For the upcoming first T20I against New Zealand scheduled for January 12, the expected bowling lineup for Pakistan comprises key pacers like Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, along with Zaman Khan. Aamer Jamal is anticipated to play a dual role, contributing both with the bat and ball.
During practice sessions, it was observed that Shaheen, Haris, and Zaman were bowling together with the new ball, forming a primary pace trio. In contrast, another group consisting of Mohammad Wasim Jr, Aamer Jamal, and Abbas Afridi worked at a separate practice net.
The spin department is likely to be led by Usama Mir, who is expected to be preferred over Mohammad Nawaz for the first match.
In terms of batting, the probable order includes Rizwan and Saim as the opening pair, followed by Babar Azam, and Fakhar Zaman in the fourth position. Azam Khan is set to take on the role of wicketkeeper and bat fifth, while Iftikhar Ahmed is expected to strengthen the batting lineup at the sixth position. It’s noted that depending on the game situation, the positions of Iftikhar and Azam may be switched.
The likely playing XI is as follows: Saim Ayub, Mohammad Rizwan (VC), Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Azam Khan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Aamer Jamal, Shaheen Afridi (C), Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan.