Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif made a number of surprising picks in the squad he would pick for the T20 World Cup later this year.
The tournament is scheduled to be held in Australia from October to November.
Latif included opening batsman Sharjeel Khan in his side, along with Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali.
Latif added that wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal “is also a contender”.
Sharjeel played for the Karachi Kings in this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) and scored 199 runs at an average of 24.87 and a strike-rate of 144.20.
As for Zaman, he accumulated 246 runs in nine matches for the Lahore Qalandars at an average of 27.33 and a strike-rate of 132.97.
Sarfaraz captained the Quetta Gladiators and amassed 148 runs in nine games at an average of 21.14 and a strike-rate of 128.69.
Haider represented the Peshawar Zalmi and scored 239 runs at an average of 29.87 and a strike-rate of 158.27.
In regards to Akmal, he also played for the Zalmi and made 251 runs in nine matches at an average of 27.88 and a strike-rate of 161.93.
“This is a very hard question [naming probables for T20 World Cup]. It would depend on the fitness of batsman Sharjeel Khan. There is a possibility that batsmen Sharjeel Khan, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam make the top three,” Latif said in a YouTube video as quoted by Cricket Pakistan.
“Mohammad Hafeez would be likely to come in next. Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and youngster Haider Ali deserve a spot as well.
“I would want former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to be a part of the side because wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan does not seem able to make the side. He could not even make the Karachi Kings side while Sarfaraz has the advantage because of his fitness.
“Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal is also a contender but the problem is that he is a top order batsman. The top order already seems set with Sharjeel, Fakhar and Babar.”
In regards to the bowlers, Latif included pace bowler Haris Rauf, who excelled with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League (BBL).
Rauf finished as the joint third-highest wicket-taker in the BBL with 20 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 13.35 and an economy rate of 7.05.
Most recently, the 26-year-old represented the Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he claimed three wickets in five matches at an average of 64.66 and an economy rate of 10.77.
As for his all-rounder, Latif said Shadab Khan was the only player who stood out.
Shadab captained Islamabad United during the PSL and had an outstanding season as he scored 263 runs in nine matches at an average of 37.57 and a strike-rate of 159.39.
He also took eight wickets at an average of 29.37.
“In the fast-bowlers I would go with Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah and Haris Rauf,” he said. “I would add Mohammad Amir as the fourth pacer. There should be one all-rounder but they have not been performing well recently. When we look at Faheem Ashraf and Amad Butt, no one performed extraordinarily well. Aamer Yamin performed well but again nothing outstanding.
“The only all-rounder you can go with is a spinner and that is Shadab Khan. If he comes in you would have to change your batting order significantly. We have no idea if Hafeez can bowl or not. He didn’t bowl a lot for his franchise in PSL 5. There is no doubt that Imad Wasim slots in as the spinner.”