ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has appointed all-rounder Shadab Khan as skipper for the three-match T20 series against Afghanistan, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) boss Najam Sethi announced on Monday, saying the board has decided to rest “senior players” Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Muhammad Rizwan, and others.
Pakistan will play a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan in Sharjah on March 24, 26, and 26, PCB Management Committee Chair Sethi announced last month. The decision was taken after Australia called off its Afghanistan tour due to bans imposed by the interim Afghan government on women.
Local media had widely reported that Azam, Pakistan’s all-format skipper, would be dropped from the squad while others reported Afridi would be named captain.
Sethi told reporters during a news conference the board has decided to include young and upcoming players in the squad for the Afghanistan series. He said the decision had been taken to groom youngsters, adding that it was to ensure they do not “fizzle out” in the future when they do not perform at the international stage.
Sethi said he had spoken to Pakistan’s top players to inform them that they would be rested for the upcoming series.
“I have spoken to Babar Azam, I have spoken to Rizwan, I have spoken to Shaheen, I have spoken to Fakhar. We are resting them,” Sethi told reporters. “All of them are happy, [there is] no problem. Secondly, there is no type of threat to our established captain, Babar Azam. He remains the captain of the Pakistan national squad,” he added.
Sethi said Azam would continue to remain Pakistan’s captain across all three formats, adding that he would be changed whenever he decides to let go of the captaincy in any single format of the game.
“I have also decided, because this is my decision and not the selection committee’s decision — I held consultations with them — that Shadab will be the captain of this tour,” he announced. “He is the vice-captain of the team like Babar Azam is the captain of the squad. It is his right as well,” Sethi added.
Sethi said he has spoken to Khan, adding that “everyone is on-board” and requested the media to support the PCB’s strategy to promote young talent.
Haroon Rashid, Chairman of the Men’s National Selection Committee, announced the names of the rest of the members of the squad.
Pakistan squad for Afghanistan series:
Shadab Khan (captain), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Wasim Jr.., Tayyab Tahir, Ihsanullah, Azam Khan, Shan Masood, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Haris, Saim Ayub, Zaman Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed
Haseebullah Khan, Usama Mir, Abrar Ahmed