The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Friday the three changes made by the national selectors to the squad of fifteen for the mens T20 World Cup in Oman and the UAE from October 17 to November 14.
From the original squad announced on September 4, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali have replaced Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain respectively. Opener Fakhar Zaman, who was originally named as a travelling reserve, has exchanged places with Khushdil Shah.
"After reviewing player performances in the highly-competitive National T20 and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021. The three in-form players bring with them wealth of experience and talent, and provide further stability, balance and strength to the side," said chief selector Mohammad Wasim in a statement.
"It must be tough for Azam, Khushdil and Hasnain for missing out but they still have a lot to offer in their careers. They are in our future plans as a lot of cricket has to be played post the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 and in the lead up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia," added Wasim, who featured in 18 Tests and 25 ODIs for Pakistan.
The PCB also said that a decision on Sohaib Maqsood's inclusion in the squad will be made following medical advice. Maqsood, the top-order batter, underwent MRI scans on his lower back after the National T20 match against Northern on October 6 and had missed Thursday's Punjab derby against Central Punjab.
"I am pleased with the intensity and high quality of cricket that we have witnessed in the National T20. It has not only provided the players excellent match practice in the lead up to the UAE competition, it has also given us the opportunity to closely monitor the player progress and then make decisions that are in the best interest of the side for what will be a cut-throat tournament," concluded Wasim.
Meanwhile, the men's T20 World Cup-bound squad will participate in a seven-day training and conditioning camp under bio-secure protocols at the National High-Performance Centre and LCCA ground, Lahore, from Sunday. On Friday, the squad members along with their family members, will join the bio-secure and undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival.
After returning negative tests, the players will be allowed to commence their preparations from Sunday with the gym sessions at NHPC. Training sessions will be held at the LCCA ground on October 11 and 12. With no activities on October 13, the squad will play a match under lights on October 14. The squad will depart for Dubai on October 15.
Pakistan, the 2009 champions, are placed in Group 2 and will open their Super 12 campaign against India on October 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Shaheen Shah Afridi and Sohaib Maqsood.
Travelling reserves: Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.