Babar, Rizwan could be rested for Afghanistan, New Zealand series: report

Duo are among the players who have played the most amount of cricket since January 2021

By Web Desk
March 11, 2023
Babar Azam (R) leads Pakistan in all formats of the game — PCB

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering resting captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan for the upcoming series against Afghanistan and New Zealand, according to a report by ESPNcricinfo.

Rizwan and Babar are among the players who have played the most amount of cricket since January 2021. With Pakistan set to feature in the ODI World Cup and Asia Cup this year, the selection committee is keen on managing the workload of its top players.

“Since January 2021, Rizwan has played 150 matches across formats (international and domestic cricket) - the most after Rashid Khan's 157 - while Babar has played 127 and Rauf 125,” the report stated.

“It was suggested in the meeting that Pakistan consider resting players from the upcoming three T20Is against Afghanistan in Sharjah, as well as the five T20Is and ODIs against New Zealand that follow at home,” it added.

Earlier, Geo News had reported, while citing sources, that pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi could replace Azam as captain for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, batters Saim Ayub, Haseebullah Khan and Azam Khan along with pacer Ihsanullah are also likely to get the nod from the selectors for the series. All-rounders Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim are also in contention for selection.

Pakistan’s squad for the series against Afghanistan is likely to be announced on Monday, March 13.

It must be noted that the schedule of the three-match T20I series between Pakistan and Afghanistan was revised on Thursday.

Earlier, the matches were set to be played on March 25, 27 and 29 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. However, they will now take place on March 24, 26 and 27.

"Afghanistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Cricket Board have jointly agreed to make slight tweaks to the itinerary of Afghanistan’s home three-match T2OI series against Pakistan. The start of the series is brought forward by a day and will now start on March 24, with the last two games to be played on March 26 and 27 in Sharjah, UAE," ACB said in a statement.

"The changes in itinerary are made due to the unavailability of the Hawk-Eye Technology for the previously agreed upon dates. The two boards have agreed upon the changes in itinerary to ensure all the necessary broadcast technologies are available for the inaugural T20I series between the two sides," it added.