The experienced pair of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez will return to the Pakistan side for the T20I series against Bangladesh next week. Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have been left out, with pace bowler Muhammad Musa keeping his place in the shortest format, while batsman Ahsan Ali and fast bowler Amad Butt were called up.
For the second T20I squad in succession, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq rung in the changes as Pakistan look to break a streak of seven T20Is without a win. Pacer Shaheen Afridi returns to the side for the first time since May, having sat out the T20s against Sri Lanka and Australia as he recovered from about of dengue fever, while Usman Qadir keeps his place and may finally be in line for his debut. Haris Rauf has also been called up after his impressive season in the Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars.
Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed Haris Rauf, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Musa, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir
“He[Hafeez] is experienced enough and has performed well in past,” said Misbah when asked about the merits of his selection. “At the time when him and Malik were ruled out, we never said that they will never be considered again. Obviously, we were trying out our pool, but we found they were missed. So even if Hafeez hasn’t played much cricket lately, he is experienced and mature enough to contribute for Pakistan.”
In the last 12 months, Pakistan have lost 8 out of 9 completed T20s they have played, and a side that was until recently ranked comfortably at the top of the T20I rankings has begun to fall apart. They still hold the number one ranking, but that is more by dint of their remarkable record in the time before this recent string of poor results. Misbah said they needed to continue to experiment until they found a combination that worked for Pakistan.
More to follow