Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has high hopes for Naseem Shah as the 16-year-old prepares to make his Test debut against Australia.

Azhar praised the seamer's technical abilities and mental strength after the teenager suffered a personal tragedy following the recent death of his mother.

Although Pakistan's line-up for the clash at the Gabba is yet to be revealed, Azhar confirmed Naseem would be involved and he has high hopes for the youngster.

"Not many players can be at that standard so early but there are exceptions and he is one of them," said the skipper ahead of the two-match series. 

"And hopefully – we are all looking forward to it – he can have a very successful career.

"When I saw him first, I was so surprised. The control he had, the pace he had – and the temperament and the composure when he bowls is so exciting to see."

Naseem, who is will become the youngest male Test debutant on Australian soil, played in a warm-up match in the aftermath of his mother's passing and Azhar paid credit to his courage.

"Obviously, it was a hard time for him but he coped with it very nicely and he came out and bowled the very next day, which is very heartening," he said.

"He is opening up a little bit. Obviously, when he came in to first-class cricket, he was a bit shy but now he is starting to enjoy it."

Pakistan have not won a Test match in Australia since 1995 and have never triumphed in a series there in the longest format. 

Pakistan's squad has had a major shake-up for the upcoming tour of Australia, with five uncapped players named across the Test and Twenty20 parties.

Sarfraz Ahmed was sacked as Pakistan's captain on Friday, with the wicket-keeper batsman also dropped from the squad following a dismal 3-0 T20 series defeat to Sri Lanka.

Azhar Ali has taken over as the Test captain and will have teenage seamer Muhammad Musa Khan, who has been included in both touring selections, at his disposal.

Experienced spinner Kashif Bhatti will also be available for Azhar, as will youngster Nasim Shah.

Khushdil Shah and leg-spinner Usman Qadir, meanwhile, have been included in the T20 squad, which will be led by Babar Azam.

Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, the injured Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir, who announced his retirement from Test cricket earlier in 2019, have all dropped out of the five-day squad, while Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal miss out on the T20 group.

Pakistan will play three T20Is and two Tests in Australia, with the tour beginning on November 3.

 

Pakistan T20 squad in full: Babar Azam (captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan Test squad in full: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Nasim Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.

Sarfraz Ahmed has been sacked as Pakistan's Test and Twenty20 captain, also losing his place in the squad for both formats.

Pakistan have endured a difficult 2019, with a poor start to the Cricket World Cup group stage meaning a late charge was not enough to secure their place in the semi-finals.

Sarfraz's sacking comes in the wake of a 3-0 T20 defeat to Sri Lanka, as the world's top-ranked side in the shortest format succumbed to a series whitewash.

While a decision on the captaincy for the 50-over format has been put on hold for now, Sarfraz – who retained his position last month despite his performances coming under scrutiny – has been removed as the team's skipper ahead of their Test and T20 tour of Australia, which starts in November.

Azhar Ali – who was white-ball captain prior to Sarfraz – will replace the wicketkeeper-batsman as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will take charge of the T20 side until the 2020 World Cup.

In a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Azhar said: "There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game.

"I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.

"Sarfraz has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players, and I now look forward to inspiring those skilful players.

"These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management."

Pakistan dismissed their head coach and chief selector following the World Cup, with Misbah-ul-Haq taking over both positions.

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