(Reuters) - Pakistan selected fast bowler Mir Hamza among five uncapped players in their 16-man squad for the two-test home series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates starting later this month.
Batsmen Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin have both played one-day internationals for Pakistan but are yet to make their test debuts as Pakistan start life without retired batting greats Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
Long-serving captain Misbah and former skipper Younis retired from international cricket at the end of Pakistan’s test series in West Indies in May.
“We are trying our youngsters. Usman Salahuddin and Haris Sohail have been part of the squad in the last two to three series so that we can play them when the seniors retire,” Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq told reporters in Lahore.
“I wanted to give them opportunity in home conditions to boost their confidence. We are hopeful they can fulfil the spots left by the retirements.”
Opener Sami Aslam, who last played a test for Pakistan in December, was also recalled.
Left-arm fast bowler Hamza, 25, was picked for his strong domestic form, having claimed 216 wickets in 46 first-class matches.
Spin-bowling all-rounder Bilal Asif and left-arm Mohammad Asghar were the other players in the squad yet to play in tests.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah and top-order batsman Azhar Ali have both battled recent injuries but were declared fit and named in the squad.
“Yasir was supposed to undergo a fitness test yesterday but he had pulled a calf muscle,” former captain Inzamam said. “He’s taken the test this morning and been passed fit.
“Azhar Ali has a cyst in his knee and the doctors have advised him to play after taking an injection. He isn’t experiencing any pain, so we’re hoping he’ll remain fit to play.”
The series, played in the UAE due to security concerns, will start with the first test in Abu Dhabi from Thursday followed by Sri Lanka’s maiden day-night test in Dubai from Oct. 6.
The two teams will also play five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches, the last of which will be played on home soil in Lahore on Oct. 29, subject to security clearance.
Squad: Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain, wicketkeeper), Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mir Hamza, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Asghar.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien