Pakistan have left out their former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed from the 22-man squad for the upcoming limited-overs series against Zimbabwe at home. Although the squad has been named for the full tour, the team management and the Pakistan selectors will pick a squad for the ODIs and T20Is from this pool at a later date.
Along with Sarfaraz, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir have been left too. The trio was a part of Pakistan’s T20I squad for the series against England a couple of months ago.
Sarfaraz was making a comeback through that tour after being picked in the squad for the first time since being sacked as captain last year. However, the wicketkeeper-batsman, who was also a part of the Test side, made it to the playing eleven for just the last T20I and didn’t get a chance to bat.
Malik, on the other hand, batted in one T20I match and scored just 14. Amir had a tour to forget too as he went wicketless in the two games that he played. Speaking on the selection, Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said that he’s kept “performance as the only criterion for selection”.
Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz are the two senior players who have been retained for their “useful experience in the batting and bowling respectively, that will benefit the youngsters,” Misbah further said.
Among the probable list, Pakistan have also included uncapped Abdullah Shafiq. The 20-year old plays for Central Punjab and recently finished as the seventh most successful batsman in the National T20 Cup. He scored 358 runs with a strike-rate of over 133 and even scored a hundred on his T20 debut, becoming only the second player in history to make a century on both his first-class and T20 debuts.
“With an eye on future and as part of the succession plan, Rohail Nazir has been chosen as Rizwan’s back-up wicketkeeper. Instead of Sarfaraz sitting on the substitute bench, it makes sense that he plays in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy so that he retains his fitness and rediscovers form for the tour for the longer and more demanding tour of New Zealand,” Misbah said.
“Abdullah Shafiq has been rewarded for his tremendous potential and performance. He has been identified as a future prospect and, therefore, drafted into the squad as part of his development,” Misbah added.
Pakistan play three ODIs against Zimbabwe starting October 30 before moving to Lahore for the three T20Is.
Pakistan’s full squad:
Abdullah Shafiq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Rohail Nazir, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Shaheen Shah, Wahab Riaz