The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has declared a 20-man squad to take on South Africa in the upcoming three-match T20I series. Babar Azam is set to lead the side, while veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez misses out on a spot in the team.
South Africa is on its first tour of Pakistan since 2007. The visitors lost the first Test against Pakistan in Karachi and will play the second Test from February 4 in Rawalpindi.
Following the Test series, Pakistan and South Africa will compete in three T20I matches at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
There were some surprises in the home team's squad. While all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez was the highest run-scorer in T20Is last year, he did not gain a place in the squad for the series against South Africa.
Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, and Wahab Riaz also missed out.
Here is the Pakistan cricket team's 20-man squad: Babar Azam (c), Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Zahid Mehmood, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed.
Apart from the regular faces, the squad features four uncapped players, namely Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, and Zahir Mehmood. The Pakistan cricket team lost its previous T20I series against New Zealand 1-2.
Can the Pakistan cricket team begin 2021 with a series win over South Africa?
The Pakistan cricket team held the number one position on the ICC T20I Rankings for a considerable period, and have some great players in their squad.
However, they have not been consistent in the T20I format of late. While they whitewashed Bangladesh and Zimbabwe last year, they could not win the T20I series against England and New Zealand.
The ICC T20 World Cup and Asia Cup T20 will happen in the second phase of 2021. Hence, skipper Babar Azam will want his men to dominate South Africa at home and kick off this crucial year on a winning note.