After facing embarrassing defeat by Sri Lanka in the final of Asia Cup 2022 in United Arab of Emirates, Pakistan Cricket Team is ready to take on England men in seven-match T20Is series, starting from September 20 (Monday). Ahead of England series, Pakistan Cricket Board announced 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, slated for next month.
Pakistan's premium pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi is all set to return from his knee injury and Shan Masood who is yet to make his T20I debut features in the squad. However, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has lashed out at selectors for picking poor team. While speaking on his YouTube channel, Akhtar came heavy on Pakistan Cricket Board's chief selector Mohammad Wasim and the present head coach Saqlain Mushtaq for not specifically including Fakhar Zaman in the main squad as an opener with skipper Babar Azam, instead selecting him as reserve player.
"Pakistan Cricket Board ne kya select kiya hain team. Problem middle order ka tha but unhone kaha ki consistency ke sath hum aisa decision karenge ki jo aapko bara pasand aayega. Itta bura decision lenge ki middle order change he nahi karenge. (What kind of decision is this? The middle-order issue was highlighted in the Asia Cup, but the selectors decided to keep it unchanged)," said legendary pacer.
Adding further, Shoaib stated that despite mentioning million times that Fakhar Zaman must get those six over in the powerplay to provide solid foundation to the side, selectors have opted for Babar as an opener. "Balls will swing in Australia and the environment suits Fakhar Zaman's batting style. But an average selector cannot make exceptional calls and we must not accept great things from such a selection panel," added former Pak pacer. The 'Rawalpindi Express' also predicted that Pakistan's first round exit is evident with the way team has been selected for the world cup.
"Saqlain Mushtaq last played cricket in 2002, I don’t want to say this as he is my friend, but I don’t think he has any idea about T20 cricket. I don’t think this is his forte. With this team, we might get knocked out in the first round itself. I am really scared as our batting has no depth. Our captain is also not cut out for this format as he always looks for classic cover drives. He wants to look classic," concluded Shoaib Akhtar.