Former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, middle-order batter Haider Ali and opener Fakhar Zaman have been added to the Pakistan squad for the T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, all-rounder Khushdil Shah, wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan and pacer Mohammad Hasnain have been left out of the main squad. Shah, however, will travel with the squad as a reserve player. PCB chief selector Muhammad Wasim said the changes were made considering the performances of the players in the National T20 Cup.
“After reviewing player performances in the highly competitive National T20 and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. “The three in-form players bring with them a wealth of experience and talent and provide further stability, balance and strength to the side.
“I am pleased with the intensity and high quality of cricket that we have witnessed in the National T20. It has not only provided the players excellent match practice in the lead up to the UAE competition, it has also given us the opportunity to closely monitor the player progress and then make decisions that are in the best interest of the side for what will be a cut-throat tournament,” added Wasim.
Talking about the players who were left out, Wasim said they are in Pakistan’s future plans and will have opportunities to make a case for themselves for the next T20 World Cup in Australia. “It must be tough for Azam, Khushdil and Hasnain for missing out but they still have a lot to offer in their careers. They are in our future plans as a lot of cricket has to be played post the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 and in the lead up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.
Ever since the squad was announced on 4th September, there was severe outrage on social media, with many senior players slamming the board for selecting players who had done nothing to grab a spot in the T20 World Cup squad. Pakistan will open their T20 World Cup campaign against India on October 24 in Dubai.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.
Traveling reserves: Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.