Former Pakistan skipper and selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has revealed his picks for Pakistan T20 World Cup 2021 squad. He appealed to Mohammad Amir to come out of retirement and play in the World Cup for Pakistan.
Mohammad Amir had announced his retirement from all formats of the game in December 2020 citing differences with the team management. The seamer announced later on that he is ready to make a comeback if his concerns are addressed.
Inzamam-ul-Haq asked Amir to discuss his issues with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and reconsider his decision to retire for the benefit of the Pakistan side.
“Mohammad Amir could also have been considered. But he has actually announced his retirement. There could have been some experience in the fast bowling department. But it shouldn't be like I won’t play for this management. You can get your concerns recorded, you can share the issues with the Board. You could have tried playing after that. It is a different matter if you don’t want to play, it is your decision,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said on his YouTube channel.
The former Pakistan batter picked his 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup without considering Amir.
Inzamam-ul-Haq’s squad for the T20 World Cup
In what came as a big surprise, Inzamam-ul-Haq did not pick Sarfaraz Ahmad and Fakhar Zaman in his squad. He cited Zaman's poor showing in the T20Is for his omission. And Inzamam only wants one wicket-keeper in the squad.
“Fakhar Zaman played well in the ODIs in South Africa, but his performance in T20Is hasn’t been impressive. It is logical that the team will not carry two wicket-keepers in the 15-men squad. So there isn’t much debate if you ask me. It will be Rizwan.”
Openers - Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan
The opening combination of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan has been successful in limited-overs cricket. Inzamam-ul-Haq doesn’t want to change this duo for the ICC T20 World Cup.
Shan Masood and Sharjeel Khan are the backup openers in his squad. He was impressed by what he saw of Masood in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) and the Pakistan Super League (PSL). He added that Sharjeel would have been one of the best batters in T20 hadn’t for the ban.
“I have seen Shan Masood in KPL and PSL. I felt he played better than all other players. He hits sensibly, makes runs through proper shots, has a good strike rate, knows to take singles, has the sense of the game. Sharjeel Khan is a natural player. If the ban of 2-3 years hadn’t happened, he would have been one of the best T20 players in the world now.”
Middle-order - Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf
Inzamam-ul-Haq wants the experienced duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the middle-order. He points out that though Pakistan have tried a lot of players, none of them have scored consistently to warrant a place in the side.
“There is a lot of debate around Shoaib Malik. You have tried Haider (Ali), Azam Khan and a lot of others in the middle-order, but no one has scored. The middle-order is an important position. Shoaib Malik is a senior player. If he does the job for you till the World Cup, he should be considered for sure.”
The former batter looks at Asif Ali as the finisher for that lower middle-order position.
“Asif Ali wasn’t a reliable player initially. But his batting has gained maturity now. If he scores in three out of five matches, his performance can be considered as exceptional.”
Spinners - Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Usman Qadir
Inzamam-ul-Haq stated that he would have two wrist-spinners in the squad – Shadab Khan and Usman Khadir. He added that the selectors made a mistake by not consistently selecting Imad Wasim in the T20 World Cup team.
“One mistake was that you were not selecting Imad Wasim. He is a good T20 player. He bats well, has a good sense of the game. He has the ability to win the matches with the bat as well. He knows how to handle the pressure.”
Fast bowlers - Hassan Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hassan Ali are the front line seamers in Inzamam-Ul-Haq’s squad. He wants to have Haris Rauf and Mahammad Wasim Jr. for that backup seamer’s position.
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Inzamam-ul-Haq pointed out that both of them have the skill to reverse the ball in sub-continent conditions.
"Haris Rauf has not bowled well recently. But you are playing him consistently over the last two years. In these sub-continent pitches, he bowls reverse swing well. He has the pace too. I saw Wasim Jr. in the KPL. He knows to reverse the ball. He can score with the bat lower down the order."
Pakistan squad picked by Inzamam-ul-Haq for the T20 World Cup:
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Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Usman Qadir, Faheem Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shaheen Afridi