Pakistan recalls Bilal Asif and Faheem Ashraf for first Bangladesh Test

After beating Sri Lanka in December, Pakistan has made two changes to its Test squad.

Bilal Asif has played five Tests for Pakistan.   -  Getty Images

Pakistan has named veteran Bilal Asif and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf in a 16-man squad for its forthcoming Test against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi.

Azhar Ali's men edged Sri Lanka 1-0 in December and are looking to strengthen their World Test Championship prospects before the mid-year tour of England. The first Test against ninth-ranked Bangladesh begins on February 11, with off-spinner Asif hoping to appear in the international arena for the first time since 2018.

Kashif Bhatti and Usman Shinwari, neither of whom featured against Sri Lanka, have been omitted from the squad.

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Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said the 34-year-old and the versatile Faheem, a powerful hitter who bowls medium pace, have been called-up with a view to exploiting Bangladesh's left-handed batsmen.

'Tried to cover all bases'

"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," Misbah said in a statement.

"We are aiming to collect maximum points from the two upcoming ICC World Test Championship matches against Bangladesh so that when we take the field for the Lord's Test against England on 30 July, we are in a strong contention for a top-two finish by the end of the 2020-21 season.

"This is what our aspiration is and that’s what are aiming and striving for."

The second and final Test will take place in April after the Bangladesh Cricket Board agreed to participate in a three-part tour.

Pakistan 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 (wk), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.

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