Pakistan Cricket Board has named 15-member squad for the highly anticipated upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, next month. Pakistan's squad announcement for the marquee tournament has saw the return of pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi in the squad, but absence of few players from the squad attracted lot of criticism from country's cricket fraternity.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar and former skipper Md. Hafeez expressed concerns over the exclusion of experienced batter Shoaib Malik from the squad citing his rich experience and performances for over two decades in all formats. While speaking on his YouTube channel, Shoaib Akhtar even termed the selection as an 'average call' and called out selectors for ignoring such a terrific batter from the squad.
Meanwhile, fresh reports emerging from Pakistan can cheer both the retired cricketers as reportedly national coaches Mushtaq Ahmed and Ijaz Ahmed have recommended the inclusion of veteran batter Shoaib Malik and Haris Sohail in the squad.
According to reports, duo's selection will come at the cost of either Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed or Asif Ali in the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC tournament. Speaking of Shoaib Malik, the experienced all-rounder is currently the most capped T20I cricketer in the world and had earlier led Men in Green during their runners-up finish in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007.
Malik also played a prominent part when Pakistan lifted the trophy in 2009 in England. In the 2021 edition in the UAE, the right-handed batter aggregated 100 runs at a strike-rate of 181.82 during Pakistan’s run to the semi-final. After horrific loss in the final of 2022 Asia Cup in United Arab of Emirates, Pakistan will look to better their performance in the T20 World Cup in Australia.