Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Wednesday, announced the 18-member squad for the forthcoming Test tour of Sri Lanka.

The tour, starting in July, consists of two Tests – part of the ICC Men’s World Test Championship Cycle (WTC) 2021- 2023. The opener will be played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium from July 16 to 20, while the second Test will begin on July 24 at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo.

Senior spinner Yasir Shah has made his comeback to the whites after being sidelined following a thumb injury he sustained in the National T20 Cup last year. Notably, Yasir, who last appeared in a red-ball fixture in August 2021, played a key role in Pakistan’s series win in Sri Lanka back in 2015. The leggie had picked up 24 wickets at an average of 19.33.

The Pakistan team will assemble in Islamabad on June 25 and undergo a seven-day preparation camp at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. They will arrive on July 6 in Sri Lanka and play a three-day warm-up game in Colombo, starting July 11.

“We have selected this squad considering the conditions in Sri Lanka and have equipped the team with the best possible resources. Our spin department is boosted with the return of Yasir Shah, who proved himself as a match-winner in Sri Lanka on our last tour, and Sajid Khan has made way for him. The spin department also includes two spin all-rounders in, Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Ali Agha and left-arm orthodox Nauman Ali. Salman Ali Agha has shown consistent performances with the bat in the past three seasons, and he is a handy off-spin option,” said chief selector Muhammad Wasim in a statement.

“Our team has recently put strong performances in Bangladesh, and although results against Australia were not ideal, we displayed solid cricket, and for that reason, we have retained the core to instill consistency and continuity and have trimmed the squad size following the relaxation in Covid-19-induced travel restrictions. These two matches are extremely crucial for our side as we have World Test Championship points at stake. I wish our boys all the best, and I am sure they will make us proud,” he added.

Pakistan squad for Sri Lanka tour:

Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah.

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