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Pakistan Cricket Board Unveils Squad for Upcoming T20I Tours Rauf Makes Comeback

In a major development for Pakistan cricket, the national selectors have announced a robust 18-member squad for the team’s upcoming T20I series on their tours of Ireland and England. In a move that certainly grabs attention, fast bowler Haris Rauf makes his comeback to the squad alongside allrounders Salman Ali Agha and Hasan Ali, who were also not part of the squad that recently faced New Zealand.

The selectors have made several other key decisions as well. Zaman Khan and leg-spinner Usama Mir, who both featured against New Zealand, have not been retained in the squad. Their omission casts a shadow of doubt on their potential inclusion for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, given that national team selections can be indicative of long-term plans.

A press release from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) detailed that notable players Mohammad Rizwan, Azam Khan, Muhammad Irfan Khan, and Haris Rauf went through comprehensive medical assessments at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Their fitness levels have satisfied the PCB medical panel and team management, which comes as a relief following injury concerns during the series against New Zealand. Azam Khan had a grade one tear in his right calf muscle, while Rizwan and Irfan faced niggles that affected their play.

Assurances from the Men’s National Selection Committee are strong – they believe that this 18-member selection effectively covers all areas of play and stands a good chance of producing positive outcomes during the tours. They went on to encourage both Usama and Zaman to remain focused on their game to ensure their readiness for future selections.

In the PCB press release, the committee outlined the team’s composition: “The squad includes a robust top-order featuring Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Saim Ayub, and Usman Khan; an effective middle order with Azam Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Muhammad Irfan Khan; versatile all-rounders in Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Salman Ali Agha; a pace unit led by Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi; and promising spin options with Abrar Ahmed,” the committee expressed.

While the exclusion of Usama Mir and Zaman Khan may be disappointing for them, the selectors have placed emphasis on the long-term strategy, urging them to continue working hard on their game. In a cricketing world where every player aspires to be part of major tours and global tournaments like World Cups, dealing with selection and omission is an inevitable part of the professional journey. Both players are seen as quality talents with potentially long cricketing careers ahead of them.

The overall message from the PCB is clear: with this current selection they hope to not only tackle the immediate challenge of the Ireland and England series but also lay the groundwork for future international engagements, including the looming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. There is a sense of assurance that the selected players, a mix of young blood and seasoned professionals, will live up to the expectations of the fervent cricketing community.

Here is the full list of players who will be part of Pakistan’s touring squad to Ireland and England: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Usman Khan.

All eyes are now set on the exciting prospects of the tours as the squad prepares to embark on the journey, representing Pakistan’s zealous cricketing aspirations on the international stage.