Saturday, 28 January 2023

Pakistan announced Squad for WT20

Pakistan announced Squad for WT20

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah have included Pakistan's T20I squad for the upcoming home series against New Zealand and England and the 2021 T20 World Cup, which begins in October.

In April this year, both players were dropped from the team but earned the places back because PCB saw them as "trusted options" for a bigger tournament.

A surprising move by PCB, though, opening batter Sharjeel Khan was left out of the 15-man squad and even ignored by the traveling reserves.

His exclusion is partly due to the impact of the incoming Ramiz Raja PCB chairman.

Sharjeel has disappointing performances since his comeback from March has made the decision more manageable for the selectors to drop him.

Sohaib Maqsood, who has been retaining in the team, is likely to fill the top-order role left by Sharjeel khan.

The selector also dropped allrounder Faheem Ashraf instead of naming Usman Qadir, Shanawaz Dahani, and Fakhar Zaman as traveling reserves. Pakistan has till 15 October to make any changes to the 15-man group.

Pakistan's T20I assignments will begin on 25 September with a five-match series against New Zealand in Lahore. These will be followed by two home matches against England in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14. Pakistan will head to the UAE to kickstart their T20 World Cup campaign, with the marquee clash against India in the Super 12 phase, on 24 October.

"We have tried different combinations, identified different areas, and found final options for the best selection,"

PCB chief selector Mohammad Wasim said while announcing the squad in a press conference on Monday. "There were things required but had been missing, and now you will see the difference as we tried to cover all the bases, especially considering the conditions in UAE where we are carrying an advantage.

"We are very much familiar with the conditions and have a good T20 record so taking every aspect in account including the opponents we have combined this team. The team has a tendency required for modern day cricket, a brand we often talk about. We tried to load specialist players for the role. So we are quite hopeful that with all the preparation our team will play outstanding and perform."

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Asif and Khushdil in the squad are likely to raise some questions, as both players gave several chances before altogether dropping. Asif shot to prominence as one of Pakistan's most hard-hitting batters in the circuit but could never quite display that talent on the international stage.

He is currently averaging 16.38 with a strike rate of 123.74 from 29 T20Is. His domestic T20 career is decorating with a strike rate of 147.02.

Asif is presently playing in the CPL, with 32 runs at a strike rate of 96.96 from five games.

Wasim said when asked what made him recall two players who didn't have the performances to back it up.

"We tried different batters in the middle but we didn't get performances,"

"I do agree they [Asif and Khusdil] didn't perform (since they were dropped) but then none of the other made their case as well. So we figured out which player we can lay our confidence in, who can do well under pressure and can perform in those conditions against the bowling line-ups expected in the UAE. They are the best options we have with left and right combination in the middle. Asif Ali is still the best striker of the ball in Pakistan. I believe he can do well in pressure handling and will do well in the tournament. We considered a lot of players but we have our trust on them as compared to others."

Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has been traveling with the team in recent games as a backup option, has also been excluded, with Mohammad Rizwan slotted in as the main wicketkeeper-batter in all three formats. Sarfaraz has been replacing a younger option in Azam Khan, who made headlines for his hefty strike rate in domestic T20s. However, he is yet to begin himself in international cricket.

Azam is selected as a backup keeper with Rizwan as our number one keeper, and he will remain on top. Earlier, we had an option to pick a larger squad, and there was always room, but now when it comes down to select a 15-man team, Azam can quickly edge anyone because of his ability as a power-hitting batter. If on any day we want anyone with a high strike-rate in the middle order, he offers the luxury of being able to fill in as an extra battery as well."

Pakistan squad:

Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Asif Ali, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan (w-k), Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez,
Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hasnain.

Reserves: Usman Qadir, Shanawaz Dahani, Fakhar Zaman

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