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  5. Pakistan announce Playing XI for 1st T20I vs New Zealand with two debutants, Babar Azam to return to old role

Pakistan announce Playing XI for 1st T20I vs New Zealand with two debutants, Babar Azam to return to old role

Pakistan will begin their preparations for the T20 World Cup 2024 as they face New Zealand in a five-match T20I series. Shaheen Afridi will be leading the Men in Green for the first time. Pakistan have named their team for the 1st T20I.

Written By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Updated on: January 12, 2024 10:00 IST
Shaheen Afridi
Image Source : GETTY Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has announced the Playing XI for the Shaheen Afridi-led team that will lock horns against New Zealand in the first T20I at Eden Park, Auckland. Pakistan will embark on their preparations for the T20 World Cup 2024 as they are on a trip to New Zealand for a five-match series. The series will mark Shaheen Afridi's first assignment as the team's captain.

Pakistan have named their team a few hours before the match. They have named two T20I debutants - Usama Mir and Abbas Afridi who will make up the bowling attack along with captain Shaheen, Haris Rauf and Aamir Jamal. 

Babar to return to old spot

Babar Azam has been slotted to play at No.3 in the team. There were reports that the former Pakistan captain would not be opening in the 20-over format with Mohammad Rizwan. Saim Ayub will be opening in place of Babar along with Rizwan. Babar has previously batted at the number 3 slot in 19 innings. He played there from 2016 to 2021. At number 3, Babar has 690 runs from 19 games at an average of 49.28.

"It is a great honour and a proud moment to be captaining Pakistan. We are a good T20 side and that has reflected in our performances the past few years. We have done well in World Cups but have not been able to finish as we wanted. We will focus on getting the results we want in big tournaments," Shaheen said in a pre-match press conference ahead of the match.

“We have 17 games before the World Cup, which is later this year. We want to make sure we have our combination locked in time for that but we also want to ensure that we have a strong bench, in case of injuries during the tournament. We will be testing our younger talent and rotating the players so that by the time we play the series in England, we have clarity about our combination," he added.

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