Pakistan rest Babar Azam for Afghanistan T20Is

Shadab Khan will take over as captain, while Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammed Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi have also been omitted. Uncapped quartet Ihsanullah, Saim Ayub, Tayyab Tahir and Zaman Kahn are included


Pakistan have opted to rest captain Babar Azam from the squad to face Afghanistan in their first T20Is since the World Cup final defeat to England.

Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammed Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have also been omitted in an effort to manage their workload.

Shadab Kahn takes the captaincy for the series as Pakistan look to build ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup 2024.

The allrounder has served as vice-skipper in recent years and led his country in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand in December 2020.

Four uncapped players have been included in the 15-strong squad with Ihsanullah, Saim Ayub, Tayyab Tahir and Zaman Khan handed call-ups following impressive Pakistan Super League campaigns.


Shadab Khan will lead the 15-strong group (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Only Abbas Afridi has taken more than the 20 wickets claimed by Ihsanullah, whose 5 for 12 against Quetta Gladiators remain the best figures of the 2023 tournament.

Twenty-year-old batter Ayub has struck five half-centuries in 10 innings for Peshawar Zalmi, while Tahir also bolsters the top-order.

Zaman, 21, has made a blistering start to his T20 career with 52 wickets - a dozen of which have come in this season's PSL - in 40 games.

Sharjah will host all three T20Is on March 24, 26 and 27 - the first bilateral series containing multiple matches between the two nations.

Pakistan T20I squad: Shadab Khan (cc), Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Zaman Khan

Reserves: Abrar Ahmed, Haseebullah, Usama Mir

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