Pakistan’s T20 squad likely changes before the series with New Zealand

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Pakistan's T20 squad likely changes before the series with New Zealand

Several changes are anticipated in Pakistan’s lineup for the highly awaited five-match T20I series against New Zealand next month, as reported by sources on Tuesday.

Wahab Riaz, the chief selector, is set to announce the squad for the Green Shirts at 3 pm today. The series is scheduled in New Zealand from January 12 to 21, 2024.

Sources suggest that the squad is expected to include three wicketkeepers, namely Muhammad Rizwan and Azam Khan. Saim Ayub and Sahibzada Farhan will likely secure a spot in the 17-player lineup.

Farhan, the top scorer in the recently concluded domestic T20 in Karachi, is poised to make a comeback to the Pakistan team after five years, according to sources. He exhibited an impressive performance, scoring 492 runs at an average of 44.73 in 12 matches for the Peshawar region.

In addition to Farhan from Charsadda, Azam is also part of the national squad selected for the New Zealand tour. The 25-year-old, son of former Test captain Moin Khan, has scored seven runs in the last five T20Is for Pakistan.

Sources indicate that fast bowler Aamir Jamal, who made his T20I debut against England in 2021-2022, will likely be selected. Abbas Afridi, the nephew of bowling coach Umar Gul, is expected to be chosen for the first time, having secured 23 wickets, the highest number of dismissals in this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament.

The sources further mention that Test captain Shan Masood will be part of the T20 squad. Additionally, pacers Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, and Usama Mir will join the team, while the inclusion of Abrar Ahmed is contingent on fitness.

In summary, the T20I squad is expected to feature at least six fast bowlers. Mohammad Haris, who played six ODIs and nine T20Is for Pakistan, is likely to be omitted from the squad, according to the sources.

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