Pakistan T20 Team Announced for New Zealand Series; likely to participate in the Army Training Camp starting March 26

Pakistan Cricket Team, ICC World Cup 2023

In a recent development, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a 29-member list of players who are ready to participate in the upcoming national camp starting tomorrow. The camp will take place at a military base in Kakul, 5 kilometers north of Abbottabad district.

This camp will help the board and chief selectors determine the Green Army squad for their upcoming home T20I series against New Zealand, which is scheduled for next month.

The national camp will most likely be held at the Pakistan Military Academy, where some of the biggest names in the country’s cricket system are expected to perform. From youngsters who shined in the recently concluded season 9 of Pakistan Super League to some of the retired veterans who proved to be a revelation this season. All of them will be tested in the Kakul camp, but without a head coach.

PCB was looking at options like Shane Watson and Darren Sammy to take over as Pakistan’s white-ball head coach, but both were ultimately denied.

Why did Shane Watson and Darren Sammy refuse to take over as Pakistan head coach?

Former Australia All-rounder Shane Watson was the first person the PCB approached to fill the vacant head coach position. Discussions were in advanced stages and the board agreed to all of Watson’s demands, including his request for 4.3 million Pakistani rupees, which could have made him the highest-paid coach in the Asian giants’ history.

However, talks with Watson suddenly collapsed because the Australian was initially unhappy with the leak of internal information, especially about salary. Another reason for his U-turn was due to his commitments as a commentator here on IPL as well as his role as head coach with the San Francisco Unicorns in the upcoming edition of Major League Cricket.

It was then Darren Sammy who turned down the offer, solely because of his role as head white-ball coach of the West Indies national team. Both Watson and Sammy were good options as they coached PSL 9 teams: Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi respectively.

They must have built a strong bond with some of the Pakistan players and that could have also helped them tune in with the team. However, PCB continues to search for a new coach and it is still unknown whether an appointment will be arranged before the 2024 T20 World Cup.

The 29 players for the next national camps in Kakul

Pakistan T20 Team for New Zealand (Probabilities): Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Saim Ayub, Fakhar Zaman, Sahibzada Farhan, Haseebullah, Saud Shakeel, Usman Khan, Mohammad Haris, Salman Ali Agha, Azam Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Irfan Khan Niazi, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Usama Mir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mehran Mumtaz, Abrar Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Ali, Zaman Khan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Aamir Jamal, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Amir.

The national Kakul camp begins tomorrow and will run until April 8, before the end of Ramadan. Pakistan are scheduled to play the first of a 5-match T20I series against New Zealand on April 18. The following matches will be played on the 20th, 21st, 25th and 27th of the same month.