Pakistan have thumbed through their New Zealand cricket statistics and settled on a horses for courses bowling selection for their tour here this month.

Having figured out that neither test venue, Christchurch's Hagley Oval nor Seddon Park in Hamilton is likely to offer substantial help to the spinners, they have left out the handy left armer Zulfiqar Babar.

They have left the bulk of the spin in the hands of the mercurial Yasir Shah, the legspinner ranked fifth in the test game.

Shah will have help from left arm allrounder Mohammad Nawaz, who made his test debut in Pakistan's first day-night test against the West Indies last month in Dubai, but they're not leaving themselves short in the fast-medium department.


Pakistan have named five, three of them left armers, the gifted Mohammad Amir, distinctly slippery Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali in their 16-strong squad.

There are two new faces, opening batsman Sharjeel Khan, an opener averaging 37 in first-class cricket, with 11 centuries, but uncapped at test level, and middle order batsman Mohammad Rizwan.

Pakistan have tried six opening combinations since the start of last year with only one specialist, Sami Aslam, who has been retained. Sharjeel, a specialist, therefore has a big opportunity.

Pakistan are ranked No 2 in the test game and have serious heavy hitters among their batting corps, led by captain Misbah-ul-Haq, now 42, averaging 48.25, scorer of 10 hundreds and on his fourth test visit to New Zealand.

Another 236 runs and he'll overtake Zaheer Abbas as Pakistan's fifth highest test runmaker.
Their second ageless operator, Younis Khan, is 38 and an alltime great.

He averages 54.28 in tests, is currenly ranked second among all test batsmen behind Australian Steve Smith, and has 33 test tons from his 110 matches, two of them against New Zealand.

He holds all the Pakistani test batting records, his 9663 runs the most in tests for Pakistan, with more hundreds than anyone and the best average. Age seems not to weary the brilliant righthander.

Throw in well-performed Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq and a bright young talent, Babar Azam - averaging 52 in ODIs and having hit three centuries in his last three 50-over internationals - along with capable wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed and they'll be a handful.

Shah will be a treat to watch.

He's nabbed 113 wickets in 19 tests, getting to his century in 17 matches, faster than any bowler in history, other than late 19th century England medium pacer George Lohmann who took 16.

They may not be as formidable as the halcyon days of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq in the early 1990s, but they are sure to be highly competitive, and determined, having lost their top spot in the rankings to India recently.

New Zealand, coming off a disappointing tour to India, will need to find their feet quickly.

The first test starts on November 17.

Pakistan's 16-man squad for two tests against New Zealand this month: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan