LAHORE - Pacer M Irfan and opener Nasir Jamshed set to make their Test debuts as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will announce the Test squad for the tour of South Africa today (Friday), it has been learnt.

The selection committee led by Iqbal Qasim will meet Thursday evening to finalise the squad for the Pakistan team’s tour to South Africa comprising three Tests, five One-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals. The committee will present the players’ list to the board chairman Zaka Ashraf for his approval. After getting nod from the chairman the selection committee will announce the squad within couple of days. The South Africa tour will commence from February 1 and will conclude on February 23.  The reportedly world tallest pacer M Irfan, who kept Indian batsmen at bay during the cricket revival series against the arch-rivals and troubled all of hosts premier batsmen who were depending on their strong batting line-up, succeeded in catching the eyes of selectors and will be included in squad along with his bowling partner Junaid Khan.

Nasir Jamshed, who scored two back-to-back centuries against India, overall three, all against the arch-rivals, and proved his credentials and his performances earn him a place in the Pakistan squad for the Pakistan tour of South Africa.

Wicketkeeper batsmen Adnan Akmal will make his way in the squad in place of his brother keeper Kamran Akmal while middle-order batsmen Asad Shafiq will be back in the squad after recovering from his finger injury as Umar Akmal has already been lost his place from Tests over his irresponsible batting show in the past. His performance will also cost him his place from One-day Twenty20 formats as well, it has been learnt.

Umar Akmal, who also failed miserably to deliver for Pakistan during the recently-concluded bilateral series between Pakistan and India, was criticised by Pakistani legends on his performance during the series and demanded of the Pakistan Cricket Board to drop him from all the formats of the game for a long period that might help him to feel his responsibility and mend his ways to perform better in future. They said despite having so much talent, Umar Akmal played irresponsible knock during the final One-day international played in Ferozeshah Kotla, New Delhi, and Pakistan lost by 10 runs that dented Pakistan’s whitewash bid as well.

Pakistan premier batsman M Yousuf was not considered by the selection committee as he was busy in his personal activities and could not make himself available for the selection, it has also been learnt.

It is pertinent to mention here that those players selected for bilateral series against India were not provided with the chance play against arch-rivals what will be their status. Will selectors consider them for selection or otherwise. If they were ignored then that will be the injustice with them as they were deprived of playing against India and now they were not considered by the selectors. In those Umar Amin and Harris Sohail were selected on their performances in the Grade-I President’s Cup. The PCB chief should look into the matter and make their selection possible that will help in boosting their morale and they will work hard to remain in the squad with their good performances.

Probables for Test squad: Misbahul Haq (capt), Younus Khan, M Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Adnan Akmal, Raza Hassan, Harris Sohail, Umar Amin, Junaid Khan, M Irfan, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz and Ehsan Adil.