Malik out, 20-year-old in and Rizwan to open during Zimbabwe T20 series?

Shoaib Malik could be dropped, 20-year-old Abdullah Shafique set to be picked and Mohammad Rizwan could open the batting for Pakistan during the T20 series against Zimbabwe

Shoaib Malik could be dropped for the T20 series against Zimbabwe

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik is likely to be dropped for the T20 series against Zimbabwe.

Malik represented Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the recently-concluded National T20 Cup and scored 239 runs in 12 matches, which included two fifties, at an average of 39.83 and a strike-rate of 146.62.

He was named Man of the Match in the final of the tournament after helping Khyber Pakhtunkhwa win.

Malik walloped an unbeaten 56, which came off 22 balls and included three boundaries and four sixes, as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Southern Punjab by 10 runs.

Meanwhile, uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafique is set to be called up to the national team after his outstanding performance in the National T20 Cup.

Representing Central Punjab, the 20-year-old accumulated 358 runs in 10 games, which included a century on debut and two half-centuries, at an average of 44.75 and a strike-rate of 133.08.

As for wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan, he captained Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the tournament and had a lot of success as an opening or top order batsman.

Rizwan finished as the fourth-highest run-scorer with 389 runs, which included four fifties, at an average of 38.90 and a strike-rate of 127.96. However, it remains to be seen if he will open the batting or be somewhere in the top order for the Zimbabwe series.

Big-hitting batsman Khushdil Shah is also set to feature in the series after an impressive showing in the competition.

The 25-year-old scored 362 runs in 12 matches for Southern Punjab, which included the fastest T20 hundred by a Pakistan batsman and two fifties, at an average of 32.90 and a strike-rate of 177.45.

It has also been reported that opening batsman Fakhar Zaman will be rested for the T20 series, even though he was the highest run-scorer in the National T20 Cup.

Zaman made 420 runs in 12 matches for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which included five half-centuries, at an average of 35 and a strike-rate of 147.88.

Mohammad Hafeez, another in-form batsman, could also be rested. The veteran all-rounder scored 278 runs in nine matches, which included two fifties, at an average of 39.71 and a strike-rate of 148.66.

Furthermore, former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz are likely to miss the series as well since youngsters are likely to be preferred.

Pakistan’s series against Zimbabwe will consist of three ODIs and three T20 Internationals.

The ODIs will be held in Rawalpindi from October 30 to November 3, while the T20 Internationals have been moved from Multan to Lahore and will take place from November 7 to 10.

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