Chief selector Wahab Riaz revealed the squad for the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand next month. Pacer Shaheen Afridi will step in as the T20I captain, taking over from Babar Azam.
The 17-member squad introduces some young talents like Abbas Afridi, Saim Ayub, Haseebullah Khan, and Sahibzada Farhan. Alongside them, hard-hitting Azam Khan joins the squad, along with experienced players such as Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, and Mohammad Rizwan.
Riaz highlighted Haseebullah’s impactful innings in the PSL and his consistency in white-ball cricket. He clarified that although Haseebullah usually opens in domestic cricket, the team aims to develop players for positions 4-7.
Regarding some notable exclusions like Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, and Faheem Ashraf, Riaz expressed the need for players who can create significant impacts in these positions.
Explaining the absence of Mohammad Haris, Riaz mentioned a strategic decision to rest him for this series, aiming to explore and widen their pool of players from domestic cricket.
Regarding the injury to all-rounder Shadab Khan, Riaz mentioned a two-week rehab period due to an ankle injury sustained during the National T20. However, he assured that Shadab Khan would be available for bowling post-recovery.
The schedule for Pakistan’s 2024 tour to New Zealand includes five matches spread across Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin, and Christchurch from 12th to 21st January.