After the successful completion of the National T20 Cup, the focus shifts towards the longest format as Pakistan’s premier domestic competition starts from October 25. It will be a good preparation for the players leaving for the New Zealand tour as they will get three round of games to work on their game and fitness. Defending champions Central Punjab will be up against Sindh at National Stadium Karachi to kick start this season.
Central Punjab, the defending champions have named a strong contingent for the tournament. Ahmed Shahzad and Hasan Ali are also in the squad as they come back from their respective injuries. Azhar Ali will lead the side.
Balochistan’s head coach Faisal Iqbal has included 17-year-old Abdul Wahid Bangalzai in the squad after he shown promise in the Second XI National T20 Cup. Balochistan, which finished at the bottom of the table last year, will be led by Yasir Shah, while Quetta-born wicketkeeper-batsman Bismillah Khan will be his deputy.
Sindh coach Basit Ali has kept faith in 20-year-old left-arm fast-bowler Ghulam Mudassar after picking him from the Second XI side to provide him a chance in the First XI National T20 Cup. Ghulam will join seasoned pace duo of Sohail Khan and Tabish Khan as Sindh will aim to improve their last year’s fifth position.
Abdul Razzaq has handed captaincy responsibilities of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa side to Ashfaq Ahmed. Adil Amin has been named as vice-captain in the side, which also include Imran Khan Snr, Junaid Khan, Sahibzada Farhan and Usman Khan Shinwari.
Northern, who were last year’s runners-up, will continue to be led by Nauman Ali, who was the highest wicket-taker in the edition with 54 scalps in 10 matches. Mohammad Wasim, the Northern head coach, has named 23-year-old former Pakistan U19 batsman Zeeshan Malik as his deputy.
Abdul Rehman has named a strong Southern Punjab side, which will be captained by opener Shan Masood. Salman Ali Agha, after leading Southern Punjab in the Second XI Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first round, has been named in the first-class squad as part of the selectors’ overarching policy and strategy of encouraging and rewarding high-performing players.
Azhar Ali (captain), Saad Nasim (vice-captain), Ahmed Bashir, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Ahmed Shahzad, Ali Shan, Bilal Asif, Ehsan Adil, Hasan Ali, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Saad, Qasim Akram, Rizwan Hussain, Salman Butt, Usman Salahuddin and Waqas Maqsood
Nauman Ali (captain), Zeeshan Malik (vice-captain), Ali Sarfaraz, Asif Ali, Faizan Riaz, Farhan Shafiq, Hammad Azam, Jamal Anwar (wicketkeeper), Nasir Nawaz, Naved Malik, Sadaf Hussain, Salman Irshad, Sarmad Bhatti, Tauseeq Shah, Umar Amin and Waqas Ahmed
Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain, wicketkeeper), Asad Shafiq (vice-captain), Ashiq Ali, Azizullah, Fawad Alam, Ghulam Mudassar, Khurram Manzoor, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Hasan, Omair Bin Yousaf, Saad Ali, Saud Shakeel, Sharjeel Khan, Sohail Khan and Tabish Khan
Shan Masood (captain), Hussain Talat (vice-captain), Aamer Yamin, Bilawal Bhatti, Dilbar Hussain, Imran Rafiq, Maqbool Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Irfan (SLA), Saif Badar, Salman Ali Agha, Umar Siddiq Khan, Umar Khan, Zahid Mehmood and Zeeshan Ashraf (wicketkeeper)
Ashfaq Ahmed (captain), Adil Amin (vice-captain), Ahmed Jamal, Imran Khan snr, Israrullah, Junaid Khan, Kamran Ghulam, Khalid Usman, Mohammad Mohsin, Nabi Gul, Rehan Afridi (wicketkeeper), Sahibzada Farhan, Sajid Khan, Sameen Gul, Samiullah jnr and Usman Khan Shinwari
Yasir Shah (captain), Bismillah Khan (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Abdul Rehman Muzammil, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Adnan Akmal (wicketkeeper), Akhtar Shah, Amad Butt, Ayaz Tasawar, Imran Butt, Imran Farhat, Kashif Bhatti, Khurram Shahzad, Najeebullah Achakzai, Sami Aslam, Taimur Ali and Taj Wali