Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi return to squad
Ahead of the Green Shirts’ one-day international (ODI) and T20 international (T20I) series against New Zealand, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday announced the squads with Babar Azam returning to the side as skipper.
The series — to be played in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Karachi from April 14 to May 7— against the Kiwis will also see Shaheen Shah Afridi make a comeback to the international cricket after four months after being named as part of the squad.
The pacer earlier missed five Tests and three ODIs against England and New Zealand after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 after the completion of his rehabilitation due to a knee injury he sustained in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in July.
He had subsequently missed the second Test against Sri Lanka, ODI series against the Netherlands, ACC Asia Cup in the UAE and seven-match T20I series in Pakistan.
The 22-year-old, who has taken 99 Test, 62 ODI and 58 T20I wickets, staged a remarkable comeback in the Pakistan Super League 8 when he inspired Lahore Qalandars to become the first side to successfully defend the title.
Not only that, Shaheen’s own performance was outstanding both with the bat and the ball — he scored 133 runs at a strike-rate of 168.35 and grabbed 19 wickets at an economy-rate of 9.13. He was rightly named captain of Team of HBL PSL 8.
Apart from Shaheen and Babar, also returning to both squads are Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Rizwan. All these players had rested for last month’s three-T20I series against Afghanistan in Sharjah.
This means Babar Azam will resume his normal services as captain in the ODI and T20I series against New Zealand, while Shadab will return to his original position as vice-captain.
Three young guns — Ihsanullah, Saim Ayub and Zaman Khan — have been retained in the T20I squad following stellar performances in Sharjah, while Ihsanullah has also been added to the ODI squad for the first time in his career.
The squad will assemble in Lahore on 6 April where the training camp will commence on 7 April.
T20I: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Zaman Khan
ODI: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Ihsanullah, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Usama Mir. Reserves: Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed and Tayyab Tahir
Series schedule (T20Is to start at 9pm; ODIs to begin at 3.30pm):
14 Apr – 1st T20I, Lahore
15 Apr – 2nd T20I, Lahore
17 Apr – 3rd T20I, Lahore
20 Apr – 4th T20I, Rawalpindi
24 Apr – 5th T20I, Rawalpindi
27 Apr – 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
29 Apr – 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi
3 May – 3rd ODI, Karachi
5 May – 4th ODI, Karachi
7 May – 5th ODI, Karachi