Hafeez, Malik recalled for upcoming Bangladesh T20I series


Shoaib Malik

After a dismal performance in the shortest format of the game last year, Pakistan is recalling two of the most experienced players for the upcoming T20 International series against Bangladesh. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the 15-member squad for the series, with Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik coming back into the team.

Last year was really disheartening for the Pakistan cricket team, especially in the shortest format of the game. They lost all the four series that they played in 2019 and managed to win only one game in their last 10 T20I matches.

Head coach of Pakistan team, Misbah-ul-Haq, noted that it is important that we start winning games now. The side has lost eight of their last nine T20Is and Misbah believes that this kind of record is absolutely “unacceptable” for the number one ranked T20 team in the world. He also shared that it is important for the side to win matches before the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup starts, later this year.

“We have lost eight of our last nine T20Is and as the number-one ranked side, this is unacceptable. We need to end our losing cycle and get back to winning habits leading into the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup,” Misbah said while announcing the team.

Other than these two experienced customers, uncapped players like Ahsan Ali, Ama Butt, and the Big Bash League sensation Haris Rauf have also been included in the side.

“The exuberance of Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, and Haris Rauf give the team more firepower, energy, and all-round skill,” added Misbah.

A lot of players are going to miss this series because of their recent form. Players like Mohammad Amir, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Wahab Riaz, and Mohammad Amir will not be a part of the series.

Skipper Babar Azam is really happy with the team combination and expressed his gratitude towards the selection committee for listening to his requests and including Hafeez, Malik in the team. Azam believes that both players have “plenty” to offer to Pakistan cricket.

“I believe they still have plenty to offer to Pakistan cricket in the shortest format and their experience can be critical to our performance in the upcoming series,” Azam said.

Interestingly, former Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has not been recalled for the upcoming series against Bangladesh whereas it was earlier reported by a Pakistani sports journalist that Ahmed will be recalled for the T20I series.

The last series that Pakistan won was against Sri Lanka.

Both the sides will play three T20Is in Lahore. The first will take place on January 24, second on January 25 while the last game of the series will be played on January 27.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, and Usman Qadir.