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Pakistan have announced a strong squad for their upcoming ODI series against the Netherlands and the T20I Asia Cup that commences later this month.
Star quick Shaheen Afridi is named in both squads and is in line to make his return to cricket during the three-match Super League series against the Netherlands after he missed the recent second Test against Sri Lanka last month.
Babar Azam will once again lead Pakistan after being named captain of both squads, while fast bowler Naseem Shah is included in place of fellow quick Hasan Ali.
There will be a total of five changes from the squad that tackles the Netherlands to the one that competes at the Asia Cup in the UAE, with Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Haris, Salman Ali Agha and Zahid Mehmood being replaced by Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Usman Qadir.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasim is happy with the balance of both squads and said the changes made to his side prior to the Asia Cup are what he believes is best for the team.
“We have only made changes that were necessary,” he said.
“Both the competitions are important for us and, as such, we have picked our best available players in consultation with the captain and head coach.
“Hasan has been given a break from international cricket and he has been replaced by Naseem Shah. He is express fast and can give further impetus to the fast bowling department, which already boasts Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shahnawaz Dahani. Naseem has not played any international white-ball cricket, but he has demonstrated with the red-ball that he is an attacking option with good pace and controlled swing.
“Salman Ali Agha has been recalled to the ODI side after he performed well in the past two Pakistan Cup tournaments, averaging 40.33 and 48.8, respectively. He also gives Babar Azam an additional bowling option.”
Pakistan’s first game at the Asia Cup is against arch-rival India in Dubai on August 28.
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mehmood
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir
The Netherlands v Pakistan ODIs will all be shown live and FREE on ICC.tv in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
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Live and FREE on ICC.tv: Netherlands v Pakistan in 3 ODIs
In-form Australia star and newly-crowned No.1 Test batter in the world Marnus Labuschagne has added to his bulging resume by drawing level with India great Virat Kohli on the all-time list and bringing up a new career-high rating on the latest MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test Batting Rankings.