Pakistan announce 35-member squad for New Zealand tour; Asad Shafiq dropped

Pakistan announce 35-member squad for New Zealand tour; Asad Shafiq dropped

Asad Shafiq scored only 67 runs in England and was struggling even before that.

Pakistan. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand’s home season for 2019-20 is set to commence and Pakistan is one of the teams scheduled to tour the Kiwi nation. The two sides will face each other in three T20 Internationals and two Tests starting from December 18. With around only five weeks to go, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the tourists’ squad of 35 members to travel New Zealand.

This is the first tour for Babar Azam after being appointed as the Test captain. He replaced Azhar Ali from the helm soon after the Zimbabwe T20Is which Pakistan won by 3-0. As far as the squad is concerned, the major name missing is of the veteran middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq who didn’t have a great time in England. He has been dropped from the Pakistan’s Test side for the first time in his 10-year career.

But he has been struggling with his form since long time and the head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq cited the same reason for leaving him out. He also hoped that Shafiq will soon find his groove by playing domestic cricket and make a comeback to the team.

“Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England. Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe,” Misbah said according to Cricket Pakistan.

Fawad Alam retains his place in Pakistan side

Meanwhile, Fawad Alam has been retained in the Test team and is likely to make it to the playing XI on a consistent basis now that Asad Shafiq is nort in the side. Fawad had played in the third and last Test against England but had failed to make his comeback memorable.

In another major development, wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan has been named the vice-captain of the Test team. Shadab Khan will be the deputy for Babar Azam in the shorter format. Moreover, Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik are also not the part of the squad who are regular faces in the T20Is. Both these players were ‘rested’ for the recently concluded Zimbabwe series too.

Here’s Pakistan’s squad for New Zealand tour:

Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Babar Azam (C), Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Imran Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan (Test VC), Rohail Nazir, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan (T20I VC), Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan