Babar to lead a pace-heavy Pakistan side at T20 World Cup

Babar Azam leads his team-mates out on to the field Sportsfile via Getty Images

Babar Azam will lead a Pakistan side for the third successive time at the T20 World Cup when he will fly out with the 15-member squad for the tournament next month. The PCB neither named a vice-captain nor any traveling reserves even though the World Cup will be played in the USA and the Caribbean over almost a month.

In an announcement that came hours before the ICC deadline to submit the final squad, there were a few surprises with Pakistan sticking to the touring party they chose for the T20Is in Ireland and England. No one from outside that group was selected. Hasan Ali, who was released back to Warwickshire earlier this week, missed out, alongside Irfan Khan and Agha Salman.

Abbas Afridi made the final cut, meaning Pakistan go into the tournament with five specialist fast bowlers. Imad Wasim, who came out of retirement for this tournament, was the left-arm spin option, with Abrar Ahmed the only specialist legspinner.

"This is an extremely talented and balanced side that has a mixture of youth and experience. These players have been playing together for some time and look well prepared and settled for next month's event," a statement attributed to the selection committee in a PCB release said.

"Haris Rauf is fully fit and bowling well in the nets. It would have been nice if he had gotten an outing at Headingley [in the first T20I against England which was washed out], but we remain confident that he will continue to maintain an upward trajectory in the upcoming matches, as he will have an important role to play along with other strike bowlers in the T20 World Cup."

ESPNcricinfo learnt that an initial squad was finalised and sent to PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi on May 23, but a conflict around due process emerged, with certain members of the selection panel feeling they had not been consulted properly. Naqvi asked to see the minutes of the meeting and voting patterns of prior meetings, which had not been recorded.

As a result, the squad was rejected and returned to the selection panel, with Naqvi insisting the members achieve consensus on the squad and the meeting minutes be recorded. The PCB rejected any notion of the chairman interfering in specific selection decisions, and that the reason for the initial squad being rejected was the failure to follow due process as set out for the selection committee.

Pakistan had opted to not announce a provisional squad at the start of the month, something most other sides did. In the end, they were the last team to officially confirm their final squad, with all 19 other teams having submitted theirs a few days ago.

Pakistan are currently in the middle of a T20I series in England, with the second match in Birmingham on Saturday. They fly out to the USA after the series concludes, with all four of Pakistan's group stage matches in the United States. They don't play any warm-up games before the big tournament.

Pakistan begin their T20 World Cup campaign against USA in Dallas on June 6 before they play India in New York on June 9. Pakistan will stay in New York to face Canada on June 11 and then travel to Lauderhill to play Ireland on June 16 for their final group game.

Pakistan squad for T20 World Cup 2024

Babar Azam (capt), Saim Ayub, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Azam Khan (wk), Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Abrar Ahmed