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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Pak vs NZ: PCB expected to announce 18-member squad soon

National selectors are holding consultation with Babar Azam to pick T20I squad members

By Web Desk
April 02, 2024
Pakistani players are celebrating victory in a T20I match against New Zealand in Christchurch, New Zealand, on January 21, 2024. — Facebook/Pakistan Cricket Team
Pakistani players are celebrating victory in a T20I match against New Zealand in Christchurch, New Zealand, on January 21, 2024. — Facebook/Pakistan Cricket Team

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in a couple of days, is expected to finalise and announce 18 players for the national squad which will play the five-match T20I series against New Zealand, Geo News reported Tuesday. 

The national selectors are holding consultation with Pakistan skipper Babar Azam to pick the T20I squad members, while players are busy in physical training under the supervision of Pakistan Army staff in Kakul, Abbottabad.

PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi, during visit to Kakul a day earlier, held a meeting with Babar and the selectors, to discuss the potential players.

The sources said since it was a home series, an extended 18-member squad was expected to be announced. The T20I series is scheduled to take place on April 18 and the visiting team will reach Pakistan on April 14.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf, who suffered a shoulder injury during the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9, is not completely fit and would continue the rehab process.

The players under consideration for the five-match series are Babar, Saim Ayub, Muhammad Rizwan, Sahibzada Farhan, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Amir, Zaman Khan, Usman Khan, Wasim Jr, Irfan Niazi and Abbas Afridi. Whereas, Fakhar Zaman’s hand injury is being reviewed.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that the leading pacer Shaheen may miss a part of the New Zealand series in line with the policy of the cricket board to lessen the burden on team’s key fast bowlers.

The News reported Tuesday that there are ongoing consultations on the matter to protect the pacers from unnecessary burden and test the form and fitness of newcomers.

On the flip side, the fast bowlers who are making a comeback have more chances to be included in the T20I series against the Kiwis.

There are chances that leading fast bowlers including Shaheen will be rested for the first part of the series or the complete series against the visitors.