UAE-banned Usman Khan named in Pakistan squad for T20 series against New Zealand

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Uncapped Usman Khan was named Tuesday in Pakistan's squad for its five-match T20 series against New Zealand after the batter was banned for five years by the Emirates Cricket Board.

The ECB banned the 28-year-old Khan last week after he showed interest in playing for his country of birth and attended a camp for Pakistan cricketers at the Army training academy in Kakul.

Khan was accused of using “the opportunities and development provided by the ECB to him to seek out other prospects and it was evident that he was no longer wanting to play for ECB nor complete the eligibility criteria which he was under an obligation to do.”

Pakistan is due to play 11 T20s ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in June in the Caribbean and the United States.

Khan was delighted by his inclusion in Pakistan's 17-member squad to face New Zealand.

“Being chosen to represent one’s country is the ultimate dream and goal for any athlete,” said Khan, who is eyeing a T20 World Cup spot. “Today, I am absolutely thrilled and filled with joy."

The series starts April 18 at Rawalpindi, which also hosts the second and third games on April 20 and 21. Lahore will host the remaining two games on April 25 and 27.

Babar Azam returns as skipper of Pakistan’s white-ball cricket team after Shaheen Shah Afridi lost his maiden series as captain to New Zealand 4-1 earlier this year.

Khan played the Pakistan Super League as a foreign player with back-to-back centuries for Multan Sultans, which lost a thrilling final to Islamabad United.

Batter Irfan Khan, also got his first callup after being adjudged emerging player and best fielder in Pakistan’s premier T20 league.

Leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed is another uncapped player in the squad after missing the T20 series in New Zealand earlier this year because of fitness issues.

All-rounder Imad Wasim and fast bowler Mohammad Amir will return after coming out of retirement last month. Amir, who has taken 59 wickets in 50 T20s for Pakistan, last played against England in 2020.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood was named head coach for the series against New Zealand. Mahmood had previously worked with the Pakistan team as bowling coach from 2016 to 19.

New Zealand will be without several key T20 players including Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell, who are playing in the Indian Premier League.


Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan


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