Keeping the players fresh and mentally strong is the biggest challenge – Babar Azam

Babar Azam/ Twitter

Pakistan has announced its 19 members squad for two-Test match series against West Indies with Yasir Shah coming back into the squad after missing the Zimbabwe Tests following a knee injury.

Pakistan announced its 19 members Test squad against West Indies with Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah coming back into the squad. However, Agha Salman, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Nawaz, and Tabish Khan missed their position in the squad after Zimbabwe Tests.

Pakistan skipper, Babar Azam announced that Nawaz and Rauf are not added to the squad to give some time to their families ahead of the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan, to be held in Sri Lanka on the first week of September.

“Looking at the likely team composition for the two Tests and giving preference to the well-being of the players, it has been agreed to release Haris Rauf and Mohammad Nawaz so that they can return to Pakistan and spend quality time with their families. This will also give them a few extra days to relax, regroup and recharge for the commitments ahead, which commence with the series against Afghanistan.

“The past 12 months have been tough and the cricket that lays ahead is equally challenging and demanding. As such, we need to have as many fresh bodies as practically possible without compromising on the team results and performances,”

Babar added.

The last time Pakistan toured West Indies was in 2017 when they secured a thrilling 2-1 victory which ended as a farewell for Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan. Misbah now returns as a head coach against the same opponent whose skipper is optimistic in putting a great show in the tow match Test series, starting from August 12 in Kingston.

“Away Test series are always challenging and we endeavor to be a high-performing side on away series. Red-ball cricket is the pinnacle format of the game and is a test of skill, endurance, technique, patience, and fitness. Test cricket does not allow you to show complacency at any stage and this is what we will like to achieve at Sabina Park over the next couple of weeks.

“Jamaican pitches provide a good challenge to the batters hence our batters need to come to the party and display their true potential and caliber in the two Tests. They have performed well this year and it is now time to take that confidence into the Test series and put up an improved and enhanced performance,”

said Babar.

Previously, rain spoiled the four-match T20I series between both the countries in which Pakistan managed a victory in the second T20I while the other three T20I’s completely washed out to rain.

“As part of the T20 World Cup preparations, we wanted to give maximum opportunities to our players against the firepower of the West Indies but unfortunately the series got badly affected due to rain,”

said Babar.

“No one can control the weather, but I think it is time to look at alternates to ensure cricket is not affected by the weather. Maybe adding reserve days to every white-ball match is an option, I don’t know, but I think there needs to be some debate around ensuring there is minimum loss of cricket due to weather,”

he added.

Pakistan Test squad: Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (VC/wk), Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Hassan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah, Zahid Mahmood