Pakistan left-arm seamer Junaid Khan named the nation’s all-time T20 XI in an interaction with Cricket Pakistan. Junaid Khan might have played only a handful of T20Is in his career so far; however, he has selected a strong line-up. The 31-year old has opted for only one specialist spinner in the line-up and has chosen three spin-bowling all-rounders.
Junaid Khan started the line-up with current Pakistan captain Babar Azam. Babar Azam recently became the fastest batsman to reach 2000 T20I runs and has scored a truckload of runs in the format. The classy right-handed batsman averages an impressive 47.83 in T20Is with 18 fifties and one century. To partner him at the top was Saeed Anwar, one of the greatest opening batsmen Pakistan has produced. The southpaw averaged 39.22 in 247 ODIs with 20 tons.
Junaid Khan chose the 106-T20I veteran Mohammad Hafeez at number three, who had a prolific 2020 and made 415 runs in ten matches at 83 with four fifties. Shoiab Malik, the most-capped player in T20Is, followed at number four. Malik is a floater batsman, capable of playing as a finisher and could stabilize the innings as well. Mohammad Rizwan, one of the best T20 batters for Pakistan in recent times, arrived at number five.
The 31-year old chose Umar Akmal to bat at number six. Akmal featured in 84 T20Is throughout his career and scored 1690 runs, striking at 122.73. Though the 30-year old remains an unfulfilled talent; however, he is a game-changer at number six. Swashbuckling all-rounder Shahid Afridi beckons at number seven, having played 99 T20Is and playing an integral role in their 2009 World T20 victory. Afridi has a strike rate of 150 in T20Is and has 98 wickets at 24.25, the most wickets for Pakistan in the shortest format.
Saeed Ajmal, the only specialist spinner in Junaid Khan’s XI:
With 85 scalps and being the joint second-highest wicket-takers in T20Is for Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul made it to the eleven. Ajmal was the only frontline spinner in Junaid Khan’s playing eleven, while Gul, who has a T20I hat-trick, joined Shoaib Akhtar and Sohail Tanvir in the pace bowling department. Of these, only Akhtar has played fewer T20I games, featuring in only 15. The likes of Tanvir, Ajmal, and Gul, have all played more than 50 matches in the format.
Junaid Khan’s all-time T20 XI: Babar Azam, Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar.