Islamabad - Pakistan have dropped out-of-form opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez for
this month's two-Test series against South Africa in the United Arab
The axing of Hafeez was expected after he scored only
102 runs in the last five Test matches this year, including three
against South Africa and two against lowly-ranked Zimbabwe.
Africa is the team against which Hafeez has always struggled, scoring
only one half century and a total of 307 runs in 18 innings.
selectors have named 12 players for the Test series while three more
will be added after Pakistan 'A' play a three-day warm-up match against
the Proteas next week at Sharjah.
Abu Dhabi will host the first Test from October 14-18 while the second Test will be played at Dubai from October 23-27.
The Test team will be led by Misbah-ul-Haq, who has also come under
criticism after Pakistan lost four of their last five Test matches this
South Africa whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in February before
Zimbabwe shocked Misbah with a victory in the second Test at Harare last
month to level the series 1-1.
Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal returned
to the team after being ignored for the Test series against Zimbabwe
while 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 like they did against England last year.
whitewashed England 3-0 in 2012 with offspinner Ajmal taking 24 wickets
in the three Test matches against the then-No 1 ranked team.
also impressed in this week's three-day practice match between 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, 7-foot-1 Mohammad Irfan and Rahat Ali.
will be heavily relying on their experienced middle order batsmen Younis
Khan and Misbah along with Azhar Ali and Umar Amin. Another middle order
batsman, Asad Shafiq, might also make the final 15-member squad, but
needs to do well in the warm-up match against South Africa.
Misbah-ul Haq (captain), Khurram Manzoor, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Umar
Amin, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Abdul Rehman, Junaid
Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali