Opening batter Shan Masood and fast bowler Haris Rauf have been recalled for Pakistan's three-test cricket series against Australia next month.

Opening batter Shan Masood and fast bowler Haris Rauf have been recalled for Pakistan’s three-test cricket series against Australia next month.

Australia will be touring Pakistan for the first time since 1998 and will play test matches at Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore before a limited-overs series involving three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international.

Rauf was part of the squad that played against South Africa and Zimbabwe last year and has replaced off-spinner Bilal Asif.

The left-handed Masood has impressed the selectors with his recent form in domestic first-class cricket and has returned to the squad after last playing against New Zealand in the 2020-21 season.

Masood has replaced Pakistan regular test opener Abid Ali, who was ruled out of the series against Australia while he undergoes rehabilitation for heart issue.

“We have opted for consistency for the important home series against Australia and changes have only been made where absolutely necessary,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said. “This is to give the (players) 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.”

Surprisingly, the selectors did not pick fast bowler Mohammad Abbas and leg-spinner Yasir Shah in the 16-man squad but included them among the five reserves for the series.

Batter Kamran Ghulam, former captain and wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed and fast bowler Naseem Shah are the other reserves.

Saqlain Mushtaq, who was the interim head coach during the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last year, was awarded a 12-month contract by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Former Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait and former Pakistan test batsman Mohammad Yousuf were appointed as specialist bowling and batting coaches for one year.

Australia earlier this week announced an 18-man squad for the test series, including Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja and the other members of the squad which beat England 4-0 in the recent Ashes series.

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Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Zahid Mahmood. Reserves: Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah.

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