Pakistan includes in-form Azam for day-night Test

KARACHI: Pakistan Saturday included in-form Babar Azam for the first Test against the West Indies, Asia’s first day-night match to be played with a pink ball.

The 21-year-old batsman notched up 360 runs during the West Indies one-day series that ended Wednesday.

Azam, who has played 18 one-day internationals and four Twenty20s, has yet to play a Test.

Senior batsman Younis Khan will, however, miss the first of the three Tests as he continues recovering from dengue fever.

The squad for the other two Tests will be announced later.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Azam was being rewarded for his prolific form.

“We felt Azam did very well on the big stage and is in good form so we have included him in the team so he could be groomed,” Inzamam said.

The selectors have dropped misfiring openers Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood from the 15-man squad which levelled the four-match Test series against England 2-2.

Inzamam explained the axing of other regular openers.

“We consulted the captain (Misbah-ul-Haq) and coach (Mickey Arthur) and they wanted the same combination which played in the Oval Test where Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam had opened,” said Inzamam of Pakistan’s last Test in August.

He hoped Younis would recover in time for the second Test.

The second Test starts in Abu Dhabi from October 21 while the final Test is in Sharjah from October 30.

The opening match, in Dubai from October 13, will only be the second Test played under lights and with a pink ball, instead of the usual red.

Australia played the first-ever day-night Test in Adelaide in November last year in an attempt to beef up dwindling crowds for the five-day matches.

Left-arm spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who has yet to play a Test, is also part of the Pakistan squad.

Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Asad Shafiq, Babar Zaman, Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Imran Khan, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Rahat Ali -AFP