LAHORE: Veteran cricketers Muhammed Hafeez and Shoaib Malik get berths in T20 International squad for the upcoming series against Bangladesh in Pakistan.
Pakistan cricket Chief Selector and Head Coach Misba-ul-Haq on Wednesday announced the squad, while flanked by Babar Azam, during a press conference in Lahore.
Babar Azam (capt), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Waseem, Khushdil Shah, M Hafeez, M Hasnain, M Rizwan, Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoiab Malik, Usman Qadir
Babar said he also had his input in selection of the team. “We
have made a combination of seniors and juniors in the team with victory in mind,”
Misbah defended inclusion of Shoaib and Abdul Hafeez saying that he felt that it was justified for their experience in the profession.
“The old-chap, though has not played much in last few months, but the experience in his cap is enough to prove him match-winning on any given day,” he said referring to Shoaib Malik.
He said Muhammed Hafeez and Shoaib both had proved their mettle in the shorter format of the game.
Pakistan have named uncapped Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt and Haris Rauf and recalled pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, in the 15-player squad for the 24, 25 and 27 January T20Is against Bangladesh in Lahore.
“They have replaced seven players who were part of the 16-player squad that lost 2-0 to Australia in November. Players missing out on selection are Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz,” said the press release issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Asif, Fakhar, Haris, Amir and Wahab were also members of the squad that lost 3-0 to Sri Lanka at home in October.
26-year-old Ahsan scored 131 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of just under 149 in the National T20 Cup in Faisalabad in October after scoring 178 runs at a strike-rate of over 130 for Quetta Gladiators in the PSL 2019, while 24-year-old Amad scored 80 runs at a strike-rate of 170 and also took 10 wickets at an economy-rate of 7.62 in the Faisalabad event. 26-year-old Haris, who took six wickets in Faisalabad, is the second leading wicket-taker with 16 in Australia’s Big Bash League.
Misbah said, “We have lost eight of our last nine T20Is and as the number-one ranked side, this is unacceptable. We need to end our losing cycle and get back to winning habits leading into the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup. This has played a critical role in our decision-making.
“We tried our alternate combinations in the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, and obviously, these didn’t work the way we had expected. Hafeez and Shoaib bring a total of 200 T20Is between them and if you mix these with the other youngsters we have in the side, then I think it becomes a good blend of experience and youth.”