Asia Cup 2022: Breaking down the squad of Pakistan
Pakistan announced their squad for the upcoming edition of the 2022 Asia Cup earlier this month. They dropped fast bowler Hasan Ali after he fell out of favor with the selectors. Youngster Naseem Shah has replaced Hasan in both squads. Meanwhile, Shaheen Shah Afridi, who missed the second Test in Sri Lanka due to a knee injury, returns to the squad.
A look at Pakistan's squad for Asia Cup
Pakistan's squad for Asia Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.
Naseem Shah likely to take the new ball
Naseem Shah, who has the propensity to bowl over 150 KPH, has replaced Hasan in the squads. The right-arm seamer has represented Pakistan in only Test cricket as of now. He earned his maiden call-up to white-ball sides on the basis of his performance in the two Tests in Sri Lanka last month. Naseem is expected to share the new ball with Shaheen.
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan will be pivotal
Yet again, Pakistan's top order would be led by captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. The duo was all guns blazing in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, especially in the match against India. Senior batter Fakhar Zaman will assist the duo in the Asia Cup. Haider Ali and Asif Ali would serve in the middle order.
Babar and Rizwan added 1,380 T20I runs in 2021
Babar and Rizwan added a combined total of 1,380 runs, batting together on 25 occasions, at an incredible average of 57.50, in 2021. They make the first pair with 1,000 partnership runs in a calendar year in T20I cricket.
Here are the other talking points
Fast bowler Haris Rauf would be a force to reckon with, given the Indians haven't been much exposed to him. The Men in Blue will be wary of Shaheen Afridi, who decimated their top order in the T20 World Cup. Although India are the six-time Asia Cup winners and the defending champions, Pakistan have the required ammunition to beat them this time.