Pakistan has announced their T20I squad for the upcoming 3-match home series against Bangladesh. Gaddafi Stadium Lahore will host all 3 T20Is on January 24, 25, and 27.
Last year, Pakistan lost the 3-match T20I home series against Sri Lanka’s second-string side by 3-0, and then also lost 3 T20I series by 2-0 against Australia. However, Pakistan is still ranked no 1 team in T20Is.
Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have been dropped. Uncapped all-rounder Amad Butt and 19-year-old pacer Mohammad Musa will be joining the squad.
Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, the pair who were absent in Pakistan’s previous two T20I series defeats, make their comeback into the squad. Mohammad Hafeez last played a T20I for Pakistan in November 2018, while Shoaib Malik has not played a single T20I since February 2019.
Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said: “He(Hafeez) is experienced enough and has performed well in past. At the time when him and Malik were ruled out, we never said that they will never be considered again. Obviously, we were trying out our pool, but we found they were missed. So even if Hafeez hasn’t played much cricket lately, he is experienced and mature enough to contribute for Pakistan.”
Shaheen Shah Afridi also returns to the squad after not being available to play for any T20I series since May due to dengue fever.
Pakistani bowler Haris Rauf, who delivered an exceptional performance in the Big Bash League (BBL), has also been called up for the upcoming Bangladesh series. Usman Qadir, legendary Pak-spinner Abdul Qadir’s son, is also expected to make his international debut in the series. 26-year-old batsman Ahsan Ali has also earned a maiden call-up.
“We have lost two series earlier and it was important for us to think hard about how we can return to winning ways,” said Misbah-ul-Haq. “Most of our decisions were taken considering the fact that we have been losing and have to start winning again. So we’ve got our experienced players back and picked our domestic performers. We wanted to persist with Khushdil Shah and Usman Qadir and picked Harris Rauf on his performance in the national T20 Cup and the Big Bash.”
T20I Squad: Babar Azam (C), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed Haris Rauf, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Musa, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir