Pakistan have announced a 35-member squad for their tour of New Zealand, which begins with the T20 International (T20I) on December 18. The two teams will also play a couple of Tests at Mount Maunganui and Christchurch, starting from December 26. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan has been named Babar Azam’s deput in the Test side, while Shadab Khan will be the second in command in the shortest format.
Senior pros Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik have not been named.
Babar, who was appointed Pakistan Test captain recently, will lead a team of six openers, 11 middle-order batsmen, three wicketkeepers, five spinners and 10 pacers.
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has called the upcoming tour a crucial one as it gives Pakistan an opportunity to improve their T20I rankings and also a chance to take giant strides in the World Test Championship.
“In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players,” Misbah said, according to geo.tv.
Misbah also congratulated those who have received their maiden call-ups into the national side. “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,” said Misbah
With an attempt to introduce fresh blood into the side, some of the senior pros like Shafiq, Amir and Malik have missed out. “Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe,” said Misbah.
Malik and Amir have been excluded as Pakistan want to focus on investing on promising and emerging players who will be available to play all formats.
The players, along with 20-member players support personnel, will leave for Lincoln on November 23, where they will spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Pakistan squad for New Zealand tour:
Openers: Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood and Zeeshan Malik.
Middle-order batsmen: Babar Azam (c), Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Butt, Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Hafeez.
Wicketkeepers: Mohammad Rizwan (Test vice-captain), Rohail Nazir and Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Spinners: Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan (T20I vice-captain), Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah and Zafar Gohar.
Fast bowlers: Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz.