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Pakistan v New Zealand 2024

Mohammad Amir returns, Umsan Khan makes Pakistan debut in rain-curtailed T20I v NZ

Mohammad Amir and Usman Khan
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Mohammad Amir has returned to international cricket after a near-four year absence following his decision to reverse his international retirement. PSL sensation Usman Khan has also been selected in the XI for the first T20I vs New Zealand.

Amir’s first game back from retirement

Amir has not played for Pakistan since August 2020, in the second T20I of Pakistan’s series against England in Manchester. He announced his retirement from international cricket shortly afterwards, in a statement which read: “I am leaving cricket for now because I’m being mentally tortured. I don’t think I can bear such torture. I’ve borne lots of torture from 2010 to 2015, for which I served my time.”

However, Amir reversed his decision last month, writing in a post on social media: “I still dream to play for Pakistan!” Amir, 31, said in a post on social media, “Life brings us to the points where at times we have to reconsider our decisions. There have been a few positive discussions between myself and the PCB where they respectfully made me feel that I was needed and can still play for Pakistan, and after discussing with family and well wishers I declare that I am available to be considered for upcoming T20 WC [World Cup].”

Amir will be part of a bowling attack which includes Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi in the first T20I against New Zealand, which is also Babar Azam’s first international assignment since being reinstated as captain of the T20I side.

Usman Khan’s Pakistan debut alongside two others

Usman is also part of the XI, having affirmed his decision to represent Pakistan in international cricket having previously explored options in the UAE. He scored 430 runs in the 2024 PSL, only Babar scored more, and subsequently abandoned his plans to pursue professional cricket in the UAE. He was subsequently banned by the UAE for five years after its cricket board found Khan had “breached his obligations owed” to them.

Along with Usman, Irfan Khan Niazi and Abrar Ahmed were also given their debut caps in T20Is.

New Zealand won the toss for the match in Rawalpindi, but a long rain delay meant the game was shortened to a five-a-side encounter.

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