Sharjeel Khan plays a shot during a PSL match. File
Gulf Today Report
Pakistan has recalled opening batsman Sharjeel Khan after more than four years for next month’s Twenty20 international series in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Middle-order batsman Mohammad Hafeez and all-rounder Shadab Khan also returned to the squads after missing the home series against South Africa. Shadab was unfit, while Hafeez was unavailable.
The return of the players was announced by Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim on Friday in a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Mohammad Wasim gives a press conference to announce the squad for next month's Twenty20 series in Lahore on Friday. AP
The selectors have included three exciting uncapped pace bowlers in 19-year-old Mohammad Wasim Junior, 20-year-old Arshad Iqbal, and 22-year-old Shahnawaz Dhani in multiple squads. Ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah will miss the tour as he is recovering from a knee injury.
The left-handed Sharjeel has been out of international cricket are serving a 2-1/2-year ban for his involvement in a Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing scandal in 2017.
He made his way back into the national team after scoring a century in this year’s PSL and was also the third-highest scorer in the league, which was suspended due to coronavirus last week.
There were question marks on Sharjeel’s fitness, but chief selector Mohammad Wasim said on Friday it was not the only criteria while selecting a player for international matches.
"At the end of the day, a player has to play cricket,” he said during a press conference in Lahore. "I know his fitness is not there where we want him to be, but we believe Sharjeel can win big matches for us.”
Pakistan will play three one-day internationals and four Twenty20s in South Africa, followed by three T20s and two Test matches in Zimbabwe.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was ruled out of the Test series in Zimbabwe with a left-knee injury, while spinners Sajid Khan, Zahid Mahmood and Nauman Ali were part of the extended 20-player test squad.
Uncapped 19-year-old fast bowler Shahnawaz Dhani was a surprise inclusion in the Test squad after impressing in the PSL.
"We are lacking fast bowlers in red ball cricket and we believe Dhani is our future in Test cricket,” Wasim said. "We will surely also consider him for white-ball cricket in future too.”
Test squad: Babar Azam (captain), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.
ODI squad: Babar Azam (captain), Imam-ul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.
T20 squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal.
Pakistan’s spirits are riding high after beating South Africa by 95 runs in Rawalpindi on Monday to take the two-match Test series 2-0 — their first win over South Africa since 2003.
"The universe boss is here in Pakistan alright," he said in a video message released by the team. "All my Pakistan fans, I am looking forward to entertaining you... so stay tuned."
South Africa need 19 runs to win off the last over, but medium pacer Faheem Ashraf held his nerves to keep the visitors down to 166-6 while Bjorn Fortuin (17 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (15 not out) could manage only 15.
Tail-ender Hasan Ali finished with a seven-ball 20 not out as Pakistan overhauled a 165-run target in 18.4 overs to win the series 2-1, South Africa's first T20I series defeat in Asia. South Africa had previously won five and drawn one T20I series in Asia.
Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta all scored before the interval for the five-time champions, while Paik Seung-ho netted a late consolation for South Korea.
During the first two days of racing, reduced winds forced participants to navigate difficult weather conditions and fierce competition to finish the racecourse.
Top seed Diana Shnaider eased her way into the next round even as defending champion Daria Snigur was sent packing off by Slovakia’s Rebecca Sramkova on the opening day of the 25th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge, on Monday.