LAHORE: Six star-studded squads for the National T20 Cup have been unveiled.

The head coaches of six cricket associations have announced their 16-member squads for the first and second XI for the National T20 Cup. The First XI tournament will run from September 30 to October 18 in Multan and Rawalpindi.

The matches of the second XI tournament will be played in Lahore from October 1 to 8. The Northern Association will defend its titles in both tournaments. For the first time, the First XI tournament is being played on a double league basis, with the aim of giving players more opportunities to showcase their talents before next year’s scheduled ICC T20 World Cup. Yes, players can also get the attention of franchise owners before drafting the PSL schedule in November.

Defending champions Northern head coach Mohammad Waseem has decided to field a strong team this time as well. All-rounder Emad Wasim will lead the team, starring Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Amir. Emerging fast bowler Musa Khan and wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir are part of the squad. The names of Asif Ali, Muhammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanveer and Umar Amin are also prominent.

Babar Azam, captain of the national T20 cricket team, will captain Central Punjab. Other key players include Naseem Shah, Fahim Ashraf, Zafar Gohar, Kamran Akmal, Abid Ali, Bilal Asif and Ehsan Adil. Opener Ahmed Shehzad and fast bowler Hassan Ali were not available for selection due to fitness issues. Head coach Shahid Anwar will be seen in the dugout of Central Punjab for the first time in the event.

Salman Butt, who did not make the squad for any of the matches of the National T20 Cup last year, was not included in the First XI squad this year. Babar Azam and Emad Wasim will be available for the second round starting October 9 in Rawalpindi due to their participation in the English T20 Blast.

Last year’s runners-up team Balochistan is led by Haris Sohail. The squad announced by head coach Faisal Iqbal includes Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Farhat, Kashif Bhatti, Yasir Shah and Umar Gul.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be led by wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhr Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Khan Sr., Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz are also part of his squad. Shaheen Afridi is currently representing Hampshire. So they will appear in the second round of the event.

The star-studded team will be headed by former cricketer Abdul Razzaq, Sindh will be led by wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed, and will have players like Anwar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Khurram Manzoor, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Hasnain, Roman Raees and Sharjeel Khan. ۔ Former cricketer Basit Ali will lead the team as head coach.

Southern Punjab head coach Abdul Rehman has retained Shaun Masood as the captain of the team while other players include Amir Yameen, Bilawal Bhatti, Khushdal Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali (subject to fitness) and Sohaib Maqsood.

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