Dubai: Misfiring opener Mohammad Hafeez survived the chop on Tuesday as the Pakistan selectors named an unchanged 15 man squad for the third and final Test against New Zealand starting in Abu Dhabi next week.
Hafeez has been struggling with his form ever since scoring a hundred on his comeback Test against Australia in Dubai last month.
Since then he has managed just 66 runs in six innings. Hafeez has scores of 20, 10 and nine in the two Tests against New Zealand.
Pakistan levelled the three-match series with a convincing innings and 16 runs win in the second Test in Dubai on Tuesday.
New Zealand won the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi last week.
Also retained is off-spinner Bilal Asif who has just five wickets to show in the last three Tests after taking six wickets against Australia in Dubai last month.
The Pakistan selectors resisted the temptation to include dashing opener Fakhar Zaman who is recuperating from a knee problem after impressing with 94 and 66 in his Test debut against the Australians.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Saad Ali, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Ham
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Babar Azam's effortless 69 not out was easily the highlight of a first day comprising just 49 overs, with 11 boundaries in a stay of exactly 100 balls.
According to latest rankings, Azhar, presently 27th among batsmen, will be hoping to regain the form that lifted him to a career-best sixth in December 2016, while Babar will be hoping to progress from a career-best aggregate of 800 rating points.