“With the ODI World Cup qualification at stake, it is imperative for Pakistan to win the series. Therefore, we are expecting a good series against South Africa although we have not played ODI cricket since Zimbabwe visited us last year.”
There have been a few controversies over the team selection for the twin tours, with some reports claiming PCB and Pakistan captain Babar Azam are not on the same page with regards to the choice of players. According to Shadab Khan, though, there is a highly competitive atmosphere in the team. The 22-year-old asserted:
“This is probably the most promising sign for Pakistan cricket because the competitiveness levels among the players are high. No one can rest of his laurels for long because he knows that failures can open the door for others to get opportunities.”
Using himself as an example, the leg-spinner added:
“If I take my case for instance, then there are decent competitors in the spin bowling department. Usman Qadir has done quite well in the few matches he had played and Zahid [Mahmood] made an excellent [T20] debut against South Africa last month. And then there is [Mohammad] Nawaz."
"I consider myself as a bowling all-rounder," says Shadab Khan
Having made his debut in 2017, Shadab Khan has featured in 43 ODIs and 46 T20Is apart from six Tests. While he has claimed 59 and 53 wickets in ODIs and T20Is respectively, he hasn’t been able to consistently deliver with the bat. Addressing his struggles with the bat, the youngster explained:
“Obviously when one is not performing to the expectations then it is indeed a worrying point. As you all know, I had my share of injuries of late but all those issues are now behind and I’m feeling fit as ever. Hopefully, I’ll do my best to play a decent role both with the ball and bat because I consider myself as a bowling all-rounder.”
Shadab Khan also asserted that Pakistan will not take the T20Is lightly despite the fact that South Africa will be without many first-choice players. According to the vice-captain, the team’s sole objective will be to build towards the T20 World Cup.
“We are not going to take it easy against both South Africa and Zimbabwe and even though South Africa won’t have several first-choice players [during the T20 series], we cannot afford to get complacent because our prime objective is to win and prepare ourselves as a team for that [T20] World Cup. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a good combination by then,” Shadab Khan said.
Babar Azam will lead Pakistan in all three formats during the twin tours. Opener Sharjeel Khan has made a comeback to the Pakistan team after four years, having been chosen in the T20I squad.