In a statement issued by PCB, Mishab-ul-Haq has revealed that the selectors have dropped veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and pacer Mohammad Amir from the squad for the upcoming New Zealand tour as they prefer youth over them. Asad Shafiq too doesn’t feature in the squad due to lack of form.
The Pakistan Cricket Board announced a combined squad, which includes players for the senior team and Shaheen's side as they did not specify which player belongs to which squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. Babar Azam has already been announced Pakistan captain in all formats and his vice-captain in Tests will be Mohammad Rizwan.
Among noticeable absentees, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and pacer Mohammad Amir were missing from the Pakistan 35-man squad. In a statement issued by PCB, Mishab-ul-Haq announced that they have dropped both the veteran players as they prefer youth over them.
"Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats. We have kept faith in Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz purely on the basis of their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad." Misbah said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
While Asad Shafiq, who has missed none of the last 72 Tests, is another noteworthy exclusion from the squad, uncapped players Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt, and Rohail Nazir get picked for the tour. Misbah praised youngsters for their selection and stated that Shafiq’s lack of form has been the reason for his omission.
"The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players. I want to congratulate uncapped Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir who have impressed the selectors with their form, technique, temperament and ability to secure places in the 35-player pool,”
"There are three major omissions from the side that toured England. Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England. Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
Pakistan play three T20Is on December 18, 20, and 22 before their ICC World Test Championship fixtures to be held in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch from December 26-30 and January 3-7 respectively.
Openers: Abid Ali, Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood, Fakhar Zaman and Zeeshan Malik.
Middle-order batsmen: Babar Azam (Capt), Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Hussain Talat, Haider Ali, Imran Butt, Haris Sohail, Ifthikar Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Khushdil Shah, Danish Aziz.
Wicketkeepers: Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Rohail Nazir.
Spinners: Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar.
Fast Bowlers: Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Musa, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.