Mohammad Sami returns to Pakistan T20I squad
Pakistan have made three changes to their initially announced T20I squads for the upcoming Asia Cup in Bangladesh and ICC World T20 in India during March-April, 2016. Following injuries to Babar Azam and Rumman Raees, Sharjeel Khan, and Mohammad Sami have been named as replacements while Khalid Latif replaces Iftikhar Ahmed.
Both Azam and Raees were injured while playing for their respective teams in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL). Azam suffered a fracture on his left forearm during a practice session before a PSL match. On the other hand, Raees suffered a Grade-1 hamstring strain and is “operating only at 60% fitness currently”, according to a release by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
All three players who have added to the squad play for Islamabad United in the PSL. United have made it to the final of the PSL, which is due to take place later, on Tuesday, and the Misbah-ul-Haq led side will fight it out against Quetta Gladiators.
Sharjeel and Sami have been highly impressive for United with bat and ball respectively and this level of performance is what led to their selection, according to Haroon Rashid, the chairman of selectors.
In the third qualifying final of the PSL between United and Peshawar Zalmi, Sharjeel scored the first century of the tournament. The 26-year-old southpaw is also the third highest run-getter in the PSL, only behind Umar Akmal and Ravi Bopara. In 10 matches, Sharjeel has scored 287 runs at an average of 31.88 and a strike rate of 151.05, scoring one hundred and one fifty.
Sami, on the other hand, is the fifth highest wicket-taker in the league with 11 wickets in 6 games with an impressive average of 9.72 and an economy rate of 5.17. He is only one of three bowlers who have picked up five wickets in a PSL match.
The 34-year-old is making a comeback to the national side after nearly a year, with his last match for Pakistan coming against Zimbabwe in May 2015. If Sami's form in the PSL is anything to go by, he will be a major threat for Pakistan in the upcoming tournaments on slow Bangladesh and Indian pitches.
In 6 innings, Khalid Latif has scored 190 runs at an average of 38.00. Latif will add some stability in the lower middle-order and will be a useful hand in upping the run rate in the death overs.
Misbah-ul-Haq will be hoping to lead his Islamabad United side to the first ever PSL title against the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Gladiators side when the two lock horns on Tuesday in Dubai.