Shaheen retained for Netherlands ODIs, Asia Cup despite injury; Hasan axed

Published August 4, 2022
LAHORE: Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.—M. Arif/White Star
LAHORE: Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.—M. Arif/White Star

LAHORE: While unfit pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi was retained, out-of-form fast bowler Hasan Ali faced the axe as the selectors on Wednesday named a 16-member squad for a bilateral ODI series in the Netherlands and a 15-man team for the T20 Asia Cup being held in the UAE from Aug 28.

Right-arm pacer Naseem Shah replaced experienced campaigner Hasan while Salman Ali Agha, who played in the recently-held two-Test series in Sri Lanka, was also recalled for the series against the Netherlands, as the national selection committee announced the two teams in a press release, again avoiding a press conference, despite instructions from PCB chairman Ramiz Raja in this regard.

At his last press conference held in Lahore, Ramiz to a question had instructed the PCB media department to arrange a news conference for announcing the national side.

The 22-year-old Shaheen after suffering a knee injury during the first Test which the tourists won against Sri Lanka in Galle last month, missed the second Test at the same venue where the hosts thrashed Pakistan by 246 runs to square the series. Rather than resting the lanky left-armer who will be required for the all-important T20 World Cup scheduled for October-November in Australia, the selectors in a surprising move decided to retain him in the ODI as well as T20 squad while the trainer will continue the player’s rehab during the Netherlands tour starting with the first ODI of the three-game series in Rotterdam on Aug 16. These ODIs are part of the ICC Men’s World Cup Super League.

“Shaheen Shah Afridi has been retained in the ODI and T20I squads, and his rehabilitation programme will be overseen by the team trainer and physiotherapist, who will also decide on his return to international cricket,” a PCB press release stated on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Hasan, who has been struggling to regain form for several months amid back pain due to which he missed a number of matches in the recent past, was finally shown the door by the selectors.

“Fast bowler Naseem Shah has been named in both the squads in place of Hasan Ali, while Salman Ali Agha, who toured England in 2021 for the ODIs, has been recalled,” added the PCB statement.

According to the PCB, the series against the Netherlands will be staged from Aug 16 to 21 in Rotterdam followed by the ACC T20 Asia Cup being held from Aug 27 to Sept 11.

“There will be five changes from the Netherlands ODI squad to the T20 Asia Cup side. Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Haris, Salman Ali Agha and Zahid Mehmood will be replaced by Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Usman Qadir,” read the PCB statement.

Meanwhile, chief selector Mohammad Wasim justified the changes made to the squad.

“We have only made changes that were necessary. Both the competitions [ODI series in the Netherlands and the T20 Asia Cup] are important for us and, as such, we have picked our best available players in consultation with the captain and head coach,” Wasim said in a statement.

“Hasan has been given a break from international cricket and he has been replaced by Naseem Shah. He is express fast and can give further impetus to the fast bowling department, which already boasts Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shahnawaz Dahani.

“Naseem has not played any international white-ball cricket, but he has demonstrated with the red-ball that he is an attacking option with good pace and controlled swing.

“Salman Ali Agha has been recalled to the ODI side after he performed well in the past two Pakistan Cup tournaments, averaging 40.33 and 48.8, respectively. He also gives Babar Azam an additional bowling option.”

A strong 14-member supporting staff will accompany the players to the Netherlands and the UAE.

A training camp for the selected team will be held in Lahore from Aug 6 to 11 during which they will play two 50-over-a-side warm-up matches. The national squad leaves for Amsterdam in the wee hours of Aug 12. The T20 players will join the national squad in Dubai for the Asia Cup on Aug 22.


For Netherlands ODIs: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mehmood

For T20 Asia Cup: Babar (captain), Shadab (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar, Haider Ali, Haris, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil, Nawaz, Rizwan, Wasim Jr, Naseem, Shaheen, Dahani, Usman Qadir


Netherlands series:

Aug 16: First ODI, VOC Cricket Ground, Rotterdam

Aug 18: Second ODI, VOC Cricket Ground, Rotterdam

Aug 21: Third ODI, VOC Cricket Ground, Rotterdam

T20 Asia Cup:

Group A: India, Pakistan and Qualifier (one of UAE, Kuwait and Hong Kong to qualify)

Group B: Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Aug 28: Pakistan vs India, Dubai

Sept 2: Pakistan v Qualifier, Sharjah

Sept 3-9: Super Four Stage

Sept 11: Final, Dubai.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2022



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