Shaheen Shah Afridi returned to Pakistan’s squad for the hotly-anticipated World T20, while veteran Shoaib Malik was not a part of the 15-man squad despite considerable speculation. The all-rounder was touted for a return following Pakistan’s poor performances in the middle-order during the recent Asia Cup. Malik, whose last T20 International was against Bangladesh last November, could have added plenty of experience to the batting mix, according to former players and pundits, who slammed his omission from the next month’s showpiece event in Australia.
Malik himself posted a cryptic tweet about the team’s selection policy. “When will we come out from friendship, liking and disliking culture. Allah always helps the honest,” he wrote. Malik was a part of the Pakistan side that reached the semi-finals of last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Veteran Pakistan cricketer Kamran Akmal has also slammed his country’s cricket board for preferring age over a player’s performance. He gave the example of former India skipper MS Dhoni, who remains a pivotal element of the IPL and Chennai Super Kings despite his retirement from international cricket in 2020.
“England waaley Alastair Cook ko khila rahe hai. Woh kya paagal hai? Dhoni IPL khel raha hai. Usse cricket chhode huye 2 saal ho gaye. Use koi keh raha hai ke naa khele? Humaare yaha par age ko lekey pata nahi kya issue banaya hua hai. Kya Shoaib Malik ki fitness or form nahi hai? Agar woh Pakistan ke liye suitable hai toh khilaye use. (Alastair Cook is still playing domestic despite retiring in 2018, and MS Dhoni is still playing IPL, are they mad? But here they start chirping about age. Is Shoaib Malik not fit or is there an issue with his form? If he is suitable, then he should play. It’s as simple as that)” said Akmal in an interview with Cricket Pakistan.
Akmal described the current management as ‘egoistic’ and talked about players being blamed for the team’s performance instead of coaches. The stumper hoped for better functioning of the PCB under present chairman Ramiz Raja, who was also a former player.
“There is no coordination in management; they are egoistic and think that they will remain in PCB for their whole life. I have seen that all the blame is associated with players and management doesn’t take it on to them. The past three coaches also blamed players and didn’t accept that our decisions were wrong. Tell me when coaches have been held accountable?”
“I have hope because of Ramiz Raja, who is also a former cricketer. Raja must know the value of a cricketer is whether he is part of an international team or not,” he added.
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