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Pakistan Shaheens all set for Zimbabwe challenge

Kwekwe, 2 May 2023: Imran Butt-led Pakistan Shaheens will be eying for a winning start when they take on Zimbabwe A in the four-day match starting tomorrow at the Kwekwe Sports Club in Kwekwe.

The first four-dayer will be followed by another four-dayer and six 50-over matches that will be played from 10 to 27 May in Harare and Mutare.

Pakistan Shaheens arrived in Harare on 30 April and had one-day training session at the Kwekwe Sports Club following an 11-day camp at the Hanif Muhammad High Performance Centre in Karachi and then an additional two-day camp at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore before the team’s departure to Zimbabwe.

The squad includes 16 players and four reserve players. Six players apart from the captain and Test cricketer Imran Butt have already represented Pakistan in international cricket. These include Hussain Talat (1 ODI, 18 T20Is), Kamran Ghulam (1 ODI), Mir Hamza (3 Tests), Mohammad Ali (2 Tests), Shahnawaz Dahani (2 ODIs, 11 T20Is) and Saim Ayub (8 T20Is).

Pakistan Shaheens’ last bilateral series was against Sri Lanka in Oct/Nov 2021. That series consisted of two four-dayers and three 50-over matches with Shaheens winning the rain-affected three-match series 1-0 and playing out a drawn four-day series. In the first four-day match in Pallekele, Kamran Ghulam and Omair Bin Yousaf – both part of the forthcoming series, scored half-centuries against Sri Lanka A.

Imran Butt said: “Our preparations have been going well, we have been working on adapting to the conditions here. The players are determined to play their best cricket and make the most of this opportunity.

“The series against Zimbabwe A is a chance for us to test our skills against a quality opposition at their own backyard. We are eager to learn from this experience and improve as a team.

“Our players understand the importance of this series and what it could mean for their future prospects. They are all motivated to perform well and make a strong case for themselves.”

Pakistan Shaheens: Imran Butt (captain) (Lahore), Hussain Talat (vice-captain) (Lahore), Aamir Jamal (Islamabad), Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (Quetta), Haseebullah (Quetta), Kamran Ghulam (Peshawar), Mehran Mumtaz (Rawalpindi), Mir Hamza (Karachi), Mohammad Ali (Sialkot), Mohammad Huraira (Sialkot), Mubasir Khan (Islamabad), Omair Bin Yousuf (Karachi), Qasim Akram (Lahore), Rohail Nazir (wicketkeeper) (Islamabad) and Shahnawaz Dahani (Larkana). Saim Ayub (Karachi, 50-over matches only). Asif Mehmood (Hyderabad), Athar Mehmood (Gujranwala), Saad Khan (Hyderabad) and Waqar Ahmad (Peshawar) (all reserves)

Player Support Personnel – Aizaz Cheema (coach), Imran Abbas (manager), Saboor Ahmed (trainer), Muhammad Asad (physiotherapist) and Faisal Rai (team analyst). Abdul Rehman (Team Consultant, for 50-over matches only)

Tour schedule:

3-6 May – 1st Four-day match; KSC, Kwekwe

10- 13 May – 2nd Four-day match; MSC, Mutare

17 May – 1st 50-over match; TSC, Harare

19 May – 2nd 50-over match; HSC, Harare

21 May – 3rd 50-over match; HSC, Harare

23 May – 4th 50-over match; OH, Harare

25 May – 5th 50-over match; HSC, Harare

27 May – 6th 50-over match; HSC, Harare