Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan captain, wants opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq and wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed to “play cricket without any gaps for [the] next eight months.”
Imam has a heavier workload at the moment as he represents the men in green in Tests and ODIs.
Sarfaraz, meanwhile, made his comeback into the Test team and is now the preferred wicketkeeper-batsman over Mohammad Rizwan.
Despite workload concerns being prevalent when it comes to the Pakistan team, Afridi feels that if they are playing at the highest level, they should be able to deal with the hardships that come with international cricket.
“I had a chat with Imam-ul-Haq and Sarfaraz [Ahmed] that they have to play cricket without any gaps for [the] next eight months,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
Sarfaraz and Imam both played in Pakistan’s two-Test series against Sri Lanka, scoring 57 and 32 runs at an average of 28.50 and 16 respectively. It should be noted that Sarfaraz was replaced by Rizwan midway through the second Test in Colombo as he was struck on the helmet.
Imam then featured in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan and amassed 165 runs, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 55.
Most recently, the 27-year-old nephew of current Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq played in the Asia Cup and scored 92 runs, which included a top score of 78, at an average of 30.66.
Pakistan started off strongly in the tournament as they beat Nepal by 238 runs before sharing one point apiece with India after their match was washed out.
Having booked their place in the Super Four stage, the men in green kept on rolling as they crushed Bangladesh by seven wickets.
However, things started to fall apart after this as they lost to India by 228 runs.
They still had a chance to make it to the Asia Cup final when they played Sri Lanka on September 14 in Colombo, but Pakistan couldn’t get the job done as they lost by two wickets via the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS) method.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zaman Khan.
Travelling reserve: Tayyab Tahir