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Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja believes that veteran all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez are “wheelchair players” who “keep getting recycled”.
Ramiz’s comments come after Malik and Hafeez were recalled for the recently concluded three-match Twenty20 series against Bangladesh in Lahore.
Malik was named Man of the Match for his game-winning 58 not out in the first Twenty20 International, which came off 45 balls and included five boundaries.
As for Hafeez, he starred in the second Twenty20 International as he smashed an unbeaten 67, which came off 49 deliveries and included nine boundaries and a six.
Despite this, Ramiz questioned why the duo are in the national team and whether they can help Pakistan win the T20 World Cup.
He also accused Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq of giving up on young players.
“I sometimes feel that Misbah has given up. I think he has given up on the idea that new talent can come through in Pakistan,” Ramiz said in a YouTube video as quoted by Cricket Pakistan. “He doesn’t want to waste time experimenting because the pressure is on him due to the recent defeats. Now in order to win he is relying on old faces so that he can have some breathing space. This is a wrong and negative approach. This is a regressive approach.
“This format is meant for the youth and experimentation. Misbah’s job should be to find new talent and then upgrade their skills for the international level.
“Pakistan won the T20I series against Bangladesh recently. Wins increase your confidence; there is no doubt about that. However this victory has created many new questions. Is Pakistan headed in the right direction especially in the T20I format? The World Cup is very close. Do you think Hafeez and Malik, both of whom are close to 40, can win us the World Cup on Australian pitches and conditions?
“I am very clear on the subject. I believe that if we are to experiment in the T20I format, we should do it with youngsters. If you look around, you will find that all teams have formed a nucleus around young talent. Pakistan is the only team that keeps recycling old players.
“I call these 40-year-olds wheelchair players because they are way past their prime. Players like Hafeez and Malik keep getting recycled. I think this is because Pakistan is now desperate. They are ready to sacrifice long-term goals because of this desperation.”