Pakistan have named an 18-man squad for the T20I series against New Zealand later this month with two changes from the side that faced Zimbabwe at home.
Sarfaraz Ahmed and Hussain Talat were named in the Pakistan T20I squad for the series against New Zealand to be played 18, 20 and 22 December.
Pakistan will depart for Queenstown on Tuesday post completing their 14-day isolation period in Christchurch. While Hussain comes in for Zafar Gohar, Sarfaraz Ahmed replaces Rohail Nazir, who will captain the Pakistan Shaheens in the four-day tour game against New Zealand A. The 19-year-old Nazir skippered Pakistan in this year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
Fakhar Zaman, who had played in the three T20Is against Zimbabwe, is another name missing after he was left out for the New Zealand tour, for precautionary reasons, due to high fever. The final squad was arrived at after discussions between head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam and in consultation with the Shaheens coach, Ijaz Ahmed.
“I want to compliment my players and the management team for their patience, sacrifices and the hardships they have endured to ensure they not only lead the safe resumption of international cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic since the series in England but also try to give their best every time they step on the field,” Misbah said.
“We will leave the isolation facility in the next day or two, we will try to put all this behind us and focus on the challenge of facing New Zealand in both the formats. New Zealand are a formidable side in their conditions and their recent performances against the West Indies confirm why they are ranked second in Tests and just behind us in T20Is in sixth position.
“For the T20Is, we have retained the squad that has been playing together for some time. The squad comprises young, talented and high-performing players, who are determined and eager to make names for themselves and further cement their places in the side.
“New Zealand boasts some of the best cricket facilities, which are backed by supportive and appreciative crowds. I want my players to make optimum use of the upcoming opportunities by expressing themselves by playing fearlessly every time they take the field. All the players have our backing and support, and all they now need to show is how much believe, faith and trust they have in their own capabilities.”
The T20I series begins on 18 December with the first game at Eden Park, Auckland. The other two matches will be played at Hamilton and Napier.
Squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz
Pakistan v New Zealand schedule
18 Dec – 1st T20I, Eden Park, Auckland
20 Dec – 2nd T20I, Seddon Park, Hamilton
22 Dec – 3rd T20I, McLean Park, Napier