Sharjeel, Sami brought in for Pakistan for ICC World Twenty20 India 2016
Pakistan includes in-form duo in place of injured Azam and Raees; Latif comes in for Ifthikhar for ICC World Twenty20 2016
23 February 2016 14:29
Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan plays a shot as Kumar Sangakkara looks on.
Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Sami replaced Babar Azam and Rumman Raees in Pakistan’s team for the Asia Cup and ICC World Twenty20 2016. The Pakistan selectors also elected to bring in Khalid Latif instead of Iftikhar Ahmed for the world event, the Pakistan Cricket Board said on Monday (February 22).
Azam fractured his left forearm in a practice session for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, and a CT scan revealed that he would need around three to four weeks to recover completely. Raees, who also turned out for Islamabad, meanwhile, suffered a Grade I hamstring injury. Both Azam and Raees have been ruled out of the final against Quetta Gladiators scheduled on Tuesday evening.
All of Sharjeel, Sami and Latif have played instrumental roles in getting Islamabad to the final, and have been rewarded for their consistency.
While Sami returned figures of 5 for 8 in a nine-wicket win against Karachi Kings in the second qualifying final, Sharjeel made the tournament’s first century in the 50-run win against Peshawar Zalmi in the third qualifying final. Sharjeel’s 62-ball 117 consisted of 12 fours and eight sixes, and took him to the top of the league’s batting chart with an aggregate of 287 runs in ten matches at a strike-rate of 151.05. In fact, Sharjeel is the only batsman in the competition so far to have crossed the 200-run mark.
Sami, meanwhile, has 11 wickets and is the second-best bowler, with Andre Russell tallying 13 scalps. Latif is PSL’s third highest run-getter with 190 runs in eight matches.
“After having looked at the performance of the players in the PSL competition, the selection committee along with captain Shahid Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis, have come to the conclusion that keeping in view the outstanding performances of Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Sami in PSL matches, they should be included as replacements for injured Babar Azam and Rumman Raees respectively for both Asia Cup and World Cup,” said Haroon Rashid, the chairman of the national selection committee.
“Since we have the option available to bring in changes in our World Cup squad before the support period starting from March 8, 2016, it has also been decided to use this option and included Khalid Latif, who showed tremendous display of power hitting in PSL matches,” added Rashid.
Latif has already represented Pakistan in five One-Day Internationals and seven T20Is. Sharjeel has played 11 ODIs and three T20Is. Sami, who has turned up in 36 Tests, 87 ODIs and seven T20Is, made his international debut in 2001, but fell out of contention after June 2012. He returned to the fray for Pakistan’s home series against Zimbabwe in May last year on the back a good show in the Super8 T20 competition.
Pakistan will open its Asia Cup campaign against India on February 27. Ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2016, it will play a warm-up match against a local side at the Jadavpur University Campus in Kolkata on March 12, followed by a warm-up match against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens on March 14. Its opening match in the ICC World Twenty20 will be against the team that qualifies from Group A, on March 16 at the Eden Gardens.
Asia Cup squad: Shahid Afridi (capt), Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Sharjeel Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Khalid Latif.
ICC World Twenty20 2016 squad: Shahid Afridi (capt), Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz.