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Pakistan management are set to leave out Shaheen Afridi for multiple ODIs, with the young quick to be kept fresh for the side’s Asia Cup and T20 World Cup campaigns.
Captain Babar Azam fielded a number of questions regarding his side before their trip to the Netherlands, where they will compete for all-important Cricket World Cup Super League points on the road to India 2023.
The skipper admits the side will sit the star left-armer for at least the first two ODIs, prioritising the chase for silverware in continental and global T20 competition.
“We’re looking long term at his fitness and health.
“We want him to play a game against Netherlands if he’s fit and be ready for the Asia Cup.”
Pakistan’s squads for the Asia Cup and Dutch tour turned heads when fellow quick Hasan Ali was left out, with selectors preferring Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim. Shaheen has been nursing a knee injury, though was included in both squads.
Babar added that Hasan has the chance to regain his form in domestic cricket.
“Our fast-bowling bench strength is excellent. They’ve now got an opportunity to showcase their skills. This is how you expand your pool.
“Yes, he’s (Ali) not in form, but it’s not like he has to prove anything. Domestic cricket is coming up. He’ll play that and make a strong comeback hopefully.
Pakistan have been knocking on the door in T20I cricket, stunning India by ten wickets in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and only falling to a Matthew Wade semi-final hitting masterclass in Dubai.
Babar insists the team has the ability to win both upcoming tournaments.
“We have eleven trump cards. Each of them can be matchwinners on their day. I have faith in every one of them, whether batters or bowlers.
“The team has been announced after discussions with everyone. We met with the coach and chief selector and did what was best for Pakistan. There are matches immediately after Netherlands, so it’s unlikely there will be time for changes.”
Pakistan’s ODI series against the Netherlands begins on August 16, with all three matches at Hazelaarweg in Rotterdam.”There are important Super League points at stake which we can’t lose,” Babar stressed.
“If things go badly after we field young players, we’ll cop criticism then, too. Everyone won’t be happy with our decisions, but we have to do what’s best for Pakistan cricket.”
Netherlands v Pakistan Super League series
1st ODI: 16 August, Rotterdam, 11:00am local
2nd ODI: 18 August, Rotterdam, 11:00am local
3rd ODI: 21 August, Rotterdam, 11:00am local
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