Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan
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Last Update on: April 28th, 2023 at 03:44 pm

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Rashid Latif questioned the team management and selectors over squad selection for the five-match ODI series against New Zealand at home. Rashid Latif said that the squad lacks solid middle-order batters and added that the openers wouldn’t get any success when they were demoted in the batting order.

Rashid Latif’s statement came after Pakistan’s five-wicket win over the Black Caps in the first ODI of the five-match series at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday, April 27. The Men in Green restricted the opposition to 288 runs, with Naseem Shah registering figures of 2/29 in his 10 overs. Fakhar Zaman scored 117 runs off 114 balls in the run chase.

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In an interview with a local media channel, Rashid Latif commented on Shan Masood’s inclusion in the middle order. Masood came to bat at No. 4 in the batting order and scored 1 run off 12 balls before getting dismissed.

“We are not seeing a strong middle-order in our team right now. If you move an opener to the middle-order, I would not consider them a true middle-order player,” Rashid Latif said.

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Salman Ali Agha Is The Only Current Middle-Order Batsman – Rashid Latif

Rashid Latif believes that Iftikhar Ahmed should be included in the playing XI to strengthen the middle order. The 54-year-old highlighted that Salman Ali Agha is the only genuine middle-order batsman in the team, saying that the other batters are top-order batters.

“Haris Sohail is a middle-order player though he is currently not playing due to injury, and Salman Ali Agha is the only current middle-order batsman.

“In a 50-over game, things are different from T20 where the focus is on hitting, even Shan will score runs in it, Babar and Rizwan will also make runs in it. In ODIs, you need to construct an innings, and that requires a player like Iftikhar Ahmed in the middle-order,” he added.

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We Need More Solid Middle-Order Players – Rashid Latif

The former Pakistan skipper pointed out the team’s weakness in the 50-over format, saying they have only two proper middle-order batters in the squad.

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“There are many players who are playing in the domestic cricket as middle-order batsmen, and we have not even tried them.

“Maybe we are lacking a strong middle-order in our squad, as we only have two middle-order players – Salman Ali Agha and Haris Sohail. We need more solid middle-order players, as we have 4 to 5 solid openers but no solid middle-order,” he concluded.

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