Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
Left-handed top-order batter Saud Shakeel will captain future Pakistan hopefuls on the tour of Sri Lanka, which will comprise two four-day fixtures and three 50-over matches in Kandy and Colombo from 28 October to 14 November.
Saud played in three One-Day Internationals against England earlier this summer, while other internationals named in the 19-player squad include Abdullah Shafique (T20I), Arshad Iqbal (T20I), Haider Ali (ODI, T20I), Naseem Shah (Test), Usman Salahuddin (Test and ODI) and Zahid Mahmood (T20I).
To maintain consistency in selection, the selectors have also retained players who have recently been part of the national side but have been unable to break into the playing line-up. These include Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha and Mohammad Haris.
With an eye on next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2022 in the West Indies, the selectors have included in the squad Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s teenage wicketkeeper Salman Khan and top-order batter Qasim Akram of Central Punjab.
Opportunities have also been awarded to exciting talents, such as Sindh’s 22-year-old mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah (34 wickets and 245 runs in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21), Irfanullah Shah (23 wickets in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21) and left-arm fast bowler Akif Javed, who is returning to competitive cricket this season after missing the last season due to an injury.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasim: “The objective and purpose of such tours is to reward, encourage, motivate and prepare high-performing cricketers for future challenges, while also developing and strengthening our bench-strength.
“The average age of this squad is under 22 and includes players who have either been part of the national squads or are knocking at the doors of international cricket. The Sri Lanka tour will help these talented cricketers to further hone and polish their skills so that they are ready to perform at the international level.”
Photo Credit: LinkedIn profile photo of Muhammad Wasim
Pakistan Shaheens squad (in alphabetical order):
Saud Shakeel (captain) (Sindh) (both formats)
Haider Ali (vice-captain) (Northern) (both formats)
Abbas Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (50-over)
Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab) (both formats)
Abrar Ahmed (Sindh) (both formats)
Ahmed Safi Abdullah (Central Punjab) (four-day)
Akif Javed (Balochistan) (50-over)
Arshad Iqbal (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (both formats)
Irfanullah Shah (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (both formats)
Kamran Ghulam (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (both formats)
Khurram Shahzad (Balochistan) (both formats)
Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (both formats)
Naseem Shah (Southern Punjab) (both formats)
Omair Bin Yousuf (Sindh) (four-day)
Qasim Akram (Central Punjab) (both formats)
Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab) (both formats)
Salman Khan (wicketkeeper) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (both formats)
Usman Salahuddin (Southern Punjab) (four-day)
Zahid Mahmood (Sindh) (both formats)
Player Support Personnel: Ijaz Ahmed (head coach and team manager), Rao Iftikhar (Assistant coach), Mohtashim Rashid (fielding coach), Mohammad Javed (trainer), Faisal Rai (analyst) and Hafiz Naeem (physiotherapist).
21 Oct – departure for Kandy
28-31 Oct – 1st four-day match, Kandy
4-7 Nov – 2nd four-day match, Kandy
10 Nov – 1st 50-over match, Colombo
12 Nov – 2nd 50-over match, Colombo
14 Nov – 3rd 50-over match, Colombo