Aaqib Javed has raised question marks over the fitness levels of Pakistan's T20I team, saying he sees more wrestlers than T20 cricketers in their squad. Pakistan are set to take on England in a three-match T20I series starting today at Trent Bridge.
England whitewashed Pakistan in the recently concluded three-match ODI series, despite the hosts fielding a vastly different side after cases of COVID-19 ruled out their main squad.
Following the series loss, Pakistan have come under criticism from all corners, and Aaqib Javed doesn't see much hope from the Asian team in the upcoming T20I series against England. Speaking on the Geo News channel, the former Pakistan pacer said:
"They don’t know what they are doing or what is their direction. I see more wrestlers than players in the T20 team. There are question marks over the fitness of Sharjeel Khan, Azam Khan, Sohaib Maqsood for international level."
The selection of Azam Khan and Sharjeel Khan has raised a few eyebrows. Sohaib Maqsood, meanwhile, made a comeback into Pakistan's limited-overs team on the back of a brilliant PSL 6 where he was named Player of the Season.
Saeed Ajmal slams Pakistan's selection policy
Former spinner Saeed Ajmal also iterated similar sentiments to Aaqib Javed, suggesting that Pakistan are going back and forth with their selection policy.
Ajmal highlighted how, for the past few years, promoting youngsters and fitness levels was seen as a critical criteria for selection. But now that has taken a backseat, with the likes of Sharjeel Khan and Azam Khan being selected based on their skillsets.
After the ODI series loss to England, the former Pakistani off-spinner stated on his YouTube channel:
"We have been crying for three years that we need to play youngsters and we need to improve on our fitness levels. What did you achieve? Now we have once again come back to- leave fitness level, we need talent now. Now you have brought in Sharjeel Khan, Azam Khan. Now you have started saying we want to see skills in players'. Fitness is important but don't have such poor policies where players lack fitness and skills."
It remains to be seen whether Babar Azam and his team can turn things around in the T20Is as they were no match for England in the three-match ODI series.