Pakistan announce 17-man squad for New Zealand T20I series

Published December 19, 2023
Pakistan chief selector Wahab Riaz and Kamran Akmal in Lahore.—Photo courtesy:PCB
Pakistan chief selector Wahab Riaz and Kamran Akmal in Lahore.—Photo courtesy:PCB

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday announced a 17-man squad for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, which will take place in January.

In a press release, the PCB said that pace ace Shaheen Shah Afridi would lead the Pakistan squad for the first time.

It said that the series marked the start of Pakistan’s preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, which is scheduled to take place in June 2024.

The PCB said right-arm pacer Mohammad Abbas Afridi, wicketkeeper-batter Haseebullah and leg-spinner Usama Mir had earned their maiden call-up to the T20I team following “commendable”runs during the domestic season.

“Sahibzada Farhan, who made his T20I debut for Pakistan in 2018, has also returned to the squad after he impressed with the bat in the National T20 Cup 2023-24,” it said.

The PCB said that uncapped Abrar Ahmed and Azam Khan, who last featured for Pakistan against Afghanistan in March 2023, had also been named in the squad.

Meanwhile, Pakistan opted for six pace bowling options by including Aamir Jamal, Zaman Khan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Abbas Afridi and Shaheen.

It said that Naseem Shah, Ihsanullah and Shadab Khan would not be part of the squad due to injuries.

“Shan Masood, Mohammad Haris and Faheem Ashraf, who were part of Pakistan’s squad during the last bilateral series, miss out on the tour,” the PCB added.

The cricket board said that Pakistan’s T20I tour of New Zealand would comprise five matches, to be played from January 12 to January 21. It further said that Pakistan would be touring New Zealand immediately after wrapping up the Test tour of Australia.

The press release quoted PCB Chief Selector Wahab Riaz as saying that it was imperative to nurture young talent as they had to represent Pakistan going forward.

“This is the best pool of players but we also want to build back-ups. We have to explore our new talent and see what kind of performances they are capable of producing. Going forward, we need to understand our back-up options in our player pool and promote domestic performers,” he said.

He further said that Mohammad Haris had been rested during this series.

“We are well aware of his capabilities and he is part of our plans going forward. Shan Masood is also part of our plans and likewise has been rested for this series. We will call him up if we require him to fill any gaps in the team,” he said.

Full squad: Shaheen Shah Afridi (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abbas Afridi, Azam Khan (wicket-keeper), Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haseebullah (wicket-keeper), Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sahibzada Farhan, Saim Ayub, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan

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