Usman Khan was the second highest run scorer in the Pakistan Super League last month with 430 in seven matches. Image Credit: Source: PCB/PSL

Lahore: Hard-hitting batter Usman Khan was Tuesday included in Pakistan’s squad for the Twenty20 international series against New Zealand, four days after he was banned by Emirates Cricket Board.

Usman, 28, was the second highest run scorer in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) last month with 430 in seven matches, while also on the books as a player in a United Arab Emirates (UAE) league.

The Emirates Cricket Board charged him with breaching his obligations to the Board after he attended a training camp for the Pakistan national team last month after the PSL ended.

He was banned from playing cricket in the UAE for five years, missing out on the chance to qualify as a national player for the Gulf state from 2025.

Selector Wahab Riaz justified Usman’s selection.

“Usman has been scoring runs for the last two-three years so he deserved selection and if there are any other issues Pakistan Cricket Board will be dealing with them,” Riaz told media while announcing the squad.

Babar Azam will lead the 17-man squad after he replaced Shaheen Shah Afridi as captain last month.

The five-match series against New Zealand will be played in Rawalpindi (April 18, 20 and 21) and Lahore (April 25 and 27).

Fast bowler Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim are also part of the squad after coming out of retirement.

Amir had abruptly announced his retirement in 2020 following non-selection in the team but continued to play league cricket around the world while Wasim retired last year.

“We will follow a rotation policy to keep our players fit for the World Cup which is our target,” said Riaz.

The Twenty20 World Cup will be held in the United States and the West Indies in June.

Another fast bowler, Haris Rauf, was left out after injuring his shoulder during the PSL.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Irfan Khan Niazi, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan.