Shadab to lead Pakistan in Afghanistan T20Is; Babar Azam rested


All-rounder Shadab Khan will captain Pakistan in the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday named a 15-man squad for the three-match T20I series in Sharjah, which is set to commence on March 24.

The board also named Mohammad Yousuf as the interim head and batting coach.

Key players like regular skipper Babar Azam along with Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi have been rested, while Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, and Khushdil Shah failed to find a place in the squad.

These nine players were part of the Pakistan squad that reached the final ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.

Shadab will lead the side that includes four uncapped players — Ihsanullah, Saim Ayub, Tayyab Tahir and Zaman Khan — while Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim have been recalled in the squad.

“I want to congratulate Shadab Khan on his appointment as the Pakistan team captain for the series against Afghanistan. Shadab Khan has been the Pakistan vice-captain in white-ball cricket for the past couple of years. It is logical that he takes over the side in the absence of Babar Azam for the short three-match T20I tour of Sharjah,” said Najam Sethi, the chair of PCB’s Management Committee.

“For the short Sharjah tour and to ensure continuity, we have also appointed Mohammad Yousuf as the interim head and batting coach. Yousuf has been with the national side since last year as a batting coach and has also been working in the National High-Performance Centre,” he said.

Apart from Shadab, players retained from the last T20I series are Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Naseem Shah, and Shan Masood.

“For the short three-T20I series against Afghanistan, the selection committee has followed the standard rotation policy by resting the leading performers and providing high-performing domestic performers with opportunities to demonstrate their talent and potential at the international level. This will also allow us to test the temperament and abilities of these players and help us to strengthen our pool of players as we look forward to building and preparing a formidable side for next year’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States,” Haroon Rashid, the Chair of the PCB selection committee.

“Babar, Fakhar, Haris, Rizwan, and Shaheen have been provided breaks from the short Sharjah trip to allow them to switch off from competitive cricket so that they can complete their rehabilitations, regroup, recompose and recharge their batteries and be fully fit for the challenges in the tough and challenging 2023-24 season,” he added.

Pakistan squad: Shadab Khan (C), Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Haris, Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Wasim jr, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Zaman Khan.

Reserve players: Abrar Ahmed, Haseebullah Khan, and Osama Mir.


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