Azam, who despite being on the selectors radar because of his six-hitting prowess, was adviced to shed his nearly 130-kilo weight. As per a report in news agency AFP, the 22-year-old cut down almost 30 kilos to earn his place.
Azam, who features for Quetta Gladitors in the Pakistan Super League, boasts of a strike rate of 157 from 36 domestic T20 matches. However, the 22-year-old remains the surprise pick for the upcoming tours as he has played just one first class match.
Meanwhile, the selectors also recalled Imad Wasim for the three T20 matches in England and five in the West Indies besides Haris Sohail for the three ODIs in England.
Pace bowlers Muhammad Abbas and Naseem Shah have also won back spots in the Test squad that will play two games against the West Indies in Jamaica. Both Abbas and Naseem were ignored for the recent two Tests played in Zimbabwe.
The selectors have also kept the seasoned leg-spinner Yasir Shah for the two Tests but his final selection is subject to his passing a fitness test as he was also overlooked for the Zimbabwe tour because of a knee injury.
Pakistan have also dropped pacer Tabish Khan after awarding him a Test cap in Zimbabwe. He is the only casualty from the Zimbabwe tour.
Pakistan will play three ODIs and as many T20Is in England from July 8-20, before taking on world champions West Indies in five T20s that will be followed by two Tests.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said they tried to remain consistent in their selection.
“This is an extremely important and critical tour for Pakistan as we will be playing the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs against England as well as the T20Is against England and the West Indies as part of our preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
“The Jamaica Test will count towards the ICC World Test Championship,” he said.
“…In consultation with captain Babar Azam and head Misbah-ul-Haq, we have tried our best to maintain the winning combinations but at the same time recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam Khan for his domestic performance, while also giving him the required confidence for the future challenges.”
Tests: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-capt, wk), Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali Azhar Ali , Faheem Ashraf , Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah (subject to fitness), Zahid Mahmood.
ODIs: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir.
T20Is: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Arshad Iqbal, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Usman Qadir.
– with PTI inputs