Pakistan have called up Big Bash League sensation Haris Rauf for the three-match home T20I series against Bangladesh. Rauf has 16 scalps for Melbourne Stars in the T20 league. Apart from his wicket-taking abilities, Rauf also hogged the limelight for bowling at serious pace. Interestingly, he was dropped from the side on more than one occasion due to regulars coming back but each time, some or the other player got injured, paving way for Rauf to make a comeback.
The squad also sees the comeback of veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. The duo’s career seemed to be over after being ignored for Australia T20Is but the recall means that they are in the scheme of things for the T20 World Cup. Also returning is pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi. Ahsan Ali and Amad Butt are two new faces in the squad.
Mohammed Amir was one of the seven players to be dropped from the squad. He was part of the team for Australia T20Is but only managed one wicket in three matches. Fakhar Zaman, who had a lean patch in T20Is last year, was also dropped along with Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz.
Usman Qadir, who remained uncapped on the tour of Australia, was retained in the 15-member squad.
This will be the first home series as captain for Babar Azam. Although, he led Pakistan for the first time on the Australia tour.
The three-match T20I series kicks off on 24 at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The same venue will host the next two T20Is on January 25 and 27. Following the T20Is, the two teams will play the first Test of the series from February 7 in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, marking an end to the first leg of the tour.
Squad: Babar Azam (Captain), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir