Shoaib Malik to join Pakistan squad tomorrow

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Shoaib Malik had gone to India to meet his family and is now available for the T20 series against England. — AFP/File
Shoaib Malik had gone to India to meet his family and is now available for the T20 series against England. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Experienced all-rounder Shoaib Malik will join the Pakistan squad in Southampton on Saturday to be available for the three-match Twenty20 International series against England starting on Aug 28.

The T20 battle begins after the ongoing three-Test series between the two countries in England ends on Aug 25.

The 38-year-old Shoaib was to travel to England with the 29-member Pakistan squad on June 29 but at the time he was away from his family which was in India, and therefore could not travel to India due to the global Covid-19 ban on air travel.

Now Shoaib has met his family after Indian government lifted the air travel ban on July 31. So now he is available for the series.

The team management has decided to relieve young paceman Musa Khan after having the availability of experienced Shoaib.

It may be mentioned here that Shoaib and another veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez were included in the 29-member squad for the England tour, as they were in the radar of chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq for preparing a strong squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, which was scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November, but now postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now in this situation both Shoaib and Hafeez have to give their best against England if they are to retain their places till the T20 World Cup, which will now be hosted by India next year.

Meanwhile, Hafeez’s Covid-19 test taken on Wednesday after he met a public member in violation of the bio-secure bubble rule, also came negative.

The Covid-19 test of Shahid Aslam, the Pakistan team’s assistant manager, also came negative. Shahid had to visit Lahore after the death of his father.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2020