Pak Shaheens face Sri Lanka A in a four-day game tomorrow

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PALLEKELE: Saud Shakeel-led Pakistan Shaheens begin their five-match series against Sri Lanka A at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium tomorrow with the first of the two four-day matches.

The two sides will also play a three-match one-day series in Colombo following the four dayers.

After arriving in Sri Lanka, the Pakistan Shaheens started their practice sessions at the venue on Monday. The squad spent the last two days training and assessing the conditions, apart from Saud, the Shaheens that is coached by former Pakistan Test batter and present U19 coach Ijaz Ahmed includes some formidable domestic cricket performers and U19 stars.

Kamran Ghulam, Usman Salahuddin and Saud himself are seasoned domestic cricket performers. Abdullah Shafique, Omair Bin Yousuf, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Taha and U19 captain Qasim Akram are all promising batters who have already made a mark at the domestic level.

The Shaheens also possess a potent bowling attack led by Pakistan Test fast bowler Naseem Shah. T20 internationals Arshad Iqbal, (leg-spinner) Zahid Mehmood and seasoned domestic performers Khurram Shehzad provide further depth to the attack alongside Ahmed Safi Abdullah (slow-left-arm) and young pacer Irfanullah Shah.

All-rounder Abbas Afridi and leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed have both featured in the HBL Pakistan Super League and have been identified as potential Pakistan stars in the days ahead.

Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris is also full of promise and has made rapid strides in the last two years after starring for the national U9 team in the ICC U19 World Cup in South Africa last year. Another teenager, Salman Khan is the other wicketkeeper in the side.

Pakistan Shaheens captain Saud Shakeel: “We have worked hard and prepared ourselves well despite the challenges of pre-practice quarantine and rain in Kandy. Our aim over the last three days has been to get ourselves acclimatised to the conditions and the weather here. Prior to coming here we had spent quality time preparing in Karachi with extended match-based practice and nets sessions.

“The players are keen, ready and eager to make a mark as this tour is an ideal opportunity of expressing talent and ability with an eye on a place in the national squad in near future.”

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka A will be led by Test player Sadeera Samarawickrema and includes players like Oshada Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya and Vishwa Fernando who have all represented the Sri Lankan national side.

Pakistan Shaheens squad (in alphabetical order):Saud Shakeel (captain), Kamran Ghulam (vice-captain), Abbas Afridi, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Arshad Iqbal, Irfanullah Shah, Khurram Shahzad, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Taha, Naseem Shah, Omair Bin Yousuf, Qasim Akram, Salman Ali Agha, Salman Khan (wicketkeeper), Usman Salahuddin and Zahid Mahmood.

Tour schedule:

28-31 Oct – 1st four-day match, Pallekele

4-7 Nov – 2nd four-day match, Pallekele

10 Nov – 1st 50-over match, Dambulla

12 Nov – 2nd 50-over match, Dambulla

14 Nov – 3rd 50-over match, Dambulla

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