ISLAMABAD: Pakistani all-rounder Shadab Khan said on Tuesday he is “excited” to lead a young squad against the Afghanistan cricket team for the upcoming three-match T20I series in the UAE, a day after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that senior players such as Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Muhammad Rizwan and others would be rested.
Sethi told reporters on Monday that the board had decided to take the decision to appoint Khan as skipper after consulting senior members of the team, whom he said had “no problem” with it. The PCB managing committee’s chair also said the series would serve as an opportunity for the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) rising stars to showcase their talent at the international stage and not “fizzle out” after a handful of bad performances.
In a video message released by the PCB on its social media platforms, Khan thanked God for giving him the opportunity to lead Pakistan for an international series, adding that he would try to fulfill his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
“When you start cricket as a player or anything, you try to go to a high level,” Khan said. “You can’t get to a higher level than this, that is to represent your country. So, congratulations to them [selected players] and definitely I’m very excited because this is a young team that I am leading,” he added.
Pakistan’s 15-man squad for the Afghanistan series features Shadab Khan, 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 and Iftikhar Ahmed.
Haseebullah Khan, Usama Mir and Abrar Ahmed were selected as traveling reserves in the team.
Pakistan stepped up to play the three-match series after Australia backed out of a scheduled ODI series against Afghanistan in January 2023. The Australians called off the series, which was also scheduled to take place in the UAE, in protest against curbs imposed by the Taliban government on women’s education and employment.
Pakistan will play three T20I matches against Afghanistan in Sharjah on March 24, 26, and 27.