Pakistan chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has handed a major lifeline to both Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. The duo have been recalled to the 16-man Pakistani squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. Bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf has also been included in the only three changes from 16-man ODI squad. Opener Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali and Mohammed Rizwan are the three members from the ODI squad who have not been retained.
Both Akmal and Shehzad were once touted as the future of Pakistan cricket, but have failed to live up to their immense potential. A variety of issues, including loss of form and fitness concerns have kept them out of the reckoning for the national team.
Shehzad previously played a match for Pakistan last year in a T20I game against Scotland. But the 27-year old opener was one of the finest performers in the PSL this year, aggregating 311 runs at an average of 51.83. Akmal, on the other hand, last played in a T20I for Pakistan on September 2016. He too makes a comeback on the basis of some clutch performances in the PSL. Ashraf was the top wicket-taker in the PSL with 21 scalps and his performances too have merited a selection in the squad.
The three-match series between the two sub-continent rivals is set to begin on October 5th. All three matches will be held at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore. Pakistan have already sealed the three-match ODI series 2-0 after the first match was washed out due to rain.
Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK ), Babar Azam (VC), Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz