Uncapped pace bowler Haris Rauf has earned a call-up to Pakistan’s T20 squad after a stellar BBL campaign.
Raul has been shining for Melbourne Stars this season after initially being used as cover in the absence of Dale Steyn. His stay with the Stars was then prolonged after England youngster Pat Brown was ruled out through injury.
Rauf hasn't looked back and his 16 wickets and fine showings for the BBL league leaders have not gone unnoticed by the Pakistan selectors.
He now joins the 15-man squad has been chosen ahead of Pakistan’s three-match T20I series against Bangladesh. The first game will start in Lahore on January 24.
Former skipper Shoaib Malik and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez are also among the names to be recalled.
Also earning a call up is batsman Ahsan Ali.
It means experienced pace men Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Aamir miss out as selectors make seven changes from the squad that suffered a 2-0 T20I series loss at the hands of Australia at the end of 2019.
Also cut from the squad this time around is Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali and Mohammad Irfan.
The changes come as Pakistan look to build towards this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October. They are considered 11.0 (10/1) chances with bet365 to win the tournament.
Rauf earns call as Pakistan ring the changes
Coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq believes the squad has the right balance of youth and experience.
He said: “We have lost eight of our last nine T20Is and as the number-one ranked side, this is unacceptable. We need to end our losing streak and get back to winning habits leading to the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup. This has played a critical role in our decision-making.
“We tried alternate combinations in the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, and obviously it didn’t work the way we had expected. Hafeez and Shoaib (Malik) bring a total experience of 200 T20Is between them and if you mix these with the other youngsters we have in the side, then I think it becomes a good blend of experience and youth.”
“The seven players who have missed out on selection are by no means out of our planning but considering their recent form in international cricket and taking into account other strong performances in our National T20 Cup, we have decided to make these changes.”
Pakistan T20 squad: Babar Azam (captain), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir.