For the first time in his 10 years career, Asad Shafiq has been dropped from Pakistan’s red-ball squad. Babar Azam will lead the team in all three formats. Muhammad Rizwan will be his deputy for the test matches while young leg-spinner Shadab Khan will be the vice-captain in the white-ball format.
On Asad Shafiq’s exclusion Misbah said: “Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England.”
Misbah further added: “Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
Muhammad Amir and veteran Shoaib Malik are the other notable omissions from the squad. Fast bowler Ammad Butt and Danish Aziz have got their maiden call-ups.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also appointed Rohail Nazir as Shaheens’ captain with Haider Ali as his vice-captain. The two had performed these responsibilities at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa earlier this year.
“The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players,” Misbah said in a PCB statement. “I want to congratulate uncapped Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir who have impressed the selectors with their form, technique, temperament and ability to secure places in the 35-player pool.
“Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats. We have kept faith in Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz purely on the basis of their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad.”
Pakistan team is due to play three T20I and two test matches in New Zealand with tour to start from December 18. All players representing Pakistan Shaheens are available for national team selection during the tour.
Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Butt, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Rohail Nazir (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.