By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Oct 21 (APP): From white-ball cricket in Multan and Rawalpindi under the Covid-19 protocols, action moves to Karachi when the red-ball first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy commences on 25 October.
Today on Wednesday, the six head coaches announced their squads, which will include all the top performers who will not be involved in the series against Zimbabwe, which kicks off in Rawalpindi on Friday,October 30,said a spokesman of the Pakistan Cricket Board here .
With a 35-member Pakistan men’s national and Shaheens squads to depart for New Zealand on November 23, the players will get good three rounds of quality four-day cricket that will not only enable the players to strengthen claims in the touring party but will also provide them an excellent opportunity to rediscover their form ahead of a challenging tour, he added.
“ Defending champions Central Punjab have received a major boost as their coach Shahid Anwar named top-order batsman Ahmed Shehzad and fast bowler Hasan Ali in the 16-player squad. The side, to be led by Azhar Ali, will go head to head against Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Sindh at the National Stadium from October 25.
“ Sindh coach Basit Ali has kept faith in 20-year-old left-arm fast bowler Ghulam Mudassar after picking him from the Second XI side to provide him a chance in the First XI National T20 Cup. Ghulam will join seasoned pace duo of Sohail Khan and Tabish Khan as Sindh will aim to improve their last year’s fifth position.
“ Balochistan head coach Faisal Iqbal has followed in the footsteps of Basit by providing 17-year-old Quetta-born batsman Abdul Wahid Bangalzai with an opportunity to show his temperament, stamina and technique in the longer version of the game. After an impressive performance in the Second XI National T20 Cup, Abdul Wahid was included in the First XI National T20 Cup.
“ Balochistan, which finished at the bottom of the table last year, will be led by Yasir Shah, while Quetta-born wicketkeeper-batsman Bismillah Khan will be his deputy.
He said Fast bowler Akif Javed has not been included in the squad as he is currently recovering from the knee injury he sustained during the National T20 Cup.
“ Abdul Razzaq has handed captaincy responsibilities of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa side to Ashfaq Ahmed, who was his side’s highest run-getter in the 2019-event with 805 runs at over 67. Adil Amin has been named as vice-captain in the side, which also include Imran Khan Snr, Junaid Khan, Sahibzada Farhan and Usman Khan Shinwari from the squad that lifted the National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi last weekend.
“ Northern, who were last year’s runners-up, will continue to be led by Nauman Ali, who was the highest wicket-taker in the edition with 54 scalps in 10 matches. Mohammad Wasim, the Northern head coach, has named 23-year-old former Pakistan U19 batsman Zeeshan Malik as his deputy.
“ Abdul Rehman has named a strong Southern Punjab side, which will be captained by Test opener Shan Masood. Salman Ali Agha, after leading Southern Punjab in the Second XI Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first round, has been named in the first-class squad as part of the selectors’ overarching policy and strategy of encouraging and rewarding high-performing players.
Fast bowler Rahat Ali is unavailable for the first three rounds of the tournament due to family commitments, said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, the six squads and their support staff will be undergoing Covid-19 tests in Karachi on Wednesday and Thursday, and all those with two negative results will enter a bio-secure bubble.
The teams will practice on Friday and Saturday at the three venues (National Stadium, UBL Sports Complex and NBP Sports Complex) staging the opening round matches from Sunday, 25 October.
Balochistan – Yasir Shah (captain), Bismillah Khan (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Abdul Rehman Muzammil, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Adnan Akmal (wicketkeeper), Akhtar Shah, Amad Butt, Ayaz Tasawar, Imran Butt, Imran Farhat, Kashif Bhatti, Khurram Shahzad, Najeebullah Achakzai, Sami Aslam, Taimur Ali and Taj Wali
Central Punjab – Azhar Ali (captain), Saad Nasim (vice-captain), Ahmed Bashir, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Ahmed Shahzad, Ali Shan, Bilal Asif, Ehsan Adil, Hasan Ali, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Saad, Qasim Akram, Rizwan Hussain, Salman Butt, Usman Salahuddin and Waqas Maqsood
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Ashfaq Ahmed (captain), Adil Amin (vice-captain), Ahmed Jamal, Imran Khan snr, Israrullah, Junaid Khan, Kamran Ghulam, Khalid Usman, Mohammad Mohsin, Nabi Gul, Rehan Afridi (wicketkeeper), Sahibzada Farhan, Sajid Khan, Sameen Gul, Samiullah jnr and Usman Khan Shinwari
Northern – Nauman Ali (captain), Zeeshan Malik (vice-captain), Ali Sarfaraz, Asif Ali, Faizan Riaz, Farhan Shafiq, Hammad Azam, Jamal Anwar (wicketkeeper), Nasir Nawaz, Naved Malik, Sadaf Hussain, Salman Irshad, Sarmad Bhatti, Tauseeq Shah, Umar Amin and Waqas Ahmed
Sindh – Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain, wicketkeeper), Asad Shafiq (vice-captain), Ashiq Ali, Azizullah, Fawad Alam, Ghulam Mudassar, Khurram Manzoor, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Hasan, Omair Bin Yousaf, Saad Ali, Saud Shakeel, Sharjeel Khan, Sohail Khan and Tabish Khan
Southern Punjab – Shan Masood (captain), Hussain Talat (vice-captain), Aamer Yamin, Bilawal Bhatti, Dilbar Hussain, Imran Rafiq, Maqbool Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Irfan (SLA), Saif Badar, Salman Ali Agha, Umar Siddiq Khan, Umar Khan, Zahid Mehmood and Zeeshan Ashraf (wicketkeeper).