Quaid-e-Azam Trophy: Hasan Ali, Ahmed Shehzad return, Yasir Shah named Balochistan captain
Hasan Ali and Ahmed Shehzad have recovered from injury to secure themselves a place in the Central Punjab squad for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy scheduled to commence on October 25.
Hasan had endured a back injury in April this year, drawing doubts regarding a prolonged absence from competitive cricket. While the right-arm paceman was left out for the upcoming limited-overs series against Zimbabwe, he has been included in the incumbent champions' squad for the domestic first-class tournament.
Hasan had been undergoing rehabilitation for the past few months and was able to avoid the need for a back surgery that was initially feared.
CP will kick off proceedings for Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21 with the clash against the Sarfaraz Ahmed-captained Sindh at Karachi's National Stadium on Sunday.
Sindh have picked young pacer Ghulam Mudassar in the team to add depth to the fast bowling department boasted by the presence of experienced duo Sohail Khan and Tabish Khan.
Balochistan, who finished last in the previous edition, have appointed leg-spinner Yasir Shah as the captain as he takes over the responsibilities from Haris Sohail. Yasir will be assisted by Bismillah Khan in the deputy role with Sami Aslam also returning to the fold after not featuring in the National T20 Cup.
Last year's runners-up Northern have entrusted captaincy duties to Nauman Ali, who was the leading wicket-taker in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019-20. With a view towards the future, head coach Mohammad Wasim has named Zeeshan Malik as the vice-captain of the team.
Southern Punjab have retained Shan Masood as the skipper of the side whereas Salman Ali Agha has been promoted to the First XI line-up following his terrific run in the concurrently held Second XI competition.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will see a new leader in Ashfaq Ahmed assume control at the top. He was his side's highest run-getter in the 2019 event with 805 runs under his belt at an average of 67.
All of the players participating in the Zimbabwe fixtures have been rendered unavailable for the QeA Trophy. The first three rounds of the premier first-class tournament will be followed by the announcement of the 35-member Pakistan national and Shaheens squads for the New Zealand tour as they will depart for the island country on November 23.
Other players not playing in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy include Akif Javed, who is recovering from a knee niggle, and Rahat Ali with the left-armer absent for three rounds due to family commitments.
The matches will be staged at three venues - National Stadium, UBL Sports Complex and NBP Sports Complex - with the six squads and their support personnel residing in the bio-secure bubble.
The squads for all the teams are as follows:
Balochistan: Yasir Shah (capt), Bismillah Khan (vice-capt, wk), Abdul Rehman Muzammil, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Adnan Akmal (wk), Akhtar Shah, Amad Butt, Ayaz Tasawar, Imran Butt, Imran Farhat, Kashif Bhatti, Khurram Shahzad, Najeebullah Achakzai, Sami Aslam, Taimur Ali and Taj Wali
Central Punjab: Azhar Ali (capt), Saad Nasim (vice-capt), Ahmed Bashir, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Ahmed Shahzad, Ali Shan, Bilal Asif, Ehsan Adil, Hasan Ali, Kamran Akmal (wk), Mohammad Saad, Qasim Akram, Rizwan Hussain, Salman Butt, Usman Salahuddin and Waqas Maqsood
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Ashfaq Ahmed (capt), Adil Amin (vice-capt), Ahmed Jamal, Imran Khan Snr, Israrullah, Junaid Khan, Kamran Ghulam, Khalid Usman, Mohammad Mohsin, Nabi Gul, Rehan Afridi (wk), Sahibzada Farhan, Sajid Khan, Sameen Gul, Samiullah Jnr and Usman Khan Shinwari
Northern: Nauman Ali (capt), Zeeshan Malik (vice-capt), Ali Sarfaraz, Asif Ali, Faizan Riaz, Farhan Shafiq, Hammad Azam, Jamal Anwar (wk), Nasir Nawaz, Naved Malik, Sadaf Hussain, Salman Irshad, Sarmad Bhatti, Tauseeq Shah, Umar Amin and Waqas Ahmed
Sindh: Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt, wk), Asad Shafiq (vice-capt), Ashiq Ali, Azizullah, Fawad Alam, Ghulam Mudassar, Khurram Manzoor, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Hasan, Omair Bin Yousaf, Saad Ali, Saud Shakeel, Sharjeel Khan, Sohail Khan and Tabish Khan
Southern Punjab: Shan Masood (capt), Hussain Talat (vice-capt), Aamer Yamin, Bilawal Bhatti, Dilbar Hussain, Imran Rafiq, Maqbool Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Irfan (SLA), Saif Badar, Salman Ali Agha, Umar Siddiq Khan, Umar Khan, Zahid Mehmood and Zeeshan Ashraf (wk)