Head coach of the Pakistan cricket team, Misbah-ul-Haq is reportedly displeased by the selection of left-handed batsman Sharjeel Khan in the T20I squads for their upcoming tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Sharjeel Khan is making his return to the national set-up after 4 years having served his ban; the left-hander was banned for 5 years for his involvement in the PSL 2017 spot-fixing scandal. However, with multiple appeals, the ban was reduced and he had made his return to cricket a while ago.
The opener had a prolific PSL 2021 – in a season curtailed by the covid cases, Sharjeel Khan was the third-highest scorer while batting at a terrific strike rate of 170.94; he was the only player to score a hundred before the tournament came to a halt.
Misbah finds Sharjeel Khan unfit for international cricket
The 31-year-old opener has been rewarded for his brilliant returns in the PSL with a national call-up. However, according to reports in ‘Cricket Pakistan’, Misbah and skipper, Babar Azam are utterly unhappy with Sharjeel’s selection because of the batsman weighing 112 kilos! Misbah believes that the selections of overweight Sharjeel will pave way for more ‘unfit’ players in the national side.
Even when the Sharjeel was in the side years ago, Misbah had told former head coach Mickey Arthur to send him back to Pakistan as he weighed 96 kgs. Misbah is also furious about the fact that leg-spinner Yasir Shah is excluded from the Test side due to fitness issues.
According to sources, Babar Azam is also discontent with some other selections and have taken the matter with PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan.
However, Mohammad Wasim, Pakistan’s chief selector, opines that a player’s fitness can be ignored if he performs and contributes with bat or ball.
“Fitness isn’t the only criteria for selection – at the end of the day, a player has to play cricket. We are already working on reviewing the fitness testing levels and will introduce a new strategy [to gauge fitness]. I didn’t comment on Sharjeel’s fitness earlier as his performances [last year] were patchy, but now we have to look at anyone who performs, whatever the fitness they have.
“Yes, I understand there is still a lot work that needs to be done on his fitness and he will improve with time, but at the moment he can win us big games with his bat,” Mohammad Wasim said in a press conference.