Pakistan vs New Zealand: Sarfaraz Ahmed not to be the part of squad against NZ
Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed could not make it to the national squad after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the 20-man squad for the upcoming One day International (ODI) series against New Zealand that will be played in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium later this month.
Several batsmen including Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha and Shoaib Maqsood also failed to secure their spot in the 20-man squad, according to the PCB.
On the other hand, wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris, fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, wrist-spinner Zahid Mahmood, and middle-order batsmen Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah are included in the Pakistan squad.
The PCB further added that Iftikhar played his last international match against Zimbabwe, while Khusdil has only played in the same match.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasin said that some players will be disappointed for not being part of the squad. However, the new cricket season is about to start, and these players can showcase their performance to improve their chances to be a part of the Pakistan squad.
Wasim termed the New Zealand ODI series as extremely important. This series will count toward the qualification for the ICC Men’s World Cup.
He further added that keeping in mind the ICC WC qualification, the PCB has tried to put together a “formidable and balanced unit”.
“We have continued to ensure that we give opportunities to high-performing players while looking into the future so that we can develop a strong bench-strength,” the PCB statement quoted him as saying.
Shahnawaz could not make it to the national squad for the series against England last month because the squad was announced during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6.
Muhammad Wasim Jr. was also a good selection as he showed outstanding performance during the Pakistan-West Indies series.
He further added by saying that Zahid was added to give support to leg-spinner Usman Qadir. Zahid had played exceptionally well against South Africa in Lahore in the past.
While Mohammad Rizwan would remain the first choice for a wicketkeeper, Mohammad Haris was included in place of Sarfaraz “not only to reward Haris for his outstanding domestic performances in the previous season but also to give him a taste and flair of international cricket along with its rigors and demands”, Wasim further said.
The middle-order was always the main concern for the PCB. He added, “after trying a few options, we have decided to give another run to Iftikhar and Khushdil.”
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imamul Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Zahid Mahmood.
Pakistan will go against New Zealand in ODIs in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on September 17, September 19, and September 21.
Five T20Is will be played at the Lahore Gaddafi Stadium from September 25 to October 3.
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