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03 March 2024

Pakistan pick PSL star Nawaz, axe Gul, Shehzad for World T20

Pakistan cricketer Ahmed Shehzad plays a shot during the fourth One Day International (ODI) match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on July 22, 2015. (AFP)

By Agencies

Pakistan named uncapped bowlers Rumman Raees and Mohammad Nawaz in their squad for the World Twenty20 in India while leaving out experienced paceman Umar Gul, the second highest wicket-taker in the shortest format.

Left-arm fast bowler Raees and all-rounder Nawaz were rewarded for their strong domestic form and the same 15-man squad will play in the Feb. 24-March 6 Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

Only skipper Shahid Afridi (91) has taken more wickets than Gul (85) in Twenty20 Internationals but the 31-year-old pacer, who was part of the Twenty20 squad that lost 2-1 in New Zealand last month, has been struggling for form as well as fitness in recent times.

"The T20 team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions during Asia cup and World T20 and the recent performances of some players in domestic and A Team tours," chief selector Haroon Rashid said in a statement.

"The team is a fine blend of experience and youth and the selectors believe that team will do well in both tournaments."

Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad was also dropped from the squad with his place going to Khurram Manzoor, who has played 16 tests and seven one-day internationals but is yet to make his debut in Twenty20 international.

Batsmen Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed are the other players in the Afridi-led squad who have played one-dayers for Pakistan but are yet to represent them in the shortest format.

Towering left-arm paceman Mohammad Irfan, who was rested for the Twenty20 series in New Zealand, also returned to the squad for the March 8-April 3 tournament.

Pakistan's participation in the World T20, which they won in 2009, across the border depends on government clearance as there are specific threats, according to Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan.

Squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Khurram Manzoor, Rumman Raees