What changes are likely in Pakistan squad for Afghanistan T20Is?

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LAHORE: Hard-hitter Azam Khan, all-rounder Imad Wasim and Usama Mir could be included in Pakistan’s national squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Afghanistan, sources said.

Moreover, it is possible that some players who have been playing regularly in the past could be rested for the series.

Wasim and Khan are the second and third-highest scorers respectively in the ongoing season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Meanwhile, Mir is the joint-fourth on the list of leading wicket-takers.

Additionally, the sources said an interim coaching staff will also be appointed for the series.

The New Zealand series was the last assignment for head coach Saqlain Mushtaq and bowling coach Shaun Tait since their contracts expired in February this year.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Yousuf’s appointment as batting coach of the Pakistan men’s cricket team was determined on a series-to-series basis under the Ramiz Raja-led administration. His permanent role is the batting coach of the National High Performance Centre (NHPC) in Lahore.

The series is likely to be played in Sharjah with the Pakistan team leaving for United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 23. The matches are likely to be completed within a week with the possibility of back-to-back fixtures.

The discussions between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) are in the final stages with the official schedule set to be announced soon.

Earlier, both teams were supposed to play a three-match ODI series this year, instead of T20Is, but, since Pakistan and Afghanistan have already qualified for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India, the format was changed after a meeting between Sethi and ACB officials.

“I met with the executive members of Afghanistan Cricket Board and they were asking us to play a [ODI] series but we didn’t find any attraction playing the series,” Sethi said at a press conference in January.

“It’s mainly because the series was meant for the [Super League] points, and now no matter who wins it won’t make a difference. So we agreed to play a series of three T20Is in Sharjah just after PSL, subject to government approval. We will share 50% of the revenue from the series equally. And we will jointly outsource the production,” he added.