Pakistan Cricket Board Announces 29-Man Squad for Tour to England
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the 29-player squad for the upcoming England tour in August-September. Pakistan team is expected to depart for England in early-July considering a mandatory 14-day quarantine period and a training camp before the series kicks off in August.
Several youngsters, including the Under-19 batting sensation, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, and Haris Rauf, have also been included in the squad. Former captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, has also made a comeback to the team for the first time after his sacking in 2019.
But fast bowler Mohammad Amir and middle-order batsman Haris Sohail have pulled out of the upcoming England tour for personal reasons. Amir has withdrawn so that he can be at his childbirth in August, while Haris has dropped from the tour because of family reasons.
Amir retired from Tests last year but remained to play international ODI matches. He holds 259 wickets in 145 games for Pakistan in all forms. Sohail has performed in all three formats, rating at 37.22 in Test cricket and 19.09 in T20 internationals.
The PCB will send 28 players and 14 support workers in case a player to cover for COVID-19 diseases and wounds. The new additions to the staff include batting coach, Younis Khan, spin bowling coach, Mushtaq Ahmed, and fielding coach, Abdul Majeed.
Haider Ali, the Pakistan U19 batsman and one of the players to watch out for, have been named in a 29-player squad for three Tests and three T20Is against England. Haider had an outstanding 2019-20 season, following which he earned an emerging contract for the 2020-21 season.
He was Pakistan U19’s second most successful batsman with 317 runs against South Africa U19 in June, fifth leading run-getter with 218 runs in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh, aggregated 645 runs – including a century in the final – at just under 50 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, finished as Pakistan’s third-best batsman with 107 runs in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 before contributing 239 runs in nine matches at a strike-rate of over 158 for Peshawar Zalmi in the unfinished HBL Pakistan Super League 2020.
Besides Haider, Sindh’s Kashif Bhatti is the other uncapped player in the side. Kashif was in the Test squad against Australia and Sri Lanka but did not play and was also named in the probables for the Rawalpindi Test against Bangladesh.
Returning to the national colors is fast bowler Sohail Khan, whose ninth and last Test for Pakistan was the 2016 Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019-20, he took 22 wickets in nine matches, while he grabbed seven wickets in eight HBL PSL 2020 games for Quetta Gladiators.
Apart from Haider, Kashif, Sohail, and the centrally contracted players, excluding Haris Sohail, the selectors have named Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shoaib Malik, and Wahab Riaz.
The selectors have also named four reserves in Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan, and Mohammad Nawaz as a cover in case any of the players fail pre-tour Covid-19 testing, which will be carried out on 20 and 25 June.