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Cricket28 Nov 2020

PCB Challengers register thrilling win over PCB Blasters
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (November 28, 2020):-PCB Challengers overcame PCB Blasters by five runs in the fifth match of the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday. The thrilling match was decided on the last ball as the PCB Blasters finished their chase of 158 runs at 152 for six. The defeat has ended PCB Blasters hopes of a place in the championship’s final, which will be now played between PCB Challengers and PCB Dynamites on Tuesday, 1 December. PCB Blasters openers Javeria Khan and Sidra Amin provided a 59-run stand. Sidra was dismissed for 18 runs. Javeria held the innings together with 56 off 47 balls as she hit eight fours. Captain Aliya Riaz kept PCB Blasters in the hunt with 37 off 31 balls before she was run out on the penultimate ball as her side fell agonisingly short of the target. Sidra Nawaz (19 off 12 balls) was the other significant contributor in the PCB Blasters total. Bismah Maroof, Saba Nazir and Fatima Sana took a wicket apiece for the victorious side. Batting first, after winning the toss, PCB Challengers posted 157 for seven. Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof led the way for her side with 61 off 48 balls. Bismah, later adjudged player-of-the-match, took the attack to the PCB Blasters as she hit nine fours and one six. Besides Bismah, Fatima Sana was the other notable run-getter. She hit four fours and one six in her 41 off 33 balls. She along with Bismah took the team past the 150-run mark after they had stuttered to 87 for five in the 12th over. Bismah and Fatima added 54 runs for the sixth-wicket. Hafsa Amjad with three wickets for 27 runs was the most successful bowler for PCB Blasters. Scores in brief: PCB Challengers 157-7, 20 overs (Bismah Maroof 61, Fatima Sana 41, Kainat Hafeez 22; Hafsa Amjad 3-27) PCB Blasters 152-6, 20 overs (Javeria Khan 56, Aliya Riaz 37; Bismah Maroof 1-10) Result: PCB Challengers won by five runs Player-of-the-match: Bismah Maroof Next match: PCB Challengers v PCB Dynamites – Sunday

Cricket22 Nov 2020

Hasan Raza welcomes introduction of minimum age restriction for players
By BIPIN DANI Records (in cricket) are meant to be  broken but former Pakistani batsman Hasan Raza's record of being the youngest Test player will not break now. The ICC has announced 15 years as the minimum age to become an international cricketer which will enable former Pakistani batsman Hasan Raza to continue to hold the record. Raza was 14 y 227 days old when he was picked to play against Zimbabwe at Faisalabad on 24th October 1996. "The ICC has done the right thing. This I am not telling because my record is intact but I believe players only become mentally strong and matured after fifteen years of age. It is good from a safety point of view also that the players play when they are matured", Hasan Raza, speaking exclusively over the telephone from Islamabad, said on Sunday morning.   "When I was playing for Pakistan, Windies' fast bowler Courtney Walsh with 400 Test wickets was also playing. He was really fast and it was very difficult for a young bowler to face him". Raza faced him in the ODIs. "Yes, I was invited to make my debut early. This was because my performance in the school drew the attention of the selectors. Wasim Akram was my first Test captain and the Test cap to me was awarded by Mushtaq Mohammad, whose record (15 y 124 days) only I broke 38 years later".   Raza, 38 now, is running a cricket academy in Islamabad. "My aim is to make young cricketers for our country and I am fully devoted to it", he added. Hasan Raza is aware about the fact that few Pakistani players have faced controversy in their real age. "This is because there was no age proof and certificates in earlier days. Now we all have National Identity Cards. In the meantime, India's renowned cricket statistician Mohandas menon has provided the names of the following players, who played T-20s at a very young age. In Women's cricket: Nia Greig of Jersey Women was just 11y-40d when she made her T20I debut vs France Women at Nantes on 31 Jul 2019 In Men's cricket: Marian Gherasim of Romania was 14y-16d when he made his T20I debut vs Bulgaria at Ilfov County on 16 Oct 2020

Cricket22 Nov 2020

Ayesha guides Dynamites to seven-wicket win over Blasters
SPORTS REPORT RAWALPINDI (November 22, 2020):-PCB Dynamites beat PCB Blasters by seven wickets in the opening match of the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship being played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Sunday. Opener Ayesha Zafar and middle-order batter Iram Javed starred for the Dynamites in their convincing chase of the 138-run target which was completed in 19.1 overs. For PCB Dynamites, Ayesha lead the way with her 65-run innings of 50 balls. Iram remained unbeaten on 40 off 30 balls. Ayesha hit 10 fours and one six in her innings while Iram cleared the boundary four times (four sixes) and hit one four in her punishing knock that settled the game in the favour of PCB Dynamites. Hafsa Amjad, Maham Tariq and Anam Amin took a wicket apiece for PCB Blasters. Earlier, PCB Dynamites won the toss and opted to field first, PCB Blasters scored 137 for four in their allotted 20 overs. Javeria Rauf top-scored with 35 off 32 balls, her innings included two fours and two sixes. Aliya Riaz lifted the run-rate with a stroke-filled unbeaten 34 off 22 balls; she hit six fours in her innings. Opener Javeria Khan scored 29 off 36 balls, her innings included three fours. Kainat Imtiaz, Rameen Shamim and Nashra Sandhu took a wicket apiece for PCB Dynamites. In the second match of the tournament PCB Blasters will play PCB Challengers tomorrow at the same venue. Scores in brief: Result: PCB Dynamites won by seven wickets PCB Blasters 137-4, 20 overs (Javeria Rauf 35, Aliya Riaz 34 not out; Kainat Imtiaz 1-22) PCB Dynamites 138-3, 19.1 overs (Ayesha Zafar 65, Iram Javed 40 not out; Hafsa Amjad 1-19) Player of the match: Ayesha Zafar (PCB Dynamites)

Cricket18 Nov 2020

Ehsan Mani says PCB fulfilled another commitment
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (November 18, 2020):-The chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani today (Wednesday) congratulated all participants, officials, local administration and security agencies on the successful completion of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 that concluded on Tuesday under the National Stadium floodlights. While an empty National Stadium for the playoffs took the gloss away from the first homecoming event that saw nearly 600,000 spectators cross turnstiles in the 30 league matches (last four league matches were played behind closed doors after the Covid-19 outbreak in Pakistan) before the event was suspended on 17 March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there was no doubt that the HBL Pakistan Super League 2000 had been an outstanding success given the very difficult circumstances. The two Karachi Kings versus Lahore Qalandars’ home and away preliminary round matches at the National and Gaddafi Stadium were packed-to-capacity as the fans thronged the two iconic and historic venues to watch the oldest rivalry in Pakistan cricket. PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani: “I had promised following the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 that the 2020 edition will be held in Pakistan from start to finish. I reiterated this when the event was suspended prior to the playoff stage, and despite several challenges, uncertainties and doubts, I am delighted that the PCB has fulfilled another commitment and promise to the loyal and passionate Pakistan cricket fans and supporters. “But at the same time, I am sad that Karachi Kings had to make history before an empty National Stadium. This great game is all about fans and their absence was badly missed by all of us, including the players and match officials. We can only visualise the celebrations and a festive occasion this final would have created, only if the situation was normal. “I have been overwhelmed and touched by the fans’ support and appreciation who followed action on television and live-streaming, and took to the social media proactively and with great enthusiasm to contribute in enhancing the reputation and image of the country through positive and sporting posts and engagements. This was just another example of no matter what, you cannot take cricket out of the lives and systems of the Pakistan fans. “With the Covid-19 situation being an evolving one, the PCB will continue to monitor it and work with the authorities to explore ways of allowing fans to attend matches when international cricket and HBL Pakistan Super League matches are held in 2021. “The fans’ following, interest and enthusiasm of the Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars final also reflected the value and importance of inter-city matches, something we are on course of rolling out at the City Cricket Association level. Pakistan is lucky to have separate city-based and Cricket Association-based competitions as we aim to make these brands stronger and more popular. “I also want to offer my wholehearted thanks to the Sindh government and the local security agencies who continued their support of Pakistan cricket by helping in the successful delivery of the playoffs. I also want to offer my gratitude to the local and provincial administrations of other provinces who stood behind us in the preliminary stage matches, which were the cornerstone of the playoffs in Karachi. “The visiting players were once again appreciative of the way they were looked after and I am sure following these playoff matches, we have added more ambassadors of Pakistan cricket. “Not many will know, understand and recognise the efforts and hard work of the PCB staff, who have worked incredibly hard to demonstrate to the world that Pakistan can organise and deliver high-quality cricket successfully despite the challenging and difficult Covid-19 situation. “The PCB has already delivered more than 55 per cent of a full domestic season, while the home international series against Zimbabwe was smooth and flawless. “I remain confident that the PCB will succeed in completing the 2020-21 domestic season. We look forward to hosting South Africa under the Future Tours Programme agreement in January/February 2021 and leading international cricketers will also return to feature in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021, which will be played at the back of the home series against South Africa. “I want to thank all the foreign stars who arrived in Karachi for the playoffs. This not only reflected the stature and value of the HBL Pakistan Super League, but also their loyalty and commitment to their sides. “As for the local players, it has not been an easy time since the start of the season on 30 September as they have continued to remain in the bio-secure bubble. I know this requires a lot of mental toughness and extra efforts to remain in a restricted environment, take the field almost every day and then produce strong performances. The sacrifices they are making will only contribute in helping them become stronger and tougher professional athletes. “Lastly, I want to thank all the PCB’s commercial partners, particularly Habib Bank Limited, for their continued patronage and support, as well as the media, who dedicated big spaces in their newspapers and allocated airtime in their prime bulletins and space on their digital platforms to highlight and promote the HBL Pakistan Super League, which continues to strengthen its reputation, credibility and following with every match.”

Cricket18 Nov 2020

PCB announces Super League fixtures against England
SPORTS REPORT LAHORE (November 18, 2020):-Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday announced the schedule of its men’s national cricket team’s tour to England and Wales in July 2021 that will comprise three ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs and as many T20Is. The ODIs will be played in Cardiff, London (Lord’s) and Birmingham on 8, 10 and 13 July, respectively while the T20Is will be held in Nottingham, Leeds and Manchester on 16, 18 and 20 July, respectively. England lead the points table of the qualification league for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 with 30 points from two three-ODI series. Pakistan share second spot with Australia on 20 points following a 2-1 series win over Zimbabwe, while Zimbabwe and Ireland are on 10 points each. The remaining eight sides in the 13-team competition are yet to play their opening fixtures in the Super League from which the seven top-ranked sides and World Cup hosts India will progress directly for the event proper to take place in October/November 2023. The ODI series against England will be one of Pakistan’s three away fixtures in 2021 with the other two being against South Africa (April 2021) and Afghanistan (September 2021). In addition to these away series, Pakistan will play two home Super League fixtures against New Zealand and the West Indies in October and December 2021, respectively. This will be Pakistan’s sixth consecutive tour to England. In 2016, Pakistan drew the four-Test series 2-2, won the ICC Championship Trophy in 2017, drew the two-Test series 1-1 in 2018, missed out on a place in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-finals by a fraction of a point and lost the three-Test series 1-0 in 2020. Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “England and Wales is our second home as we have been visiting it regularly since 2016. Apart from building relationships and understanding the culture, these tours have helped us to enhance and improve our cricket skills and knowledge, as we now have a good understanding of the conditions and wickets in that part of the world. “England are the world champions and the number-one ranked side in ODIs, while they sit second in the T20I table. Besides trying to collecting valuable Super League points, our overarching objective is also to improve our white-ball rankings. The series against South Africa, England and New Zealand provides us with opportunities to improve our rankings as lower-ranked sides are awarded more points if they win a series against the side that is ranked above them on the rankings table. “England boasts some outstanding and world-class cricketers, which is reflected in their team results in the past couple of years. But if we have to qualify directly for the World Cup and also improve our ranking, we have to play and beat stronger oppositions, and I know we are capable of doing this.” Pakistan is presently sixth in ODIs behind England, India, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, while Babar Azam’s side is ranked fourth behind Australia, England and India in T20Is. Pakistan sits seventh in Tests. Provisional schedule: 8 July - 1st ODI, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 10 July – 2nd ODI, Lord’s, London 13 July – 3rd ODI, Edgbaston, Birmingham 16 July – 1st T20I, Trent Bridge, Nottingham 18 July – 2nd T20I, Headingley, Leeds 20 July – 3rd T20I, Old Trafford, Manchester

Cricket18 Nov 2020

Shadab Khan to captain Team of HBL PSL 2020
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (November 18, 2020):-A four-member independent jury today announced the Team of HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, which will be captained by Islamabad United’s Shadab Khan. The independent jury included respected commentators Bazid Khan, Ramiz Raja and Urooj Mumtaz, and Nadeem Khan, who is a member of the HBL PSL 2020 Technical Committee and PCB Director – High Performance. The 12-member side, as per the event regulations, includes four foreign players and one emerging category player, and represents five teams with Lahore Qalandars boasting six players, three Karachi Kings, and one each from Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators. The squad in batting order is: Babar Azam (Karachi Kings) Chris Lynn (Lahore Qalandars) Alex Hales (Karachi Kings) Haider Ali (Peshawar Zalmi) Mohammad Hafeez (Lahore Qalandars) Shadab Khan (captain, Islamabad United) Ben Dunk (wicketkeeper, Lahore Qalandars) David Wiese (Lahore Qalandars) Mohammad Amir (Karachi Kings) Shaheen Shah Afridi (Lahore Qalandars) Mohammad Hasnain (Quetta Gladiators) Fakhar Zaman (12th, Lahore Qalandars) From the above, Babar Azam is the only player who was also a member of the Team of HBL PSL 2019 after he had aggregated 335 runs at an average of 30.45 with a strike-rate 115.51. While selecting the side, the independent jury considered a number of cricketing aspects, including consistency, impact on the side and results, fitness and best possible team combination so this team can take on any HBL PSL 2020 side on any given day at any of the four tournament venues. Ramiz Raja, who played 255 internationals for Pakistan and scored 8,674 runs: “Selecting top 12 performers from a rich list of outstanding guys was a challenge for the entire panel. We have picked a performance-based and balanced side that can compete against any HBL PSL 2020 franchise cricket side in any conditions. “Overall, the credit for the overwhelming success of HBL PSL 2020 in Pakistan goes to all participants who galvanised and entertained the nation with some attractive, aggressive and competitive cricket. Through the HBL PSL as well as the National T20 Cup and the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the selectors as well as cricket fans and followers have been able to spot and identify a number of excellent cricketers, who I am sure we’ll see in international cricket at some stage.” Shadab Khan: “I feel honoured to have been appointed captain of Team of the HBL PSL 2020, which includes some fine performers from one of the most successful events. However, it hurts that we were unable to make it to the playoffs. We gave our best shot, which was clearly not enough, and means we have to come harder and stronger when the sixth edition is played next year.”

Cricket12 Nov 2020

PCB confirms appointments of Younis and Arshad
SPORTS REPORT LAHORE (November 12, 2020):-The Pakistan Cricket Board today confirmed the appointment of former captain Younis Khan as batting coach of the Pakistan men’s national cricket team until, at least, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, which is scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November with the final on 13 November. Younis had earlier accompanied Pakistan to England this summer and will now continue with his responsibilities for the upcoming series in New Zealand for which the side departs on 23 November. When not traveling with the national side, Younis will be based at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance in Karachi as a batting coach. A work programme will be developed with the National High Performance team. Younis, scored 10,099 runs at over 52 in 118 Tests; 7,249 runs in 265 ODIs and 442 runs in 25 T20Is. He has scored most Test centuries for Pakistan, 34, while his career-best 313 against Sri Lanka in Karachi in 2009 lifted him to No.1 position in the ICC rankings. Younis also captained Pakistan to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2009 victory in England. PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan: “I am delighted that Younis will now be with for, at least, the next two years as our batting coach. The feedback we received about Younis’ impact in a short period of time in England was excellent. His work ethics, commitment and knowledge are second to none, and I am confident that his appointment will benefit a number of talented batsmen who have either recently broken into the national side or are knocking on the door of international cricket. “The PCB will also be utilising Younis Khan’s expertise and skills when he’s not on national duty as he will help local batsmen hone their skills. This is part of the PCB’s strategy to appoint highly-qualified and respected coaches across all major centres of the country so that we can start producing cricketers who can represent Pakistan with distinction. “This High Performance Centre element follows the recruitment of Mohammed Yousuf, who is based at the National High Performance Centre, meaning that the PCB has two of the very best contemporary ex-batters adding significant value and fulfilling important roles with developing and guiding the current and the future generation of Pakistan batsmen.” Younis Khan: “I am pleased to join the Pakistan cricket set-up on a long-term basis. I felt honoured when I was given the opportunity this summer and thoroughly enjoyed my time, and I now look forward to continuing the work with the same group of people on an important tour of New Zealand. “I am particularly happy that my scope of work has been extended beyond the national duties. I am equally interested and keen at working at the domestic level by identifying potential batsmen and then helping them improve their skills. “However, I want to remind all fans and followers that there is a process to achieve excellence and while some improvements can be noticed quickly, this will require lots of hard work, perseverance and patience before the required skills are embedded and start producing consistent results.” Meanwhile, the PCB has also appointed former Test spinner Arshad Khan as Pakistan women’s national cricket team’s bowling coach for one year. Arshad played nine Tests and 58 ODIs, taking 32 and 56 wickets, respectively. Arshad’s appointment has come within a month after former Bermuda and Glamorgan captain David Hemp was appointed head coach of the national side. Arshad will take up his role following the remaining four HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, where he is involved with Peshawar Zalmi and along with David, will be involved in the Women’s National T20 Championship. Arshad Khan: “This is an excellent opportunity to be working with women cricketers alongside David Hemp as we aim to collectively lift our national team in the upper half of the women’s draw. “When I look around at a big number of former international cricketers involved in the present set-up, it motivates me to not only prove my worth but also justify the faith imposed on me. “I now keenly look forward to looking at the available pool of women cricketers in the Women’s National T20 Championship and will then work on a strategy with David on how we move forward. This will be a demanding assignment and I am up for the challenge.” Players Support Personnel for Pakistan’s tour to New Zealand: Pakistan men’s national team – Mansoor Rana (Manager), Misbah-Ul-Haq (head coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant coach), Waqar Younis (bowling coach), Younis Khan (batting coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Ibrahim Badees (team and social media manager), Malang Ali (team masseur), Dr Sohail Saleem (team doctor), Talha Ejaz Butt (analyst), Col (retd) Usman Anwari (security manager) and Yasir Malik (strength & training coach), Shaheens - Ijaz Ahmed (manager and head coach), Mohtashim Rashid (assistant manager & fielding coach), Rao Iftikhar (bowling coach), Hafiz Naeem (physiotherapist), Saboor Ahmed (trainer), Usman Hashmi (analyst) and Mohammad Imran Ali (masseur)

Cricket12 Nov 2020

IPL's Sri Lankan players miss watching final
By BIPIN DANI Barring Mahela Jaywardene, IPL's all Sri Lankan players and support staff (men and women) who participated in the recently concluded IPL (Indian Premier League) in the UAE missed watching the final.    "We could not watch the men's final", former women's team captain Shashikala Jayawardene, confirmed over the telephone from her hotel room in Colombo on Thursday morning.  "Myself, Chamari Atapattu, Isuru Udana, Muthiah Muralitharan and Mario Villavarayan came in the same Emirates flight on Wednesday early morning",  Both women players played the Women's T-20 Challenge, Isuru played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Murali and Mario were part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad teams as bowling consultant and the physical trainer respectively.     "We were in the night flight at the time when the final was underway (on November 10) . There was no flight on 11th and therefore had to leave without watching the final", she added.     All of them, (and may be Mahela Jayawardene, the Mumbai Indians coach, who may have arrived on Wednesday) are on a 14-day quarantine.  Sharing her experience of playing in the tournament, Shashikala says, "Our team (Supernovas) had a spark in them because Harman is a very positive, brave and strong character which affects us in a positive way. I really enjoyed being with a great bunch of cricketers".  "Coach Mamatha Maben was very supportive as well as the manager Trupti Madam and the support staff. So, I would like to thank BCCI for having such a wonderful event under these circumstances. Overall, we are happy that we played some good cricket after being away from cricket for 7 to 8 months due to this corona pandemic", she signed off. 

Cricket12 Nov 2020

Match officials for HBL PSL 2020 playoffs announced
SPORTS REPORT KARACHI (November 12, 2020):-Aleem Dar, who holds the record for officiating the most number of Tests and ODIs, and Michael Gough will take the field as on-field umpires at a floodlit National Stadium for the final of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020. Members of ICC International Panel of Umpires Ahsan Raza, who became the first match official to reach the milestone of 50 T20Is as an on-field umpire, and Rashid Riaz will take the responsibilities of the third umpire and the fourth umpire, respectively. Match referee Mohammad Anees, member of PCB’s Elite Panel for Match Referees, will lead the playing control team for the much-anticipated contest. Aleem, who holds the distinction of officiating the most number of HBL PSL matches (42), will be in action as on-field umpire in the Eliminator 1 and Eliminator 2 on 14 and 15 November. For Eliminator 1 between Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi, he will be joined by Shozab Raza, with Ahsan as the third umpire and Faisal Khan Afridi as the fourth umpire in a team that will be led by match referee Prof. Javed Malik. Before the final, Aleem and Michael Gough, the members of ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, will perform the on-field duties together in Eliminator 2, which will be contested between the losing team from the Qualifier and winning team of the Eliminator 1. Match referee Mohammad Anees will lead the playing control team in a match which will have Shozab Raza as third and Asif Yaqoob as fourth umpire. For the Qualifier on 14 November between the top two teams at the table – Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings - Michael Gough, who has officiated as an on-field umpire in 95 internationals, and Rashid Riaz will be the on-field umpires with Asif Yaqoob and Nasir Hussain as the third and fourth umpires. Match referee Mohammad Anees will lead them. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board also announced the technical committee for the playoffs. The six-member committee will be led by PCB chief executive Wasim Khan and have Bazid Khan, Dr Riaz Ahmed, Marina Iqbal, Nadeem Khan and Sameer Khosa as members. HBL PSL 2020 playoffs schedule (all matches at National Stadium, Karachi): 14 Nov – Qualifier (Multan Sultans v Karachi Kings) – Michael Gough and Rashid Riaz (on-field umpires), Asif Yaqoob (third umpire), Nasir Hussain (fourth umpire); Mohammad Anees (match referee). Eliminator 1 (Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi) – Aleem Dar and Shozab Raza (on-field umpires), Ahsan Raza (third umpire), Faisal Khan Afridi (fourth umpire); Prof Javed Malik (match referee) 15 Nov – Eliminator 2 (Losing team Qualifier v Winning team Eliminator 1) – Aleem Dar and Michael Gough (on-field umpires), Shozab Raza (third umpire), Asif Yaqoob (fourth umpire); Mohammad Anees (match referee) 17 Nov – Final (Winner Qualifier v Winner Eliminator 2) – Aleem Dar and Michael Gough (on-field umpires), Ahsan Raza (third umpire), Rashid Riaz (fourth umpire); Mohammad Anees (match referee)

Cricket11 Nov 2020

Pakistan name 35-player squad for New Zealand
SPORTS REPORT LAHORE (November 11, 2020):-Pakistan today announced a 35-player squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand from which the national men’s and Shaheens squads will be selected. The players, along with 20-member players support personnel, will depart for Lincoln on 23 November where they will spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. While the Shaheens schedule is yet to be confirmed by New Zealand Cricket, Pakistan men’s national team will play three T20Is on 18, 20 and 22 December, and the ICC World Test Championship fixtures will be held in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch on 26-30 December and 3-7 January, respectively. Apart from the 35 players involved in pre-series intra-squad matches as part of their preparations, Pakistan men’s national team players not involved in international matches against New Zealand will be available for selection for the Shaheens’ matches against New Zealand A. This means Test players not involved in the T20Is in the first half of the series against New Zealand will be available for selection for Shaheens, who are expected to be playing four-day matches against New Zealand A during that period. Likewise, when the national side is involved in the ICC World Test Championship matches against New Zealand, national men’s team players not part of those matches will be available for selection for the Shaheens, who are expected to be involved in 20-over games against New Zealand A during those days. While selecting the squads, chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq consulted the six Cricket Association head coaches, Shaheens head coach Ijaz Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq, head of international player development. Babar Azam has been confirmed Pakistan captain in all formats. His vice-captain in Tests will be Mohammad Rizwan, while Shadab will be the vice-captain in T20Is. The PCB has also appointed Rohail Nazir as Shaheens’ captain with Haider Ali as his vice-captain. The two had performed these responsibilities at this year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa earlier this year. 35-player squad is: Openers (six): Abid Ali (Central Punjab/Lahore Qalandars), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Lahore Qalandars), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan/Peshawar Zalmi), Shan Masood (Soutern Punjab/Multan Sultans) and Zeeshan Malik (Northern) Middle-order batsmen (11): Babar Azam (captain) (Central Punjab/Karachi Kings), Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Danish Aziz (Sindh), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Haider Ali (Shaheens vice-captain, Northern/Peshawar Zalmi), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Hussain Talat (Southern Punjab/Islamabad United), Iftikhar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Karachi Kings), Imran Butt (Balochistan), Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab/Multan Sultans) and Mohammad Hafeez (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Peshawar Zalmi) Wicketkeepers (three): Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, Tests) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Karachi Kings), Rohail Nazir (Shaheens captain, Northern/Multan Sultans) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh/Quetta Gladiators) Spinners (five): Imad Wasim (Northern/Karachi Kings), Shadab Khan (vice-captain, T20Is) (Northern/Islamabad United), Usman Qadir (Central Punjab/Multan Sultans), Yasir Shah (Balochistan/Peshawar Zalmi) and Zafar Gohar (Central Punjab/Islamabad United) Fast bowlers (10): Amad Butt (Balochistan/Islamabad United), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab/Islamabad United), Haris Rauf (Northern/Lahore Qalandars), Mohammad Abbas (Southern Punjab/Multan Sultans), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh/Quetta Gladiators), Mohammad Musa (Northern/Islamabad United), Naseem Shah (Central Punjab/Quetta Gladiators), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Lahore Qalandars), Sohail Khan (Sindh/Quetta Gladiators) and Wahab Riaz (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Peshawar Zalmi) Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq: “These unprecedented Covid-19 times provide a unique opportunity to some of the most talented and best domestic performers to represent the national and Shaheens squads against a quality opposition such as New Zealand, gain valuable experience and exposure, and further improve their skills so that they can strengthen their claims for international call-ups. “This tour schedule has been designed in such a way that we play tough intra-squad matches in the lead up to international matches and compensate for the local oppositions. While the national side will be involved in one format, Shaheens will be in action in the other format. This means all the players will be busy and playing competitive cricket.” “The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players. “I want to congratulate uncapped Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir who have impressed the selectors with their form, technique, temperament and ability to secure places in the 35-player pool. However, these four players are amongst some other players who have been selected specifically for Shaheens as part of our strategy to build our bench strength. “There are three major omissions from the side that toured England. Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England. 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. “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. “We have kept faith in Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz purely on the basis of their outstanding and consistent performances as well as the value they bring to the T20I squad. “The ongoing domestic season has produced three highly impressive and consistent spinners in Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan and Zahid Mahmood. Unfortunately, due to New Zealand government regulations as part of their Covid-19 travel requirements, we had to provide a provisional list of 45 players to New Zealand Cricket by 12 October and, as such, these players missed out because at that time, the National T20 Cup was ongoing while the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy had not commenced. “However, the positive side is we are now developing a strong pool of top-quality spinners who will challenge each other for places in the national sides that, in turn, will help in the overall performances in the sides.” Pakistan v New Zealand (in bracket are start times in Pakistan Standard Times): 18 Dec – 1st T20I, Eden Park, Auckland (1200 PST) 20 Dec – 2nd T20I, Seddon Park, Hamilton (1200 PST) 22 Dec – 3rd T20I, McLean Park, Napier (1200 PST) 26-30 Dec – 1st Test, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui (0400 PST) 3-7 Jan – 2nd Test, Hagley Oval, Christchurch (0400 PST)