Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced a 12-member squad for the first ODI against New Zealand scheduled to be played in Rawalpindi on September 17.

Both the teams have started their preparations at the venue ahead of the three-match series, which will not be part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League due to the unavailability of decision review system (DRS).

Uncapped leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood has been named in Pakistan’s squad for the series opener. Mahmood has been in sublime form off-late. He bagged 52 wickets from 10 matches in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and 19 wickets in as many games during the 2020–21 Pakistan Cup.

Meanwhile, New Zealand have reached Pakistan without many of their top players – who are instead in the UAE for the remaining matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) – including regular skipper Kane Williamson and the pace bowling trio of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson.

But according to Pakistan captain Babar Azam, his side will not take the opponents lightly, despite big names missing from the Blackcaps’ squad.

“It would have been nicer had their best team come,” said Babar while addressing the media. “But whatever the composition of their team we will play to our best and win the series.”

Here is Pakistan’s squad for first ODI against New Zealand:

Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakil, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zahid Mahmood.

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