Ahmed Shehzad returns to Pakistan’s World T20 squad
In a dramatic turn of events opener Ahmed Shehzad returned to the Pakistan squad for the upcoming World T20 on Monday after being dropped for inconsistency less than a month ago. Khurram Manzoor replaced Shehzad when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the squads for the recently concluded Asia Cup and World T20 on February 10.
"The inclusion of Khurram backfired and as a chief selector I take full responsibility," Haroon Rasheed told ESPNcricinfo after tweaking the World T20 squad for the third time.
"Call it an error of judgement or whatever, but we all have seen him scoring runs in domestic cricket and we gave him a chance. He didn't grab it, it's up to the player to justify his selection and in his case he didn't. We gambled on (Shoaib) Malik last year and it paid off," he added. Shehzad, after being dropped from the national squad, impressed in the inaugural season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), becoming the fourth highest scorer with 290 runs in 10 matches. The right-hander was ignored again when Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Sami were included in the Pakistan roster on February 22 after injuries forced Rumman Raees and Babar Azam to face an axe. This was the second occasion the selectors shuffled the squad.
Manzoor, in contrast to Shehzad's PSL performances, failed miserably during Pakistan's disastrous Asia Cup campaign, strengthening the case for the latter's comeback.
"Now when we look around for who is going to replace Khurram, we don't really have a serious contender, but Ahmed at least has some experience under his belt. He did show some form in PSL too, otherwise we haven't seen any other [impressive] opening batsman," said Rasheed. The Karachi-born opener scored 11 runs in the three matches he played in the continental competition.
Khalid Latif also joined the national side for the World T20 in place of Iftikhar Ahmed. Pakistan kick-off their World T20 campaign on March 16 at Kolkata before the travel to Dharamsala for they high-voltage encounter against arch-rivals India for their second Super 10 fixture.