Image courtesy of: Pakistan Cricket Board
Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim said Abdullah Shafique and Imran Butt have the chance to become Abid Ali’s new opening partner in the upcoming series against South Africa.
Shafique has featured in three T20 Internationals to date, but has yet to play Test cricket, while Imran is still waiting to make his international debut.
With the duo having been picked and Shan Masood, who was Abid’s regular opening partner, having being dropped, Wasim noted that the door is open for Shafique and Imran to cement their spot atop the order.
Shafique, 21, has only played one first-class match, which came when he represented Central Punjab in their Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match against Southern Punjab in December, but scored 133 runs.
As for Imran, he has scored 4,478 runs in 72 first-class matches, which includes 10 centuries and 23 fifties, at an average of 36.11.
The 25-year-old was the highest run-scorer in the 2019 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as he amassed 934 runs in nine matches for Balochistan, which included four centuries and three fifties, at an average of 62.26.
“Shan’s bad form has opened doors for Abid Ali’s new partner, be it either Abdullah Shafique or Imran Butt, who was last season’s top scorer. Together with Abdullah, he was in New Zealand with the Shaheens side,” Wasim said in a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) press release.
Pakistan’s series against South Africa, which will consist of two Tests and three T20 Internationals, will start on January 26 and conclude on February 14.
Pakistan’s squad for the South Africa series: Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Kamran Ghulam, Agha Salman, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan