Pakistan likely to announce 18-member squad for NZ T20I series in two days


The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to announce the national squad for the T20I series against New Zealand in a couple of days, as a consultation process has begun to finalise the names in Kakul, Abbottabad. Consultation over finalising the names is underway between skipper Babar Azam and national selectors in Kakul, where players are undergoing strict physical training under the supervision of Pakistan Army staff.
A day earlier, the captain and selectors held a meeting with PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi for the same reason. The sources said since it was a home series, an 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 Waseem, 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.