Misbah wants to pick young Khushdil over experienced Shoaib Malik for Zimbabwe series

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Experienced all-rounder Shoaib Malik. — AFP/Files 

LAHORE: Experienced  all-rounder Shoaib Malik may not be picked up for the upcoming Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe as chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq wants to give young hard-hitting batsman Khushdil Shah a chance instead, Daily Express reported on Saturday.

Malik, 38, has failed to live up to expectations thus far in the domestic event, contributing just 177 runs – of which 74 came in a single innings – over 10 matches of the round-robin stage. This dull display adds to his 14-run knock in the only T20I he played on the recent tour of England.

Meanwhile, Khushdil has been in scintillating form for Southern Punjab, and is not only the fifth-highest scorer of the tournament but now also holds the distinction of being the maker of the fastest-ever T20 century by a Pakistani.

Despite being on the peripherals of the national T20 unit for a while, Khushdil only has a single cap to his name – something Misbah wants to change soon as the lefty is in line to play all three T20Is against Zimbabwe, as per Express’ sources.

Abdullah Shafique, the other National T20 star, is also almost a certainty to be selected even though his team Central Punjab are out of the tournament.

While Malik’s stock has fallen, Mohammad Hafeez’s has soared and it is unlikely that he would be dropped. However, the cricket board has been unimpressed with him ever since he badmouthed the new cricket structure in an unsanctioned meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Express states that in case of orders from the higher-ups, Misbah would have no choice but to ‘rest’ Hafeez, even though he himself was also a part of that meeting with the prime minister.

The sources further said that Mohammad Rizwan’s performance is being kept a strict eye on. In fact, his promotion up the batting order for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was reportedly on Misbah’s say-so. He scored two half centuries as an opener for his side and is likely to retain his spot for the Zimbabwe series ahead of Sarfaraz, who is to be rested.

Veteran pacer Wahab Riaz was instrumental in Pakistan’s sole victory during the tour of England but he is also unlikely to be risked for the tour of Africans.

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