The tri-nation T20I series involving Australia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe will be the fourth such tournament to be played this year. It goes to show the fans’ fondness towards this thriving format. In an attempt to globalize the game, even the ICC backs the idea of granting greater voice to T20Is as demonstrated in the newly released Future Tours Programme.
There is a lot of anticipation surrounding this triangular series. It comprises of three extremely varied sides pursuing a diversified set of goals, that may or may not decide their fate in upcoming endeavours. So what does it hold for each team, their fans and their future cricketing ventures?
Marching into the tournament as the No.1 T20I side in the world, Pakistan go in as favourites to clinch the title without much hassle. Since Sarfraz took over captaincy duties following a disastrous World T20 campaign in 2016, Pakistan are yet to lose a bilateral T20 series. Under his leadership, the Men in Green have won a staggering 19 games of the 22 that they’ve played since then.
Arguably the biggest achievement during their sparkling run of form is definitely the series win down under in New Zealand. After being wickedly whitewashed by the Kiwis in the preceding ODI series, Pakistan also lost the first T20I and were completely down and out.
It was then, however, that Sarfraz managed to lift and inspire a young side, much like the way he had previously done during the Champions Trophy. Pakistan recorded a spell-binding comeback to trounce a star-studded Kiwi side in their backyard and also sealed their No,1 spot, in the process.
Since then, Pakistan hasn’t lost a T20I and are red-hot favourites to overcome their depleting opponents, this time around as well.
In light of their World Cup preparations, Pakistan have named a full-strength squad. Mohammad Amir hasn’t been rested despite his requests to manage the hefty workload off his shoulders. The squad boasts a nice blend of exciting youngsters like Shadab and Faheem and experienced veterans like Shoaib and Hafeez.
Following Ahmed Shehzad’s involvement in yet another controversy: this time in a scandalous doping offence, Sahibzada Farhan has earned a maiden call-up to the national side and will be looking to make the most of this wonderful opportunity.
Squad: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Sahibzada Farhan, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfraz Ahmed (C), Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir