Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Haris, pacers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and legspinner Zahid Mahmood are the uncapped players in the 20-member squad announced by the Pakistan selectors for the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand. Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah – both of whom last featured in the ODI against Zimbabwe on November 3, 2020 – have been recalled for the three ODIs which will be played on September 17, 19 and 21 in Rawalpindi.
The 23-year-old Dahani, who made his List-A and T20 debut in the 2021 season, was the highest wicket-taker in PSL 2021, bagging 20 wickets at an average of 17. Mahmood was the second-highest wicket-taker in the Pakistan Cup – the domestic one-day competition – finishing with 19 wickets at an average of 24.89. The 20-year-old Mohammad Wasim made his T20I debut against West Indies earlier in July, and impressed the selectors in the limited play that was possible during the four-match series.
Squad: Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Zahid Mahmood.“Shahnawaz Dahani was unfortunate to miss the selection for the England matches as the squad was announced before the start of the remaining 20 HBL PSL 6 matches. Hence, he was a straightforward selection when we sat to discuss and finalise the side for the New Zealand series. We have also given a continued run to Mohammad Wasim, who impressed everyone in the T20Is against the West Indies,” Pakistan’s chief selector Muhammad Wasim said on Wednesday (September 1).
“Zahid Mahmood has been added to support Usman Qadir. While picking him, we took into consideration that he had excelled last time he played in a white-ball match in Lahore against South Africa. Although this time the format will be different, but in domestic 50-over competitions he has shown through his performances that he has the temperament to also perform in ODIs,” added Wasim.
Meanwhile, Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Sohaib Maqsood, who were all part of the squad for the ODI series against England in July, have been left out for the New Zealand ODIs, which are part of the ICC World Cup Super League.
“Mohammad Rizwan remains the first-choice wicketkeeper, as such, it has been decided to include 20-year-old Mohammad Haris in place of Sarfaraz Ahmed. This is not only to reward Haris for his outstanding domestic performances in the previous season, but also to give him a taste and flair of international cricket along with its rigours and demands and to ensure that we continue to groom young wicketkeepers who are fit and ready to step up when the opportunity presents itself,” said Wasim, who added that the Iftikhar and Khushdil were included to address Pakistan’s middle-order concerns.
“Middle-order has remained our concern and, as such, after trying a few options, we have decided to give another run to Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah, The two batters have played sufficient 50-over cricket at the domestic level and boast the required firepower to utilise the slog overs. We are optimistic they will come good in home conditions.”