Pakistan recalls Malik and Hafeez for Bangladesh T20 series
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan recalled experienced allrounders Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez for the Twenty20 series against Bangladesh next week and rewarded uncapped fast bowler Haris Rauf for his Big Bash League performances.
Pakistan, ranked No. 1 in T20s, had a woeful 2019 when it won only one of its nine T20s.
Malik was part of that victory against South Africa at Centurion, while Hafeez played his last T20 in 2018 against New Zealand at Dubai.
“We have lost eight of our last nine (completed) T20s and as the No. 1-ranked side, this is unacceptable,” chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said on Thursday while announcing the 15-man squad.
“We need to end our losing cycle ... leading into the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup. This has played a critical role in our decision-making.”
Last year, Pakistan lost against South Africa 2-1, lost to England in a one-off T20, was humiliated by a second-string Sri Lanka 3-0 at home, and swept by Australia 2-0.
“We tried our alternate combinations in the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, and obviously, these didn’t work the way we had expected,” Misbah said.
“Hafeez and Shoaib bring a total of 200 T20s between them and if you mix these with the other youngsters, then I think it becomes a good blend.”
Rauf is the second highest wicket-taker in the Big Bash with 16 in seven matches at an impressive average of 11.56 for Melbourne Stars.
Pakistan dropped experienced bowlers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.
Five other players -- Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali and Mohammad Irfan -- were also dropped as Misbah said he wanted to give other players a chance.
“The seven players who have missed out on selection are by no means out of our planning but considering their recent form in international cricket and taking into account other strong performances in our National T20 Cup, we have decided to make these changes,” Misbah said.
Beside Rauf, other uncapped players included are legspinner Usman Qadir, batsman Ahsan Ali and allrounder Amad Butt. Qadir, son of late legspinning great Abdul Qadir, went to Australia but didn’t get a chance.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he asked the selection committee to consider Hafeez and Malik for the home series against Bangladesh.
“I believe they still have plenty to offer to Pakistan cricket in the shortest format and their experience can be critical to our performances,” Azam said.
Bangladesh will play all the three T20s at Lahore on Jan. 24, 25 and 27. Tests follow at Rawalpindi in February and Karachi in April.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir.
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