Sami, Sharjeel in as Pakistan make changes to World T20 squad
Pakistan have added batsman Sharjeel Khan and fast bowler Mohammad Sami to their squads for the Asia Cup and World T20, following injuries to Babar Azam and Rumman Raees. The selectors also made another change to the World T20 squad, bringing in batsman Khalid Latif in place of Iftikhar Ahmed.
Azam has been ruled out for 3-4 weeks after suffering a fracture on his left forearm during a practice session in the ongoing Pakistan Super League. Raees has a Grade-1 hamstring strain and is "operating at 60% of his fitness currently", the PCB stated in a release.
Pakistan's selection committee chairman Haroon Rashid said that PSL performances played a part in the selection. Sharjeel, Sami and Latif are with Islamabad United, who will face Quetta Gladiators in the final of the inaugural edition of the league on Tuesday.
Sharjeel has hit the only century of the league till date, with his 62-ball 117 against Peshawar Zalmi booking Islamabad United's place in the final. He is the third-highest run-scorer, with 287 runs in ten innings at a strike rate of 151.05. Sami has picked up 11 wickets in six matches, including a haul of 5 for 8 against Karachi Kings. Latif was included on the basis of his power-hitting, according to Rashid, who clarified that the batsman could not join the Asia Cup squad due to technical reasons. Latif has scored 190 runs in six innings, at a strike rate of 114.45.
"After having looked at the performance of the players in the PSL competition, the selection committee along with Captain Shahid Afridi and Head Coach Waqar Younis have come to the conclusion that keeping in view the outstanding performances of Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Sami in PSL matches, they should be included as replacements for injured Babar Azam and Ruman Raees respectively for both Asia Cup and World Cup," Rashid said.
"Since we have the option available to bring in changes in our World Cup squad before the support period starting from March 8, 2016, it has also been decided to use this option and decided to include Khalid Latif, who showed tremendous display of power hitting in the PSL matches, which paved the way for his inclusion in the World Cup squad in place of Iftikhar Ahmed."
Sharjeel's previous T20 international appearance was in December 2013, while Sami made his comeback into the Pakistan side after nearly three years during the home series against Zimbabwe in May 2015. Latif last played an international match for Pakistan in June 2012.