Sarfaraz Ahmed has been included in Pakistan’s playing XI for the first test against New Zealand, captain Babar Azam has announced.

Pakistan playing XI with Sarfaraz Ahmed in the first test:

Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood, Babar Azam (capt), Saud Shakeel, 6 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Agha Salman, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Mir Hamza, Abrar Ahmed.

Pakistan has also chosen to bat first at the National Bank Cricket Arena.

Sarfaraz replaced Mohammad Rizwan in the team who has not enjoyed much success in the longest format of the game despite his dominance of white-ball cricket.

The former captain last played a test match for Pakistan almost four years ago.

The hosts have also recalled Mir Hamza to the playing side who will be making his second appearance in the white kit after making his debut in 2018 against Australia. The left-armer had another decent season in Quaid-e-Azam trophy, finishing with 16 wickets in four games at an average of 24.00.

Imam-ul-Haq is also fit again to start after missing out on the final test against England.

Naseem Shah has been rested again as he continues to recover from a shoulder niggle while Abrar Ahmed and Noman Ali retain their spots as the spin threat with the wicket expected to turn as the match progresses.

The recently recalled, Hasan Ali, Kamran Ghulam and Shahnawaz Dhani miss out.