Pakistan has added 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Azam khan to their 15 member squad for the upcoming T20 world cup. This was quite a shocking conclusion considering the least experience he possesses when it comes to international cricket. He made his debut in the national cricket this year against England and he has participated only in the three games. Currently, he is giving his services to the Caribbean premier league.
However, he has a 150 strike rate in the T20 that has probably helped him to grab a spot in the 15 member squad. Being a wicketkeeper, the Pakistan cricket board has considered him as a backup option in wicketkeeping. His inclusion in the squad has resulted in the former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed being dropped from the squad.
The selectors this time tried to address the issue of lack of firepower in the middle order line-up by including Asif Ali and Khushdil shah in the T20 set-up. Khushdil last played in February earlier this year for Pakistan and Asif featured for the national side in April this year against Zimbabwe. Sharjeel Khan and Fakhar Zaman haven’t been picked for the showpiece event but the latter is part of the traveling reserves that also include Usman Qadir and Shahnawaz Dahan.
Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah may not have impressive numbers against their names but hardly anyone can doubt their tremendous talent and prowess,” Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim said after announcing the squad. “They are the best in the available pool of middle-order batsmen and we remain confident that they will provide our solutions to our middle-order difficulties through solid performances.
“Azam Khan is an aggressive and attacking batter who also keeps wickets, a combination that has earned him the selectors’ nod ahead of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Mohammad Wasim Junior has been preferred over Faheem Ashraf due to his pace and ability to hit big shots.
“Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Qadir were unlucky to miss out on the selections. Sohaib Maqsood’s ability to bat and perform anywhere in the top-order has given him an edge over Fakhar, while the presence of three experienced spinners, who are also capable batters, and five genuine wicket-taking fast bowlers made it difficult for Usman Qadir to get into the side,” he added.
PCB also confirmed that the same squad will take on England and New Zealand in the home T20Is ahead of the World Cup. Pakistan’s opening game in the tournament will be against arch-rivals India on October 24 in Dubai.
T20 World Cup squad: Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan (VC), Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shaheen Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood
Travelling reserves: Usman Qadir, Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani