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Uncapped Usman Khan, Irfan Khan react on selection for New Zealand T20Is

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Uncapped batters Muhammad Irfan Khan Niazi and Usman Khan have earned their maiden call-ups to the Pakistan squad for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

The national selection committee members Abdul Razzaq, Asad Shafiq, Bilal Afzal, Mohammad Yousuf and Wahab Riaz announced the 17-member Pakistan squad for the five-match T20I series.

The two highly talented players have earned the selectors’ nod following impressive performances in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season nine.

Irfan Khan of Karachi Kings was adjudged the Emerging Player and Best Fielder of the PSL 9 after scoring 171 runs at a strike rate of 140.16.

Overall, the 21-year-old Mianwali-born Irfan has featured in 34 T20s in which he has scored 499 runs at a strike-rate of 135.96.

Irfan has also represented Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cups 2020 and 2022.

“I am deeply honoured to have been selected in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand,” said Irfan Khan.

“Breaking into such a formidable team like Pakistan is a testament to the dedication and effort I have put into my game. Now, my focus is on seizing this opportunity and solidifying my position within the team.”

“I am fully committed to continuing to work diligently and proving myself worthy of the trust placed in me by the captain and selectors.”

Usman Khan, who played the previous two editions of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as an overseas player from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), impressed the selection committee with his consistent batting exploits.

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The right-handed batter smashed two centuries and two half-centuries in the PSL 9 to help Multan Sultans reach the final where they lost to Islamabad United in a last-ball thriller.

He ended the tournament as the second-highest run-scorer with 430 runs in seven outings, only behind Babar Azam (569).

In the PSL 8, the 28-year-old Karachi-born batter had smashed a 36-ball century against Quetta Gladiators – the fastest century in the tournament’s history.

Overall, Usman has featured in 36 T20s in which he has scored 1,207 runs at a strike rate of 146.12.

“Being chosen to represent one’s country is the ultimate dream and goal for any athlete,” said Usman Khan.

“Today, I am absolutely thrilled and filled with joy as the selectors have granted me the opportunity to be part of the upcoming series against New Zealand.”

“This selection validates the relentless effort and dedication I have poured into my craft, and I am fully committed to upholding the high standards I have set for myself.”

Pakistan squad for T20I series against New Zealand

Babar Azam (c), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan, Usama Mir

Non-travelling reserve: Sahibzada Farhan, Haseebullah Khan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Mohammad Ali, Salman Ali Agha

READ: Usman, Amir, Imad named in Pakistan’ squad for New Zealand series

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