Akhtar slammed the PCB's decision to drop Fakhar Zaman to the reserves list and doing little to improve the team's fragile middle order.
Pakistan on Thursday announced their squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia with the injured pace duo of Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Wasim among those making a comeback after missing out on the Asia Cup.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also named red-ball specialist Shan Masood in the T20 WC squad while relegating No 3 batter Fakhar Zaman and seamer Shahnawaz Dahani to the reserves. Hasan Ali, who made just one appearance in the Asia Cup — in the final Super 4 clash against Sri Lanka — has been dropped. Additionally, leg-spinner Shadab Khan has been appointed skipper Babar Azam’s deputy in another little surprise from the board.
Introducing our squad 🙌
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 15, 2022
Among those unhappy with chief selector Muhammad Wasim’s selection for the upcoming World Cup however, is former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar, who slammed the board’s decision to drop Fakhar to the reserves list and doing little to improve the team’s fragile middle order.
“One cannot expect extraordinary decisions from average people. Mashallah, what a team Pakistan Cricket Board has selected!
“Pakistan’s problem had been the middle order, but the board has said it consistently wants make decisions that will please the fans, but will end up making terrible ones that will leave the middle order crisis intact,” the Rawalpindi tore into the PCB’s selection committee in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
Akhtar had earlier called for Fakhar to open the innings, adding that the opener’s role isn’t something that was best suited for Babar. The PCB however, opted to retain the opening combination of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan.
“I have consistently been calling for Fakhar Zaman get the six powerplay overs. The ball will come on to him nicely in Australia and will help him in getting the cuts and suit him. But no, Babar Azam will remain the opener.
“With this team, we might get knocked out in the first round itself. I am really scared as our batting has no depth,” warned Akhar.
The mercurial former cricketer even went on to describe chief selector Wasim as an “average” guy, while adding head coach Saqlain Mushtaq — a former teammate of his — didn’t have any idea about T20 cricket.
“When the chief selector is average, his decisions will also be average. Saqlain Mushtaq last played cricket in 2002. I don’t want to say this as he’s my friend, but he doesn’t have any idea about T20 cricket,” added Akhtar.
Fakhar had a relatively lean run with the bat in the recent Asia Cup, where he managed a half-century against Hong Kong but couldn’t quite fire in the remaining matches.
Faring worse than him in the Pakistani top-order was skipper Babar, who could only muster 68 runs across six outings at an average a little above 11, leaving the responsibility of helping the team set challenging targets and acing chases to fellow opener Rizwan and the middle order.
It’s worth noting that Fakhar had also picked up a knee injury while fielding during the final against Sri Lanka, which Pakistan lost by 23 runs, as a result of which he’s been left out of Pakistan’s squad for the seven T20I series against England at home.
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