Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has put his faith in big-hitting batsmen Sohaib Maqsood and Azam Khan when it comes to filling the holes in the middle order.
Pakistan have struggled to find the right batsmen who can excel in the middle order for quite some time.
However, Maqsood and Azam have shown promise and Misbah is hoping they will prove their worth and cement their spots in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup, which begins with the tours of England and the West Indies.
In the recently-concluded edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Maqsood was the third-highest run-scorer with 428 runs in 12 games for the Multan Sultans, which included five half-centuries, at an average of 47.55 and a strike-rate of 156.77.
As for Azam, who is the son of former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, he accumulated 174 runs in 10 matches for the Quetta Gladiators, which included a top score of 47, at an average of 17.40 and a strike-rate of 133.84.
“Overall, I think we know the team [which will play the T20 World Cup] apart from the middle order and specifically position five and six,” Misbah was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
“We have included Azam Khan and Sohaib Maqsood in the side and hopefully the next two series will help us fill this gap. Our top four batsmen and bowling line-up is more or less confirmed.”
Pakistan will play three ODIs and three T20 Internationals against England. The ODI series began on July 8 and will conclude on July 13, while the T20 series will be held from July 16 to 20.
They will then tour the West Indies and play five T20 Internationals and two Tests, with the T20 series getting underway on July 27 and ending on August 3.
As for the Test series, it will start on August 12 and conclude on August 24.
Pakistan Test Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper) (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dhani, Yasir Shah (subject to fitness) and Zahid Mahmood
Pakistan ODI Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usman Qadir
Pakistan T20 Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan and Usman Qadir