Wahab Riaz reveals reason for selecting Azam Khan, resting Mohammad Haris

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

While speaking in press conference in Lahore, Wahab provided insights into the selection committee’s decision-making process regarding the selection of Azam Khan.

“We have watched Azam Khan very closely. At times, you have to prefer skills over fitness. If a player can win you a match, that’s more important than anything else. We’ve spoken to Azam Khan and given him a clear message – we want to invest in him, but he has to respond as well. You can’t expect anyone to lose 10 kg in 10 days, but there is a way [to improve fitness]. We’ve seen he’s a high impact player in PSL, domestic cricket, other leagues – we’ve tried many players at number so now we want to give Azam a chance,” Wahab said.

Meanwhile, Wahab emphasized that Mohammad Haris has been strategically rested for this series, affirming his importance in the team’s future plans.

“We have rested Mohammad Haris for this series. We know his capability and he is part of our plans going forward. There were some domestic performers in First Class cricket who we wanted to give a chance and increase our pool of players, so we rested Haris from this tour,” he said.

Pakistan squad: 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