Pakistan announce World Cup T20 squad with vulnerable batting line-up
By Raheel Hanif
September 7, 2021 12:59 AM
Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief selector Muhammad Wasim Monday announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming World Twenty20.
The same squad will also play against New Zealand and England.
The squad for the World Cup seems to lack firepower and credibility especially in the batting line up with Pakistan seemingly remained to mostly dependent on Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan only.
Muhammad Hafeez may give Pakistan batting some credible support and all other choices would only add to Pakistan woes as proved in the past.
Azam Khan, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah and Sohaib Maqsood have so far shown some glimpses of their batting prowess in the domestic events and T20 leagues and that too in tits and bits without any consistency. However, none of them has played any credible or memorable innings whenever they got a chance at the international level.
Especially Asif Ali has proved time and again that he is quite useless for the team when it comes to the international stage. Asif played his 29th and last T20I for Pakistan against Zimbabwe earlier in April and averages just 16.38. Khushdil Shah has a 21.66 average in his nine T20Is.
On the other hand, Azam Khan has been inducted as wicket-keeper batsman in place of Sarfaraz Ahmed. In fact, in most of the domestic and league T20s, Azam hardly played this role and the lack of his fitness shows his clumsiness in the field as well.
Shoaib Malik remains out of favour again though his presence could have given a boost to Pakistan’s middle order considering the event is being played on the UAE pitches.
The selectors have placed Fakhar Zaman in the reserve squad though he could have proved much lethal and a better choice than the above quartet of players.
Despite that, the selectors have claimed that they have selected an experienced, well-balanced and formidable 15-player squad for the upcoming Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand and England, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
The 15-player squad includes five batters (Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood), two wicketkeeper-batters (Azam Khan and Mohammad Rizwan), four all-rounders (Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Shadab Khan) and four fast bowlers (Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi).
The seven home T20Is in Lahore and Rawalpindi will be played from 25 September to 14 October, while Pakistan will proceed to take on India in a battle of former champions in their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on 24 October.
15-player squad (in alphabetical order):
Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab)
Shadab Khan (vice-captain, Northern)
Asif Ali (Northern)
Azam Khan (wicketkeeper, Southern Punjab)
Haris Rauf (Northern)
Hasan Ali (Central Punjab)
Imad Wasim (Northern)
Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab)
Mohammad Hafeez (Central Punjab)
Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh)
Mohammad Nawaz (Northern)
Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Sohaib Maqsood (Southern Punjab)
Travelling reserves: Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh) and Usman Qadir (Central Punjab)