Sarfaraz Ahmed, the former captain of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), announced a 20-member team for the three upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup Super League One-Day Internationals against New Zealand. The match will be played in Rawalpindi late this month.
Batsmen Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha and Sohaib Maqsood also failed to make the cut, according to a statement issued by the cricketing body on Wednesday.
The PCB also included Mohammad Haris, an uncapped wicketkeeper, fast bowlers Shahnawaz Dahani and Mohammad Wasim, as well as Zahid Mahmood, wrist-spinner Zahid Mahmood and Khushdil Shah, middle-order batsmen Iftikhar Ahmad and Khushdil Shah.
The PCB pointed out that Iftikhar had last played against Zimbabwe in 2020, while Khushdil had only made one international appearance in this format.
Mohammad Wasim, Chief Selector, said that he was aware that some players would be disappointed at being excluded. There was still a busy cricket season ahead, and everyone would have ample opportunities to perform well and make their case for national selection.
Wasim referred to the series against New Zealand as “extremely important” and said that the Rawalpindi ODIs would count towards the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup qualification.
According to the PCB statement, he stated that he had “continued to ensure that high-performing players have opportunities while looking to the future so we can build a strong bench strength.”
Wasim said it was “unfortunate” that Shahnawaz had been missed during the team selection for Pakistan’s tour of England last month since the national squad was announced before the completion of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6.
According to him, the fast bowler was a good choice for the series. He also said that Mohammad Wasim received a continuation of his run due to his outstanding performance against West Indies.
The chief selector gave more details about the squad and stated that Zahid was included to the team in support of Usman Qadir, the leg-spinner. He said that Zahid had performed well in the white-ball match against South Africa in Lahore.
Wasim said that the wrist-spinner was able to perform in ODIs.
Mohammad Rizwan would still be the first choice of wicketkeeper, but Mohammad Haris was added to the team “not only in order to reward Haris’ outstanding domestic performances in previous seasons but also to give him an appreciation of international cricket with all its rigours” Wasim said.
The PCB’s concern about the middle-order remains, according to the chief selector. He added, “After trying a few options we have decided that Iftikhar or Khushdil will get another chance.”
He noted that both players have sufficient domestic experience with the format and said the PCB was optimistic they would be successful in home conditions.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imamul Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Zahid Mahmood.
Three ODIs between Pakistan and New Zealand will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Pakistan on Sept 17, Sept 19, & Sept 21. The five T20Is will be played at the Gaddafi stadium from Sept 25 through Oct 3.