LAHORE - Pakistan handed a maiden Test call-up to teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi as they announced their 15-man squad for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.

While the 18-year-old was rewarded for his outstanding form in the T20 series, where he has picked up eight wickets in two matches, there was disappointment for opening batsman Fakhar Zaman who failed to find a place in the squad.

Pakistan also named uncapped Saad Ali, a 25-year old batsman with 11 first-class centuries and 18 50s to his name, in the squad.

Despite scoring 160 runs in his debut Test match against Australia last month, opener Zaman has been left out for the three-Test series against New Zealand, which starts on November 16.

A PCB media release said that he along with legspinner Shadab Khan were rested.

Mohammad Aamir was ignored again, but 18-year-old Afridi, who is uncapped in Test cricket, found a place in the squad. Batsman Saad was rewarded for his 144 for Pakistan A against a New Zealand A attack that included internationals Neil Wagner and Scott Kuggeleijn.

Besides that, the squad was largely unchanged. Opener Imam-ul-Haq was included in the squad, allaying fears his retiring hurt on Friday was more precautionary than anything else, while Fakhar’s absence will allow Mohammad Hafeez to consolidate his position at the top.

Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, and Mir Hamza are the frontline quicks in the squad.

In all, Afridi has played only two first-class games, taking 11 wickets at an average of 17.27. He was in excellent form, though, in the ODIs against New Zealand, claiming back-to-back four-wicket hauls. In five ODIs, the 6’5 inch paceman has taken 12 wickets at an average of 17.58 with an impressive economy of 4.90, while in T20Is, he has 11 wickets in 7 games at an average of 18.45.

A PCB statement said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq had chosen Afridi with his current form in mind, while Saad was rewarded for his consistent domestic performances.

“Shaheen Shah Afridi has been included in the Test squad because of his current form. Saad Ali has been included in the squad after his performances in domestic cricket and recent Pakistan ‘A’ series in the UAE,” Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said in a release.

“The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions of the UAE, where Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman have been rested from the Test matches and have also been advised to undergo training at the NCA.”

The first Test will take place from 16 November in Abu Dhabi, with the second in Dubai from 24 November. With the conditions in the UAE predictably conducive to spin, seam-bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf, who has been selected again, might not get a game. Pakistan had preferred Haris Sohail in the series against Australia, with his form and ability to pitch in with left-arm spin counting in his favour.

With Abbas’s series-defining performances against Australia ensuring he’s an automatic starter, the remaining fast bowlers are competing for, at most, two other places. Hamza made his debut against Australia in Abu Dhabi, but didn’t quite have the effect that guarantees him a place. Afridi is perhaps likelier to make his debut.

SQUAD: Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Saad Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt &wk), Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Mir Hamza.