Srinagar: There are plenty of new faces included while senior all-rounder missed out due to injury as Pakistan announced its T20 squad for the New Zealand series which will be first series to be captained by Shaheen Afridi.
Shaheen Afridi’s T20I captain reign will commence with the series in New Zealand beginning on 12 January, a few days after the third and final Test of the ICC World Test Championship series against Australia.
Senior all-rounder Shadab Khan, who was the vice-captain of the T20I squad in the Men’s T20 World Cup last year, misses out on selection because of an injury.
“Shadab Khan is a very important member of Pakistan T20 cricket. Unfortunately he suffered an ankle injury (during the National T20) and requires 2 further weeks of rehab. After that, he’ll be available to bowl,” Chief Selector Wahab Riaz said while announcing the squad regarding Shadab’s absence.
Mohammad Haris, who put in notable performances in the T20 World Cup, was ignored from the team with Riaz clarifying that he was rested to try other players who have done well in domestic cricket.
Azam Khan, one of the three wicketkeepers, came in for special mention from Riaz.
“We have watched Azam Khan very closely. At times, you have to prefer skills over fitness. If a player can win you a match, that’s more important than anything else,” Riaz said.
“We’ve seen he’s a high-impact player in PSL, domestic cricket, other leagues – we’ve tried many players at No.6 so now we want to give Azam a chance,” Riaz stated.
Twenty-year-old Haseebullah Khan, who impressed in the Pakistan Super League, is the other wicketkeeper in the squad.
Pakistan squad: Shaheen Afridi (c), Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Saim Ayub, Sahibzada Farhan, Haseebullah Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Mohammad Nawaz, Abrar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan.