KARACHI: It seems whatever Ahmed Shehzad does, he can’t be kept out of the national team, at least not for long.The 26-year-old opener, who was once regarded as one of the most exciting young batsmen in international cricket, has flopped time and again in recent times across all formats.
But despite that, the national selectors on Wednesday brought him back in the 15-man national squad announced for the three-match Twenty20 International series against New Zealand to be played later this month.
Ahmed’s prolific showing in the ongoing Departmental One-day Cup was the chief reason behind his return to the national line-up. He has scored 403 runs in seven innings in the ongoing One-Day Cup at an average of 67.16 and strike-rate of 100.24.
Azhar Ali, who had replaced Shehzad in the ODI squad, did not find a place in the T20 squad. The only other change from the ODI squad was the inclusion of batsman Umar Amin in place of Imam ul Haq.
With allrounder Imad Wasim yet to recover from the knee injury that had sidelined him from the ODI series, Mohammad Nawaz retained his place in the squad.“Imad Wasim was yet to recover from his knee injury, and was told to continue his rehabilitation at the NCA. Mohammad Nawaz has been named to replace Imad Wasim. Sohaib Maqsood was not considered for selection due to back injury, and will undergo rehabilitation at the NCA”, said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Pakistan are presently two games into a five-match ODI series with New Zealand prevailing in both contests via the DLS method. The first of the three T20s will be played on January 22 at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, three days after the fifth ODI.
T20 squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt &wk), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Harris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Umar Amin. —with inputs from agencies