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Haider Ali and Fawad Alam make it as PCB announce 29-man mega squad for England series

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s selection committee on Friday named a star-studded 29-man squad for the upcoming tour of England which is to feature 3 Tests and as many T20Is.

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Peshawar Zalmi’s young hero, Haider Ali, who burst on the scene with a stellar outing in the inconclusive Pakistan Super League (PSL) Season 5, earned his maiden International callup. In addition to the young hitter, another uncapped player in Kashif Bhatti features in the squad while Sohail Khan, who last played a Test in late 2016, makes a comeback.

Haider has been a heavy scorer at the U19 level. He had a relatively lukewarm run in the ICC U19 World Cup 2020 in South Africa but made a fine half-century against India. He has carried that promise to the senior level in domestic cricket. In seven first-class games, he has scored 645 runs at an average of 49.61, including two hundreds and three fifties.

Meanwhile, Kashif Bhatti has been part of the national setup previously. He featured in Pakistan’s squad during their tour of Australia in late 2019 and was in contention for the Test team Bangladesh in Rawalpindi.

Fast bowler Sohail Khan, who has 471 first-class wickets, played the last of his nine Tests three and a half years ago, but has earned a recall on the back of a strong performance in the domestic season.

The squad also announced the much-awaited return of 34-year-old first-class veteran Fawad Alam, who hasn’t played an international game in nearly.

Speaking on the selections, Misbah-ul-Haq said that there was an emphasis on grooming youngsters, while Sohail has been selected with the view of adding depth to the fast bowling reserves.

“The players have also been selected with one eye on the future. I want these players to acquire as much cricket knowledge as possible from the additional backroom staff of Mushtaq Ahmed and Younis Khan that can help them post the England tour,” said Misbah.

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“Sohail Khan has been recalled to further strengthen our fast bowling department. He had two five-fors when he last played in England in 2016. The selectors also felt he bowled much better in the 2019-20 domestic season than his figures reflected.” he added.

Missing out on the team are Mohammad Amir, who has chosen to stay back as he expects the birth of his second child. Hasan Ali is still recovering from a back injury and batsman Haris Sohail chose not to travel without his family.

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