Asad Shafiq doesn’t figure in the squad of 35, to be led by Pakistan’s new all-format captain Babar Azam, for a series of three T20Is and two Tests in New Zealand, to be played in December-January. Mohammad Rizwan, the wicketkeeper-batsman, will be Azam’s deputy for the Tests, while legspinning-allrounder Shadab Khan has been named second-in-command for the T20Is.
Apart from Shafiq, Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik also found their names missing from the expanded squad, with Misbah-ul-Haq, the chief selector and head coach, explaining that the team was looking to invest in youth as much as possible. Fast bowler Amad Butt, middle-order batsmen Danish Aziz and Imran Butt, and wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir, also named captain of the Shaheens team, were among the uncapped players selected.
“The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players,” Misbah said in a PCB statement. “I want to congratulate uncapped Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir who have impressed the selectors with their form, technique, temperament and ability to secure places in the 35-player pool.
“There are three major omissions from the side that toured England. Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England. Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats. We have kept faith in Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz purely on the basis of their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad.”
Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Butt, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Rohail Nazir (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.
More to follow…
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