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Wholesale changes expected in Pakistan’s T20 squad for New Zealand series

Pakistani fielders celebrate a win against New Zealand. — AFP/File
Pakistani fielders celebrate a win against New Zealand. — AFP/File

A number of changes are expected in Pakistan’s squad for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand to be played next month, sources told Geo News Tuesday.

Chief Selector Wahab Riaz is set to announce the squad today at 3pm. The series is scheduled to be held in New Zealand from January 12 to 21, 2024.

According to the sources, three wicketkeepers including Muhammad Rizwan and Azam Khan are expected to be named in the squad. Saim Ayub and Sahibzada Farhan are also expected to be a part of the 17-player squad.

Farhan, the top scorer of the recently concluded domestic T20 in Karachi, is likely to be selected again for Pakistan after five years, as per the sources. He scored 492 runs at an average of 44.73 in 12 matches for the Peshawar region.

The 27-year-old opening batsman has scored 40 runs in the three T20Is for Pakistan.

Apart from Charsadda’s Farhan, Azam is also in the national squad selected for the tour of New Zealand, the sources added.

The 25-year-old, who is the son of former Test captain Moin Khan, has scored seven runs in the last five T20Is for Pakistan.

According to sources, fast bowler Aamir Jamal, who made his T20I debut for Pakistan against England in 2021-2022, is also expected to be picked while Abbas Afridi — who is bowling coach Umar Gul’s nephew — will be selected for the first time, said the sources.

Afridi clinched 23 wickets, the most number of dismissals by a bowler in this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament.

The sources added that Test captain Shan Masood will also be a part of the T20 squad. Meanwhile, pacers Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan and Usama Mir will also join the team while Abrar Ahmed’s inclusion in the squad is subject to fitness, they added.

Overall, at least six fast bowlers are being included in the T20I squad.

The sources also mentioned that Mohammad Haris, who played six ODIs and nine T20Is for Pakistan, is likely to be dropped from the squad.

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