Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has decided to pull out of the upcoming Bangladesh tour, which will kick-off soon after the final of ongoing T20 World Cup.
The Babar Azam-led Pakistan is scheduled to play two Tests and three T20 matches in Bangladesh during the tour, which will begin on November 19 in Dhaka.
As per a reports, Hafeez wants to provide opportunity to young players during the tour and as a reason he decided to withdraw from it.
Although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to announce the squad, it has been learnt that Hafeez will be replaced by Iftikhar Ahmed. The PCB is likley to announce the squad within by Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.
While the T20i matches will be played on November 19, 20, and 22 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the opening Test will be held from November 26 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram and the second and final Test will be held from December 4 in Dhaka.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan cricket team is likely to travel to Bangladesh directly from the UAE after the ongoing T20 World Cup final at the Dubai Sports City Stadium on November 14.
According to a report in ‘The News’, there are very slim chances of the Pakistani cricketers coming back home from the UAE as they have already made to the knock-out stage of the showpiece event.
The final of the ongoing World Cup final is scheduled to be played on November 14 which means that the Pakistan team will not be having enough time to get back home and then fly to Bangladesh.
“Pakistan are expected to fly straight from the UAE to Bangladesh for the series. There will not be enough time in between the two events that could allow the team members to get out of the bio-secure bubble,” a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told the publication.
“The decision to this effect, however, will be taken at that particular time. In all probability, the team will travel to Bangladesh for the series directly from the UAE,” the report further quoted the source as saying.
However, the source also added that the only possibility of getting back home would be if the Green Brigade wins the coveted trophy and then it could go back home to share the victory with the nation by making a stopover before heading to Bangladesh.
Till now, the PCB has still not announced the team for the Bangladesh tour but it has been learnt that the majority of the current team members, who are already in the UAE, are expected to be part of the touring squad while Test players like Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Abdullah Shafiq, and Saud Shakil would join them later.
“There will be minimal changes made to the team that is already in the UAE for the World Cup. There is not enough time in between the events to think in terms of any major changes. Besides the addition of a few Test specialists, the touring squad will almost be the same. Since the Test series starts from November 26, Test specialists could join the team at later stages. Almost the same T20 combination (15 team members and three reserves) are expected to travel to Bangladesh. At the same time, you cannot rule out the retirement of any veteran player at the end of the ongoing World Cup. Even in that case, Pakistan will be having enough backup currently with the touring squad,” added the source.