Sunday, February 14, 2016

4 Uncapped Players in Pakistan 15 Man Squad for ICC WT20 2016 and Asia Cup

Pakistan named their 15 man squad for the ICC WT20 2016 and the Asia Cup T20's and there are quite a few surprising choices and plenty of new faces that they have opted for. They have gone in with four uncapped players in the T20I format - batsmen Babar Azam and Khurram Manzoor, all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz and left arm seamer Rumman Raees - in addition to the lanky pacer Mohammad Irfan who returns to the squad after missing the New Zealand T20I's due to an injury.

The selection of Khurram Manzoor, an opening batsman who has played 16 tests and 7 ODI's for Pakistan, the last of which was way back in 2009, was the most baffling selection as his stats are modest to say the least and he does not have anything going for him to warrant a selection. The exclusion of Ahmed Shehzad was almost a foregone conclusion after a string of failures and low scores during the last year but there might have been a better option for Pakistan than Manzoor, in Mohammad Rizwan, Fawad Alam or Haris Sohail, all both of whom are exceptional fielders and can bowl too.

Pakistan might push the busy wicket-keeper bat Sarfraz Ahmed to open alongside Hafeez as he has often been left stranded with the bowlers. He is one of their best players of both pace and spin and hits the ball cleanly and is also a good runner between the wickets which is an added advantage.

The pace bowling attack of Pakistan seems to be in excellent health as usual with left arm seamers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz all in the squad along with new comer Rumman Raees to complement right hander Anwar Ali. Rumman has been drafted in, on the back of a splendid showing in the PSL so far where he has been both economical and also amidst wickets. This bunch of exceptional fast bowlers will surely have an impact on Pakistan's fortunes in the WT20 as bowling has always been their strongest suit.

Strangely though, Pakistan have not named a single specialist spinner in the squad, rather showing faith in their part timers like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim and the uncapped Mohammad Nawaz who had been the standout performer with the ball in the ongoing PSL. This decision was perhaps forced as Yasir Shah, their premier leg spinner is banned for four months for a doping offence. Hafeez remains unavailable to bowl since getting banned for an illegal bowling action.

The squad will be captained by the maverick Shahid Afridi who is their most impact player both with the bat and the ball and he will be hoping to lay his hands on the silverware that Pakistan last won under Younis Khan, way back in 2009.

Pakistan 15 Man Squad for the ICC WT20 2016: Shahid Afridi (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Khurram Manzoor, Rumman Raees

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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