Pakistan ignores Hafeez for New Zealand Tests

Sharjeel Khan, known for his power-hitting in T20Is and ODIs, earned his first call for Tests along with wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan for Pakistan's tour of New Zealand.

MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ

Mohammad Hafeez played his last Test in England earlier this year before getting dropped for poor form.   -  AFP

Pakistan omitted experienced opener Mohammad Hafeez in its squad for the two-Test series in New Zealand, beginning on November 17.

Hafeez, 36, played his last Test in England earlier this year before getting dropped due to poor form. A knee injury during the first ODI in the tour forced him to return home.

Sharjeel Khan, 27, known for his power-hitting in T20Is and ODIs, earned his first call for Tests along with wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan.

"The Test team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions in New Zealand and the recent performances of players in the Test series against England and West Indies," said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, "The team is a fine blend of experience and youth, and the selectors have stuck to the same combination of players selected against England and West Indies series earlier and believe that team will do well in the tour."

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) clarified that selectors had announced the 16-member squad only for the Tests in New Zealand. The squad for the Australia series in December will be declared later.

Sources said that selectors decided to ignore Hafeez after he failed a bowling test at PCB’s biomechanic lab in Lahore.

"Basically the selectors wanted to see if Hafeez could clear the preliminary bowling assessment test in Lahore after which the PCB would have sent him for the ICC (International Cricket Council) bowling assessment test in England," said a source.

Hafeez has been unable to bowl since mid-2015 when the ICC declared his bowling action illegal.

Veteran spinner Zulfiqar Babar is the only player to have been dropped from the squad that is presently playing against the West Indies in Sharjah.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Sami, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Younis Khan, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali.