Head coaches of the six Cricket Associations today confirmed their 16-player squads for this month’s National T20 Cup. The squads were finalised from a pool of players, which the head coaches had selected on 28 August. In accordance with the event format and team requirements, the head coaches will select and announce their squads for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and 50-over Pakistan Cup closer to these competitions.
The First XI National T20 Cup, for the first time, will be held on a double-league basis. The format has been changed keeping in view the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 and to provide the players with more opportunities to stake claims in the national side. With the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 Draft to also take place in November, the tournament provides a great opportunity for country’s best T20 players to impress the team owners with their talent and mettle.
Northern will defend both the First XI and Second XI titles. The First XI matches will be played in Multan (1st round) and Rawalpindi (2nd round, semi-finals and final) from 30 September to 18 October and Second XI fixtures in Lahore from 1-8 October.
Northern’s First XI head coach Mohammad Wasim has named a strong side, which will be captained by Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim and includes Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Amir, who recently featured in the T20I series against England. The side also includes promising fast bowler Musa Khan and wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir, who led Pakistan in this year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, while other internationals in the line-up are Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir and Umar Amin.
Imad will be available for the second round matches commencing 9 October in Rawalpindi as he is presently representing Nottinghamshire in the ECB’s Vitality Blast T20 competition.
Balochistan, last year’s runners-up, will continue to be captained by Pakistan international Haris Sohail. Other internationals in the side are Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Farhat, Umar Gul and Yasir Shah. The side will be coached by Faisal Iqbal.
Pakistan T20I captain Babar Azam will lead Central Punjab that also includes Kamran Akmal, Abid Ali, Bilal Asif, Ehsan Adil, Faheem Ashraf, Naseem Shah and Zafar Gohar. Babar, like Imad, will join the squad for the second round matches after finishing his commitments with Somerset. The side will be coached by Shahid Anwar.
Ahmed Shehzad and Hasan Ali were unavailable for selection due to fitness, while Salman Butt was not selected in the First XI side after he had failed to feature in any of his side’s matches in last year’s National T20 Cup. In the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 for Lahore Qalandars, he has played in only one game to date. However, considering his experience, he was offered to lead the Second XI side, which he declined.
A star-studded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be captained by wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan. The side includes Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Khan Snr, Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Khan Shinwari and Wahab Riaz who recently toured England with the Pakistan squad. Shaheen is presently representing Hampshire and will be in action for the second round matches. The side will be coached by former Test all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.
Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will be back in the captaincy role, determined not only to give strong performances to stake a claim for the upcoming home series against Zimbabwe but also help Sindh reach the final. Also at his disposal will be star performers like Anwar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Khurram Manzoor, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Hasnain, Rumman Raees, Sharjeel Khan and Sohail Khan. Former Test batsman Basit Ali will be the coach.
Southern Punjab will be coached by Abdul Rehman, who has retained Shan Masood as his team’s captain. Other players who have featured in international matches include Aamir Yamin, Bilawal Bhatti, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali (subject to fitness) and Sohaib Maqsood.