Pakistan announced its 16-player squad for the ODI series against the Netherlands and a 15-member side for the T20 Asia Cup, dropping out of form Hassan Ali and bringing in pacer Naseem Shah for the two events.
“We selected the best players for the situations that we would be in,” Muhammad Wasim, the Pakistan Cricket Board, said while addressing a press conference in Lahore. “We tried to make sure that all our areas were covered so that whatever situation we found ourselves in. We had the option of different combinations and different kinds of players.”
The ODI series against the Netherlands would be played from August 16 to 21 and the T20 Asia Cup would be played in the United Arab Emirates from August 27 to September 11.
Salman Ali Agha, who toured England in 2021 for the ODIs, has been recalled. Shaheen Shah Afridi has been retained in the ODI and T20I squads.
“Our team is very good for white ball cricket, which is why you are seeing better performances. Many of our players have stepped up their game, which you can even see in the ICC rankings,” Wasim, a former cricketer from Rawalpindi.
“We have only made changes that were necessary. 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.”
The management has a cap of 15 players because of Covid-induced restrictions, he said in response to a query over no backup wicketkeeper for Muhammad Rizwan in the team.
Wasim while replying to another query on experienced Shoaib Malik’s absence from the Asia Cup reiterated that the management has chosen the “best combination” given the conditions. “So if something changes in the future we will discuss it and see, but right now we have chosen the best available players.”
He was of the view that the team was already filled with young players, who have not played that many matches.
“When a player is rested and dropped, it is for his own the team’s betterment,” he clarified on the decision to drop Hasan Ali. “We think that he [Hasan] needs a break. And, Naseem Shah is an attacking bowler which is why he is a good option.”
Wasim dispelled any concerns about resting experienced players as the team already had young players with a low average of matches played.
“We are hopeful that all of our middle order players will be more consistent and we will win more matches,” he said after defending Haider Ali’s comeback in view of recent performances.
“In terms of chances to win [against India], we have the same chances to win as we did in the World Cup,” he said, adding that the management was looking for domestic players.
Netherlands ODIs: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imamul Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Zahid Mehmood.
T20 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.