PCB announces 18-man squad for England and Ireland T20Is – Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday recalled fast bowler Haris Rauf and medium-pacer Hasan Ali for T20 internationals in Ireland and England later this month, their final warm-ups for the World Cup.

The development came as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) named the 18-man squad that will take on Ireland from May 10-14 and England from May 22-30 during an upcoming tour of the UK.

It follows the appointment of former South Africa top-order batter Gary Kirsten and ex-Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie as the head coaches for the men’s national team for white and red-ball, respectively. Azhar Mahmood had been made the assistant coach in all formats.

According to a PCB press release, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, Azam Khan and Muhammad Irfan Khan — who all suffered injuries last month against New Zealand — were also included in the squad.

Two players who did not “make the cut” were wrist spinner Usama Mir and fast bowler Zaman Khan — both of whom played against New Zealand in the recent T20I series.

The squad will be reduced to 15 players for the forthcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in The West Indies and the US this summer, the PCB said, adding that it would be announced following the first T20I with England, before the ICC’s May 24 deadline.

“We are having fitness issues with a few players but we hope that during the England tour, we will be able to finalise the World Cup squad,” selector Wahab Riaz told a news conference in Lahore.

All 20 World Cup teams had to submit preliminary 15-player squads to the International Cricket Council by May 1 deadline, but they can make changes until May 25.

“Crafting this squad was a challenging task due to the outstanding talent available,” the PCB statement quoted the selection committee as saying, which includes Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Yousuf, Asad Shafique and Abdul Razzaq.

“After thorough deliberation and considering various cricketing aspects, we have finalised these 18 players.”

According to the statement, the squad includes a “robust top-order” featuring Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Rizwan, as well as a pace-batting side led by Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris, and Hasan.

The cricket board highlighted that Salman Ali Agha “has established himself as a versatile cricketer”, adding that he will bolster Pakistan’s spin bowling attack alongside Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan.

The PCB attributed Hasan Ali’s selection to his “extensive experience”, referring to his performance in this year’s Pakistan Super League and his stint playing for Warwickshire in the English County Championship.

Regarding the recent T20I series against New Zealand, it said Haris and Azam had been sidelined due to injuries while Irfan and Rizwan had been rested from the two T20Is in Lahore due to “niggles”.

“The four cricketers underwent fitness assessments at the National Cricket Academy on Tuesday afternoon, showing significant improvement,” the PCB said, adding that their progress had provided confidence to the board’s medical panel.

“We understand Usama and Zaman will be disappointed… as they must be looking ahead to the tours of Ireland and England”, the selection committee said.

“They are quality cricketers and have long careers ahead of them. They need to continue to focus on their cricket so that they are available, if required.”

According to the PCB, the squad is scheduled to depart for Dublin on May 7 following a three-day training camp in Lahore from May 4-6.

Pakistan play Ireland in Dublin on May 10, 12 and 14.

Four matches follow against England at Headingley in Leeds on May 22, Edgbaston in Birmingham (May 25), Sophia Gardens in Cardiff (May 28) and the Oval in London (May 30).

Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan.

Additional input from AFP

Leave a Comment