Pakistan squad announced for NZ, Eng series, T20 WC
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand and England and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
Pakistan will go against New Zealand and England in the home series in Rawalpindi and Lahore from September 27 to October 14, after that the national squad will take on their arch-rivals India in their opening match of the ICC T20 World Cup on October 24 at Dunai International Stadium.
Asif Ali and Khusdil Shah have been added to the squad to give more batting power to the middle-order.
Asif Ali played his last T20I against Zimbabwe in April and averages 16.38 with a strike rate of 123.74, while his overall strike rate in T20 cricket stands at 147. Khusdil Shah’s last T20I was against South Africa in Lahore earlier this year. The left-hander averages more than 21 and holds a strike rate of 109.24, while his overall T20 strike rate stands at 134.
While selecting Asif and Khusdil for the squad, chief selector Muhammad Wasim said, “Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah may not have impressive numbers against their names but hardly anyone can doubt their tremendous talent and prowess. They are the best in the available pool of middle-order batsmen and we remain confident that they will provide us solutions to our middle-order difficulties through solid performances.
“These two experienced middle-order batters will compliment Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Maqsood, while in Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan, we have three top-quality spinners who are equally good with the bat and outstanding in the field.”
Arshad Iqbal, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Sharjeel Khan, and Usman Qadir have been left out, while Fakhar and Usman, together with Shahnawaz Dahani, have been designated as the three traveling reserves.
Wasim said, “Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir were unlucky to miss out on the selections. Sohaib Maqsood’s ability to bat and perform anywhere in the top-order has given him an edge over Fakhar, while the presence of three experienced spinners, who are also capable batters, and five genuine wicket-taking fast bowlers made it difficult for Usman Qadir to get into the side. Like Faheem, an uncapped Shahnawaz was tied with Mohammad Wasim Junior, but we opted for the latter due to his pace and batting abilities.”
The 15-man squad includes five batters, two wicketkeepers, four all-rounders, and four fast bowlers.
- Babar Azam (c)
- Shadab Khan (vc)
- Asif Ali
- Azam Khan (wk)
- Haris Rauf
- Hasan Ali
- Imad Wasim
- Khushdil Shah
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Mohammad Hasnain
- Mohammad Nawaz
- Mohammad Rizwan (wk)
- Mohammad Wasim Jnr
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
- Sohaib Maqsood
- Fakhar Zaman
- Shahnawaz Dahani
- Usman Qadir
Wasim Khand said that most of the players in the 15-man squad are those who have ample experience on the UAE pitches after they lifted up Pakistan’s position in the ICC T20I teams ranking with 21 wins out of 36 matches played.
While further added he said that the series against New Zealand and England at home will be the one last opportunity for the team to polish its skills before heading for the UAE tournament.
He also said that due to outstanding performances on the UAE pitches and years of experience, the national squad is confident of outperforming the teams. He further said that the national team needs to remain calm and have faith in each other’s and their own abilities.
Schedule for series against New Zealand (all matches start at 1900 local time)
25 Sep – 1st T20I, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
26 Sep – 2nd T20I, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
29 Sep – 3rd T20I, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
1 Oct – 4th T20I, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
3 Oct – 5th T20I, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Schedule for series against England (all matches start at 1900 local time)
13 Oct – 1st T20I, Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
14 Oct – 2nd T20I, Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
ICC T20 WC schedule for group 2
24 Oct – vs India, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
26 Oct – vs New Zealand, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
29 Oct – vs Afghanistan, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
2 Nov – vs A2, Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium, Abdu Dhabi
7 Nov – vs B1, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
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