Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha and Sohaib Maqsood failed to retain their spots in the national side. File photo
Gulf Today Report
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday brought four new faces into their 20-member squad for the upcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand to be played in Rawalpindi.
New Zealand will be playing three ODIs and five Twenty20 internationals, on their first tour of Pakistan in 18 years. New Zealand players will arrive in Pakistan on Sept.11 and will play the ODI series at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Sept.17, 19 and 21. New Zealand will also play five T20Is in Lahore, for which a squad will be announced later.
Babar Azam will lead the Pakistani side in both the series. The tourists will be under strength with their top players involved in the rescheduled Indian Premier League (IPL), prompting Pakistan selectors to try out new faces.
Uncapped wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris, fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and wrist-spinner Zahid Mahmood were included in the squad, while there was no place for former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Sohaib Maqsood who were part of the squad on England tour in July.
Sarfaraz, a wicketkeeper-batsman, has played only one of the last 10 ODIs — against South Africa at Centurion in April. Mohammad Rizwan has been Pakistan’s first choice wicketkeeper for more than a year.
"Mohammad Rizwan remains the first-choice wicketkeeper,” PCB chief selector Mohammad Wasim said. "We continue to groom young wicketkeepers who are fit and ready to step up when the opportunity presents itself.”
Twenty-year-old wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris was named in the ODI squad as a backup for Rizwan. The other uncapped players include fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood.
Middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah were recalled after both last played in the ODI series against Zimbabwe last year in Pakistan.
"We have continued to ensure that we give opportunities to high performing players while looking into the future so that we can develop a strong bench-strength,” the chief selector said. "Middle-order has remained our concern and, as such, after trying a few options, we have decided to give another run to Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah."
Beside Sarfaraz, the selectors dropped batsmen Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha and Sohaib Maqsood from the team, which last played an ODI series against England in July.
"I know a few players will feel disappointed at missing out on the selection,” Wasim said. "We have a busy season of cricket ahead, which means there will be ample opportunities down the line for everyone to put up strong performances and push their case for national selection.”
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Zahid Mahmood.
I am not going to make excuses. We've still got to try and win with whichever players we put on the park but it has been tough. There have been a lot of positives. With the opportunities that have been given, a couple of guys have come through with flying colours," he said
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