In-form batsman Mohammad Hafeez and struggling opener Fakhar Zaman are absent from the Pakistan squad appointed by selectors on Sunday for the Twenty20 international series against South Africa next month. The 40-year-old Hafeez is in the shape of his life, scoring 502 runs in his last 12 Twenty20 internationals with an average of 100.40 and a strike rate of 153. But chief selector Mohammad Waseem said the senior batsman was not available for the series. “There are no questions about Hafeez’s performance, but he has not given his availability on February 3, when the squad will go into a bio-safe environment,” Waseem said as he announced the squad.
Hafeez is currently playing in the T10 competition in Abu Dhabi, which ends on February 6.
Pakistan and South Africa will play three Twenty20 matches – all in Lahore – on February 11, 13 and 14.
Waseem said the current form, as well as this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in India, were eligible for selection.
Zaman was in bad shape, with only 97 runs in his last ten games. He also missed the Twenty20 series in New Zealand in December after a positive Covid-19 test.
Babar Azam will lead the squad, which also sees comebacks for pacer Hasan Ali, all-rounder Aamer Yamin and batsman Asif Ali.
Uncapped leg spinner Zahid Mahmood, all-rounder Amad Butt and Danish batsman Aziz are also part of the 20-man squad, while pacer Wahab Riaz has been left out.
Pakistan led the test series of two games 1-0 after beating South Africa by seven wickets in Karachi on Friday.
They start on Thursday with the second test in Rawalpindi.
Selection: Babar Azam (captain), Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Hussian Talat, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Zafar Gohar, Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi , Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hussain, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Zahid Mahmood
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