Sarfaraz Ahmed runs out England's Eoin Morgan. FIle / Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed makes a surprise return in three changes to Pakistan's T20 World Cup squad, selectors said on Friday.
The 34-year-old Sarfaraz was not in the 15-man squad announced last month but all 16 teams competing in the event had Oct.10 as the deadline to make any changes. The Twenty20 World Cup starts in Oman and the United Arab Emirates from Oct.17.
Pakistan's chief selector Mohammad Wasim said changes were made after taking into account performances in the ongoing National Twenty20 tournament.
"After reviewing player performances and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz in the squad for the T20 World Cup 2021," Wasim was quoted as saying in a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release.
Haider, dropped from the initial squad after violating a bio-secure bubble in the Pakistan Super League in the UAE in June, has amassed 315 runs in eight games with three fifties in the national event.
Wasim said top order batsman Sohaib Maqsood is included in the squad subject to fitness and medical advice after he suffered a lower back disc problem.
The three players who were in the original squad and are now left out are batsman Khushdil Shah, deputy wicketkeeper Azam Khan and pacer Mohammad Hasnain.
Giving his opinion on the changes made by the PCB, former speedster Shoaib Akhtar said that "this seems like a much more complete squad now".
Shoaib, however, expressed his disappointment over the non-selection of former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik.
"In my opinion, Malik should have been included in the squad. But I'm still happy with the current changes," he said.
He further said that PCB has made a good decision by strengthening the middle-order, which was previously lacking the experience.
"We have brought stability in the lower order with the inclusion of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali. This is a strong team and Pakistan should be able to go far in the competition now," he concluded.
Pakistan is in Group 2 of the Super 12 stages of the World Cup and play their opening match against archrivals India in Dubai on Oct.24.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood
Travelling reserves: Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Qadir
Liam Livingstone slammed the fastest T20I ton by an England player but couldn't take his side to victory as Pakistan notched a 31-run win in the opening tie of the three-match series at Trent Bridge.
A number of experienced campaigners were left out as PCB chief selector Mohammad Wasim announced the national squad for next month's T20 World Cup as well as the home series against New Zealand and England.
Afridi insists Pakistan can once again spring a few surprises in the UAE. "The current Pakistan team is very talented although they lack experienced players. But, as we all know, never under-estimate a Pakistan team!"
South Africa need 19 runs to win off the last over, but medium pacer Faheem Ashraf held his nerves to keep the visitors down to 166-6 while Bjorn Fortuin (17 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (15 not out) could manage only 15.
Openers Aqib Ilyas 50 and Jatinder Singh 73, then clattered the PNG bowlers around the ground without being parted to steer Oman home with 6.2 overs to spare, handing PNG a tough lesson in their first ever World Cup outing.
Dubai, the headquarters of the International Cricket Council, is all set to stage the finals of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has a third UIM F2 world championship title within his grasp after claiming pole position in dramatic style for Sunday's final round of the series in Portugal.
Dubai Ride, one of the key highlights of Dubai Fitness Challenge, is all set to return to Sheikh Zayed Road on Friday 5 November after its historic debut last year, offering cyclists a unique opportunity to pedal along Dubai’s main traffic artery against the backdrop of some of the city’s most famous landmarks.