Uncapped youngster Azam Khan was one of the notable inclusions as Pakistan announced their T20I squad for the forthcoming tours to the UK and the Caribbean. Azam, the wicketkeeper-batsman, on Friday (June 4) received his maiden international call-up for the series against England and West Indies.
Azam Khan is the son of former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Moin Khan and has been rewarded for his impressive performances in the shortest version of the game.
The 22-year-old has made 743 runs from his 35 T20 innings at a fantastic strike-rate of 157.41. He has been one of the bright spots for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he has stood out for fans and the experts with his explosiveness.
Azam Khan might not be the most consistent run-getter but his ability to hit the ball a long way, make him an exciting pick in the Pakistan T20I side, which he can bolster with his presence ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Who is Azam Khan?
After a few stand-out performances in the last year’s edition of the PSL, Azam also produced the goods in the Lankan Premier League (LPL) in Sri Lanka.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasim mentioned Azam’s entry in the squad for England, West Indies was decided upon following discussions with head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and skipper Babar Azam as they’ve looked to encourage him and boost his confidence for the future challenges.
Pakistan will hope that Azam Khan can make a swift transition to the top-level game and help them reclaim the T20 World Cup trophy later in the year.
— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) June 4, 2021
The selectors also brought back all-rounder Imad Wasim to the T20I side and handed comebacks to pacers Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah in Tests. Left-hand batsman Haris Sohail has been reincluded in the ODIs to strengthen the Pakistani resolve with the bat.
The Muhammad Wasim led selection panel has strived to plug holes across formats, as Pakistan look to reclaim the T20 World Cup and also progress well in the ongoing ICC Super League and the next World Test Championship cycle.
“As such, keeping in view the above and in consultation with captain Babar Azam and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, we have tried our best to maintain the winning combinations but at the same time recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam Khan for his domestic performance, while also giving him the required confidence for the future challenges,” Wasim said.
“The side since the home series against South Africa have maintained an upward movement, but still there are a few loose ends that we would like to close by the end of the England and West Indies tours so that there is absolute clarity on our compositions for the post West Indies tour engagements. I strongly believe the changes will plug those gaps and will put us in a strong position in our endeavours to feature in the top three across all formats by the end of 2023.”
Pakistan will play three ODIs and three T20Is on their tour of England, followed by five T20Is and two Tests in the Caribbean against the West Indies from July 8 to August 24.
ODIs: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali , Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali , Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usman Qadir
T20Is: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan and Usman Qadir.
Tests: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah (subject to fitness) and Zahid Mahmood.