Make-or-break opportunity for Pakistan team when they tour England this July © Getty Images
Make-or-break opportunity for Pakistan team when they tour England this July © Getty Images

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a 17-men Test squad for their national team’s tour to England, starting this July. The touring side is scheduled to play 4-match Test series, 5- One Day International series (ODIs) and one-off T20. Seeing their team’s debacle in this year’s Asia Cup 2016 and ICC World T20, the selectors have been strict with their selection and have formed a squad which will face a stern test against quality bowling attack of the hosts who are currently on the verge of a series whitewash against Sri Lanka in the longer format. India’s biggest rival, Pakistan, will be touring England after a long time and their players will be up for a challenge as they are mostly inexperienced on such conditions. ALSO READ: Mohammad Yousuf: England tour will test Pakistan batsmen

Pakistan has made a lot of changes to their national side after a horrid time in the World T20 which was eventually won by West Indies. Pakistan could not even reach the knockout stages as they bowed out of the mega event in the group stages itself. They won their first match against Bangladesh by 55 runs but their slide began against hosts, India, and after that it continued against New Zealand and Australia. As a result of this, they included former player and captain, Inzaman-ul-Haq into their selection panel. He has made it very clear from the start that performances and fitness will be given due weight-age in his selection policy. This was evident since he played a pivotal role in dropping Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal from the team’s training camp. He stated that they will face to work on their discipline and how to conduct themselves off and on the field, when it comes to representing the nation.

The national team went for a rigorous boot camp ahead of their crucial tour which will test their youngsters with both bat and ball. This was the same place where three of their established players were involved in the infamous spot-fixing scandal. Once discarded player, Mohammad Aamer, has been recalled in the team and has impressed with his swing and control on his road to comeback. He will try to stay in the moment and not bother about being sledged by the host nation when he takes on the field for them. His visa is still to be approved and may take a day or two for that. Junaid Khan, on the other hand, has been ruled out of the squad as he still has to prove his worth after injury. Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan and Imran Khan will round out the pace attack while leg spinner Yasir Shah and left-arm leggie Zulfiqar Babar are the two spinners in Pakistan’s arsenal. Mohammed Irfan has been dropped from the squad who could have been effective with his awkward bounce in England pitches.

On the batting front, Mohammed Hafeez has been included in the squad but is subject to fitness. Hafeez, being an experienced campaigner and senior pro, will be missed in England if not fit on time. The opening position will see the inexperienced left-handed pair of Shan Masood, who has played 7 Tests, and Sami Aslam, who has played one Test will the take field. Aslam, 20, however, starred against England during a Pakistan junior team’s tour in 2013, when he hit three centuries. Pakistan’s batting will also be tested but the experienced Younis Khan — who toured England in 2001 and 2006 — will be their mainstay, along with Test skipper, Misbah-ul-Haq who is consistent as ever.

This tour will also commence the contract of newly-appointed coach, Mickey Arthur who will meet the team in England. The side is likely to leave for the tour on June 18 and hold a training camp in Hampshire before their first practice match against Somerset starting on July 5 and another against Sussex from July 8. A lot is at stake for the Asian team as they start a new and challenging chapter facing the unplayable duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)