Simon Doull's remarks came on a chat show with Cricbuzz. While picking his preferred XI for Pakistan for the bumper clash, the former New Zealand pacer said he'll choose Hafeez and Haider Ali in the middle order. He suggested that Hafeez, 41, and Malik, 39, playing together will be detrimental to the team.
Simon Doull said:
"Babar and Mohammad Rizwan at the top; Fakhar Zaman at three; Hafeez and Haider Ali. I don't think they can play Hafeez and Shoaib Malik together. You don't need an 80-year-old running around in two people. That can't happen. I just I don't think they can play two 40-year-olds on the same team so I will go with Hafeez and Haidar Ali. [Then] Asif Ali, Imad Wasim definitely then Shadab, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi."
Despite his age, Mohammad Hafeez has kept his Pakistan career on track on the backs of consistent performances in the middle order. Overall, he has played 113 T20Is, scoring 2429 runs at a strike rate of just under 121. Malik, meanwhile, hasn't been a part of the national team for the better part of the last two years. He has played 116 T20Is, scoring 2335 runs at a strike rate of 124.
Both spin-bowling all-rounders weren't part of the preliminary Pakistani squad for the T20 World Cup 2021, with the selectors going with younger batters.
They were only added to the team recently, apparently because of the pair's performances in the National T20 Cup. The sluggish pitches in the UAE also played a part in the decision, with the selectors finding value in their experience after observing IPL 2021.
"Shoaib Malik was really bad in the CPL" - Simon Doull
Explaining his assessment of Malik and Hafeez, Simon Doull said he watched both of them during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the former was "really bad". He said the duo struggles to get going early on in their innings, but Hafeez gets an edge over Malik just because he could still contribute with the ball.
Simon Doull said:
"I watched them both in the CPL and, I mean, I have got to say Shoaib Malik was really bad. Really bad. Eyes were gone, [he was] really struggling. I know he had one really good innings in the [National T20 cup] but I just watched him enough in the CPL to think I just couldn't have the two of them in the same team. They both struggle to get going early on so they have to make that choice. And because Hafeez can bowl a bit still, that's why I would go with him."
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The T20 World Cup 2021 match between India and Pakistan will begin at 7:30 PM IST in Dubai.