Big boost for Pakistan; Shaheen Afridi set to make international return after four months
In a recent development coming out of Pakistan, pacer Shaheen Afridi is all set to make a return to international cricket after being on the sidelines for four months. The left-arm pacer was named in Pakistan's T20I and ODI squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand. The limited-over series is slated to be played across Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Karachi from 14 April to 7 May.
The 22-year-old was rehabbing from a knee injury which forced him to take a break. He incurred the injury during the first Test against Sri Lanka in July, last year and was subsequently ruled out of the second Test against Sri Lanka, ODI series against the Netherlands, Asia Cup, and the seven-match T20I series in Pakistan.
Other first-team players who will be making a return to the national side along with Shaheen are - Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Rizwan. The quartet was rested for last month’s three-T20I series against Afghanistan in Sharjah.
Babar Azam's return also implies that he will take over the captaincy reins in the limited-over series against New Zealand, while Shadab will return to his position as deputy.
Pakistan names three youngsters for New Zealand series
The Pakistan team management also retained the services of three young guns – Ihsanullah, Saim Ayub, and Zaman Khan in the T20I squad following stellar performances in Sharjah, while Ihsanullah has also been added to the ODI squad for the first time.
The squad is set to assemble on 6 April in Lahore with the national camp set to commence on 7 April.
Pakistan squad for New Zealand series:
T20I: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Zaman Khan
ODI: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Ihsanullah, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Usama Mir. Reserves: Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Tayyab Tahir