Pakistan announced its test squad for its upcoming series against Sri Lanka in UAE on Sunday and while the team wore a familiar look, there were a few notable inclusions and omissions.
Aizaz Cheema, who impressed on his debut in Zimbabwe recently, got the nod ahead of Tanvir Ahmed in the 15-man team. Ahmed, who has been a consistent performer for Pakistan in the absence of the banned Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and has played a good foil to Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz, has been included as a standby.
While Junaid Khan has shown a glimpse of his talent, his inclusion also comes as a bit of a surprise ahead of Ahmed considering the team already has a left-arm pacer in Riaz.
Umar Akmal, who has been erratic in the test arena, has made way for the experienced Shoaib Malik.
The squad is as follows:
Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Asad Shafiq, Imran Farhat, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan.
Standbys: Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Talha, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah.
The batting department is packed with experienced but has a surprising inclusion in Imran Farhat.
Is the left-handed Farhat, who has made a unexpected return to the test squad, the right-choice to partner Mohammad Hafeez at the top of the innings if he is picked ahead of Taufiq Umar?
What effect will Farhat’s inclusion, who has had an extended run and failed in international cricket, have on some of the younger batsmen trying to make it to the top?
Subject to pitch conditions, who should partner Gul and Riaz as the third seamer? And who will be in your XI for the first test that starts in Abu Dhabi on October 18?
The second test will be played from October 26-30 in Dubai, while the third test will take place in Sharjah from November 3-7.
Dawn.com invites its readers to give their views and suggestions.