Pakistan recall Sahibzada Farhan after five years for T20 series against New Zealand - GulfToday

Pakistan recall Sahibzada Farhan after five years for T20 series against New Zealand


In the recent National T20 Cup at Karachi, the 27-year-old Farhan scored 492 runs in 12 matches for Peshawar. File photo

Pakistan named several uncapped players and recalled opening batter Sahibzada Farhan for the first time in five years for the five-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand.

The 27-year-old Farhan scored 40 runs in three Twenty20s for Pakistan in 2018 but had been out of the selectors’ favour since. The right-handed middle-order batter forced his way back into the national team after performing impressively in white-ball cricket over the last two domestic seasons as Pakistan aim to find the right combination in their middle-order batting for next year’s T20 World Cup.

In the recent National T20 Cup at Karachi, Farhan scored 492 runs in 12 matches for Peshawar, including one century and four half centuries as he smashed 55 fours and 29 sixes during the tournament.

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Pakistan T20 vice-captain Shadab Khan will miss the tour because of an ankle injury he sustained during the National T20 Cup while selectors also rested wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris.

Fast bowlers Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain and Ihsanullah, who all missed the 50-over World Cup in India, are still recovering from injuries and were not considered for selection.

Azam Khan, who has played five T20s for Pakistan, was among three wicketkeepers picked in the squad of 17 with Mohammad Rizwan and uncapped Haseebullah the other options.

“Unfortunately Shadab twisted his ankle during the domestic season and he needs another two weeks of rehabilitation,” chief selector Wahab Riaz told reporters in Lahore on Tuesday.

“We know what Haris is capable of doing in international cricket. He is part of our plans, but we wanted to expand our pool of players and that’s why we have rested him.”

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Pakistan tried several batters like Khushdil Shah, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik and Faheem Ashraf in its middle-order over the years, but Riaz said none could make an impact that forced the selectors to give chance to top performers of domestic cricket like Farhan and Haseebullah.

“Going forward, we need to understand our back-up options in our player pool and also promote domestic performers,” Riaz said.

Fast bowler Abbas Afridi and leg spinner Usama Mir, who has played 12 ODIs, were the other uncapped T20 players in the squad.

Riaz said the selectors were well aware of Azam Khan’s fitness issues but wanted to give an opportunity to the youngster, who has been scoring prolifically in T20 leagues around the world.

Riaz said Azam Khan will join the cricket academy in Lahore after the series in New Zealand where he will work more on his fitness.

Shaheen Shah Afridi will lead Pakistan in T20 for the first time after he was named captain when Babar Azam stepped down from the captaincy in all formats after Pakistan couldn’t qualify for the semifinals of the 50-over World Cup.

There will be a week-long training camp in Lahore starting Dec.28 before the team departs for New Zealand.

The Jan.12-21 series begins at Auckland with Hamilton, Dunedin and Christchurch hosting the remaining games.

Associated Press

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

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