Fakhar, Imam receive maiden call-ups to Ireland, England Tests

APPRECIABLE RECORD Fawad 32 is currently Pakistan’s best domestic batsman with an average of 55.37 in first-class cricket and has piled up 10,742 runs in just 145 outings

Pakistan squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Faheem Ashraf.

Pakistan selectors overlooked 32-year-old batsman Fawad Alam despite strong domestic form as they picked five uncapped players in the 16-man squad for their Tests against Ireland and England starting next month. Khan has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to prove his worth in whites.

Fawad Alam failed to make the cut after being included in an initial 25-man training squad, while a knee injury ruled out fellow batsman Shan Masood.

Haris Sohail, who retains his place after he made his debut in the home series loss against Sri Lanka a year ago, may also find himself in a crucial all-around role with his part-time spin. While he averaged just under 41 this season, his average for the last three seasons was 55, 56 and 72 respectively.

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Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of former Pakistan skipper and current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, is in line for a Test debut. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan will fill in for slow-bowling spearhead Yasir Shah who is out with a hip injury.

Fawad Alam, son of Pakistan's famous first-class cricketer Tariq Alam, made an early start to his first-class career at the young age of 17, he also played in the under 19 world cup for Pakistan. "If we look at his numbers for the last two years, he has more wickets than any other bowler for Pakistan. This is a great opportunity for us, particularly our batsmen to gain experience in this conditions".

Pakistan are the opponents for Ireland's first Test match in Malahide, with the historic game getting underway on May 11. The second Test will be held at Headingley in Leeds on June 1.

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