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1327-day long wait ends for Mohammad Amir, banned ECB player Usman Khan also makes debut vs NZ

1327-day long wait ends for Mohammad Amir, banned ECB player Usman Khan also makes debut vs NZ

The first T20I between Pakistan and New Zealand marks a return of Mohammad Amir, who will play his first match after 1327 days

Pakistan sprung a surprise in their playing XI for the 1st T20I against New Zealand in Rawalpindi, bringing back pace bowler Mohammad Amir for his third stint with the national team. This marks a return to international cricket for Amir after a 1,327-day hiatus.

The left-arm pacer, who has a total of 259 international wickets, last played the Men in Green way back in August 2020 against England in Manchester.

The experienced bowler will be joined by two debutants – hard-hitting batsman Usman Khan, who recently served a ban by the Emirates Cricket Board, and all-rounder Irfan Khan. The Babar Azam-led side will be bowling first in Rawalpindi as New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first. The much-awaited encounter, however, has kept the fans waiting as continuous rain has delayed the start of the game.

A revamped Pakistan team look to prepare for the T20 World Cup with new faces

Pakistan’s T20I team against New Zealand is a clear indication of their intent to experiment and solidify their squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup later this year. The inclusion of seasoned campaigner Mohammad Amir after a long absence and two exciting debutants in Usman Khan and Irfan Khan highlights this approach.

Amir’s return provides a much-needed boost to Pakistan’s bowling attack. His experience on the big stage and ability to swing the new ball will be invaluable as Pakistan look to find their ideal bowling combination for the World Cup. Moreover, the prospect of Amir sharing the new ball with the likes of Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah excites the Pakistani fan base hugely.

Playing XI of Pakistan and New Zealand for the 1st T20I

Pakistan (Playing XI): Babar Azam(c), Saim Ayub, Mohammad Rizwan(w), Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Irfan Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abrar Ahmed

New Zealand (Playing XI): Tim Seifert(w), Tim Robinson, Dean Foxcroft, Mark Chapman, James Neesham, Michael Bracewell(c), Josh Clarkson, Ish Sodhi, Jacob Duffy, Ben Sears, Ben Lister

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