KARACHI: Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik have been left out of the 35-member squad announced for Pakistan’s upcoming tour of New Zealand as “selectors prefer(ed) youth” over the veteran cricketers, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Wednesday.
“Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour we have opted to invest, develop and focus on the promising and emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats,” chief selector Misbahul Haq was quoted as saying in a PCB press release.
Amir and Malik were also left out in the recent home series against Zimbabwe, which Pakistan won. Mohammad Hafiz and Wahab Riaz have been retained for Twenty20 matches “purely on the basis of their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad”.
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Asad Shafiq, who only managed to score 510 runs in his last 15 innings, will also sit out the New Zealand tour owing to his poor form.
“Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe,” Haq said.
According to the statement, head coaches of six cricket associations, Ijaz Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq were also part of the consultation process. Mushtaq is the head of International Player Development while Ahmed is the Shaheens head coach.
Four uncapped players, including Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir, have been included in the squad.
The statement said 35 players, along with 20 members of support staff, will be travelling to New Zealand on November 23 and will complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Lincoln.
The three-match T20 series between Pakistan and New Zealand will start on December 18 and end on December 22.
The ICC World Test Championship fixtures will be played in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch from December 26-30 and January 3-7, respectively.
Babar Azam will captain the team in both Test and T20 formats. Mohammad Rizwan will be his vice-captain in Tests, while Shadab Khan will assume the role in T20s. The board said players for Twenty20, Test and Shaheens teams will be selected from the named squad. Pakistan’s Shaheen will play first-class cricket against New Zealand A, however, a schedule is yet to be announced.