Amidst the criticism surrounding their T20 World Cup squad, Pakistan added Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali to the team. However, veteran batsman Shoaib Malik’s name was still missing which left many baffled. Malik is one of the veterans in this format of the game and is the second-highest run-scorer for Pakistan in T20I cricket, with 2335 runs in 116 matches. He also has 28 wickets to his name in the shortest format.
If reports are to be believed, Malik might just sneak into the T20 World Cup squad given that Sohaib Maqsood is struggling with a back injury. A call on swapping Malik with Sohaib Maqsood will be taken in a couple of days.
“Sohaib Maqsood was brought to a hospital for an MRI scan,” a source had told Geo News. “He is finding it difficult to walk. His inclusion in the World Cup squad will be made after the report is released,” revealed a source.
Talking about the changes in the Pakistan squad, chief selector Muhammad Wasim said the squad was modified keeping in mind the performances of the players in the National T20 Cup. “After reviewing player performances in the highly competitive National T20 and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. “The three in-form players bring with them a wealth of experience and talent and provide further stability, balance and strength to the side.
“I am pleased with the intensity and high quality of cricket that we have witnessed in the National T20. It has not only provided the players excellent match practice in the lead up to the UAE competition, it has also given us the opportunity to closely monitor the player progress and then make decisions that are in the best interest of the side for what will be a cut-throat tournament,” added Wasim.
Meanwhile, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain and Azam Khan were omitted from the T20 World Cup squad. Wasim admitted that players will be disappointed after being left out but emphasised they will get opportunities in future to make a case for themselves for the next World Cup in Australia.
Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.
Traveling reserves: Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.