the leading wicket-taker in the recent six-match ODI series while representing Pakistan Shaheens against Zimbabwe Select with 16 dismissals.
Jamal came into the spotlight when he defended 15 runs against England in his Twenty20 debut last year and earned Pakistan a thrilling six-run victory.
The series will be the first assignment for former South Africa international Morne Morkel as Pakistan’s bowling coach after he was appointed on a six-month contract.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Huraira, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Noman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shan Masood.