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A close look at Pakistan's T20 newcomers
Bangladesh tour of Pakistan 2020

A close look at Pakistan's T20 newcomers

Pakistan selection committee has announced the 15-member squad for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh. 

While seasoned campaigners Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have once again found their way back to the national team, some new faces have also made the grade for the pivotal series as both sides aim to shape their squads before the ICC T20 World Cup this year in Australia. 

Pakistan's preparations for the marquee tournament look a bit shabby at the moment but they have time to get their house in order.

Ahsan Ali

Ahsan Ali made his first-class debut in 2013 during President's Trophy. The 26-year-old has been steadily improving in his batting over the years and was pulled out of obscurity in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 season which proved to be a watershed moment in his career. 

It was the PSL stage where he grabbed the attention of selectors in the league by some dazzling performances. He represented Quetta Gladiators and amassed 178 runs at an average of 22.25 and slugged bowlers at a strike rate of 130.88.

He was striking at 148.86 in the National T20 Tournament in October 2019 and was adjudicated man of the match in the seventh fixture of T20 Cup where Sindh's shining star pummeled KPK bowlers and slammed 64, scoring at a staggering strike rate of 172.97 in that match.

From being an unknown commodity, toiling at the domestic level, he caught a lot of attention in his PSL debut and showed his prowess especially against Peshawar Zalmi in a play-off clash where he scored a quickfire 46. 

The attacking opening batsman holds promise; he has soaked pressure in high-voltage games in PSL with his opening partner Ahmed Shehzad. 

For Sindh, he scored an unbeaten 86 off 48 balls against Northern in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Second XI tournament seventh round last year. He also thumped a half-century against Central Punjab in the same tournament.

Moreover, the belligerent opener has smashed a double ton against Multan Tigers while representing United Bank Limited in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Gold League in 2014.

Despite the fact that his first-class record doesn't speak volumes about his power hitting, he has shown potential to become a real force in the shorter format. In 41 T20s at domestic circuit, he has accumulated 949 runs at an average of 23.72, scored at a strike rate of 129.46 and has struck five half-centuries. 

Haris Rauf

Haris Rauf has been outfoxing the best in the business recently in Big Bash League (BBL) and dominating the headlines by bowling some sensational spells in Australia.

Rawalpindi born quick was representing Melbourne Stars in the ongoing BBL and took a breathtaking fifer against Hobart Hurricanes and then decimated Sydney Thunders by claiming a hattrick. 

The performances shook the selectors who couldn't ignore him anymore. Haris would have never been unearthed had he failed to grab the attention of scouts at Lahore Qalandar's talent hunt programme where he almost missed the trial. The right-arm paceman clocked 148.5 on the speed gun and did enough to impress the coaches.

He darted thunderbolts for Lahore Qalandars’ in last PSL season and took 11 wickets in 10 games, bowled at an economy of 7.41 with his best spell of bowling of 4-23 speared against Karachi Kings. 

The 26-year-old idolizes Dale Steyn and was rubbing shoulders with South African superstar in the BBL. He is fast, hostile, quick through the air and has got all the bag of tricks to flummox the best in the business.

Amad Butt

Amad Butt has been Islamabad United's stalwart and is the main strike bowler of the very successful PSL franchise. He is more than a handful with the bat and in-fact has stated his preference for batting and new-found liking to hitting fours and sixes. He is pretty accurate with the ball in hand too, can bowl at a nagging off-stump line and has got a potent slower one to befuddle the batsman.

He struck meaty blows in the National T20 Cup 2019 in Faisalabad and lit up Iqbal Stadium. His 31-run cameo was laced with four sixes and a boundary that helped Balochistan stun Sindh in a crucial game. 

Following that match, he played another blinder against Southern Punjab where amid a similar situation when his side was up against the wall, he bludgeoned 29 off 14 balls and snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat, especially taking on Umaid Asif in the last over.

In Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019, Amad, while representing Balochistan, scored a sublime century against Sindh in the tenth round of the trophy and gave a resounding message of his versatility to the selectors. 

Amad was also the leading performer for Pakistan in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging U23 Cup 2019 where he piled up 79 runs and plucked four wickets. 

His strike rate of 122 makes him a handy all-round option and not to mention his bowling average of 19.10, a tally of 39 wickets in his career shows that he has the skillset to serve Pakistan for many years.