NZ tour: Pakistan name squad, Babar Azam appointed Test captain
Pakistan have announced a 35-member squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand in December. A number of experienced players, Mohammad Amir, Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq have been left out of the squad. Notably, the squad comprises as many as five uncapped players. Earlier, Babar Azam replaced Azhar Ali as the Test captain, which means he will lead Pakistan across formats.
Mohammed Rizwan is Pakistan's new vice-captain
Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan, who fared well in England, has been named the new vice-captain in Test cricket. Besides, senior players Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz also make it to the tour on the back of some substantial performances. The PCB management have also added five uncapped players in the form of Zeeshan Malik, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt, Rohail Nazir and Amad Butt.
The uncapped players will play for Shaheens
"These players are amongst some other players who have been selected specifically for Shaheens as part of our strategy to build our bench strength," said Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's head coach and chief selector. The Shaheens are expected to play New Zealand A.
Asad, Shoaib and Amir are the notable exclusions
The marquee names to be excluded from the squad are Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir. Shafiq has been dropped considering his dry run in England, where he managed to tally just 67 runs in five innings. The other two seniors have been left out as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is looking to groom players for all formats.
Babar to captain Pakistan in all three formats
The PCB had earlier appointed Babar Azam as Test captain. He will now lead the side in all three formats, having taken the reigns from Azhar Ali. Babar was given the role to lead the white-ball sides in 2019, after Sarfaraz Ahmed got sacked.
A look at the schedule
Pakistan and New Zealand will play three T20Is between December 18-22. Meanwhile, the two ICC World Test Championship matches will get underway with the Boxing Day contest (December 26), followed by the final game, commencing on January 3. Notably, the Pakistan contingent will be departing for Lincoln on November 23, where they will have to spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Here is Pakistan's full squad for NZ tour
Pakistan squad: Babar, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Imran Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Rizwan, Rohail Nazir, Sarfaraz, Imad Wasim, Shadab, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Abbas, Hasnain, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab