For a shock to many, all-rounder Shoaib Malik has replaced batter Sohaib Maqsood in the Pakistan squad for this month’s Men’s T20 World Cup.
The word went public through an official statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday.
The PCB said Maqsood had been ruled out of the squad due to a lower back injury.
“Sohaib had undergone MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans for the lower back on Thursday after picking up the injury during [the] October 6 match against Northern and consequently missed the October (7) match against Central Punjab [in the National T20 Cup],” it added.
Commenting on the development, chief selector Mohammad Wasim regretted that Maqsood had to be dropped from the squad.
“Sohaib is devastated to miss out on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as he had worked hard for this event and was in sparkling form. We feel for him but injuries are part and parcel of the sport,” he said, according to the PCB statement. “I am sure after undergoing rehabilitation, he’ll fully recover to be available for future assignments.”
Wasim added that after discussions with the team management, it had been decided to include Malik in the side.
“I am sure Shoaib’s experience will be handy for the entire squad.”
Malik had captained Pakistan in the inaugural Men’s T20 World Cup in 2007 and was a member of the side that won the tournament in 2009. After missing the West Indies event in 2010, he had featured in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 tournaments.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi lauded the inclusion of Shoaib Malik in the T20 World Cup squad.
“Good to see Shoaib Malik recalled for the T20 World Cup. As a senior and experienced player, he can contribute big time for Pakistan. All the best,” the former skipper said.
A day ago, the PCB had announced three changes in the Pakistan side for the tournament, with former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed replacing the young Azam Khan.
In the other two changes, Haider Ali had been replaced by Mohammad Hasnain, while Fakhar Zaman, who was originally named as a travel reserve, had swapped places with Khushdil Shah.
The national selectors made the changes “after taking into consideration player performances and form”, the PCB had said in a statement.
The T20 World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates from October 17 to November 14.
Pakistan’s squad will depart for Dubai on October 15 and will play two warm-up matches against the West Indies and South Africa on October 18 and October 20, respectively, before taking on India in a Group-2 fixture on 24 October at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Pakistan’s 15-player squad confirmed by the selectors on Saturday is:
- Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab)
- Shadab Khan (vice-captain, Northern)
- Asif Ali (Northern)
- Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
- Haider Ali (Northern)
- Haris Rauf (Northern)
- Hasan Ali (Central Punjab)
- Imad Wasim (Northern)
- Mohammad Hafeez (Central Punjab)
- Mohammad Nawaz (Northern)
- Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
- Mohammad Wasim Jr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
- Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper, Sindh)
- Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
- Shoaib Malik (Central Punjab)
The travelling reserves in the squad are Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh) and Usman Qadir (Central Punjab).
Schedule of Pakistan’s matches in T20 World Cup
- Oct 24: Pakistan v India, Group 2, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
- Oct 26: Pakistan v New Zealand, Group 2, Sharjah Cricket Stadium
- Oct 29: Pakistan v Afghanistan, Group 2, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
- Nov 2: Pakistan v A2, Group 2, Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
- Nov 7: Pakistan v B1, Group 2, Sharjah Cricket Stadium