Pakistan announce squad for T20Is against New Zealand, in-form Kamran Akmal ignored
What’s the story?
Pakistan management has recalled Ahmed Shehzad for their three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand, while they have ignored Kamran Akmal despite his recent good form. Meanwhile, all-rounder Imad Wasim, who missed the current ODI series against New Zealand due to a knee injury, will have to miss the T20Is too.
"Wasim has yet to recover from his knee injury, and was told to continue his rehabilitation at the academy in Lahore. Sohaib Maqsood was not considered for selection due to a back injury and will undergo rehabilitation," chief selector Inzamam Ul Haq said.
In case you didn’t know...
Due to inconsistent performances, the 26-year-old Shehzad was dropped for the third T20I against Sri Lanka in Lahore in November, but his recent exploits helped him make a comeback in the squad.
The heart of the matter
Kamran Akmal played the National Twenty20 Cup in November, in which he topped the run-charts with 432 runs. He also smashed the country’s highest T20 score, 150 during the tournament. Also, only a couple of days ago, the 35-year old hit a double century in a domestic ODI game, which was also Pakistan’s second-fastest List A double century.
The wicket-keeper batsman smashed four sixes and 27 fours to score 200 off 148 deliveries which helped his side chase a target of 315 in the 46th over with 7 wickets remaining.
Therefore, his exclusion from the squad is surprising. Inzamam's nephew Imam-ul-Haq, who is in the current ODI squad, will be replaced by Umar Amin for the T20I series.
Pakistan’s complete squad
Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Harris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Umar Amin
The Men in Green are two down in the ongoing five-match ODI series in New Zealand, with the third match scheduled to be played in Dunedin on Saturday. The T20Is begin in Wellington on January 22, followed by Auckland on January 25 and Mount Maunganui on January 28. Sarfraz Ahmed will continue to lead the side in the shortest format too.
Pakistan have already lost both of their first two ODIs, and another loss would mean losing the series. They will look to bounce back stronger in the T20Is with the return of an in-form Ahmed Shehzad and the exclusion of Imam, who hasn’t been able to make the most of the opportunities, may be a good opportunity to test Umar Amin.