A number of experienced campaigners were overlooked as chief selector Mohammad Wasim announced the national squad for next month’s T20 World Cup also because the home series against New Zealand and England.
Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and hard-hitting opener Sharjeel Khan were the notable absentees. Mohammad Amir had retired and wasn’t in contention.
While the experienced quartet was snubbed, the young Azam Khan was picked within the 15-man squad, together with his selection set to boost many eyebrows thanks to his inexperience at the very best level and an underwhelming batting debut against England when he was out for only one .
Also within the squad is that the out-of-form Asif Ali, who is finding runs hard to return by within the ongoing Caribbean Premier League 2021.
As expected, veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez made the cut despite enduring a lean year with the bat.
PSL 2021 standout Sohaib Maqsood has also been retained, while Mohammad Wasim Jr was the opposite surprise inclusion as his namesake announced the squad.
‘PCB tried to hide all bases’
Commenting on the choice , Wasim said that the cricket board had tried to hide all bases by catering for the fashionable day brand of T20 cricket.
“This includes trusting the skills , skills and knowledge of the players to perform during a high global tournament in conditions that are familiar to us, also as watching the teams we’ll play in Group-2 matches,” he said.
“Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah might not have impressive numbers against their names but hardly anyone can doubt their tremendous talent and prowess. they’re the simplest within the available pool of middle-order batsmen and that we remain confident that they’re going to provide us solutions to our middle-order difficulties through solid performances,” he said.
“These two experienced middle-order batters will compliment Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Maqsood, while in Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan, we’ve three high quality spinners who are equally good with the bat and outstanding within the field,” he said.
He said that Azam Khan was an “aggressive and attacking batter” who also keeps wickets, a mixture that has earned him the selectors’ nod before Sarfaraz Ahmed.
“Mohammad Wasim Junior has been preferred over Faheem Ashraf thanks to his pace and skill to hit big shots. Wasim will bolster the fast bowling unit, which comprises Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi,” he said.
“Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir were unlucky to miss out on the selections. Sohaib Maqsood’s ability to bat and perform anywhere within the top-order has given him a foothold over Fakhar, while the presence of three experienced spinners, who also are capable batters, and five genuine wicket-taking fast bowlers made it difficult for Usman Qadir to urge into the side. Like Faheem, an uncapped Shahnawaz was tied with Mohammad Wasim Junior, but we opted for the latter thanks to his pace and batting abilities,” he said.
The seven home T20Is in Lahore and Rawalpindi are going to be played from September 25 to October 14, while Pakistan will proceed to require on India during a battle of former champions in their T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on United Nations Day .
Pakistan’s 15-man squad for World T20 and upcoming home series:
Babar Azam, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shal, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Afridi and Sohaib Maqsood.
Reserve players: Shanawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Fakhar Zaman