AUCKLAND – Pakistan are set to face New Zealand in a five-match T20I series, with the first match scheduled to be played on 12 January at Eden Park in Auckland.
This will mark left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s first assignment as captain, having taken over the reins from Babar Azam.
Fourth-ranked Pakistan last played T20Is back in April 2023, when they faced New Zealand at home for a five-match series played in Lahore and Rawalpindi.
Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, who has been named Shaheen’s vice-captain, was Pakistan’s leading run-getter in the series. Right-arm pacer Haris Rauf was the most successful bowler during that assignment.
Leg-spinner Usama Mir, pacer Mohammad Abbas Afridi and wicketkeeper-batter Haseebullah are the uncapped players in the squad while the returning trio of Sahibzada Farhan, Azam Khan and Aamir Jamal also adds depth to the squad.
Spinner Abrar Ahmed, who was initially part of the squad, has been ruled out owing to an injury he sustained last month during Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia.
In the pre-sereies presser, Shaheen Shah Afridi said: “It is a great honour and a proud moment to be captaining Pakistan. We are a good T20 side and that has reflected in our performances the past few years. We have done well in World Cups but have not been able to finish as we wanted. We will focus on getting the results we want in big tournaments.
“We have 17 games before the World Cup, which is later this year. We want to make sure we have our combination locked in time for that but we also want to ensure that we have a strong bench, in case of injuries during the tournament. We will be testing our younger talent and rotating the players so that by the time we play the series in England, we have clarity about our combination.”
Pakistan’s squad: Shaheen Shah Afridi (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, wicket-keeper), Aamir Jamal, Abbas Afridi, Azam Khan (wicket-keeper), Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haseebullah (wicket-keeper), Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sahibzada Farhan, Saim Ayub, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan.
1st T20 – 12 January 2024 at Eden Park, Auckland
2nd T20 – 14 January 2024 at Seddon Park, Hamilton
3rd T20 – 17 January 2024 at University Oval, Dunedin
4th T20 – 19 January 2024 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch
5th T20 – 21 January 2024 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch