Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14 December 26, 2013

Pakistan pick Mohammad Talha for Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Pakistan have picked fast bowler Mohammad Talha for the Tests against Sri Lanka more than four years after he played his only match, in March 2009. They have also recalled fast bowler Umar Gul, who is fit again, and allrounder Mohammad Hafeez, who who scored three hundreds in the first four ODIs against Sri Lanka in the UAE.

The players missing from the squad that played the Tests against South Africa in the UAE were: the injured fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, batsman Umar Amin and spinner Zulfiqar Babar.

Talha's debut was in the Lahore Test in 2009, which had to be abandoned after the bus transporting the Sri Lankan team was attacked by terrorists. He was part of the squad for the tour of Bangladesh in 2011-12 but did not play, and an injury ruled him out of that season's series against England in the UAE. He recently took 11 wickets for Port Qasim Authority in the President's Trophy.

Talha was 20 when he made his debut and since then Pakistan have introduced as many as nine fast bowlers, making it hard to find a place in the squad. He has taken 143 first-class wickets since 2010, and 33 in the ongoing season. "It has been a tough time since I played my only Test," Talha had told ESPNcricinfo before the start of the 2013-14 season. "Injuries have been a concern for while but I always tried to keep myself in the best shape amid tough competition and waited for the opportunity."

"Competition has always been there and I did manage to win a place in 2009 and was selected after that too. But lack of opportunity and some random injuries hindered my growth. No international cricket in Pakistan was also a blow to my career. I always felt empty since that incomplete Test match [in Lahore] …"

Gul's last Test for Pakistan was in South Africa in February this year, after which he was sidelined by injury until his recall to the ODI squad ahead of the third match of the ongoing series against Sri Lanka.

Hafeez had been dropped for the Tests against South Africa in the UAE because he had scored 102 runs in 10 innings this year, struggling primarily against Dale Steyn. His return to this squad was largely due to his match-winning performances with the bat in the ODIs against Sri Lanka.

Babar, 35, had injured his hand during the second Test against South Africa in the UAE. He needed stitches, but completed his three-week rehabilitation and returned to domestic cricket. Babar was picked for the only T20 against Afghanistan in Sharjah but was overlooked for the Tests against Sri Lanka because the selectors preferred Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal, and Hafeez's return provided an additional spin option. Babar had played only one first-class game this season, taking three wickets for Water and Power Development Authority against Habib Bank Limited.

Test squad: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Adnan Akmal, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Rahat ali, Mohammad Talha.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 31, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    very bad decision to debute bhatti in the first test..its injustice with talha

  • qadir on December 30, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    good thinking for Pakistan selectors selected Mohammad Talha

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Selectors, Please Include Sadaf Hussain and sami aslam in the side. Sadaf Hussain (age 24) has performed so many times in domestic with an Avg. of 18 in Test and 20 in domestic ODIs.

    If we can pick brighter players then why do not you ? !!

  • zaf on December 29, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Adnan Akmal, Azhar Ali and Asad Safiq continue failed in Test, and done nothing since the past 10 years; so PCB should give chance to new talented players. Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad and Sohaib Maqsood should be all 3 formats. 1)Kurum Manzoor 2) Shan Masood 3) Ahmed Shahzad 4)Sohaib Maqsood 5)Younis Khan 6)Misbah 8)Hafeez 9)U. Akmal 10)Ajmal 11)Junaid

  • shahzaib on December 28, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    I disagree with this tem selection. some peoples don,t like hafeez, but he is better then any player in this squad. he bats well bowls well good fielder such a valuable player to have. secondly the selection of shan,manzoor,shafiq makes no sense. they can try fawad alam,haris sohail, anwar ali as an all-rounder.i feel shoab maqsood should only play ODI and t20 his fitness is a issue. First test probables 1.manzoor 2.shehzad 3.Hafeez 4.azhar/shafiq 5.younus 6.misbah 7.adnan 8.gul 9.ajmal 10.junaid 11.Rahat junaid was little scratchy so they might go with Talha, two spinners hafeez ajmal 3 fast bowlers. looks ok Hafeez balancing the team. ..............thank you please publish

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Last four innings of Asad Shafiq are as 54, DNB, 10, 130 that averages to 65 per inning and averages 40 in 23 matches with 4 100's and still i c people calling his removal from the test squad. I just wonder what else has he do to be a permanent fixture in the team.

  • Umair on December 28, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Lot of people here are speaking against the selection of Asad Shafiq without even realizing that the Guy was a lone fighter against Saffers in the last test where hè scored 130 odd and remained unbeaten against the likes of Steyn and Philander.

  • YASIR on December 28, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Pakistani management should give chance to Umer Akmal for test also they are spoiling his career and talent by not giving Chance in Test cricket.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Misbah has brought a sense of consistency in Pakistani squads. It is nice to see the squad isn't chopped and changed constantly. Young players are fed confidence by continuous selection. Ahmed Shezad is a talent. He still has more to learn before he is ready for test cricket but it is good to see that Pakistan is carrying him around the test squad, same should be done to Umar Akmal. I still don't think Hafeez is a good test player and he only scores against weak bowling attacks but given the fact he scored three centuries, it is understandable that he has been picked. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq should be persisted with, they are averaging close to 40

  • Asif on December 28, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Pakistan selector and fan accept the fact that Younis Khan,Asad Shafiq,Azhar Ali & Khuram Manzoor are the best for test While Hafeez,Shazadl,Sharjeel,Maqsood are beeter chioce for one dayers and T20 All our major blowers good enough for all 3 formats Adana for text and Omer for One day and T20 Only batsman Misbah suited all 3 formats.