Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 35-man squad on Wednesday for their upcoming Test and T20I tour of New Zealand.
Babar Azam, who was recently appointed as Test captain, will be leading the side against Kiwis on their soil for the first time.
The squad includes five uncapped players – Zeeshan Malik, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt, Rohail Nazir and Amad Butt.
On the other hand, some experienced players such as Mohammad Amir, Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq have been left out of the group.
During Pakistan’s previous Test assignment against England, Shafiq struggled to contribute with the willow as he scored only 67 runs from five innings at a poor average of 13.40. When it comes to Malik and Amir, both had been overlooked in the recently concluded white-ball series against Zimbabwe and have been ignored again as well.
Mohammad Rizwan, who enjoyed a tremendous series against England with back-to-back fifties, has been named the new Test vice-captain. When it comes to the shortest format, leg-spinner Shadab Khan will be Azam’s deputy in New Zealand.
“Gaining points in Test championship is our focus:” Misbah-ul-Haq
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said that their focus is to improve the T20I rankings and gain some points in the ICC World Test Championship. He congratulated the five uncapped players, who have been picked in the squad.
“The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players,” said Misbah in a statement.
“I want to congratulate uncapped Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir who have impressed the selectors with their form, technique, temperament and ability to secure places in the 35-player pool,” he added.
Misbah also spoke about the absence of Malik and Amir from the T20I squad stating that the apex board is trying to invest more on emerging players and young talent.
“Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats. We have kept faith in Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz purely based on their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad,” Misbah added further.
Here is Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Imran Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Rohail Nazir, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.