Left-handed opener Sharjeel Khan has made a return to the Pakistan's senior side for the four-match T20I series in South Africa. Team's vice-captain Shadab Khan and experienced Mohammed Hafeez also made a return to the squad while Wahab Riaz and Imad Wasim were axed from ODI side.
Sharjeel Khan, who in 2017, was banned for his involvement in the PSL spot-fixing scandal, has made a comeback to the senior side after some impressive displays in Pakistan's domestic cricket. The southpaw had made a brilliant hundred playing for Karachi Kings against the Islamabad United and was the third leading run-getter in the recently curtailed edition of the PSL. He had a remarkable strike-rate of 170.94, which was better than even the top two run-getters of the tournament.
"Sharjeel Khan has also staged a comeback in the T20I squad. Although he is exactly not where we want him to be, he is not too far away. With the form he has recently shown in the domestic T20 events, he deserves an opportunity to further improve his fitness and show he still has that ability to win big matches for Pakistan, chief selector Mohammad Wasim said, reported Cricbuzz.
Pakistan also included two young pacers in the form of Mohammad Wasim Jn and Arshad Iqbal. While the likes of Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt and Kamran Ghulam didn't make the cut.
"Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt and Kamran Ghulam are unlucky to miss out on selections. Aamer and Amad have paved the way for Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan in the T20I squad, while Kamran has narrowly missed out to Salman Ali Agha and Saud Shakeel in the Test side. However, the three are in the larger pool of players and will get their opportunity at some stage as we have a busy year of cricket ahead of us."
Also, it was notable that the Pakistan selectors overlooked the experienced pair of Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz for the three-match ODI series against South Africa.
"Imad Wasim has missed out on selection as we have opted to continue with Mohammad Nawaz," Wasim explained. "The all-rounder had a decent series against South Africa, taking three wickets at an economy rate of 6.10 with a brisk 11-ball 18 not out in the series finale. Nawaz deserves another opportunity to show that he belongs to white-ball cricket."
Pakistan also named their squad for the two-match Test series in Zimbabwe that will be played after the three ODIs and four T20Is in South Africa. The South Africa tour will begin on April 2 and finish on April 16. On April 17, the Pakistan team will depart for Zimbabwe. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah couldn't make it to the side and as a result, Zahid Mahmood was picked to fill in the absence.
"Yasir's absence has opened a door for Zahid Mahmood, who will have a stronger case in the Test squad as compared to the T20I side following the return of Shadab Khan and the presence of Usman Qadir. For a place in the Test side, Zahid will compete with Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan, who, like Zahid, were the two outstanding bowlers in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy."
T20I Squad: Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan (vc), Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Waseem Jr, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal, Usman Qadir.
ODI Squad: Babar Azam (C), Imam Ul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Md Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Md Nawaz, Md Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Md Hasnain, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir.
Test Squad: Babar Azam (C), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Md Nawaz, Md Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.