Uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafiq earned a maiden call-up on Monday but senior players Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir were left out from Pakistan's 22-man probables list for the ODI and T20 series against Zimbabwe next month. Shafiq, 20, was rewarded for his strong showing for Central Punjab in the recently-concluded National T20 Cup. The top-order batsman from Sialkot finished as the seventh most successful batsman in the National T20 Cup with 358 runs with a strike-rate of over 133.
He scored a century on his T20 debut, becoming only the second player in history to make a century on both first-class and T20 debuts. "Abdullah Shafiq has been rewarded for his tremendous potential and performance. He has been identified as a future prospect and, therefore, drafted into the squad as part of his development," Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said in a statement.
Shafiq was included in place of Malik, while Rohail Nazir was named as Mohammad Rizwan's back-up wicketkeeper. Sarfaraz, who was overlooked for almost entire England tour despite being part of the squad, has been encouraged to feature in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, starting October 25, to rediscover better form ahead of the New Zealand tour.
Pace duo of Hasan Ali and Naseem Shah were not considered for selection as they are recovering from injuries. "A few leading performers may feel disappointed that they have been unable to break into the squad. But, I want to reassure them that they will remain in consideration for the New Zealand tour and early next year's home series," Misbah said.
"Seniors like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed have not been picked for this series, but I want to categorically state that their careers are not over by any means as performance remains the only criterion for selection.
"We have followed the same philosophy while leaving out Mohammad Amir and Usman Shinwari so that bowlers like Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan and Haris Rauf can get an extended run."
The 50-over matches will be played at the Pindi cricket stadium on October 30, November 1 and 3, followed by three T20Is at the Gaddafi stadium on November 7, 8 and 10. The probables will assemble in Lahore on October 21 for COVID-19 testing and after observing a five-day isolation period, during which they will play two 50-over matches at the Gaddafi Stadium, will travel to Rawalpindi on October 26.
The probables for three T20Is will be shortlisted after the ODIs and players unlikely to feature in them will be advised to play in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy third round matches, which will commence from November 6.
Pakistan probables for ODIs and T20Is: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Haider Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imam ul Haq, Harris Sohail, Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Rohail Nazir (WK), Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Musa Khan, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadar, Zafar Gohar.