Pakistan have added veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik as Sohaib Maqsood's replacement in their squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021. The global mega event is scheduled to take place in the UAE and Oman, starting October 17.
Malik was initially left out of the squad owing to his dismal form with the bat in various T20 leagues. However, he recently stormed back to form in the National T20 Cup, playing crucial knocks for Central Punjab.
Pakistan Chairman of selectors Mohammad Wasim is hopeful that Shoaib Malik's vast experience could come in handy for the side at the T20 World Cup. In a statement released by PCB in this regard, Wasim said:
“Sohaib is devastated to miss out on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, as he had worked hard for this event and was in sparkling form. We feel for him, but injuries are part and parcel of the sport. I am sure after undergoing rehabilitation, he’ll fully recover to be available for future assignments."
“In his place and following discussions with the team management, we have decided to include Shoaib Malik in the side. I am sure Shoaib’s experience will be handy for the entire squad.”
The 39-year-old Malik has represented Pakistan in 116 T20Is, scoring 2335 runs at an average of 31.13. He captioned the Men in Green in the 2007 edition of the competition, and was part of Pakistan's victorious T20 World Cup team in 2009.
Pakistan make three changes to their final squad
Pakistan have brought in former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, batsman Fakhar Zaman and Haider Ali to their final 15-member squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Zaman, who was initially a part of the reserves, will now be a part of the main team while Khushdil Shah has been moved to the reserves. Ahmed and Ali replace Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain in the final 15, respectively.
"After reviewing player performances in the highly competitive National T20 and in consultation with the team management, we have decided to include Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021," Mohammad Wasim continued.
Wasim said that the three players have been picked for their experience, which could come in handy at the T20 World Cup.
"The three in-form players bring with them a wealth of experience and talent, and provide further stability, balance and strength to the side," said Wasim. "It must be tough for Azam, Khushdil and Hasnain to be missing out, but they still have a lot to offer in their careers. They are in our future plans, as a lot of cricket has to be played post the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 and in the lead up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia," added Wasim.
The Pakistan squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 will depart for Dubai on October 15.
Pakistan's 15-member squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik.
Travelling reserves - Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.