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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the 15-men squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, which will begin on October 17. Along with the 15, they have announced three reserve players that will be traveling with the team.
The squad will also play five home T20I matches against New Zealand and England prior to the tournament.
|#||Player||Role||Bat style||Bowl style|
|56||Babar Azam (Captain)||Batsman||Right||RH off-break|
|45||Asif Ali||Batsman||Right||RH off-break|
|23||Azam Khan (wk)||WK-BAT||Right||–|
|97||Haris Rauf||Bowler||Right||RH Fast|
|32||Hasan Ali||Bowling AR||Right||RH Fast M|
|9||Imad Wasim||All Rounder||Left||LH off-break|
|72||Khushdil Shah||Batsman||Left||LH off-break|
|8||Mohammad Hafeez||All Rounder||Right||RH off-break|
|87||Mohammad Hasnain||Bowler||Right||RH Fast|
|21||Mohammad Nawaz||All Rounder||Left||LH off-break|
|16||Mohammad Rizwan (wk)||WK-BAT||Right||–|
|74||Mohammad Wasim Jnr||Bowling AR||Right||RH Fast|
|7||Shadab Khan (VC)||All Rounder||Right||RH leg break|
|40||Shaheen Shah Afridi||Bowler||Left||LH Fast|
|92||Sohaib Maqsood||Batsman||Right||RH off-break|
|39||Fakhar Zaman||Batsman||Left||LH off-break|
|–||Shahnawaz Dahani||Bowler||Right||RH Fast|
|91||Usman Qadir||Bowler||Right||RH leg break|
There are few surprising missouts from the side despite playing for Pakistan continuously for over 12-18 months.
Faheem Ashraf is one of those names. He has been playing for Pakistan continuously in the past 12 months and played a crucial part in some of Pakistan’s victories. Fans were surprised to see his exclusion. Usman Qadir and Fakhar Zaman are the other two. But they are named in the reserve squad.
Former captains Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik were also left out. Sarfraz played only one full game in the past 12 months and he was recently left out from the ODIs as well. Shoaib Malik was lately nowhere near the squad.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Pakistan has been very good in batting lately, especially at the top order. Ever since Mohammad Rizwan was moved the order, Pakistan scored two openings 150+ runs. The bowling has been pretty good too. They have been averaging at about 26 since 2019.
The main area of concern is middle-order. Pakistan has tried 17 players at positions 5 and 6 since October 2019, more than any team in the world. They averaged 27.90, lower than Zimbabwe. They are placed at nine is that table. Their run-per-over is 8.39, again lower than seven Test-playing nations. Their finishing the game at high has been a cause for some of their defeats.
As a result, they have recalled Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali for those two positions specifically.
Performances since 2016 T20 World Cup
Since the 2016 T20 World Cup, Pakistan has played 71 matches and won 46 of them, the most by any team. The majority of the wins came under Sarfaraz Ahmed from 2016 to 2018. From 2019 onwards, Pakistan had a little dip in form, winning 17 games out of 38, positioned sixth in the table.
Pakistan’s performance in the UAE, where the tournament will be held, has been excellent. Under Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan is unbeaten in the country. They have played four series, each of three matches. They have won all of them and have a clean record of 12-0 to date.
What can we expect from them?
Pakistan came 9th in the 2016 T20 World Cup, winning only against winless Bangladesh. They were placed in group 2 with India, Australia, Bangladesh, and New Zealand.
With vast experience playing in the UAE for over a decade, especially in the past five years, there are a lot of expectations for Pakistan. Some may consider Pakistan as the favorites to win. Many are not that hopeful for Pakistan’s progress in this tournament.
Pakistan is placed in Group 2 alongside India (hosts), New Zealand, Afghanistan, winner of Group B and runner of Group A.
Pakistan is expected to qualify for the semi-finals.