Hammad to lead Pakistan U-23 in Emerging Teams Cup
Hammad Azam, the Pakistan allrounder, has been named captain of the Under-23 side for the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup to be held in Singapore from August 15 to 26. He will lead a 15-man squad that includes batsman Babar Azam, fast bowler Ehsan Adil and Raza Hasan, who has recovered from the spine injury he suffered last year.
The announcement has been a long time coming due to the uncertainty in the PCB after the Islamabad High Court overruled all major decisions taken by interim chairman Najam Sethi and ordered for fresh elections to take place. The PCB, however, after consultation with the Attorney General of Pakistan, named the squad chosen by the three contracted selectors - Azhar Khan, Saleem Jaffar and Farrukh Zaman.
Azam's seniority made him the best choice for captain. The 22 year-old made his first-class debut in 2008 and made his international debut during the tour of the West Indies in 2011. He has played 8 ODIs and five Twenty20s so far and was also a part of the Pakistan T20 squad for the recent bilateral series in the West Indies.
Hasan, who last represented Pakistan in the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka, suffered a disc injury during a domestic T20 game in December 2012, but returned to competitive cricket in March this year. He debuted against Australia last September and has played six T20s since, taking six wickets at 25.66. Fast bowler Adil and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who are national contenders, have also been named in the emerging team, along with legspinner Usman Qadir.
Pakistan are placed in Group A along with India U-23s, Afghanistan and Nepal. Pakistan begin their campaign against India on August 18 at Kallang Cricket Ground in Singapore. Group B features Under-23 sides from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, along with UAE's senior team and Singapore.
Pakistan U-23 squad: Hammad Azam (capt), Umar Waheed, Babar Azam, Ehsan Adil, Raza Hasan, Umer Siddique, Usman Qadir, Usman Salahuddin, Muhammad Waqas, Bilawal Bhatti, Ruman Rais, Azeem Ghumman, Muhammad Rizwan (wk), Nasir Malik, Muhammad Nawaz
Reserve Players: Taimoor Ali, Mir Hamza, Jamal Anwar, Shahzaib Ahmed Khan, Zeeshan Ali Ashraf
Team management: Aftab Baloch (manager), Mansoor Rana (coach), Usman Ghani (Physiotherapist), Ibrar Ahmed (Trainer)
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here