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Pakistan Cricket Board, on Sunday, announced an 18-man squad for the upcoming 3-match T20I series in New Zealand. Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has been recalled for the New Zealand T20Is after he was dropped for the latest home series against Zimbabwe. Pakistan have also recalled 24-year-old Hussain Talat, who last played a T20I in February 2018.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old legspinner Shadab Khan has been named the vice-captain of the side with Babar Azam continuing to lead Pakistan.

A 34-player squad, after Fakhar Zaman was forced to stay back due to a fever, had arrived in New Zealand on November 24 and had their first round of coronavirus tests on the 25th. Six had tested positive after the first round of tests and 2 more have returned positive results leading to the exemption of outdoor training for the visitors.

The 3-match T20I series between New Zealand is scheduled to begin on December 18 at the Eden Park in Auckland.

“For the T20Is, we have retained the squad that has been playing together for some time. The squad comprises young, talented and high-performing players, who are determined and eager to make names for themselves and further cement their places in the side,” Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said.

“New Zealand boasts some of the best cricket facilities, which are backed by supportive and appreciative crowds. I want my players to make optimum use of the upcoming opportunities by expressing themselves by playing fearlessly every time they take the field. All the players have our backing and support, and all they now need to show is how much believe, faith and trust they have in their own capabilities.”

Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is:

Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz.

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