Lahore – The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced a 16-member squad with Sarfraz Ahmed as captain for the T20 series against the World XI side next month in Lahore.
The National Selection Committee, headed by Inzamamul Haq, selected the squad for what is being as the ‘Independence Cup’.
“The players consist of a combination of a fine blend of youth and senior players. Fahim Ashraf, Ruman Raees, and Aamer Yamin make a place in the squad due to their splendid performances in domestic tournaments, whereas Sohail Khan makes a comeback,” Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq said. “It would be good for the young players to get a chance to play on the home ground and perform in front of the local audience.”
The selected players are: Sarfraz Ahmad (Capt) (Wk), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Baber Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umer Amin, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Amir Yamin, Muhammad Amir, Ruman Raees, Usman Shinwari and Sohail Khan.
Muhammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz and Karmran Akmal did not to make it to the squad.
A host of former Pakistan greats have welcomed the return of top-class cricket to the country with the three-match Twenty20 International series to be played under lights at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on 12, 13 and 15 September.
The World XI side, which has been selected and is being managed by former Zimbabwe player Andy Flower, will be led by South African captain Faf du Plessis and comprises players from seven Test playing countries.
The PCB is hopeful of more international fixtures at home following this series, which is an opportunity to show the world that the country is safe for cricket and also showcase the love people here have for the game.
Former Pakistan captains Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Moin Khan and Ramiz Raja have all welcomed the upcoming series.
“The experience of playing in front of home crowds is a different one altogether and I’m sure the Pakistan players will be much more motivated to come up with memorable performances,” bowling all-rounder Wasim Akram said.
Former captain and coach Waqar Younis feels that the series could not have been timed better. “Pakistan produced a superb performance just a few months ago by winning the ICC Champions Trophy and the players deserve the opportunity to display their class at home venues,” he said.
Shahid Afridi sees the series as an ice-breaker and “a big success for Pakistan as it has been able to convince these international star cricketers that it is safe to play cricket in Pakistan.”
“I think we all owe a big thanks to these international cricketers, the global cricket community, the ICC and the PCB for taking this positive step,” Afridi said, stressing on the need to collectively work to make the series a success. – firstname.lastname@example.org