Pakistan have named their squads for the World T20 and the upcoming T20I series against England, confirming Shaheen Afridi's comeback for the ICC event after an injury threatened to rule him out. Fakhar Zaman is the most high-profile name to miss out on the World Cup after being named as a reserve.
Pakistan have revealed the player contingents that will be taking on England in the seven-match T20I series at home before travelling Down Under to prepare for the ICC World T20 2022. An 18-member list has been announced for the immediate assignment at hand against the Three Lions while the squad for the marquee event next month is limited to 15 players only.
Babar Azam will be leading the team on both accounts with Shadab Khan as his deputy. The team will be glad to secure the services of pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi for the World Cup in Australia after a knee injury ruled him out of the Asia Cup, albeit he won't recover in time for the England series. Meanwhile, rookie pacer Naseem Shah has also been included in the two squads after receiving his first T20I cap in the recently concluded tournament in the United Arab Emirates. Mohammad Wasim has recovered sufficiently from a side strain as well, ensuring his selection for all upcoming games.
The biggest surprise inclusion was opener Shan Masood who is yet to represent the Men in Green in T20Is. He has 5 Tests and 25 ODIs to his name but his impressive performances in the ongoing National T20 Cup seem to have caught the selector's eye. The change has seen Fakhar Zaman lose his place in the main-15 and be named just as a travelling reserve, even though the official statement claims he has been rested for the series against England after an awkward fall during fielding in the Asia Cup final.
“We have a team that can perform strongly in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. That’s why we have shown faith and confidence in almost the same set of players who have been part of the T20I squad post the 2021 World Cup in the UAE," Pakistan chief selector Muhammad Wasim said in an official statement.
“These players have performed well since November 2021 and that’s why we have won nine out of our last 13 T20Is. We have invested in these cricketers and it is fair to them that they get the opportunity to show their mettle in the World Cup, an event for which they have been preparing and training hard. We needed to ensure continuity and support to these players, and that’s precisely what we have done," he added.
The England series kicks off on September 20 in Karachi, following which the team travels to New Zealand for a tri-series involving the hosts and Bangladesh. Their World T20 campaign begins on October 23 against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.