PCB announces squad for England, Ireland series

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Thursday announced the national side’s 18-member squad for the upcoming all-important tours of England and Ireland ahead of the T20I World Cup 2024.

Led by skipper Babar Azam, the side includes of Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Salman Ali Agha, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi and others.

The announcement comes as Green Shirts are set to face Ireland in a three-match T20I series from May 10 to May 14 after which the national side will travel to England for a four-match T20I series commencing on May 22.

The national side’s tours hold key significance and will play a vital role in team’s preparation for the T20I World Cup 2024 set to commence in June in the United States and West Indies.

As per the PCB, the squad will be reduced to 15 players for the mega-event after the first T20I against England on May 22 to meet the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) May 24 team announcement deadline.

Elaborating on the squad, the PCB highlighted pacer Rauf and Azam have made a comeback in the national side after being left out in the recently concluded New Zealand series owing to injuries.

Meanwhile, wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan and middle-order batter Muhammad Irfan have also been named in the side after they were rested in two matches in the series against the Black Caps.

“The four cricketers underwent fitness assessments at the National Cricket Academy on Tuesday afternoon, showing significant improvement. This progress has provided confidence and encouragement to the PCB Medical Panel and the team management regarding their potential availability during the seven T20Is,” the board said.

Commenting on Hasan Ali’s selection, the PCB said that the pacer’s inclusion is attributed to his extensive experience, having featured in 50 T20Is and excelling in bilateral series and ICC events.

However, fast bowler Zaman Khan and spinner Usama Mir, who were part of the series against the Kiwis, failed to make it to the squad.

“We understand Usama and Zaman will be disappointed […] They are quality cricketers and have long careers ahead of them. They need to continue to focus on their cricket so that they are available if required,” PCB’s press release read quoting the selection committee.

It is to be noted that the national side, after undergoing a three-day training camp in Lahore from May 4 to 6, will depart for Dublin, Ireland on May 7.

Pakistan’s squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usman Khan.

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