Rawalpindi : Pakistan cricket selectors have named a 20-player squad for the three ICC Cricket World Cup Super League One-Day Internationals against New Zealand, which will be played in Rawalpindi on 17, 19 and 21 September.
Uncapped wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris, fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and wrist-spinner Zahid Mahmood have been named in the squad, while middle-order batters Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah have been recalled.
Iftikhar’s seventh and last ODI was against Zimbabwe in Rawalpindi, while Khushdil’s only ODI appearance was also in the tied match against Zimbabwe in Rawalpindi.
Players who were part of the ODI series against England in July but have failed to retain their places include Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Sohaib Maqsood.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said the series against New Zealand is “extremely important” for Pakistan as the matches are part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification.
“While we have tried to put together a formidable and balanced unit, we have continued to ensure that we give opportunities to high performing players while looking into the future so that we can develop strong bench strength,” he said.
“Shahnawaz Dahani was unfortunate to miss the selection for the England matches as the squad was announced before the start of the remaining 20 HBL PSL 6 matches. Hence, he was a straightforward selection when we sat to discuss and finalise the side for the New Zealand series. We have also given a continued run to Mohammad Wasim, who impressed everyone in the T20Is against the West Indies.”
He added that Zahid Mahmood has been added to support Usman Qadir.
“While picking him, we took into consideration that he had excelled last time he played in a white-ball match in Lahore against South Africa. Although this time the format will be different, in domestic 50-over competitions he has shown through his performances that he has the temperament to also perform in ODIs.”
He continued: “Mohammad Rizwan remains the first-choice wicketkeeper, as such, it has been decided to include 20-year-old Mohammad Haris in place of Sarfaraz Ahmed.”
This is not only to reward Haris for his outstanding domestic performances in the previous season but also to give him a taste and flair of international cricket along with its rigours and demands and to ensure that we continue to groom young wicketkeepers who are fit and ready to step up when the opportunity presents itself, he said.
“Middle-order has remained our concern and, as such, after trying a few options, we have decided to give another run to Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah, The two batters have played sufficient 50-over cricket at the domestic level and boast the required firepower to utilise the slog overs. We are optimistic they will come good in home conditions.”
“I know a few players will feel disappointed at missing out on the selection but we have a busy season of cricket ahead, which means there will be ample opportunities down the line for everyone to put up strong performances and push their case for national selection.”
Pakistan ODI squad:
Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Iftikhar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab), Mohammad Haris (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Saud Shakeel (Sindh), Shadab Khan (Northern), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh), Usman Qadir (Central Punjab) and Zahid Mahmood (Southern Punjab)