LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan axed Asad Shafiq from their test team for the upcoming New Zealand tour on Wednesday, also omitting veterans Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik from the Twenty20 squad as part of their go-young policy in the short format.
Middle order batsman Shafiq managed only 67 runs in five innings in Pakistan’s 1-0 series defeat in England in August.
“Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form,” head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said in a statement after announcing an expanded 35-member squad.
“I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
The two-match series, beginning on Dec. 26 at Mount Maunganui, will mark the beginning of Babar Azam’s tenure as Pakistan’s test captain.
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan will be Azam’s deputy for the tests.
The test matches will be preceded by three Twenty20 Internationals but paceman Amir and veteran all-rounder Malik will not be seen in action.
“Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats,” Misbah said.
Exceptions were made for all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, 40, and left-arm quick Wahab Riaz, 35, “purely on the basis of their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad,” Misbah said.
The touring party, which also includes Pakistan’s A team, will leave for New Zealand on Nov. 23 and spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Lincoln.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge
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