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Pakistan Announces Squad for New Zealand T20 Series

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a revamped 17-member team, led by captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, for the upcoming five-match T20 International series against New Zealand, set to commence on January 12.

New Leadership and Squad Composition

Pacer Shaheen Afridi will lead the T20I side for the first time, taking over from Babar Azam. The 17-member squad includes a mix of experienced players and promising youngsters. Among the veterans are Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, and Mohammad Rizwan. The young talents include Abbas Afridi, Saim Ayub, Haseebullah Khan, and Sahibzada Farhan.

Return of Azam Khan

Azam Khan, known for his destructive batting, returns to the squad. He had a successful stint in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he scored a half-century in his debut match. His inclusion adds depth to the middle order, which is crucial in the T20 format.

Absence of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Haris

All-rounder Shadab Khan will miss the series due to an ankle injury. He is expected to return to the field after two weeks of rehabilitation. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris has been rested for this series. Despite his exclusion, he remains part of PCB’s future plans.

Building Phase for Pakistan Cricket

The PCB is in a building phase, aiming to develop players for specific positions in the team. Haseebullah, who played impactful innings in the PSL, is being considered for the middle order. The PCB is also looking to increase its pool of players by giving chances to domestic performers in First Class cricket.

Series Schedule

The series will kick off in Auckland on January 12, followed by matches in Hamilton, Dunedin, and Christchurch. This series will be a significant test for the new-look Pakistan team, especially for Shaheen Afridi, who will be leading the side for the first time against the runner-ups of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

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