LAHORE, Pakistan : Pakistan recalled middle-order batsmen Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah for this year's Twenty20 World Cup on Monday but former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed could not make the 15-member squad.
Chief selector Mohammad Wasim said they tried several players in the middle order before bringing back Asif and Khushdil for Pakistan's bid for a second Twenty20 World Cup.
"They are the best in the available pool of middle-order batsmen and we remain confident that they will provide us solutions to our middle-order difficulties through solid performances," he said after unveiling the Babar Azam-led team.
While Mohammad Rizwan is their preferred wicketkeeper, the selectors picked Azam Khan as the back-up stumper ignoring veteran Sarfaraz.
"Azam Khan is an aggressive and attacking batter who also keeps wickets, a combination that has earned him the selectors' nod ahead of Sarfaraz Ahmed," Wasim explained.
Veteran left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz and former skipper Shoaib Malik were also ignored but Mohammed Hafeez, 40, was picked in the squad which will have three reserve players in Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.
"While selecting the squad, we have tried to cover all our bases and picked several multi-tasking players," Wasim said.
"UAE is quite familiar to us, our players regularly play there and we also host Pakistan Super League there. I'm confident this team will perform well."
Pakistan begin their campaign with a blockbuster Super 12 stage match against arch-rivals India in Dubai on Oct. 24.
The same team will play seven Twenty20 matches, against New Zealand and England, at home in the build-up to the World Cup.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Himani Sarkar & Shri Navaratnam)