Pakistan have announced the 14-man squad for the upcoming T20I series against Bangladesh at home. The Babar Azam-led side is scheduled to face the Tigers in the three T20 Internationals starting from January 24. There are a lot of changes compared to the side which got whitewashed in Australia last year. However, Mohammad Amir’s exclusion is the biggest surprise who recently took a six-wicket haul in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
Amir is the fourth-highest wicket-taker of the season so far playing for the Khulna Tigers, the side which has qualified for the final. The left-arm pacer has picked 18 wickets in 12 matches with the best figures of 6/17 at an impressive economy of 6.90. Apart from Amir, the likes of Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz have also been left out.
Uncapped players Ashan Ali, Amad Butt and the BBL sensation Haris Rauf have received their maiden call-up to the Pakistan squad. Rauf is currently playing for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL and has stunned many with his pace picking 16 wickets in just seven matches. He is also the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament thus far.
Pakistan recall veterans Hafeez, Malik
The coach-cum-selector Misbah-ul-Haq has also decided to recall the veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to the T20 set-up who haven’t played international cricket since the World Cup last year. Rather the latter has been in prolific form in the BPL. Malik has amassed 446 runs in 14 matches at a strike-rate of 132.34 with three half-centuries to his name.
Apart from the experienced duo, the left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi has also made his comeback to the side. Pakistan lost their previous home series by 3-0 to Sri Lanka and then went on to lose by 2-0 in Australia. They have lost eight out of their last nine T20Is and Misbah also cited the same reason for the changes made in the team.
“We have lost eight of our last nine T20Is and as the number-one ranked side, this is unacceptable. We need to end our losing cycle and get back to winning habits leading into the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup. This has played a critical role in our decision-making,” Misbah said in the released statement from the PCB.
Pakistan squad for Bangladesh T20Is: Babar Azam (captain), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir
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