Misbah justifies reason to include Faheem Ashraf, Bilal Asif in Test squad


Lahore: Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has explained the motive behind including all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and off-spinner Bilal Asif in the Test squad against Bangladesh.

Misbah emphasized the importance of having Faheem Ashraf in the Test team and also looking at the behavior of Rawalpindi pitch.

“In a Test match against Sri Lanka, we had to go with four fast bowlers and leg-spinner Yasir Shah was dropped. If the pitch plays the same way so Faheem will add value and we can go with one spin bowler with Mohammad Rizwan batting at number six,” he said.

The 45-year-old on Bilal Asif selection over Kashif Bhatti added that there are left-handers in the top order, so they decided to go with Bilal as an off-spin option.

“Kashif Bhatti has paved the way for Bilal Asif considering there are left-handed batters in the Bangladesh top and middle-order,” he added.

As Pakistan is playing a Test after two months, Misbah thinks that it is not easy to get back in the groove after playing for such a long time.

“If a player plays and scores a ton and then play after two months, so it is a different story. As a player you have to start again and adjust yourself for the longer format,” he maintained.

The former captain cleared that for the Test team in the future they are only going with the players being selected in the past six months.

“We have made a pool of 20 players in the squad for the future who are available for us and we can select them while viewing the conditions of the different pitches and oppositions as we can only select 16 to 17 players for a tour,” he added.

Misbah, earlier today announced the 16-member squad for Bangladesh Test starting from February 7-11. Azhar Ali will lead the Test side.

Usman Shinwari and Kashif Bhatti have missed out on the squad. Shinwari played only Rawalpindi Test against Sri Lanka while Bhatti was dismissed without even getting a chance.