Pakistan recall Mohammad Hafeez for Sri Lanka T20Is
What's the story?
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has returned to Pakistan's T20I squad for the upcoming 3-match series against Sri Lanka. The elegant right-hander had been dropped by Pakistan's selection committee for their previous T20I assignment against World XI on home soil.
Hafeez replaced fast bowler Sohail Khan who had featured in two games during the 3-match T20I series against World XI. The 16-man squad for the Sri Lanka series also contains Mohammad Amir. The left-arm pacer is currently recuperating from a shin injury and will be available for selection if he manages to pass a fitness test.
Hafeez, who turns 37 today, is part of Pakistan's ODI squad for the ongoing 5-match series against Sri Lanka. Even though he scored only 40 runs from the first two games, the off-spinner provided 20 tidy overs with the ball and picked up a couple of crucial wickets during the middle-overs.
The heart of the matter
Hafeez's last international appearance in the shortest format of the game came during the 4-match series against West Indies in the Caribbean in March/April. During the 2017 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which ended in September, the seasoned campaigner was the most economical bowler (5.12) for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. However, he had a forgettable time with the bat, failing to register a single fifty-plus score from nine matches.
Meanwhile, Amir could return to T20 internationals for the first time since September 2016. Having picked up a stress-related injury on his right shin during the second Test in Dubai, he was ruled out of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. His availability for the T20Is is subject to fitness. However, Pakistan have as many as five seam options in the squad to provide adequate cover for the left-armer.
Pakistan T20I Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c) (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan, Umar Amin and Mohammad Amir (subject to fitness)
The first two T20Is will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 26 and 27. The final match of the series is scheduled to occur at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on October 29.
With the next edition of the World T20 slated to be held only in 2020, Hafeez's inclusion in the squad may raise a few eyebrows. However, considering the paucity of off-spinners in Pakistan, the selectors have made the right decision in recalling the experienced all-rounder.