World T20 2016 March 7, 2016

Shehzad replaces Manzoor in Pakistan World T20 squad


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Bazid: No alternatives to Shehzad for Pakistan

Pakistan have replaced batsman Khurram Manzoor with Ahmed Shehzad in their World T20 squad, with chief selector Haroon Rasheed admitting that Manzoor's inclusion was a gamble that "backfired" in the Asia Cup.

Based on the Asia Cup performances, there had been a lot of deliberation among the selectors at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. The top order was the main concern with Mohammad Hafeez, Manzoor and Sharjeel Khan combining for just 94 runs in Pakistan's four games in the tournament. To address the batting issues, the selectors brought back the experienced Shehzad, who was earlier dropped for his inconsistency. He won his place back with his performance in the Pakistan Super League, where he scored 290 runs in ten games at a strike-rate of 143.56, including a half-century in the final.

"The inclusion of Khurram backfired and as a chief selector I take full responsibility," Haroon Rasheed told ESPNcricinfo. "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.

"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."

There were suggestions that Salman Butt might be added to the squad but the idea was shot down; the board is not ready to reintegrate the former captain into the squad so soon after the end of his ban for spot-fixing in 2010. Butt, though, is "eligible" to play international cricket and recently scored 536 runs at 107.20 to finish second highest run-scorer in the National One-Day Cup behind Kamran Akmal. But captain Shahid Afridi opposed Butt's selection and that along with the PCB's lack of interest in bringing him back at this point meant Shehzad got the nod.

There were also murmurs of Afridi's place in the team being in question but he has been retained. He is set to call time on his international career at the end of the World T20 and his form was another major worry to come out of the Asia Cup; he scored only two runs in two innings there, and claimed two wickets from three bowling innings, continuing his year-long dip in form (17 T20s for 173 runs at 12.35 and 12 wickets at 35.41). During the Asia Cup he remained a mere shadow of his former self, reportedly skipping team meetings, training sessions and press conferences as well as having his on-field captaincy scrutinised, especially the way he used his bowlers.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had previously hinted at a change in leadership for the World T20 but with just a few days left for Pakistan's tournament to begin the board decided against such a move. "I understand there is a lot of criticism but I am not going to change anything one week before the major tournament in India," Khan recently said. "Afridi will remain captain unless he himself pulls out of the job. He has been serving Pakistan from the last 15 years. There are problems in his captaincy which can't be mended, especially at a time when his career is about to be end."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PakSelectorsRbad on March 12, 2016, 5:20 GMT

    You dropped Khurram but not Hafeez?

  • aziz on March 9, 2016, 18:11 GMT

    There have been many instances when the selection committee was criticized after the poor performance of the team. But this time Haroon Rashid and company di the unthinkable. They selected a player who was not selected in the PSL, who has been primarily a 4 day player or a test player. That one selection of Khurram Manzoor probably cost Pakistan the loss in Asia cup and the end of Haroon Rashid. Haroon was a failed cricketer when Pakistan lost the crucial WC match in 1979 due to his slow batting when Zaheer Abbas and Majid Khan almost brought Pakistan to victory. Why was Iftikhar selected beats me. The best bowler last over bowler Aizaz Cheema was left at home and he is still not in the WC-T-20.

  • Nauman on March 8, 2016, 17:30 GMT

    Have a look at Khurram Manzoor's List A. He has decent numbers in FC & domestic T20 but extra-ordinary record in List A. Let me compare him with Ahmed Shehzad for List A Khurram: 109 matches, 4700+ runs, 14 x100s, 26 x50s, Avg 47+, S/R 79+ Ahmed: 107 matches, 3700 runs, 8 x100s, 21 x50s, Avg 35.5, S/R 76+ (Sharjeel has played less List A, but still beats Ahmed on every statistical category) Makes no sense that Ahmed Shehzad keeps getting chances upon chances in ODI team whereas Khurram gets an extended run in Tests (couple of years ago) and is the inspirational (destined to be doomed) pic for Asia Cup. Both formats where he has OK records. Why select him in formats where he is just OK, why not instead give him an extended run of 20-30 ODIs based on his stellar List A record. I wonder if selectors didn't realize Asia Cup this time was T20 format and not 50 overs. They picked Khurram based on that mistake and then were too embarrassed to fix their mistake.

  •   Rana Naveed on March 8, 2016, 15:12 GMT

    No replacement of Shehzaed ?? are u kidding me ? where are Haris Sohail and Mukhtar Ahmed or one more option go with Sharjeel and Hafeez as openers Umar Akmal at one down then Malik and Sarfaraz. Don't forget Afridi himself is an opener so why don't he signs off as an opener ??

  • shani on March 8, 2016, 14:38 GMT

    They should change the batting order otherwise its nice team Batting order should be: 1)hafeez/ahmed shehzad 2) sharjeel 3)sarfaraz 4)umar akmal 5) shahid afridi 6)shoaib malik/nawaz 7)imad wasim/anwar 8)m.sami 9) wahab riaz 10)muhammad amir 11)muhammad irfan

  • Cricinfouser on March 8, 2016, 13:26 GMT

    well hi guys, i will add something here for those who understand cricket,if i am going to start playing cricket so i believe i will be able to play one good match out of ten like afridi do, who ever say afridi is good player of cricket or good for the team then u should take him or her as joker

  • Shah Waseem on March 8, 2016, 13:19 GMT

    Please any one let me know where are Mukhtar Ahmad

  • Tahir on March 8, 2016, 12:58 GMT

    if I own a team and I want to score a large number of score in very few deliveries at death under extreme pressure, I would choose Razzaq any time any day above afridi.

  • Shahid on March 8, 2016, 12:25 GMT

    @Hamid Raza: Haris Sohail has been injured for a while. On Dec 30th he was said to be out for at least 3 more months (which would mean hopefully he's back in a few weeks now). For Sohaib Maqsood, did you not see him in pretty much all his matches in the past few months? The way he batted, he makes Chris Martin look like a legendary batsman. Rizwan had a very poor run in PSL, though he should still have been selected based on international form. No idea where Abdul Razzaq is, but nobody except PCB knows why he's not in the team.

  • Kashif on March 8, 2016, 12:15 GMT

    Although Shehzad is not a great batsman, he is still miles better than Khurram Manzoor so given the limited options the board has made the right choice. I know that Sharjeel struggled in the Asia cup but on flat batting tracks of India, I am sure he will redeem himself and justify his selection. he will be one to watch out for in the World T20. Perhaps he will encourage Shehzad to bat more freely and not be scared. My playing XI would be: 1.Shehzad 2.Sharjeel 3.Hafeez 4.U.Akmal 5.Shoaib Malik 6.Sarfraz 7.Afridi 8.Imad Wasim/Nawaz 9.Amir 10.Wahab/Sami 11.Irfan

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