Saud Shakeel added to Asia Cup squad

Pakistan have added middle-order batter Saud Shakeel to their Asia Cup squad and will go into the tournament as the top ranked one-day international (ODI) team following their 3-0 series sweep against Afghanistan.

Left-handed batsman Shakeel’s inclusion comes at the expense of Tayyab Tahir, who was part of the original 17-member squad, but will now travel with the team as a reserve player, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement.

“He is playing spin very well, so we included him in the Asia Cup squad,” skipper Babar Azam said after their victory in the third ODI against Afghanistan in Colombo on Saturday. Pakistan, co-hosts of the Asia Cup, will take on Nepal in the tournament opener in Multan on Wednesday and will be in high spirits after their whitewash of Afghanistan.

Babar Azam’s men won the third one-dayer by 59 runs on Saturday to sweep the series and leapfrog Australia to the top of the ODI rankings.

“All credit to the boys,” Babar said after the victory. We had a small camp in Lahore. They worked hard for the last of couple of months.”

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf praised the team’s dedication and unity.

“We have Asia Cup and World Cup coming in the future, so we are determined to maintain this position and continue to excel across all formats of the game,” Ashraf said in a statement.

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