Lahore: Veteran batsman Shoaib Malik and former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed have been rested while the 20-year-old has received his maiden call-up as Pakistan men’s team head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has announced the probable for the Zimbabwe series.
Misbah named 22 probables for both ODI and T20I series in a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
All-rounder Shadab Khan has been named as the vice-captain of the series. Veteran pacer Mohammad Amir has also been rested for the Zimbabwe series.
The 20-year-old Abdullah scored 358 runs at an average of 44+ in 10 innings of the National T20 Cup. “Abdullah Shafiq has been rewarded for his tremendous potential and performance. He has been identified as a future prospect and, therefore, drafted into the squad as part of his development,” Misbah said.
Reason for resting Malik, Sarfaraz and Amir
Misbah clarified that Malik and Sarfaraz have not been dropped and the management has decided to provide chances to youngsters.
“Seniors like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed have not been picked for this series, but I want to categorically state that their careers are not over by any means. These are strategic decisions as Shoaib’s absence will provide players like Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali and Khushdil Shah better chances of featuring in the upcoming matches” he added.
“Rohail Nazir has been chosen as Rizwan’s back-up wicketkeeper. It also makes sense that Sarfaraz should play in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy so that he retains his fitness and rediscovers form for the New Zealand tour instead of sitting on the bench,” he maintained.
He also added that the same philosophy has been followed while resting Mohammad Amir and Usman Shinwari so that bowlers like Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan and Haris Rauf can get a chance to feature in the series.
‘Every single ODI important for ICC Super league’
Misbah emphasized that they have decided to not experiment with the squad in the ODIs as every match counts to automatically qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
“We have resisted the temptation of experimenting in the ODIs for a few simple reasons. We cannot afford to be complacent and have to respect each and every opponent irrespective of their strength or international ranking. We have not played any ODI cricket in the past 12 months,” he added.
The probables will gather in Lahore on October 21 for COVID-19 tests. They will be isolated for five-days during which they will play two 50-over matches at the Gaddafi Stadium. The squad will travel to Rawalpindi on October 26.
The squad for three T20Is will be shortlisted after the ODIs and the players will be advised to play in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy third-round matches, which will start from 6 November.
Babar Azam (C), Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Abid Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Rohail Nazir, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Zafar Gohar, Usman Qadir, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan