LAHORE - Pakistan cricket selectors Wednesday named 16 players and five reserves for the three Tests against Australia, which will be played in Rawalpindi (March 4-8), Karachi (March 12-16) and Lahore (March 21-25).

From the series against Bangladesh, three changes have been made in the national squad. Haris Rauf, who was in the side for the South Africa and Zimbabwe Tests in 2021, has returned to replace off-spinner Bilal Asif, while Shan Masood, who last played in New Zealand in the 2020-21 season, has taken over from Abid Ali, who is completing his rehabilitation after being diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome. Yasir Shah has been added to the reserve pool.

Test players, who are not involved in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2022, will assemble in Karachi on Wednesday (February 16) for a training camp that will be held at the National Stadium.

Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim said: “We have opted for consistency for the important home series against Australia and changes have only been made where absolutely necessary. This is to give the boys confidence, reward them for their impressive performances in the longer version of the game in 2021 and continue to build the side for the future. 

“These are the best available, most talented and in-form players in the domestic circuit. I am confident they will put up an impressive performance against a formidable Australia side,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board has confirmed Saqlain Mushtaq will continue as head coach for another 12 months, while it also announced the appointments of Shaun Tait as fast bowling coach for 12 months and Mohammad Yousuf as batting coach for the Australia series.

Earlier on Tuesday, Australia named a full-strength line-up for next month’s three-Test tour of Pakistan in their first squad announcement since the resignation of Justin Langer as coach. The Australians will play in Pakistan for the first time in almost 25 years and the series will be the Test side’s first overseas tour since facing England in the 2019 Ashes series.

Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood returns from injury while Scott Boland, one of the stand-out performers during Australia’s 4-0 Ashes series win over England earlier in the season, retains his place in the Pat Cummins-captained squad. Concerns that senior players would pull out of the tour due to security issues after both England and New Zealand withdrew from tours of Pakistan late last year have proven unfounded. 

Ashton Agar is the only player included in the squad who did not feature in the Ashes series, which served as Langer’s last in charge before his resignation on Saturday. The Australians will be led during the tour by interim coach Andrew McDonald.

AUSTRALIA TEST SQUAD: Pat Cummins (capt), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.