Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he didn’t ask for opener Sharjeel Khan to be in the ODI team for the tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Explaining why, Azam noted that it is because of Sharjeel’s fitness.
The 26-year-old admitted that Sharjeel has to work on becoming fitter, but is confident that the 31-year-old “will show improvements soon”.
Sharjeel was included in Pakistan’s T20 squad for the upcoming tour, and now faces the prospect of making his international comeback after last playing for the national team in January 2017.
In the National T20 Cup, Sharjeel scored 233 runs in 11 matches for Sindh, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 21.18 and a strike-rate of 122.63.
As for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he amassed 656 runs in eight games, which included two hundreds and four half-centuries, at an average of 43.73.
He followed that up with 179 runs in seven matches in the Pakistan Cup, which included a top score of 108, at an average of 25.57 and a strike-rate of 127.85.
Most recently, Sharjeel represented the Karachi Kings in the PSL. He was in superb form before the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) as he was the third-highest run-scorer with 200 runs in five matches, which included a century and a fifty, at an average of 40 and a strike-rate of 170.94.
He also had the most sixes with 15. Lahore Qalandars star Mohammad Hafeez was in second place with 12, while Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who was playing for the Kings, was in third place with 11.
“We are working on his fitness and he will show improvements soon,” Azam was quoted as saying by PakPassion.
“I have asked [for] him only for T20s and not for ODIs as T20 is a short format where we can adjust for this (fitness), but I will repeat that he has to work on his fitness.”
Pakistan will play three ODIs and four T20 Internationals against South Africa before heading to Zimbabwe for two Tests and three T20 Internationals.
Pakistan will depart for South Africa on March 26 and the tour will commence on April 2 and conclude on April 16. The ODI series will be played first.
The men in green will then head to Zimbabwe on April 17, but the dates for the matches have yet to be confirmed.
However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) noted that the national team will travel back to Lahore from Bulawayo on May 12.
Pakistan’s T20 Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal.