Pakistan head coach and outgoing chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has tried to justify the axing of senior players Asad Shafiq, Muhammad Aamir and Shoaib Malik for the tour of New Zealand.

In a press release issued by the PCB, Misbah said Asad had been dropped because of his form while Malik and Aamir were overlooked because the selectors wanted to invest in promising and emerging players.

“There are three major omissions from the side that toured England. Asad Shafiq has been left out due to lack of form after he managed 510 runs in his last 15 innings, including a total of 67 runs in England,” Misbah said.

“Asad is an experienced batsman and I am sure he will utilise this time to work harder on his game in the domestic first-class matches so that he, like Sarfaraz Ahmed, can reclaim his form and be back in contention for the upcoming Tests against South Africa and Zimbabwe.”

Misbah also said that Malik and Amir are not part of the white-ball matches as for this tour he and selectors have opted to invest, develop and focus on the emerging players who are likely to be available to Pakistan for all formats.

“The matches in New Zealand are critical for us as we aim to improve our T20I rankings and also gain valuable points in the ICC World Test Championship. In this background and taking into consideration recent player performances, we have selected the best available players.”

Misbah has already announced his resignation as chief selector and this was his last assignment in this position with the PCB set to announce his successor later this month.

Misbah, who will now only be the head coach, also said that the tour schedule has been designed in such a way that Pakistan will play tough intra-squad matches in the lead up to international matches and compensate for the local oppositions.

“While the national side will be involved in one format, Shaheens will be in action in the other format. This means all the players will be busy and playing competitive cricket,” he noted.

He also congratulated uncapped players Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt and Rohail Nazir on their national call-up after impressing the selectors with their form, technique, temperament and ability to secure places in the 35-player pool. 

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