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PCB names 16-man squad for upcoming series with Australia

Babar Azam will captain a strong 16-man Pakistan squad named Wednesday to face Australia on their first tour to the country in nearly a quarter of a century.

Ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been demoted to reserves for the three-Test series, which will be played in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore beginning March 4.

Australia last toured Pakistan in 1998, declining to visit the cricket-crazed nation in the intervening years on security grounds.

Pakistan’s chief selector Muhammad Wasim said the squad had been chosen on the basis of consistency.

“Changes have only been made where absolutely necessary to give confidence to the players,” he said.

Pakistan will also play three one-day internationals and a single Twenty20 match against Australia, with squads to be announced later.

The Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed Wednesday that Saqlain Mushtaq will continue as head coach for another year.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain), 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.