Babar Azam has backed returning opening batsman Sharjeel Khan to ship regardless of issues over his health, which the Pakistan captain agreed is “not nice”. He insisted, nevertheless, that Khan stays a match-winner, which is why he is part of the facet.
“He cannot be Shadab [Khan] directly however nonetheless you should carry him,” Azam mentioned. “I agree his health is not nice however we’ll convey him up to speed. His type proper now may help us and he is likely one of the finest openers. I’ve performed with him in Karachi Kings and he can take away the strain and completely change the sport.
“We’re engaged on his health and you will note a distinction. I by no means requested for him in ODIs however for T20 cricket, which is a brief format, you possibly can modify.”
Khan returned to the home circuit final yr after serving a 24-month ban for his position within the PSL spot-fixing scandal of 2017. His choice to the T20I facet for the tour of Africa – South Africa and Zimbabwe – was largely based mostly on his type within the PSL, although, which included a century in opposition to Islamabad United. He was the third-highest scorer on this yr’s unfinished PSL, behind Mohammad Rizwan and Azam, however at a booming strike price of 170.94, which was effectively forward of the opposite two.
Whereas Khan’s bulk has come for scrutiny, chief selector Mohammad Wasim has mentioned on document that Pakistan was altering the benchmarks for health, making it much less stringent to make room for skillful gamers.
Khan was a promising expertise for Pakistan earlier than his ban. He performed 25 ODIs, 15 T20Is, and one Take a look at and in that point constructed a status for being a hard-hitting batsman. However Pakistan did effectively with out him when he was absent too, hovering to the highest spot in T20I cricket, although they’ve slipped from there since.
The change of coronary heart on health marked one thing of a U-turn from the PCB, as earlier head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and chief govt Wasim Khan had been much less open to choosing gamers whose health was wanting. Azam, the Pakistan captain in all three codecs, is much less ideologically rigid on health, and is open to bringing in gamers who present worth in different methods.
“I do not know why there may be an impression that his health is not adequate,” Azam mentioned when requested particularly about Khan, and his fielding. “He performed four-day cricket, a one-day match, and the PSL as effectively so I do not suppose there is a matter. He’s a match-winner and we’re specializing in his health as effectively. In fielding he’s nice and there is not a problem so he’s very a lot a part of the squad and we now have to again him for the nice.”
ESPNcricinfo understands Azam wasn’t proud of sure points of choice and he confirmed there have been variations with the chief selector. “I believe if these items stay within the assembly room that must be good,” he mentioned. “When there are debates, they’re good for the crew. Settlement and disagreement are pure processes it occurs once we speak.
“However we now have to maintain it within the room. This is not my crew, it is our crew. I perceive the choice protocols and my position is to play the very best XI and utilise the gamers we now have.”
Pakistan play three ODIs and 4 T20Is in opposition to South Africa earlier than shifting to Zimbabwe, the place they’re scheduled to play two Take a look at matches and three T20Is.