LAHORE: Senior players Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed and Muhammad Amir were sidelined while Abdullah Shafiq was called in as head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq on Monday named 22 probable players for the ODI and T20I series agains
All rounder Shadab Khan has been appointed Pakistan’s vice-captain in both limited-overs formats.
Although the squad has been named for the full tour, squads for the ODIs and T20Is from this pool will be selected at a later date. A big pool has been picked to ensure all players can comply with strict Covid-19 protocols in a bio-secure bubble that will be in place for the full series. Announcing the probable players, Misbah insisted he has opted for experience in the 50-over matches and provided chances to the youngsters in the T20I format.
Pakistan have not played ODIs since the home series against Sri Lanka 12 months ago and the Rawalpindi matches will be part of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League from which the seven top-ranked sides, apart from hosts India, will qualify directly for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
The selectors have rewarded Central Punjab’s Abdullah with a call-up after the 20-year-old former Pakistan under-19 batsman finished as the seventh most successful batsman in the National T20 Cup with 358 runs with a strike-rate of over 133. Abdullah 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.
Malik, who was player of the final, made way for Abdullah, while Rohail Nazir was named as wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan’s back-up. Sarfraz, who was part of the squad for the England tour, has been encouraged to feature in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, starting October 25 to regain his form ahead of the New Zealand tour.
Amir was wicketless on the England tour and had a lacklustre stint in the National T20 cup with six wickets at 38.83.
Fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Naseem Shah were not considered for selection as they are recovering from injuries, but have been advised to play in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy to prove their fitness.
“The National T20 Cup saw some outstanding individual performances,” said Misbah. “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. All they now need to do is to carry those impressive run of forms in the upcoming domestic competitions.