The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally announced its squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia and there were not many surprises.
Babar Azam will continue to lead the team, and Shadab Khan will serve as vice-captain. Ace fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi made a return from injury while Shoaib Malik and former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed were not included despite some calls by ex-cricketers and fans.
Shan Masood, who has had a good run of form in the T20 Blast in England, has been called up to play T20Is for the first time. He has played for Pakistan in Tests and ODIs, last representing them in the longest format in 2021. Haider Ali comes in for Fakhar Zaman, who remains in the reserves after a poor 2022 with the bat.
However, the big name that is still missing from the squad is that of former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik who was speculated to come back after poor performances from Pakistan middle order in the Asia cup.
“We have a team that can perform strongly in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said. “That’s why we have shown faith and confidence in almost the same set of players who have been part of the T20I squad post the 2021 World Cup in the UAE”.
He further added, “These players have performed well since November 2021 and that’s why we have won nine out of our last 13 T20Is. We have invested in these cricketers and it is fair to them that they get the opportunity to show their mettle in the World Cup, an event for which they have been preparing and training hard. We needed to ensure continuity and support to these players, and that’s precisely what we have done. We are receiving encouraging reports about Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is likely to resume bowling early next month.”
The same team will also play the tri-series in New Zealand, also involving Bangladesh, ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Usman Qadir
Reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris, Shahnawaz Dahani