With Babar Azam being named as new Test captain of the side, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced 35-member squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. The squad will fly out to New Zealand and will stay at Lincoln on 23rd November. The players will go through compulsory 14-day quarantine period.
Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan, who smashed back-to-back half-centuries against England, is certainly first-choice for Pakistan in red-ball cricket. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan has been named as vice-captain to Babar Azam for the three-match T20I series.
The notable absentees from the 35-man squad are all-rounder Shoaib Malik, Test specialist Asad Shafiq and pacer Mohammad Amir.
Middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq was dropped from the Test side after failed to make notable contributions for Pakistan on their last tour of England. In three-match Test series, he could only 67 runs at an average of 13.40.
Experienced duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz retained their place in the overall squad, courtesy excellent performances against England and Zimbabwe.
Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq said Shafiq has been a key player in red-ball cricket and will have to go back to domestic cricket to find some form with the bat. Former Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will also need to deliver a lot of runs in order to get back to the Test side for the upcoming series against South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Following their excellent performances in the domestic setup, Amad Butt, Imran Butt, Rohail Nazir and Danish Aziz are four uncapped players in the 35-member squad for New Zealand tour. The players are expected to play for Pakistan A side for their upcoming series against New Zealand A side.
In the recent ICC T20 Team Rankings, Pakistan is currently lying at fourth place in the league table. Babar Azam’s Pakistan will lock horns against New Zealand in a three-match T20I series. In the ICC Test Championship, Pakistan are lying at fifth place with 166 points to their name, whereas New Zealand are one spot above green shirts with 180 points.
Pakistan’s 35-member squad for New Zealand tour : Babar Azam (captain), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Haris Sohail, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Imran Butt, Zeeshan Malik, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Rohail Nazir, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Musa, Zafar Gohar, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain, Faheem Ashraf, Hussain Talat.