Former Punjab Kings and KKR player appointed Pakistan head coach for New Zealand T20I series

Pakistan have appointed its head coach for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand to be held in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

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Pakistan will host New Zealand for a five-match T20I series, starting on April 18. The series will begin in Rawalpindi, where the first three T20Is will take place before moving to Gaddafi stadium in Lahore for the last two matches.

Pakistan cricket has gone through a lots of changes since the last year's World Cup, where they failed to qualify for the semifinals. Babar Azam stepped down from captaincy in all the three formats while team director Mickey Arthur was sacked from his position. Mohammad Hafeez served as the team director and went to Australia tour with the team but he was removed from his position as well.

But the new PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi restructured the management and brought back Babar Azam as team's white-ball captain. Babar's first assignment after his reappointment will be the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

Azhar Mahmood appointed Pakistan head coach

Former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood has been appointed Pakistan head coach for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand. Mohammad Yousuf and Saeed Ajmal have been retained as the batting coach and the spin bowling coach respectively.

“Mahmood has been named as the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team for the upcoming series against New Zealand,” a PCB release said.

Azhar Mahmood has played 143 ODIs and 21 T20Is for Pakistan. He was regarded as a premier fast bowling allrounder during his time. Mahmood scored 2421 international runs in his career and picked up 200 wickets.

Mahmood has been in charge of Pakistan men's team before as well, serving as the bowling coach from 2016 to 2019. Based in United Kingdom, he is also a certified coach with the English and Wales Cricket Board, thus adding further credibility to his coaching credentials.

Azhar Mahmood is one of the few Pakistani players to have played in the IPL. He became a British citizen in 2011 which made him available to play in the IPL. The allrounder was snapped up by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in IPL 2012 auction. He played 22 matches for the franchise in 2012 and 2013.

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Mahmood was signed by Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2015 auction and played one game for them in that season. He scored 388 runs and picked up 29 wickets in his IPL career.

The upcoming series is seen as a preparation for Pakistan for the T20 World Cup, to be held in the West Indies and the USA. Pakistan will also play three T20Is in Ireland and four in England before the T20 World Cup.

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