Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is could see some last-minute changes

Pak vs NZ series begins on April 18

April 04, 2024
Pakistan cricket team. - ICC

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s Selection Committee will meet today (Thursday) to finalise team combination for the home series against New Zealand this month.

As many as nine top New Zealand cricketers are busy playing IPL in India. These include Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson. None of these have been directed to join the team for the series in Pakistan.

New Zealand has announced a team that could virtually be termed a backup squad which, barring a few, would not be part of the T20 World Cup contingent.

The News has learnt that the PCB’s Selection Committee that meets Wednesday evening/Thursday to give the team a final shape for the series against New Zealand, is expected to think differently about the team combination, led by Babar Azam, for the series considering the strength of opposition.

Risking top pace bowlers, like the blunder selectors made in the case of Naseem Shah last year, would usher no good to the team’s campaign for the World Cup. Early indications coming out of the series of selectors’ meetings suggest that Shaheen Afridi will be made to sit out from part of the series. Now, after going through the New Zealand team’s combination and their board’s decision to give rest to almost 80 percent of the possible World Cup squad, PCB selectors are expected to think afresh and select a team, aiming at testing the skills of those who have outside chances of making it to the World Cup squad.

“When we meet late evening on Wednesday or early Thursday morning, our efforts will be to select a team that could help us determine the true potential of all those having border-line chances of making it to the World Cup T20 squad. When it comes to batting, we don’t have many options. But when it comes to bowling or strengthening the all-rounder ability, we have different combinations in mind. Let’s see what happens in the meeting,” one of the selectors when approached said.

He added that no combination is final at this point of time for the series against New Zealand.

“We would be in a position to say something about it after the final meeting,” he said.

Abdul Mohi Shah is a senior reporter for The News