Sarfaraz Ahmed has been named in the 18-man Pakistan squad for their upcoming three match T20I series against New Zealand. The former Pakistan captain returns to the set-up after being left out of the squad for September’s series against Zimbabwe.
The move was made in order to give the Pakistan youngsters a chance in the team. But now Sarfaraz Ahmed is back in the squad replacing wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir, who will instead captain Pakistan Shaheens in the four-day tour match against New Zealand A.
All-rounder Hussain Talat also returns to the Pakistan squad almost two years after his last international appearance. The 24-year-old has been called up after impressive performances in the Quiad-e-Azam Trophy and the National T20 Cup.
He replaces Zafar Gohar, who has also been named in the Pakistan Shaheens squad. Fakhar Zaman is another big name missing from the Pakistan squad. The batsman has been left out for precautionary reasons, due to high fever.
After what has been a troubled isolation period for Pakistan, they will finally depart Christchurch for Queenstown on December 8 to begin preparations for the New Zealand series.
Pakistan brought 54 members as part of their touring party to New Zealand. But six members tested positive for COVID-19.
The groups also breached the COVID-19 protocols, leading to criticism from the New Zealand health authorities. As a result, they weren’t given any exemptions to begin training in groups.
Pakistan and New Zealand begin their T20I series on December 18 and the first game is set to take place at Eden Park, Auckland.
Hamilton and Napier will host the second and third T20Is respectively. The two teams will then play a two-match Test series to wrap up the tour.
T20I squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz.