National squad for T20 World Cup as well as the home series against New Zealand and England announed by PCB on Monday. Twitter photo
Gulf Today Report
Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz were left out as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector Mohammad Wasim announced on Monday the national squad for next month's T20 World Cup in the UAE as well as the home series against New Zealand and England.
PCB selectors included power-hitters Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah and also dropped all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, opening batsman Sharjeel Khan and fast bowler Arshad Iqbal, who were part of Pakistan’s squads in the last series against England and the West Indies.
Legspinner Usman Qadir, opening batter Fakhar Zaman and fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani will travel with the team to the UAE as reserve players.
The seven home T20 in Lahore and Rawalpindi will be played from Sept.25 to Oct.14, while Pakistan will proceed to take on India in a battle of former champions in their T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on Oct.24.
Commenting on the selection of new team, Wasim said that PCB had tried to cover all bases by catering for the modern day brand of T20 cricket.
"This includes trusting the abilities, skills and experience of the players to perform in a high pressure global tournament in conditions that are familiar to us, as well as looking at the teams we will play in Group-2 matches," he said.
“Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah may not have impressive numbers against their names but hardly anyone can doubt their tremendous talent and prowess. They are the best in the available pool of middle-order batsmen and we remain confident that they will provide us solutions to our middle-order difficulties through solid performances," he said.
“These two experienced middle-order batters will compliment Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Maqsood, while in Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan, we have three top quality spinners who are equally good with the bat and outstanding in the field," he said.
He said that Azam Khan was an "aggressive and attacking batter" who also keeps wickets, a combination that has earned him the selectors’ nod ahead of Sarfaraz Ahmed.
"Mohammad Wasim Junior has been preferred over Faheem Ashraf due to his pace and ability to hit big shots. Wasim will bolster the fast bowling unit, which comprises Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi," he said.
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.
Travelling reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.
Asif Ali stole the show with a quick-fire 12-ball 27 cameo after Haris Rauf took four for to help Pakistan set up a five-wicket victory against New Zealand in their T20 World Cup match at Sharjah Stadium on Tuesday.
Skipper Babar scored a polished 47-ball-66 for his 24th fifty in Twenty20 internationals, and his fourth in five matches, while Malik smashed an 18-ball 54 not out as Pakistan posted 189-4 in their 20 overs.
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