CHATTOGRAM: It’s between Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq for the final selection before Pakistan face Bangladesh in the first test in Chattogram on Friday.
The first two were named to the 12-man squad, with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan sharing the bowling responsibilities.
Abdullah has hit two centuries in three first-class matches since the start of the year, while Imam got the go-ahead after scoring 488 points in five innings of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. In 11 tests, he scored 485 runs at 25.5.
Abid Ali will open from Pakistan with Abdullah or Imam. Previously, Abid had opened with Shan Masood in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England and New Zealand. Additionally, Abid has teamed up with Imran Butt in tests against South Africa, Zimbabwe and the West Indies.
Pakistan ensured and settled the intermediate order with Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Fawad Alam, followed by goalkeeper-beater Mohammad Rizwan in 6th place.
Bangladesh will not have known Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan as both are unavailable due to their injuries.
Bangladesh will give a chance to three test rookies in this match. Captain Mominul Haq has hinted that Mahmudul Hasan could open while Yasir Ali is a strong No.6 contender. Rookie quick pitcher Rejaur Rahman could also play ahead of Ebadot Hossain.
After a dismal performance in the Twenty20 series, Bangladesh also has limited chances in the Test series. Pakistan won the first T20I by four wickets while chasing 128 for the win, second by eight wickets after setting a goal of 109 points and third by five wickets on the last ball in pursuit of a goal of 125 points.
Pakistan have made three series in Bangladesh and won five of six tests, with their last victory in Dhaka in May 2015 by 328 races. Azhar Ali and Mushfiqur Rahim are the only players from both sides to participate in this match.
Azhar had scored 226 and 25, while Mushfiq scored 12 and zero as Azhar walked away with the player of the match, who will also be remembered for centuries by Younis Khan (148) and Asad Shafiq (107) as well as Game numbers of 36.3 -7-128-7 by Yasir Shah, who will miss the series as he has yet to recover from a thumb injury he suffered in National T20.
Pakistani team (from): Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, wicket keeper), Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi
Bangladesh team (from): Mominul Haque (captain), Shadman Islam, Saif Hasan, Najmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Abu Jayed Chowdhury, Yas Ali, Mahmudulaur