Sarfaraz Ahmed has been dropped from Pakistan’s ODI squad to face New Zealand in a 3-match ODI series. The 3 games will be played in Rawalpindi on 17, 19 and 21 September, followed by a 5-match T20I series, for which the squad is not named yet.
Pakistan are coming off a T20I series win and a drawn Test series against West Indies, but they had lost their last ODI series, in England. Sarfaraz Ahmed was part of both the tours, but didn’t get a single game to play as Mohammad Rizwan has become Pakistan’s first-choice wicketkeeper across formats.
Uncapped wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris has replaced Sarfaraz in the squad. Other additions are: fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and wrist-spinner Zahid Mahmood; middle-order batsmen Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah have been recalled.
Apart from Sarfaraz Ahmed, Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha, and Sohaib Maqsood have been also dropped from the ODI squad.
Pakistan ODI squad to face New Zealand in 3-match ODI series:
Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Iftikhar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab), Mohammad Haris (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Saud Shakeel (Sindh), Shadab Khan (Northern), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh), Usman Qadir (Central Punjab) and Zahid Mahmood (Southern Punjab)
In the release by the PCB, Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said, “The series against New Zealand is extremely important for Pakistan as the matches are part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification. While we have tried to put together a formidable and a balanced unit, we have continued to ensure that we give opportunities to high performing players while looking into the future so that we can develop a strong bench-strength.”
New Zealand have sent a second-string squad for their matches in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Tom Latham will lead the side in absence of regular skipper Kane Williamson.
Also, 25 percent of crowd capacity has been approved – about 4,500 spectators will be allowed for the ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand, and around 5,500 for the T20I series, which will be held in Lahore.