The much-hyped T20 international series between Pakistan and Bangladesh will begin at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.
The series remained in disarray for several weeks due to Bangladesh’s unwillingness to play a Test series in Pakistan. However, earlier this month, they agreed to play three T20s, one-off ODI, and two Tests in three legs.
Result: Pakistan won by five wickets
Pakistan will be hoping that the change of year will change their fortunes as they lost eight of the 10 T20Is they played in 2019. Their shocking 3-0 home defeat at the hands of an inexperienced Sri Lankan side in October last year led to the sacking of captain Sarfraz Ahmed. Subsequently, Babar Azam took over the reins of the team and led the T20 side in the tour of Australia, in which they suffered a 2-0 loss.
In a bid to put an end to their losing streak, Pakistan have overhauled their line-up for this series, bringing back experienced Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez and leaving out Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, and Haris Sohail.
Hafeez had last played a T20I for Pakistan in November 2018 while Shoaib hasn’t featured the country since February last year. Their return will give the much-needed stability to the middle-order. The Babar Azam-led side also features uncapped batsman Ahsan Ali, who earned the faith of the selectors with an array of convincing performances in the domestic season.
Uncapped all-rounders Amad Butt and Haris Rauf have also been included in the line-up.
Leg-spinner Usman Qadir, who was picked for T20s in Australia in November last year but did not play a game, will also be in line to make his senior international debut.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, will head into the series on the back of a 2-1 loss to India in a three-match home series. They have recalled prolific batsman Tamim Iqbal, who hasn’t played any international cricket since July last year. The 30-year-old southpaw had opted out of series against India citing personal reasons.
Experienced paceman Rubel Hossain has also returned to the national side after nearly six months.
The Mahmudullah-led side is without of experienced all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was awarded a one-year suspension by ICC in October last year for failing to report bookie approaches on multiple occasions.
Pakistan hold an advantage over Bangladesh in the head-to-head record in the shortest-format, having won eight of the ten games played between the two sides so far. However, Bangladesh have emerged victorious in two of the last three bilateral encounters.
In their most recent meeting, during the Super Eight stage of ICC World T20 2016, Pakistan had secured a comprehensive 55-run win.
Babar Azam (Captain), Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez, Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Mahmudullah (Captain), Moammad Naim, Najmul Hossain, Shafiul Islam,Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mahedi Hasan, Al-Amin Hossain, Aminul Islam