Karachi: Pakistani selectors on Saturday decided to preserve the tall left-arm pace bowler Muhammad Irfan for next year's World Cup and decided against including him for the Test series against Australia.
Announcing a 16-member squad for the two Tests against Australia, chief selector Moin Khan said in a statement that Irfan's name was discussed for the Test matches but finally decided not to include him in view of the World Cup.
"We discussed having Irfan for the Tests but in the end we decided he was more important to us with the World Cup just four months away," Khan said.
"We decided not to include him in order to preserve him as we need to carefully manage his workload with the World Cup just four months away. We believe Irfan will be a formidable force on the hard and bouncy pitches of Australia," he added.
Irfan played in the recent one-day series against Australia but has since returned to Pakistan. Moin conceded that the team's bowling attack was weak without the injured pacers Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal who has been suspended from bowling in international cricket due to his suspect action.
"But it is an opportunity for the younger bowlers to make their mark," said Moin. The Pakistani selectors included three players in the squad in middle order batsman Haris Sohail, pace bowler Imran Khan and leg spinner Yasir Shah.
Sohail, a left-hander, scored a century in the four-day tour match against Australia in Sharjah which concluded in a surprising victory for Pakistan A today. Shah has played a few limited over games against Zimbabwe in 2011.
The selectors also recalled veteran opener Taufiq Umar and Muhammad Hafeez who has just recovered from a hand injury. Moin said the squad was a nice blend of youth and experience and was picked keeping the 2015 World Cup in mind. He insisted that the squad was picked in consultation with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and head coach Waqar Younis.
Pakistan has not defeated Australia in a Test match since 1995. The first Test begins from October 22 in Dubai.
Pakistan Test Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Taufiq Umar, Younis Khan, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Ehsan Adil, Muhammad Talha, Imran Khan, Rahat Ali, Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar.