‘Pakistan is touring NZ, not Nepal’: Akmal on giving rest to Babar, Rizwan

Pakistan men’s chief selector, Wahab Riaz, announced a 17-member squad for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand, starting from January 12 in Auckland.

In an interview with a local TV channel, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee consultant Kamran Akmal emphasized that the team management and selection committee did not contemplate giving the duo a break during New Zealand series, asserting their crucial roles in the team’s success.

“No one from team management or selection committee talked about giving rest to Babar and Rizwan during New Zealand series,” Akmal said.

“Pakistan is going to New Zealand, not Nepal, where senior players can be rested. No one can think like that,” he added.

The former wicketkeeper-batsman highlighted the necessity of having the best players available for such challenging series.

Responding to question about the newly appointed captain, Shan Masood, Akmal acknowledged that leadership roles take time to evolve. 

“Anyone given the responsibility of leadership or coaching should be given six to eight months, and after that, an assessment should be made,” Akmal said. 

Shan, who captained his first Test in Perth, has experience leading in domestic and county cricket, and Akmal believes that with time, he will continue to improve in his role.

Pakistan squad for New Zealand series:
Shaheen Afridi (c), Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Saim Ayub, Sahibzada Farhan, Haseebullah Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Mohammad Nawaz, Abrar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan

Pakistan tour of New Zealand:
January 12: New Zealand vs Pakistan – First T20I in Auckland
January 14: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Second T20I in Hamilton
January 17: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Third T20I in Dunedin
January 19: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Fourth T20I in Christchurch
January 21: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Fifth T20I in Christchurch