Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced a 35-player squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand from which the national men’s squad will be selected. Babar Azam has been appointed as Pakistan’s captain in all formats. His vice-captain in Tests will be Mohammad Rizwan, while Shadab will be the vice-captain in T20Is. Pakistan have dropped Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, and Mohammad Amir from their squad. Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said that the side has decided to drop Malik and Amir as they are now looking to invest in youngsters.
“There are three major omissions from the side that toured England. Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England. Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe,” Misbah said in an official PCB release.
“Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats,” he added.
The players, along with 20-member players support personnel, will depart for Lincoln on November 23 where they will spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Pakistan men’s national team will play three T20Is on 18, 20, and 22 December, and the ICC World Test Championship fixtures will be held in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch on 26-30 December and 3-7 January, respectively.
Apart from the 35 players involved in pre-series intra-squad matches as part of their preparations, Pakistan men’s national team players not involved in international matches against New Zealand will be available for selection for the Shaheens’ matches against New Zealand A.
This also means Test players not involved in the T20Is in the first half of the series against New Zealand will be available for selection for Shaheens, who are expected to be playing four-day matches against New Zealand A during that period.
“The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players,” said Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq in an official release.
When the national side is involved in the ICC World Test Championship matches against New Zealand, national men’s team players not part of those matches will be available for selection for the Shaheens, who are expected to be involved in 20-over games against New Zealand A during those days.
The 35-player squad is:
Openers: Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, and Zeeshan Malik.
Middle-order batsmen: Babar Azam (captain), Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Butt, Khushdil Shah, and Mohammad Hafeez.
Wicketkeepers: Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, Tests), Rohail Nazir, and Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Spinners: Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan (vice-captain, T20Is), Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, and Zafar Gohar.
Fast bowlers: Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, and Wahab Riaz.
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