Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Legendary Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi said veteran big-hitting all-rounder Shoaib Malik deserved to be in the T20 World Cup team.
Afridi noted that many young players have been tried in the middle order, but none of them have lived up to expectations.
Furthermore, with Malik having been in good form in domestic cricket and this being the last time he will be able to play a World Cup, Afridi felt that the 39-year-old should have been selected.
In the recent Kashmir Premier League (KPL), Malik finished as the fifth-highest run-scorer with 240 runs in seven games for the Mirpur Royals, which included a top score of 77, at an average of 48 and a strike-rate of 133.33.
Malik last played international cricket in September 2020 and was also in fantastic form during the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he played for the Peshawar Zalmi.
The veteran cricketer finished as the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 354 runs in 13 matches, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 35.40 and a strike-rate of 149.36.
“We tried a lot of things when it comes to team selection, where we tried out and gave chances to young players from whom we had a lot of expectations but they couldn’t perform. This is the last time Shoaib Malik will play in [an] ICC World Cup, so let’s give him [a] chance,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
Pakistan will kick off their T20 World Cup campaign against India on October 24 in Dubai.
Pakistan T20 World Cup Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Asif Ali, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan (wk), Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hasnain.
Pakistan T20 World Cup Reserves: Usman Qadir, Shanawaz Dahani, Fakhar Zaman