Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik out of T20 World Cup squad


Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik

LAHORE: Pakistan chief selector Muhammad Waseem has announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in which Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Malik have been dropped from the squad.

Shoaib Malik was dropped amid demands to strengthen the middle order.

Since Misbah-ul-Haq took over as head coach in September 2019, Pakistan has fielded 17 different players in the middle order but none of them have been successful.

He called for the inclusion of the 39-year-old Malik, who played his last 116 T20 Internationals in June 116, but chief selector Muhammad Wasim said experts were preferred.

“We have focused on expert T20 players and considered the venue situation and our opposition in the event,” Wasim told a press conference in Lahore.

Pakistan is in Group 2 with old rivals India, New Zealand and Afghanistan and the two qualifiers will be decided after the first round.

Group 1 includes defending champions West Indies, Australia, England, South Africa and two qualifiers.

Pakistan will start their campaign with a high voltage match against India in Dubai on October 24.

The seventh event of the Twenty20 World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates from October 17 to November 14.

Former captain and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, opener Sharjeel Khan also failed to make the cut but 40-year veteran Muhammad Hafeez was included.

Another opener, Fakhr Zaman, was added to the three reserves that will travel with the squad. They include pacers Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.

Disappointing power hitters Asif Ali and Azam Khan were lucky to join the team. Ali scored just two double-figure scores in the last 10 T20 Internationals.

Twenty-year-old fast bowler Mohammad Waseem has also been included, impressing in the four T20 Internationals he has played so far.

Babar Azam will captain the team.

The team will also play in five T20 Internationals against New Zealand later this month and two T20 matches against England on October 14 and 15 before the World Cup.

Squad: Babar Azam (Captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hassan Ali, Emad Wasim, Khushdal Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Purpose

Reserve: Fakhr Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.

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