Shoaib Malik’s last-minute inclusion in Pak ODI and T20 squads – Cricket News Update
The former Pakistan national team captain Shoaib Malik, who did not make the cut for the original line-up announced by the national selectors for the upcoming series against England, was called into the ODI and T20I squads last-minute, following a surprise
decision by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) late Tuesday evening.
"On the request of Misbah, the selection committee has agreed to send Malik to join the one-day and T20 squads," the PCB said in an official statement.
The sudden U-turn by the selectors, a few hours after “finalising” the team, was perplexing to the say the least. Malik has been in poor form of late, and his performance in the last few limited overs matches has been mediocre.
The player has scored only 33 runs in his last five One-Day innings (including the series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh), and a mere 22 runs in his last three T20Is. For this reason, he was originally over-looked by the selectors, who chose to give him
time off to regain his rhythm and find his form in the domestic circuit.
A similar incident took place last year, when the all-rounder was sent for at the eleventh hour, to join the Men in Green in Zimbabwe, a day after he received his clearance from the board’s integrity committee.
The PCB’s current change of heart is also attracting suspicion. "The whole incident smells of politics and nothing else. The board, the selectors and Misbah himself are making a mockery of themselves," said a former Test selector.
Aside from the addition of the Malik, the Sub-Continent giants will retain the original Test squad from the recent Test series for the ODIs, with the exclusion of Mohammad Talha and Taufeeq Umar. Batsman, Awais Zia, who plays for the Rawalpindi Rams, has
joined the T20I squad, and Hammad Azam has been selected by the board for both formats. Superstar Shahid Afridi will also be making a return to the team.
As far as the bowling attack is concerned, all eyes will be on spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. Their performances in the Test series against England powered their team to victory.
Chief selector, Mohammad Illyas, has expressed satisfaction with the current squad, terming it a balanced mix of youth and experience.
Pakistan will be playing a solitary ODI against Afghanistan on Friday in Sharjah, before the limited-overs leg against England kicks off on the 13th of February.