Saud to lead Shaheens on Sri Lanka tour

Published October 3, 2021
Top-order batter Saud Shakeel has been named as captain in both formats. — Photo courtesy PCB/File
Top-order batter Saud Shakeel has been named as captain in both formats. — Photo courtesy PCB/File

LAHORE: Top-order batter Saud Shakeel on Saturday was named as captain of Pakistan Shaheens squad for the tour of Sri Lanka comprising two four-day matches and three 50-over games to be held in Kandy and Colombo from Oct 28 to Nov 14.

Though the 26-year-old Saud holds very little experience of international cricket having played in just three One-day Internationals earlier this year in England where he scored a half-century in the second ODI at Lord’s, the left-handed batter possesses a reasonable experience of 46 first-class matches (batting average 48.78) and 70 List A games (45.49) which could prove handy for his progress in top-level international cricket contests ahead.

Other campaigners, who have represented Pakistan in international competitions, named in the 19-man squad include Abdullah Shafique (T20), Arshad Iqbal (T20), Haider Ali (ODI, T20), Naseem Shah (Test), Usman Salahuddin (Test and ODI) and Zahid Mahmood (T20).

Another bowler, Musa Khan, who has been considered as a potential bowler along with Naseem, however, could not find a place in the squad.

“To maintain consistency in selection, the selectors have also retained players who have recently been part of the national side but have been unable to break into the playing line-up. These include Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha and Mohammad Haris,” the PCB said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“With an eye on next year’s ICC U-19 World Cup in the West Indies, the selectors have included in the squad Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s teenage wicket-keeper Salman Khan and top-order batter Qasim Akram of Central Punjab.

“Opportunities have also been awarded to exciting talents, such as Sindh’s 22-year-old mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah (34 wickets and 245 runs in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21), Irfanullah Shah (23 wickets in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21) and left-arm fast bowler Akif Javed, who is returning to competitive cricket this season after missing the last season due to an injury,” the statement added.

Squad: Saud Shakeel (captain, both formats), Haider Ali (vice-captain, both formats), Abbas Afridi (50-over), Abdullah Shafique (both formats), Abrar Ahmed (both formats), Ahmed Safi Abdullah (four-day), Akif Javed (50-over), Arshad Iqbal (both formats), Irfanullah Shah (both formats), Kamran Ghulam (both formats), Khurram Shahzad (both formats), Mohammad Haris (wicket-keeper, both formats), Naseem Shah (both formats), Omair Bin Yousuf (four-day), Qasim Akram (both formats), Salman Ali Agha (both formats), Salman Khan (wicket-keeper, both formats), Usman Salahuddin (four-day), Zahid Mahmood (both formats)

Officials: Ijaz Ahmed (head coach/team manager), Rao Iftikhar (assistant coach), Mohtashim Rashid (fielding coach), Mohammad Javed (trainer), Faisal Rai (analyst), Hafiz Naeem (physiotherapist)

Schedule:

Oct 28-31: First four-day match (Pallekele), Kandy

Nov 4-7: Second four-day match (Pallekele)

Nov 10: First 50-over match (Colombo)

Nov 12: Second 50-over match (Colombo)

Nov 14: Third 50-over match (Colombo).

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2021

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