Pakistan call up Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim for New Zealand T20Is

Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim have been called up for the first time since 2020 and 2023 respectively as Pakistan announced their squad for New Zealand’s visit for five T20Is later this month.
In the first squad since the PCB announced a selection panel without a chief selector, Pakistan also called up Usman Khan, who formally switched allegiances from the UAE to Pakistan earlier this month. The selectors have also stuck with struggling opener Fakhar Zaman, who endured a torrid PSL with Lahore Qalandars.

It is the first Pakistan squad since the recently concluded Pakistan Super League, and it showed as performances in that tournament were rewarded. Azam Khan was retained after his exploits with title winning Islamabad United. United captain and Player of the PSL Shadab Khan, who was dropped for Pakistan’s visit to New Zealand in January, returns, as does Abrar Ahmed after a stellar PSL with the ball. Irfan Khan, who was awarded the Emerging Player of the Tournament, has been called up for the first time.

“Being chosen to represent one’s country is the ultimate dream and goal for any athlete,” Usman said, according to a PCB press release. “Today, I am absolutely thrilled and filled with joy as the selectors have granted me the opportunity to be part of the upcoming series against New Zealand. This selection validates the relentless effort and dedication I have poured into my craft, and I am fully committed to upholding the high standards I have set for myself.”

This is also the first series which sees Babar Azam retake the captaincy of Pakistan’s white-ball side after an acrimonious procedure that saw the PCB strip Shaheen Shah Afridi of the armband after just one series. Afridi is in the squad, while his fast bowling compatriot Naseem Shah returns to a Pakistan squad for the first time since September 2023, having missed several months with a long-term injury.

“The decision to include Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir was a straightforward one, given their availability for selection and considering Haris Rauf’s injury and Mohammad Nawaz’s current form,” selector Wahab Riaz said. “Both Amir and Imad possess undeniable match-winning capabilities, and we trust they will consistently deliver strong performances to bolster the team’s objectives.”

The series against New Zealand also marks several changes in the backroom staff. Azhar Mahmood has been brought in as head coach, though this is an ad hoc appointment rather than a long-term one. Wahab will also serve as “senior team manager”, according to the PCB, alongside Mansoor Rana, who serves in the more conventional role of team manager. Mohammad Yousaf also has a dual role; he was appointed as batting coach in addition to his selection responsibilities, while Saeed Ajmal continues as the spin bowling coach.

New Zealand arrive in Pakistan on 14 April, with five T20Is in Rawalpindi and Lahore from April 18 to 27.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohmmad Amir, Muhammad Irfan Niazi, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan

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