Amir's Comeback On Hold After Pakistan-New Zealand 1St T20 Abandoned

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AP

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Fast bowler Mohammad Amir's return to international cricket was put on hold after the first Twenty20 between Pakistan and New Zealand was a washout on Thursday.

Shaheen Shah Afridi clean-bowled debutant Tim Robinson for a duck and New Zealand was 2-1 after two balls before rain denied further play in a reduced five-over-a-side game.

The toss was delayed for half an hour because of light drizzle in Rawalpindi, and just when Afridi was due to bowl the first ball, rain held up play for more than two hours.

The teams will return for the second T20 of five on Saturday.

Amir and allrounder Imad Wasim came out of retirements and made themselves available for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States in June, and the Pakistan selectors named them in the 17-man squad for the five-match home series against New Zealand.

Match umpires Ahsan Raza (centre left) and Aleem Dar (centre) inspect the ground as the match is stopped due to rain, during the first Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand, at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on April 18, 2024. (Photo by Aamir Qureshi / AFP)

Imad wasn't picked to play but Amir was in his hometown for his first international in four years.

Both sides are using the series to prepare for the T20 World Cup under recalled white-ball captain Babar Azam. Pakistan named three debutants for the series opener - Usman Khan, Irfan Khan and Abrar Ahmed - after they impressed in the recent Pakistan Super League.

Usman was banned by the Emirates cricket Board for five years after the batter shifted his allegiance to play for his country of birth. He hit back-to-back centuries in the PSL and got the attention of the Pakistan selectors.

Irfan was named the emerging player of the PSL, and Abrar shone with his leg-spin bowling.
Pakistan wicketkeeper Azam Khan was ruled out of the opening game after experiencing discomfort in his right knee and calf while batting in the nets on Wednesday.

New Zealand was without nine key players who were playing in the Indian Premier League. The squad was further depleted just before the tour when Finn Allen and Adam Milne were injured in training. New Zealand awarded a T20 debut to Robinson, who scored 298 runs at an impressive strike rate of 187.42 in the Super Smash back home.

Rawalpindi will also host the third game on Sunday, and the series will move to Lahore for the last two games on April 25 and 27.


The Peninsula

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