Pakistan has retained six uncapped players in its squad of 17 for Tuesday’s first Test against South Africa in Karachi.
Three rookie batsmen — Kamran Ghulam, Abdullah Shafique and Salman Ali Agha — will remain with the team, but the Pakistan Cricket Board said they will not be considered for selection.
The selectors had initially announced 20 players for the two-test series but trimmed the squad to 17 for the first Test at the National Stadium on Sunday.
The second test will be played at Rawalpindi from Feb. 8 and will be followed by a three-match Twenty20 series at Lahore from Feb. 11-14.
The six uncapped players include opening batsman Imran Butt, middle-order batsman Saud Shakeel, spinners Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan and fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Tabish Khan.
“We know the home conditions and we have a chance here to play good cricket and win,” Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
Pakistan has lost only two out of 44 Test matches played at the National Stadium and one of those defeats came against South Africa when it last toured in 2007. England is the only other team that has won in Karachi when it beat Pakistan by six wickets in 2000.
Opening batsman Abid Ali, captain Babar Azam and Azhar Ali all scored centuries against Sri Lanka in the last test match here in December 2019 when Pakistan won by 263 runs.
Misbah said Pakistan has to rectify its shortcomings in fielding to beat South Africa. Without the injured Babar, Pakistan lost a recent test series 2-0 in New Zealand when it dropped more than half a dozen catches.
“Of course I am not satisfied (with the performance in New Zealand), we have to improve it,” Misbah said.
The head coach and bowling coach Waqar Younis were summoned by the PCB’s cricket committee earlier this month and gave the coaching staff another opportunity to turn around the fortunes of the team in the home series against South Africa.
Since Misbah and Waqar took over in 2019, Pakistan won home Test series against Sri Lanka and also won a Test match at Rawalpindi against Bangladesh. However, they have a poor touring record, losing test series in Australia, England and New Zealand.
But Misbah appeared unconcerned about whether his three-year contract with the PCB would continue if Pakistan struggles against South Africa.
“I have played cricket under pressure throughout my life,” Misbah said.
“I know only one thing ‘keep concentrating on what’s in your end’ and I am not thinking about what’s going to happen (after the series against South Africa).”
Babar Azam (captain), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Tabish Khan.
In the last ODI of Bangabandhu Bangladesh vs West Indies cricket series, the tourists won the toss in Chattogram and sent the hosts to bat first. Bangladesh made to changes in this match replacing Rubel Hossain and Hasan Mahmud with Mohammad Saifuddin and Taskin Ahmed.
It’ll be marked as the first ODI at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram after a gap of more than two years. And at the same time, it’ll be first ODI for Taskin after the South Africa tour of Bangladesh in 2017.
Rubel failed to grab any wicket in the first two games while Hasan made a great debut taking three wickets in the first game and one in the second.
West Indies have also made two changes. They rested Joshua da Silva and Andre McCarthy to pave the way for Jahmar Hamilton and Keon Harding— both will wear their first ODI shirt for the West Indies.
Hamilton is a wicketkeeper-batsman who played a Test earlier, but Harding a fresh face to international cricket.
Bangladesh are eyeing to win this game aiming to achieve more points for the ICC World Super League as the top eight teams of this event, including the hosts India, will get a direct entry to the World Cup 2023.
Bangladesh XI: Liton Das, Tamim Iqbal (capt), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman
West Indies WI: Sunil Ambris, Kjorn Ottley, Jahmar Hamilton (wk), Jason Mohammed (capt), Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Keon Harding, Alzarri Joseph, Akeal Hosein
Chittagong Abahani Ltd made an upset in the 13-team Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football beating Federation Cup finalists Saif Sporting Club by 1-0 goal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Sunday evening.
With the day's feat, Chittagong Abahani not only earned the second consecutive victory in the league but also took revenge for their defeat against Saif SC in the Federation Cup semifinal last month.
Brazilian booter Nixon Brizolara, who netted the match-winner in the last match, again scored the match-decider for Abahani in the 24th minute of the day's match, off a Rakib Hossain pass.
With the victory, the sky-blue team from port city advanced to the fifth slot in the league table securing six points from three matches after conceding 1-2 defeat against Sheikh Jamal DC in the first match.
With the day's maiden defeat, formidable Saif SC went down to the 7th place in the league with their previous credit of four points from three outings, having one win, one draw and one defeat.
The 4th round of the league begins on January 27.
Keeping an eye on more points to secure a better place in the points table of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League - Bangladesh are all set to take on West Indies in the last ODI of the Bangabandhu Cricket Series on Monday at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.
It will be the first ODI in Chattogram after a gap of more than two years. The venue hosted its last ODI back in October 2018, which was played between the hosts— Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. After that match, Chattogram hosted two Tests and as many as T20Is.
Ahead of another ODI in Chattogram, Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal, who is a Chatgaiya through-and-through, said they are eyeing the extra points from this game so that they can secure a better place in the points table of ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League, which will be the basis of qualification for World Cup 2023.
The top 8 teams in the Super League table at a cut off point prior to the next edition of the World Cup will enjoy automatic qualification into the marquee event.
Bangladesh have already secured 20 points from two wins in this series which have them up at number three in the table at this early stage, right after Australia and England. Along with the hosts India, a total of best eight teams of ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League will get a direct qualification into the World Cup 2023.
“We have already won the series, but still, we want to win the last game so that we get more 10 points. The West Indies failed to play well in the first two games. But, they are a dangerous team. They can bounce back stronger at any moment. So we have to be aware. We may make a little change in our playing XI in the last game,” Tamim told the media on Sunday.
“We are hungry for more wins as each members of the dressing room is eager to play well whenever they get a chance. I hope this hunger will continue. Yes, we have won the series, but we want more,” he added.
A severely depleted West Indies side, with thirteen of their top players opting out of the series due to the ongoing pandemic, failed to offer almost any resistance as the Tigers romped home in the first two games of the series. Despite that, Tamim still believes there is room for improvement.
“You’ll never be flawless. I think we still have many things to do in all three departments of the game. We managed some decent starts with the bat but failed to continue on a good run. So we have to develop ourselves in this area,” Tamim further told the media.
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West Indies are also looking forward to securing their first points of the Super League from the third match. Only for the chance of having some ODI Super League points, the last match of this series is still not a dead rubber.
Bangladesh might rest experienced Rubel Hossain, who failed to take a single wicket in the first two games, paving the way for a return to the international fold for the Taskin Ahmed who played his last ODI back in 2017 against South Africa.
After the ODI series, the teams will compete in a two-match Test series starting from February 3 at the same venue before moving to Dhaka for the second and last Test from February 11.
Sheikh Russel KC maintained their unbeaten run in the 13-team Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football playing to 1-1 draw with Dhaka Mohammedan SC in their third match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday.
After the day's match, Sheikh Russel KC remained at the second slot in the league table securing seven points from three matches. Joint league leaders Bashundhara Kings and Dhaka Abahani Ltd bagged full nine points each from three encounters.
Dhaka Mohammedan, which made a flying start outplaying their neighbour Arambagh KS 3-O in their first match, bagged four points from three outings with one win, one draw and one loss.
In the day's match, Souleymane Diabate of Mali put the traditional black and whites Mohammedan ahead in the stoppage time of the first half (45+1 minute) from a penalty (1-0).
Brazilian centre forward Giancarlo Rodrigues Lopes levelled the margin for Sheikh Russel in the 56th minute (1-1).
In the day's other match, Muktijoddha Sangsad KC tasted the first victory in their second league match beating all-losers Arambagh KS at the new BPL venue – Bir Shreshtha Fl Lt Matiur Rahman Stadium in Munshiganj on Sunday.
Mehedi Hasan Royal scored the match-winner for the freedom fighters team Muktijoddha in the 47th minute (1-0).
After the match, Muktijoddha SKC earned three points from two league encounters while Arambagh remained at the bottom of the league without any point, playing three matches.