Pakistan have dropped out-of-form opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez for this month’s two-Test series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.
The axing of Hafeez was expected after he scored only 102 runs in his last five Test matches this year, three against South Africa and two against lowly ranked Zimbabwe.
South Africa are a team against which Hafeez has always struggled, scoring only one half century and a total of 307 runs in 18 innings. The selectors have named 12 players for the Test series while three more will be added after Pakistan ‘A’ play a three-day warmup match against the Proteas next week in Sharjah.
Abu Dhabi will host the first Test from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18 while the second Test will be played in Dubai from Oct. 23 to Oct. 27.
The Test team will be led by Misbah-ul-Haq, who has come under criticism after Pakistan lost four of their last five Test matches.
South Africa whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in February before Zimbabwe shocked Misbah with a victory in the second Test in Harare last month to level the series 1-1.
Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal returns to the team after being ignored for the Test series against Zimbabwe while the selectors also named three specialist spinners — Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman and uncapped Zulfiqar Babar — in the hope that the wickets will suit slow bowlers in the UAE as they did against England last year.
Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0 with offspinner Ajmal taking 24 wickets in the three Test against the then-No. 1 ranked team.
Babar also impressed in this week’s three-day practice match between the PCB XI and Chief Minister’s XI when he took six wickets in an innings at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
The 12-man squad also includes three left-arm fast bowlers, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Rahat Ali.