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Pak vs Eng: Injuries, poor performance make selection tough for PCB

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  • Double whammy for Pakistan selectors.
  • Selectors hold meetings ahead of team announcement for England series.
  • Sarfaraz Ahmed may get a chance if Mohammad Rizwan is rested.

The national selection committee is facing a tough time in announcing the team for the England series and the T20 World Cup in Australia amid multiple fitness issues and poor performance in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2022.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is supposed to finalise the squad for the seven-match series in a couple of days while the world cup cut-off date for team submission is September 15.

According to a report by The News, chief selector Mohammad Wasim, captain Babar Azam and head coach Saqlain Mushtaq held a meeting on Tuesday and are expected to meet again over the next two days to decide on the formation of the team for the upcoming international outings.

It is unlikely that Pakistan will go on to meet the deadline set forth by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to name the team for the World Cup and might request an extension.

“We have not yet requested the ICC for any extension in deadline but that is possible if the selectors desire so. There have been traditions where the ICC in some cases has given extra time to a member country to submit names for important events. I think the situation would get clear within the next two days,” a source within the board said.

Who is fit, who isn’t

Besides Shaheen Shah Afridi who is undergoing rehab in London, the national selectors are not sure at this point whether all the players who represented Pakistan in the Asia Cup are fully fit to take on England.

“The injury to Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani is a real concern. Selectors are waiting for the expert opinion on cricketers’ injury status before finalising the team for the England series, a source confided to the publication.

About Afridi, the source added, he would not be in a position to play the first five matches against England and depending on his fitness status he may be selected to play at least one of the matches before heading to New Zealand for the tri-series.

Sarfaraz Ahmad likely to make the cut

Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, who played the last two Asia Cup matches with knee problems, is also likely to be rested at least for the first half of the series against England.

Shadab’s injury status is also not clear yet. However, all these injured players have time at their disposal to get fit and ready before the team departs for New Zealand in the first week of October.

One of the tricky questions selectors face at present is the selection of an extra wicketkeeper with the squad to Down Under.

In case the selectors go in favour of a second wicket-keeper for the T20 World Cup, it is likely that he would be given a chance against England.

Chances are there that Sarfaraz Ahmed may be asked to keep wickets against England at least for the first half of the England series. In that case we may well see the reserve wicket-keeper travelling with the team to Down Under.

Extra player in World Cup squad

“Option of including one extra player in the T20 World Cup squad on all expenses paid by the ‘PCB’ is also under consideration,” the sources said.

“Apart from a 15-member squad, one of two extra players may be included in the team for the tri-series and later for the World Cup. However, these players would only participate in the World Cup, if some genuine injury problems erupt in between. Chances, however, are there that a reserve wicketkeeper may be included in the 15-member World Cup team, at the expense of a genuine batter.”

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Rain cancels out Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s opening Twenty20 international

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As the rain returned, Shaheen Shah Afridi’s expertly timed in-swinger to dismiss Tim Robinson left only a two-ball match going on at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

On-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza shook hands with the players and decided to call off the contest as soon as the rain started up again. Additionally, there was a thirty-minute delay in the planned fixture toss. Then, after winning the coin toss, Michael Bracewell, the captain of New Zealand, decided to bat first.

The players from both sides assembled shortly after for the national anthems, but more rain caused the proceedings to be postponed.

The match appeared likely to be called off before a ball was played due to the intensity of the second spell of rain. But after the rain stopped, the ground crew worked extremely hard, and the game might go into five overs.

The second game, which takes place at the same location on April 20, will pit the two teams against one another.

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Azhar Mahmood suggests that Babar Azam should also take a break.

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Azhar Mahmood stated during a Rawalpindi press conference that, depending on the circumstances, any player, including Babar Azam, might be substituted during the five-match series.

“We shall endeavor to choose the top 11 players available for each game, taking the circumstances into consideration, in accordance with policy,” he continued.

The team’s management hasn’t chosen the starting duo yet, according to Azhar Mahmood in response to a query. “Who will open the inning has not been decided upon yet. Saim-Rizwan, Babar-Saim, or even Fakhar Zaman may start the inning as the opening duo, he continued.

With an emphasis on the team’s strong makeup and tactical preparations for their forthcoming home series against New Zealand, the head coach also conveyed his confidence in his team’s ability.

The coach expressed his faith in the team’s makeup, saying that it consists of a mix of skilled batters, quick bowlers, and adaptable all-around players.

Imad Wasim, an all-rounder, and Mohammad Amir, a fast bowler, were among the returning veterans that Azhar Mahmood believed strengthened the team. His statement went like this: “Their return will definitely strengthen our team.”

In response to a query, he described the New Zealand players as potential stars and dismissed the idea that they were a “B Team” that had been sent to face Pakistan.

Their extensive domestic cricket expertise is shown by the date. No side is weak in T20 cricket, and they are their best player. “They’re playing Pakistan; this is the New Zealand team,” Azhar Mahmood continued.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, according to the head coach, is fully fit and eligible for the series beginning on April 18.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan

Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.

New Zealand squad

Michael Bracewell (c), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi, Tom Blundell, Zak Foulkes.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series schedule

April 18 — 1st T20I, Rawalpindi

April 20 — 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 21 — 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 25 — 4th T20I, Lahore

April 27 — 5th T20I, Lahore

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Weather in Rawalpindi: PMD prediction for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is

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Rain is expected to have an impact on Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s five-match Twenty20 International series.

According to meteorological projections, the city is likely to have thunderstorms and rain starting tomorrow, and the rain is predicted to continue all week.

The series’ final two games are slated to take place in Lahore.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted a “rain-windstorm/thunderstorm with an isolated hailstorm” on April 18 throughout a number of Pakistani regions, including upper/southwest Sindh, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, and Balochistan.

On April 20, however, precipitation was predicted by the Met Office for KP, the nation’s capital, Punjab, northeastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The New Zealand team has already landed in Islamabad for an intriguing five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, it should be mentioned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series:

18 April: 1st T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm Pakistan Standard Time)
20 April: 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
21 April: 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
25 April: 4th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)
27 April: 5th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)

Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, and Zaman Khan
Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, and Mohammad Wasim Jr

New Zealand squad:
Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), and Ish Sodhi

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