Pakistan cricket selectors on Sunday confirmed a 17-player squad who will be available for selection for the first Test against South Africa, beginning Tuesday. Pacers Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf have been included in the 17-member shortlisted squad for the first Test against South Africa. Imran Butt is also set to play as an opener in the first Test. Babar Azam, who had missed the two Tests against New Zealand, has also made his way back into the squad for the first Test against South Africa.

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The remaining three players will continue to be part of the squad and will feature in warm-up and training sessions at the National Stadium, Karachi. The playing line-up with now be finalised by the captain in consultation with the head coach.

The 17-player squad is:

Openers – Abid Ali and Imran Butt

Middle-order batsmen – Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, and Saud Shakeel.

All-rounders – Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Nawaz

Wicketkeepers – Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed

Spinners – Nauman Ali , Sajid Khan and Yasir Shah

Fast bowlers – Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Tabish Khan

After a dismal outing in New Zealand, Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali is also banking upon the home advantage in the upcoming Test series against South Africa. Pakistan faced defeat in both the Tests against New Zealand and came out victorious in only one T20I on tour.

Azhar feels the away tours have always been tough for Asian teams, but the situation changes on home soil.

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“Home conditions bring confidence in players. If you remember, our batsmen in the previous two home series (against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) had big chunks of runs and did really well,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Azhar as saying.

“But on away tours, it’s always tough for Asian teams. But our batsmen fought it out. In England and New Zealand there was at least one batsman who made a century,” he added.

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