The swashbuckling England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was recently ruled out the IPL 2016 due to an injury, voiced his support for his Quetta Gladiators teammate Ahmed Shehzad on social media as the Pakistani opener has been left out of the 35-man list for the training camp before the England tour in July.
The duo played for Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League this season and the two of them share a great camaraderie between each other. Shehzad, along with Umar Akmal, was axed on disciplinary grounds by the newly elected national selection committee led by former Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq on Monday.
Shehzad and Akmal played for Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 and the tournament was a disastrous one for the men in green as they crashed out before the semifinal. Shehzad had a decent tournament as he scored 126 runs in the 5 games he played.
Kevin Pietersen tweeted to show his support for the talented right-hander:
Shehzad was clearly humbled by the gesture as he replied to Pietersen:
Moreover, New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott, another one of Shehzad’s Quetta teammate, was also ‘surprised’ at his exclusion as he tweeted:
Shehzad didn’t comment anything about the selection committee’s decision as he enquired about Elliott’s absence from the ongoing Indian Premier League 2016.
Hey h r u old friend !! Good to hear from u !! I thought u ll b playing ipl? https://t.co/9HKyQrz9sy— Ahmad Shahzad (@iamAhmadshahzad) May 3, 2016
About the duo’s exclusion, the newly-appointed selection committee head, Inzamam-ul-Haq said, “Shehzad and Umar don’t have enough performances and lack discipline,” He also had a word of caution for others, “Wherever there will be a disciplinary problem, we will take a step. And you should expect this selection committee to be a little stern on discipline.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former T20 captain Shahid Afridi was also excluded from the list. Inzamam commented on that as well, “Pakistan will play only six T20Is in the coming 14 months; so, we are thinking of trying new players. Meanwhile, Afridi will also take some rest and if he performs after that, the doors of selection are always open.”
The Pakistan selection committee has surely sent a strong message to all the players with these bold decisions.