Pakistan selectors rethink World T20 squad as youngsters impress in PSL

Published February 8, 2016
Pakistani T20 captain Shahid Afridi takes part in a team practice session in Lahore on January 6, 2016. — AFP/File
Pakistani T20 captain Shahid Afridi takes part in a team practice session in Lahore on January 6, 2016. — AFP/File

Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Gul getting into rhythm at the Pakistan Super League (PSL) may have been cause for great celebration for the two players. But their performances have created a few headaches for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which has delayed naming its World Twenty20 squad.

Twenty20 cricket's mega event will be held in India from March 8 to April 3, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) had set February 8 as the deadline for naming squads for the tournament. But it emerged on Monday that the PCB had requested the world governing body to give them more time.

A source in the ICC confirmed to Dawn that the PCB had been granted two more days to finalise their World T20 squad.

“Pakistan had approached us with a request to be granted a few more days to name their World T20 squad. They have now been given a new deadline which is February 10,” the ICC official told Dawn.

According to a member of the national selection committee, the PCB had finalised the squad for the event but the team management wanted to gauge the performances of Shehzad and Gul at the PSL before naming its 15-man squad.

Shehzad has experienced a drastic dip in form in recent times and his T20 outings against New Zealand only weakened his case for World T20 selection. The opener score 18, 9, 8 in the three matches against Kane Williamson's side.

But the 24-year-old smashed 71 off 46 balls in Quetta Gladiators' rout of Karachi Kings in the PSL on Saturday to create a selection dilemma for a Pakistan side struggling to find reliable openers.

Shehzad's Quetta teammate Gul, who was hammered in New Zealand after making a comeback to the Pakistan side following a lengthy lay off due to injury, has had a mixed PSL campaign. He has figures of 1/30, 0/41 and 2/19 in the three matches he has played so far.

But the failure of the team management to find a suitable partner for Mohammad Amir in the pace attack means Gul may yet get a look in for the World T20.

In the World T20, Pakistan are grouped with India, Australia, New Zealand but the Shahid Afridi's men kicks off their campaign against a qualifier on March 16.

Shehzad hammers Karachi

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