The duo had previously fallen out of favour with the Pakistan national team set up owing to contrasting reasons. Akmal had a public fall-out with Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur while Shehzad has not featured for the national team ever since he tested positive in a dope test last year.
However, the two players have managed to grab eyeballs with their performances for Quetta in the ongoing 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL). Umar is the fourth-highest Pakistan run-scorer in the ongoing campaign with 228 runs in nine innings which have come with the help of two half-centuries.
The top-order batsman’s form has seen him earn a recall to the Pakistan side for the upcoming ODI series against Australia while Shehzad has started to impress too with back-to-back half-centuries in his last two outings for Quetta after a poor start to his campaign.
“Entire Pakistan knows how talented both players are, they are too good especially in this format,” Moin told the media on Saturday.
“You know when a player has the ability and can deliver not only for your team but for Pakistan also, and I personally believe both are deserving players. They are the kind of players who can walk into the Pakistan team anytime and Umar gave that example recently.
“Unfortunately, Ahmed wasn’t in form earlier but later he also came into form.”
The former Pakistan skipper lauded the two Quetta batsmen for the discipline they have shown in the side’s PSL campaign which has seen them rise to the top of the standings.
“Coaches aren’t only supposed to diagnose the disease but should provide the treatment as well. Unfortunately, whatever happened with these kids earlier, they are good players and our assets. So all we did was treat them right and gave them the due respect,” he stated.
“If a player is given the respect he deserves then I don’t think there is any reason for him to not perform well. They have behaved well throughout the tournament, they have a good discipline and that’s why they are performing.
“So, with a clear mind I can say that if both keeping doing this, they can be in the Pakistan team in the future.”
Akmal and Shehzad will be in action on Sunday at Karachi in what is Quetta’s final league fixture of the PSL campaign. Having already secured a top-two finish, the Gladiators will be looking to finish on a high when they take on Karachi Kings.
Playing in front of their home fans, the Kings will be assured of the last play-off berth should they beat the Gladiators in what is their penultimate league fixture.
Quetta, on the other hand, have already sealed a top-two finish and will look to finish their league engagements on a high before they move to the play-off battle.
Can Karachi make their play-off dream a reality or will Quetta hand Lahore Qalandars a lifeline? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from Karachi below.
With that commanding win in the first match of the Pakistan leg of the tournament, defending champions Islamabad United have joined Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi in the play-offs.
There were still two play-off spots up for grabs before the start of the Pakistan leg but Islamabad’s victory has ensured that there is just the one more still open.
With Multan Sultans already ruled out of the running, the battle for the last play-off spot is now a two-horse race between Karachi Kings and Lahore. It is a race that the latter are currently losing by some distance.
With this win @IsbUnited has secured its place in play-offs. @lahoreqalandars are still not out of the race. LQ needs @TeamQuetta to beat @KarachiKingsARY on Sunday, then beat @MultanSultans by heavy margin & then pray for @PeshawarZalmi’s success against Karachi Kings on Monday.— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) March 9, 2019
After playing nine league fixtures, Lahore have just three wins and six points to show. The Qalandars currently trail Karachi by two points with the Kings having two fixtures remaining compared to the one for Lahore. To make matters worse for Lahore, their net run-rate is currently inferior to Karachi as well.
As such, Lahore have to win their last league fixture against Multan Sultans at any cost, and by a handsome margin to boot, to stand any chance of making the top-four.
Karachi, on the other hand, have to face an already qualified Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi in their final two league clashes.
Imad Wasim and his men just need the one win from their two games to book their play-off spot with their fate well and truly in their own hands. The Kings could even leapfrog Peshawar into second place but for that to happen, they will need to win both their remaining clashes by huge margins to offset the deficit in net run-rate between the two sides.
For now, the play-off berth is Karachi’s to lose with Lahore currently living on a prayer.