Pakistan national selectors on Friday confirmed Pakistan’s squad for the ICC men’s T20 World Cup 2021, which will be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. From the squad that was announced on September 4 and after taking into consideration player performances and form, the selectors have made three changes.
Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali have replaced Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain respectively, while Fakhar Zaman, who was originally named as a travel reserve, has swapped places with Khushdil Shah. Saqlain Mushtaq has been named the interim head coach.
Three changes in Pakistan squad for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) October 8, 2021
“After reviewing player performances in the highly-competitive National T20 and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021,” said Chief selector Muhammad Wasim in a Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) release.
“The three in-form players bring with them wealth of experience and talent, and provide further stability, balance and strength to the side.
“It must be tough for Azam, Khushdil and Hasnain for missing out but they still have a lot to offer in their careers. They are in our future plans as a lot of cricket has to be played post the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 and in the lead up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia,” he added.
Notably, netizens were quick to react to Sarfaraz’s inclusion in the squad as they took to Twitter to welcome the former Pakistan skipper back in the squad.
Here’s how fans reacted:
Sarfaraz Ahmed celebrating his inclusion with Sindh teammates is the Best thing you’ll see todayy!
— Arslan Rafique (@ArslanR70413271) October 8, 2021
Kaptaan is back #SarfarazAhmed
— Hasan Ali (@HasanAl42593665) October 8, 2021
— Bushra Irshad (@birshad99) October 8, 2021
Taptaan is back
I hope team management will provide him opportunity in playing XI from first game.
He will prove to be the stronghold in middle order, especially in UAE conditions.#WithYouSarfaraz#SarfarazAhmed#T20WorldCup #CricketTwitter pic.twitter.com/VCDQy7KJCT
— Wamiq Ansari (@the_ansari_boy) October 8, 2021
Meanwhile, the decision on Sohaib Maqsood’s inclusion in the squad will be made following medical advice. The top-order batter underwent MRI scans for the lower back after the National T20 match against Northern and missed Thursday’s Punjab derby against Central Punjab.
Pakistan is in Group 2 and will open their campaign against India on October 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The group will also have Afghanistan, New Zealand, and two qualifiers from Round 1.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab), Shadab Khan (vice-captain, Northern), Asif Ali (Northern), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haider Ali (Northern), Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Imad Wasim (Northern), Mohammad Hafeez (Central Punjab), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper, Sindh), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Sohaib Maqsood (Southern Punjab)
Traveling reserves: Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh) and Usman Qadir (Central Punjab)
Player Support Personnel: Mansoor Rana (manager), Saqlain Mushtaq (interim head coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant head coach), Matthew Hayden (batting consultant), Vernon Philander (bowling consultant), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Drikus Saaiman (strength and conditioning coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Talha Ejaz (team analyst), Col (retd) Muhammad Imran (Security Manager), Ibrahim Badees (media and digital manager), Dr Najeeb Soomro (team doctor) and Malang Ali (Masseur).