Pakistan’s premier pacer, Shaheen Shah Afridi, is poised to return from injury during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, as Pakistan announced their 15-man squad for the competition on Thursday.Shaheen, who is recovering from a knee injury in London and is set to return to bowling early next month, will join the squad in Brisbane on October 15.The squad also included Shan Masood, who is yet to play for Pakistan in a T20I, and Haider Ali, who last played in the format in December 2021.Masood has been called up to play T20Is for the first time after a strong performance in the T20 Blast in England. He has represented Pakistan in Tests and One-Day Internationals, most recently in 2021.Fakhar Zaman, the explosive batter, was placed on the reserves, having struggled with the bat in 2022, and is replaced by Haider Ali in the lineup. This year, the left-hander has played seven T20Is, scoring 96 runs while averaging 13.71.Despite considerable speculation, veteran Shoaib Malik was not recalled to the squad.Wasim Junior has been included after recovering completely from the side strain he suffered during the Asia Cup 2022.”These players have performed well since November 2021 and that’s why we have won nine out of our last 13 T20Is. We have invested in these cricketers and it is fair to them that they get the opportunity to show their mettle in the World Cup, an event for which they have been preparing and training hard,” said Chief selector Muhammad Wasim in a statement by the board.
“We have a team that can perform strongly in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. That’s why we have shown faith and confidence in almost the same set of players who have been part of the T20I squad post the 2021 World Cup in the UAE,” said the selector on the World Cup squad.He added, “We needed to ensure continuity and support to these players, and that’s precisely what we have done. We are receiving encouraging reports about Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is likely to resume bowling early next month.”Meanwhile, for the seven-match T20I series against England, the selectors have named all the players who will travel for the World Cup except Fakhar Zaman and Shaheen Shah Afridi. In their places, the selectors have named Northern’s all-rounder Aamir Jamal and Sindh’s mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed in line with their strategy to reward high-performing cricketers.Congratulating the players on their maiden call-ups he said, “Along with Shan Masood, I want to congratulate Aamir Jamal and Abrar Ahmed on earning their maiden call-ups. Both Aamir and Abrar have been selected as we believe they have the skills, talent and potential to represent Pakistan at the highest level and I am hopeful if they get opportunities, they will perform strongly.”