Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Shahid Afridi, the six-hitting entertainer, feels that Pakistan need to have replacements ready for opener Imam-ul-Haq and wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed.
He noted that both of them should be playing cricket regularly for the men in green, but in case anything happens, Pakistan should have a back-up plan in place.
Imam currently opens the batting in ODIs and Tests, while Sarfaraz has established himself as the first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman in the longest format.
“There is no doubt that there should be a back-up plan in place for them,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
Sarfaraz and Imam both featured in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in July 2023, scoring 57 and 32 runs at an average of 28.50 and 16 respectively. It should be noted that Sarfaraz was struck on the helmet in the second Test in Colombo and was subsequently replaced by Mohammad Rizwan.
Following the Sri Lanka Test series, Imam took part in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan and accumulated 165 runs, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 55.
Most recently, the 27-year-old represented Pakistan in the Asia Cup and mustered 92 runs, which included a top score of 78, at an average of 30.66.
Pakistan kicked off their campaign with a brutal 238-run win over Nepal before being forced to share one point apiece with India as their match was ruined by rain.
Despite this, they managed to get through to the Super Four stage and battered Bangladesh by seven wickets.
However, everything went downhill from this point as they initially lost to India by 228 runs.
Pakistan still have an opportunity to qualify for the Asia Cup final, but they blew it when Sri Lanka defeated them 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