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Hafeez dropped from New Zealand Tests

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LAHORE: Selectors Monday left out experienced but out-of-form opener Mohammad Hafeez from the 16-man squad for the two-match Test series in New Zealand next month.

The 36-year-old had a wretched time on the team’s England tour this summer, scraping together 102 runs in three Tests before being axed for the final match.

He also failed in the three-day side game against West Indies in Sharjah earlier this month, falling for zero and nine which also kept him out of the ongoing three-match series against the same opponents.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq told AFP Hafeez must clear his bowling action.

“Hafeez will be going for his bowling action tests soon and once he is cleared he will definitely be considered,” said Inzamam of the 50-Test veteran.

Hafeez’s bowling action was reported in November 2014 for the first time and again in June 2015, leading to a 12-month ban from bowling at international level.

His place went to 27-year-old left-hander Sharjeel Khan, who has played 20 one-day internationals and 15 Twenty20s but has yet to experience the five-day format.

“Sharjeel has been playing well in limited overs cricket so we have given him a chance as an attacking option,” said Inzamam.

The squad has five fast bowlers in Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali and Imran Khan with Yasir Shah and Mohammad Nawaz as two spinners.

Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, playing in the ongoing third Test against West Indies in Sharjah, failed to land a place in the New Zealand trip.

“We took into account the conditions in New Zealand and then selected the squad and it’s a balanced mix of youth and experience,” said Inzamam.

Misbah-ul-Haq will skipper the Test team.

The first Test starts in Christchurch from November 17 followed by the second in Hamilton from November 25.

After New Zealand Pakistan fly to Australia, where they play three Tests and five one-day internationals. Squads for these will be announced later.

Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan.

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