The international recalls handed to Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad have not gone to plan so far for Pakistan with both batmen failing miserably in the two T20I losses to Sri Lanka in Lahore.
Head coach/chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has been at pains to justify their inclusion and has pointed to a lack of options on the domestic circuit as one of the primary reasons for the duo’s comeback.
As the hosts get ready to take on Sri Lanka in a dead-rubber clash in Lahore on Wednesday, we look at three batsmen Misbah can turn to instead of Akmal and Shehzad.
The 27-year-old wicketkeeper batsman can definitely bat as shown by his two excellent ODI tons against Australia in the UAE earlier this year. Despite those displays, Rizwan inexplicably found himself out of favour for the 2019 World Cup squad.
His direct competition in the team being skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has not helped matters for the Lahore Qalandars man but he does possess the ability to play as purely a specialist batsman.
With Sarfraz’s own batting struggles showing no signs of ending, Rizwan can be the perfect cover while also doubling up as a top-order batsman.
The veteran all-rounder was one of the key components in Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20I rankings but has surprisingly found himself out of the reckoning for the ongoing series.
Pakistan’s loss has been Guyana Amazon Warriors’ gain with the 37-year-old leading the team’s unbeaten campaign in the Caribbean Premier League with emphatic style.
The right-hander has been averaging nearly 79 with the bat in the tournament and wrote himself into the record books on Sunday by becoming only the fourth batsman in history to register 9,000 T20 runs.
He has already stated his desire to participate in the T20 World Cup in Australia next year and Misbah would be foolish to not lean on his experience and prowess.
The 31-year-old opening batsman announced himself to international cricket in style earlier this year by slamming a superb 112 on his ODI debut against Australia. The Lahore-born batsman was in fine flow in the recent ODI series against Sri Lanka as well with his 67-ball 74 helping the hosts chase down a target of 298 runs with considerable ease.
Yet, he was surprisingly dropped for the T20I series to follow with Misbah opting to call back Akmal and Shehzad instead. His free-flowing game is tailor-made for the shortest format and Pakistan would be served well by blooding him into the set-up for the T20 World Cup.
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