Hafeez withdraws from Pakistan’s T20 series in Bangladesh

Pakistan middle-order batsman Mohammad Hafeez has withdrawn from the three-match Twenty20 series in Bangladesh next month.

Hafeez, starring at the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup, wanted to give fringe batsman an opportunity “to perform and gain international experience and exposure,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said on Monday.

He was replaced by the in-form Iftikhar Ahmed, who missed out on the T20 World Cup. Pakistan’s three World Cup reserves — Usman Qadir, Shahnawaz Dahani and Khushdil Shah — were also in the 18-man squad.

The three-match series will be in Dhaka on Dec. 19, 20 and 22.

The T20 series will be followed by two test matches, for which the squad will be named later.

Pakistan retained Saqlain Mushtaq as the interim coach, and bowling consultant Vernon Philander of South Africa will remain with the team in Bangladesh until the first test.

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir