Asian Games – Pakistan squad – Qasim Akram to lead

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Qasim Akram will captain Pakistan at the Asian Games, where the men’s team will play for a gold medal in – T20 – cricket between September 28 and October 7 in Hangzhou, China. With World Cup preparations in full swing, Pakistan have, as expected, named a young, second-string squad, with Asif Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir among the highest-profile names.

Neither the captain, Akram, nor the vice-captain, have played international cricket for Pakistan in a squad where only eight out of 15 players have. Much of the squad’s recent playing time has come with the Shaheens, with whom eight players from this squad toured Zimbabwe for two four-day games and six 50-over games, before triumphing in the ACC Emerging Cup in Sri Lanka last month, and later finishing as runners-up in a T20 tournament in Darwin.

Pakistan will enter the tournament at the quarter-final stage, which means their first game will take place in early October, with the final set for October 7.

Cricket has been played at the Asian Games twice before – at Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014. Bangladesh won the first edition with Sri Lanka emerging triumphant the second time. Afghanistan were runners-up on both occasions. Pakistan did not feature in 2014, and finished as bronze medallists in their only appearance in 2010.

They will also field a women’s team at this edition of the Games. That squad, led by Nida Dar, was announced in July. The women’s competition at the Games will be played before the men’s commences.

Pakistan men’s squad for the Asian Games:

Qasim Akram (capt), Omair Bin Yousuf, Aamir Jamal, Arafat Minhas, Arshad Iqbal, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mirza Tahir Baig, Mohammad Hasnain, Muhammad Akhlaq (wk), Rohail Nazir (wk), Shahnawaz Dahani, Sufiyan Muqeem, Usman Qadir

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