Pakistan announce squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Details here
Pakistan's T20I squad for the upcoming home series against New Zealand and England, as well as the ICC T20 World Cup, is out. Asif Ali and Khusdil Shah have been included by Pakistan as opening batsman Sharjeel Khan was dropped out. Pakistan have named the likes of Usman Qadir, Shanawaz Dahani, and Fakhar Zaman as the reserves. Here's more.
A look at Pakistan's T20I squad
Pakistan T20I Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Asif Ali, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan (wicket-keeper), Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hasnain. Reserves: Usman Qadir, Shanawaz Dahani, Fakhar Zaman
Pakistan to face New Zealand and England ahead of WT20
Pakistan will first play a three-match ODI series against New Zealand, followed by five T20Is. The ODIs will start from September 17 onwards and the T20Is will be played from September 25. Post the assignment against New Zealand, the Pakistan cricket team will face England in two T20I matches on October 13 and 14 respectively.
Asif and Khushdil named in squad
Asif and Khushdil are the surprise inclusions
Asif and Khushdil were among the surprise inclusions in the squad for the T20 World Cup. They last played a T20I for Pakistan earlier this year against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively. Notably, the two players did not find a place in the squad for the tours of England and West Indies. Khushdil and Asif have played nine and 29 T20Is for Pakistan respectively.
Muhammad Wasim backs Asif and Khushdil to deliver the goods
Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim justified Asif and Khushdil's selections. "Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah may not have impressive numbers against their names but hardly anyone can doubt their tremendous talent and prowess," he said. "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."
Azam Khan preferred over Sarfaraz Ahmed
In the keeping department, PCB went with Azam Khan over Sarfaraz Ahmed. Khan has featured in only three T20Is so far and has aggregated just six runs in two innings. However, Wasim explained the decision behind the move. "Azam Khan is an aggressive and attacking batter who also keeps wickets, a combination that has earned him the selectors' nod ahead of Sarfaraz Ahmed."
Pakistan will begin their T20 World Cup campaign against India
Lead by captain Babar Azam, Pakistan will begin their ICC T20 World Cup campaign against India in Dubai on October 24. They will take on New Zealand in Sharjah on October 26 before returning to Dubai to face Afghanistan. Their last two matches in the Super 12 stages will see them face runners-up of Group A and table-toppers of Group B from Round 1.