Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has named an experienced, well-balanced and formidable 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
Pakistan will take on the arch-rivals India in their opening fixture at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24.
The prolific Babar Azam will continue to lead the Men In Green, but there are some surprise inclusions and exclusions in the squad. While Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah have been recalled for the marquee event, experienced campaigners – Shoaib Malik and Wahab Riaz – have been left out of the squad.
Asif played his last T20I for Pakistan against Zimbabwe earlier in April and averages 16.38 with a strike rate of 123.74. On the other hand, Shah last represented his national team in a T20I against South Africa at Lahore earlier this year. The left-handed batter averages 21.66 in 9 matches and holds a strike rate of 109.24.
Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim, in his statement, said: “While selecting the squad, we have tried to cover all our bases by catering for the modern day brand of T20 cricket that will be required to perform impressively in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. This includes trusting the abilities, skills and experience of the players to perform in a high-pressure global tournament in conditions that are familiar to us, as well as looking at the teams we will play in Group-2 matches.”
“Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah may not have impressive numbers against their names, but hardly anyone can doubt their tremendous talent and prowess. They are the best in the available pool of middle-order batsmen, and we remain confident that they will provide us solutions to our middle-order difficulties through solid performances.
“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 have three top-quality spinners who are equally good with the bat and outstanding in the field,” he added.
From the 19 players who were part of the T20I series in England, Arshad Iqbal, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Sharjeel Khan and Usman Qadir failed to make a cut in the T20 World Cup squad.
However, Zaman, Qadir and Shahnawaz Dahani will be the three travelling reserves for the T20 extravaganza.
Pakistan’s squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup:
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez, Azam Khan, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz.
Reserves – Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.