Left-handed opener Sharjeel Khan is set to make his comeback in the Pakistan T20I side after a 4-year gap. On Friday, Mohammad Wasim, Pakistan’s chief selector, announced the squad for all three formats for the upcoming tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Sharjeel Khan had received a 5-year ban from the PCB for his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal in the PSL 2017. The board then suspended his sentence after an “unconditional apology” in August 2019, allowing him to make an earlier comeback.
The left-hander recently harrumphed a century in the PSL for the Karachi Kings – opening alongside Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam and impressing him there would have helped Sharjeel Khan’s cause. The 31-year-old has fared decently in the domestic cricket as well since his return, and hence he has been awarded an opportunity back in the national set-up.
“Sharjeel Khan has been given a chance to come back to the side on the basis of good performances in domestic cricket along with an overall betterment in fitness. The team needs a power-hitter and Sharjeel’s presence will provide the chance for a better combination. After the tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe, we will be in a position to give a final look to our eventual World Cup squad,” Mohammad Wasim said in a press conference.
Doors still open for Mohammed Amir: Chief selector Mohammad Wasim
While another veteran batsman, Mohammad Hafeez is back in the T20 fray, however, Shoaib Malik remains dropped and senior pacer Wahab Riaz has been dropped from the ODI side as well.
“Wahab Riaz’s level of performances are not the same as the past. We have also told Shoaib Malik what he needs to do in order to come back into the side,” Wasim added.
The chief selector also said that doors to the Pakistan team are still open for Mohammad Amir but he has to prove his form and fitness; Amir took early retirement at age of 28 from international cricket last year. The pacer has cited his issues with coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis as the key reason for the same.
“The players who have been dropped are still a part of our plans. Any player can perform and make their way back into the side. Mohammad Amir took retirement from international cricket. For all other players, the doors are always open. Performance and fitness are the only two ways into the national side,” Wasim stated.
Babar Azam will lead the side to take on Temba Bavuma’s team in a 3-match ODI series followed by 4 T20Is commencing on April 2nd. Pakistan will tour Zimbabwe for a T20I and a Test series, the dates which have not been confirmed yet.