Pakistan v South Africa 2013-14 October 5, 2013

Hafeez axed for South Africa Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mohammad Hafeez has been dropped for Pakistan's Test series against South Africa in the UAE. Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has made a return in the 12-man squad named by the PCB. The board will expand the squad to 15 following Pakistan A's match against the touring South Africans, between October 8 and 10, in Sharjah.

Hafeez was expected to miss out, given his poor form in Test cricket this year. He has aggregated 102 runs in 10 Test innings this year, and was particularly exposed against the moving ball by Dale Steyn on Pakistan's tour to South Africa in February. Pakistan have not played top-level opposition in Test cricket since, but Hafeez's struggles in the long format continued against Zimbabwe in September - he scored 59 in four Test innings on that tour, despite being the Man of the Series in the ODIs.

Pacer Wahab Riaz also misses out from the squad that played the Zimbabwe Tests. Pakistan had drawn that series 1-1, with Zimbabwe recording their first win against Pakistan in 15 years in the second Test. Against South Africa in February, Pakistan had lost the Tests 0-3. Irfan had featured in that series, but missed out in Zimbabwe; now he returns.

Batsmen Asad Shafiq, Faisal Iqbal and Shan Masood, and seamer Eshan Adil, also miss out from the squad that played Zimbabwe, but unlike Riaz and Hafeez, they were named in the Pakistan A squad for game against the South Africans, so they could still feature in the final Test 15 if they impress in that match. Shafiq is most likely to be one of the three players added to the squad.

The only new face in the squad is left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar. Babar, 34, has been part of the domestic circuit for more than ten years and featured in T20s previously, but is yet to debut in Test cricket for Pakistan. The team management is mulling playing three spinners in the line-up, and so Babar could fit in alongside Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.

Fast bowler Umar Gul, who was targetting a comeback against South Africa after being sidelined by a knee injury since March, is yet to return.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khawaja on October 9, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Umar Amin is a surprise in teh test selection as his performance with the bat has not been upto par...however Asad Shafik who was selected initially due to a good domestic record is failing on current form they might pick an additional spinner/seamer and probably ahmed shezad and shan masood...UAe pitches are expected tobe batting wickets so going in with four spinners who could be rotated might be teh way to go as u can at best play one or two pacemen with umar amin as best one can play two seamers and three seamers...the addition of a legspinner salman qadir would give teh captain all teh options

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Late but good decision. Shoaib Maqsood must be given opportunity. He has got the potential to play in any form of the game. Ideally suited for one day and T20, but i believe he can prove his talent in test cricket as well. He, sometimes, reminds me of my all times favorite Inzi...:)

  • M on October 8, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    In my opinion, if AB de Villiers can keep in tests, so should Umar Akmal. He ill give the depth to batting and Pak can play 7 bats and 4 bowlers. He will be the all rounder. Bring Taufiq back and play Taufiq / Khurram / Azher / Younis / Misbah / Asad or Umar Amin / U Akmal / Rehman / Ajmal / Junaid / Rahat.

    Get Azher Ali to bowl a little leg spin. He shd be handy.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Huge relief ,i must say this is such magnificent decision ,that will ensure speedy recovery of pak team from chaos InshAllaha . Such medicore players have no place in long verssion of game ,he is simply skilless player and can be club level player at best ,at last sense has prevailed and he has been kicked out„„ i,e belessed in all facets "". But Asad shafiq should have been retained.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    Hafeez is so overrated. Finally they realized that he has no use in being on the test squad.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    No new face in the squad. They are giving chance to 34 year old Zulfiqar babar instead of grooming Young talented guy Raza Hassan. Also One more thing that is pretty missing from the squad is solid and natural stroke playing batsman. In my thinking Shan Masood should be given chance, and Sohaib maqsood should also be introduced in the middle order to make it strong.

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Weak Batting line up against the SA bowling attack! - We need some more experience in the middle order bring back Mohammed Yousuf....

  • Irfan on October 7, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    It is good to drop Hafeez due to poor performance, however, it was the moving ball at pace that does him. The conditons are different in UAE and he would have played much better. But in the larger scheme of things, he should perform in all conditions in order to justify his spot. Asad Shafiq has becomoe a victim of poor PCB policy. He was pretty good when he was part of both Test and ODI squad. Sure he was struggeling in the shorter format, but still did better than many. Now that he is pulled out of ODIs and selection for Test has become patchy... he has lost his confidence and a good prospect may end up in the history books now. Also good to see Irfan back... otherwise, he would have also gone mis-utilized and mis-aligned with the team.

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    its true Pakistan is over relying on spin bowling for everything and every tournament to get them some special result while for winning World Cup the essentials are to have good Fast Bowling Bunch and Injection of All-rounders And Good Opening Partnership Players and lastly a Smart Coach while Pakistan has none of these at this time thus haven't prepared anything for the World Cup maybe they are relying on some miracles to save their face when on the ground.

  • Tom on October 7, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    SA is a methodical team and they should have already made plans to tackle Ajmal and company. They need some surprises though to make them off their approach. I would say to bring some new but talented faces. Despite my disliking of Hafeez as an opener, I have a feeling he still be useful as a bowler and # six batsman. He is also an excellent fielder and someone who knows SA a bit. I would give him one more chance against SA but not as an opener. Against Steyn every opener will struggle unless he is very agressive. However, after looking at Pak showing against Zimbabwae I am not very excited about Pak team and instead I am worried they might get another drubbing from them in all formats.

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