Pakistan Cricket Board announces 15-man squad for T20 World Cup - GulfToday

Pakistan Cricket Board announces 15-man squad for T20 World Cup


Babar Azam during the practice session at Headingley Cricket Ground, Leeds, Britain, on Wednesday. Reuters

Pakistan retained fast bowler Haris Rauf when announcing on Friday their 15-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup, despite doubts over his fitness and lack of match practice.

The 30-year-old Haris injured his shoulder during Pakistan Super League in February and is expected to play in the second Twenty20 international in Birmingham on Saturday — his first outing since recovery. Pakistan Cricket Board's selection committee said Rauf is fit and raring to go.

"Rauf is full fit and bowling well in the nets," said a PCB release. "It would have been nice if he had gotten an outing in the first match at Headingley but we remain confident that he will continue to maintain an upward trajectory in the coming matches."

Coming out of retirement paid off for fast bowler Mohammad Amir and allrounder Imad Wasim when they were named in the squad for the T20 World Cup. Both players have rich experience of playing in the Caribbean Premier League and the selectors backed them.

Fast bowler Mohammad Amir — the only survivour of Pakistan's 2009 Twenty20 World Cup triumph — is meanwhile staging a comeback after coming out of retirement two months ago. He is part of a strong pace attack spearheaded by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Rauf, Naseem Shah and Abbas Afridi.

Pakistan lost in the semi-final of the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and in the final in Australia in 2022.

It will be the first T20 World Cup for leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed, wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan, fast bowler Abbas Afridi, opening batter Saim Ayub and middle-order batter Usman Khan.

Pakistan is the 20th and the last team to announce the squad as they continued to search for combination since their 2-2 series draw at home against New Zealand last month. Babar Azam will lead the squad in the World Cup, his third T20 World Cup as skipper.

The tournament will run from June 1 to June 29 and be jointly hosted by the United States and West Indies.

Teams are divided in four groups of five with the top two teams qualifying for the Super Eight Stage in which all matches will be played in the West Indies.

Pakistan's Group A includes arch rivals India as well as Canada and Ireland.

Pakistan will face United States in their first match in Dallas on June 6. Fast bowler Hasan Ali, as well as batters Agha Salman and Muhammad Irfan Khan were left off the squad.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Saim Ayub, Fakhar Zaman, Usman Khan, Azam Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Abbas Afridi, Haris Rauf, Abrar Ahmed.



Agence France-Presse / Associated Press

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