Fri, 10 Jul 2020

Karachi - Pakistan recalled veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, but surprisingly dropped pacemen Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz from the 15-man squad for the three-match Twenty20 series against Bangladesh starting next week.

The squad announced by chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq is a total revamp to the team which lost 3-0 to Sri Lanka in October last year, and then 2-0 to Australia in November.

It comes as Pakistan hopes to hang on to its world number one rankings in the shorter format as well as prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in nine months.

Eight players who were part of the squad in the Australia Twenty20 series - opener Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, paceman Mohammad Irfan, Amir and Riaz, batsmen Asif Ali and Haris Sohail - have been dropped.

Misbah admitted the "alarming" recent losses had forced the changes.

"How to return to winning ways was the basis of our selection," he said during the squad announcement.

The three matches are scheduled in Lahore on January 24, 25 and 27. Bangladesh will also play a one-day international and two Tests on two separate visits to Pakistan.

Hafeez, 39, played the last of his 89 Twenty20s against New Zealand in November 2018, while Malik's last of 111 Twenty20 matches was in South Africa last year.

Misbah defended Malik and Hafeez's recall.

"When Malik and Hafeez were dropped for the Sri Lanka series we had said that both are experienced and doors were not shut on their selection," he said.

Some exciting uncapped youngsters have also been included in the squad for the first time, such as 26-year-old paceman Haris Rauf, allrounder Amad Butt, 24, and opener Ahsan Ali, 26.

Rauf was discovered during a talent hunt program by the Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars.

His 16 wickets in seven matches of the ongoing Big Bash Twenty20 league in Australia opened his way into the team.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khusdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeex, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir.

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