Sarfaraz, Amir dropped for Zimbabwe series, Shadab appointed white-ball vice-captain
Pakistan have announced the squad for the upcoming limited-overs series against Zimbabwe. Veterans Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir have been left out of the 22-member squad for the home series, starting next month. On the other hand, Abdullah Shafique earned a maiden international call-up following strong performances in the National T20 Cup. Meanwhile, Shadab Khan was appointed Pakistan's vice-captain in white-ball cricket.
Pakistan's squad for Zimbabwe series: Babar Azam, Haider Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imam ul Haq, Harris Sohail, Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Rohail Nazir, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Musa Khan, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadar, Zafar Gohar.
Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz are the two senior players who have been retained for their useful experience in respective departments. Meanwhile, Shafique was drafted, owing to his impressive run in the National T20 Cup. Mainstay wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan continues to hold his spot, having impressed in the England tour. Also, Rohail Nazir has been named as Rizwan's back-up wicket-keeper.
Shafique finished with 358 runs at a strike-rate of over 133 in the National T20 Cup, and even scored a hundred on his T20 debut. He became only the second player in history to make a century on both First-class and T20 debuts.
Experienced players Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir have found no place in the squad. Although Sarfaraz was the back-up wicket-keeper in England, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq believes he should regain his fitness. It is interesting to note that Malik, on Sunday, helped his side Khyber Pakhtunkhwa win the National T20 Cup, with an unbeaten 56. Besides, Amir remained wicketless on the England tour.
Misbah stated the reason of leaving out senior players. "I want to categorically state that their careers are not over by any means as performance remains the only criterion for selection. These are strategic decisions," he said. "We have followed the same philosophy while leaving out Mohammad Amir and Usman Shinwari so that youngsters can get an extended run."
The players will assemble in Lahore on October 21 for COVID-19 testing and will observe a five-day isolation period. During this period, they will play two 50-over matches at Gaddafi Stadium before traveling to Rawalpindi. While Rawalpindi will host the ODI series (October 30, November 1 and 3) the three T20Is will be held in Lahore on November 7, 8 and 10.