Image courtesy of: Pakistan Super League
Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim said captain Babar Azam wanted Sharjeel Khan and Fakhar Zaman as the team’s T20 openers.
Both Sharjeel and Zaman have been in red-hot form ahead of the tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe as they starred in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Sharjeel was the third-highest run-scorer in the PSL with 200 runs in five matches for the Karachi Kings, 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.
Zaman was the fourth-highest run-scorer with 189 runs in four matches for the Lahore Qalandars, which includes two half-centuries, at an average of 63 and a strike-rate of 143.18.
“Team selection is a result of brain storming and teamwork between the selectors and other stakeholders and Alhamdulillah 99.99% of the time we are on the same page but there can be some discussions and healthy debates like there should be and in that case I have to make a final call or decision considering various factors, combinations and short to long-term deals,” Wasim told PakPassion.
“For example, we spoke about the Twenty20 openers and the captain wanted Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan and that’s who we gave him. We will always try to compromise with the captain and coach.”
Pakistan will play three ODIs and four T20 Internationals against South Africa before heading to Zimbabwe for two Tests and three T20 Internationals.
Pakistan departed 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 Test Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.
Pakistan’s ODI Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.
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.