Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali have been included in the Pakistan squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, with the PCB announcing three changes on Friday (October 8). Fakhar, who was originally part of the reserves, will now join the 15-member squad while Khushdil Shah has been moved to the reserves. Sarfaraz and Haider replace Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain respectively.
“After reviewing player performances in the highly competitive National T20 and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021,” chief selector Muhammad Wasim said. “The three in-form players bring with them a wealth of experience and talent and provide further stability, balance and strength to the side.
“It must be tough for Azam, Khushdil and Hasnain to be missing out but they still have a lot to offer in their careers. They are in our future plans as a lot of cricket has to be played post the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 and in the lead up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia,” added Wasim.
Pakistan’s 15-member squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.
Traveling reserves – Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.
Haider is the top-scorer in the ongoing National T20 Cup, having accumulated in excess of 300 runs in eight innings, including three half-centuries. Sarfaraz has close to 200 runs in seven innings, coming up with handy contributions batting at No. 5. Although Fakhar has scored only 88 runs in four T20 outings, he has had a couple of good starts, including a knock of 49.
“I am pleased with the intensity and high quality of cricket that we have witnessed in the National T20. It has not only provided the players excellent match practice in the lead up to the UAE competition, it has also given us the opportunity to closely monitor the player progress and then make decisions that are in the best interest of the side for what will be a cut-throat tournament,” said Wasim.
Meanwhile, Pakistan await the medical reports on Shoaib Maqsood, who is recovering from a lower back issue, before they decide on his inclusion. Maqsood, originally part of the 15, had MRI scans done for his back following a match on October 6 and subsequently missed the game the next day.
Pakistan, who are in Group 2 in the Super 12, begin their T20 World Cup campaign with the game against India on October 24.