Pakistan announces squad for New Zealand series; Usman, Amir, and Imad included

Pakistan announces squad for New Zealand series; Usman, Amir, and Imad included

News by “Sana Ullah”

LAHORE: In the selection unveiled by the national selection committee members Abdul Razzaq, Asad Shafiq, Bilal Afzal, Mohammad Yousuf, and Wahab Riaz, uncapped batsman Usman Khan along with the returning Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim have been picked for the Pakistan squad set to face New Zealand in the upcoming T20I series.

Both Amir and Wasim, who recently ended their international retirements, have made themselves available for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 and the series preceding the tournament. Amir’s last appearance for Pakistan was in 2020, while Wasim last played during New Zealand’s previous tour of Pakistan in 2023.

Usman Khan, previously playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as an overseas player from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), impressed selectors with his consistent batting performances. Following his outstanding display, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) approached him to represent his home country, leading to his inclusion in the squad after a successful stint at the fitness camp held in Kakul. Usman amassed 430 runs in seven outings during PSL 9, including two centuries.

Another uncapped player, right-handed batsman Irfan Khan Niazi, earned his debut call-up due to his impressive showing in the PSL, where he scored 171 runs in eight matches at a remarkable strike rate of 140.16.

The return of pace bowler Naseem Shah, who had been sidelined since the Asia Cup in 2019, marks a significant comeback, following his performance in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). He has been included in the national team for the series against New Zealand.

However, all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz was omitted from the squad due to poor form, while Haris Rauf’s shoulder injury, sustained during a PSL 9 match between Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings, ruled him out.

Notably, this series will mark Babar Azam’s first assignment since being reinstated as the white-ball captain of Pakistan.

New Zealand is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on April 14 for the crucial series preceding the ICC Men’s T20I World Cup.

The first three T20Is between Pakistan and New Zealand will be hosted at Rawalpindi’s Pindi Cricket Stadium on April 18, 20, and 21. The remaining two T20Is will take place in Lahore on April 25 and 27, respectively.

Pakistan squad for T20I series against New Zealand: Babar Azam (c), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan, Usama Mir

Non-travelling reserve: Sahibzada Farhan, Haseebullah Khan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Mohammad Ali, Salman Ali Agha

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