LAHORE – Pakistan cricket selectors have named an experienced, well-balanced and formidable 15-player squad for the upcoming Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand and England, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
The seven home T20Is in Lahore and Rawalpindi will be played from 25 September to 14 October, while Pakistan will proceed to take on India in a battle of former champions in their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on 24 October.
Domestic performers Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah have been drafted into the side to provide more firepower in the middle-order.
Asif played his 29th and last T20I for Pakistan against Zimbabwe earlier in April and averages 16.38 with a strike-rate of 123.74, while his overall strike-rate in T20 cricket stands at 147. Khushdil Shah’s ninth and last T20I was against South Africa in Lahore earlier this year. The left-hander averages more than 21 and holds a strike-rate of 109.24, while his overall T20 strike-rate stands at 134.
From the 19 players who were part of the Pakistan squad for the T20I series in England and the West Indies, Arshad Iqbal, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Sharjeel Khan and Usman Qadir have been left out, though Fakhar and Usman along with Shahnawaz Dahani have been named as the three traveling reserves.
The 15-player squad includes five batters (Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood), two wicketkeeper-batters (Azam Khan and Mohammad Rizwan), four all-rounders (Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Shadab Khan) and four fast bowlers (Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi).
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Azam Khan (wicketkeeper), Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood
Traveling reserves – Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.