Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan on Tuesday announced their squad for the upcoming Asia Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates from August 27 to September 11.

While Hasan Ali was dropped from the side for the continental tournament, veteran batter Shoaib Malik didn’t find a place in the squad as well. Shoaib Malik had been an integral part of their T20I side until last year and also represented the side in the 2021 T20I World Cup in October-November.

Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali | AFP
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali | AFP

Pakistan Is Yet To Find Shoaib Malik’s Replacement: Aaqib Javed

Shoaib Malik’s absence did raise some eyebrows and the nation’s former cricketer Aaqib Javed believes that Pakistan has not found the veteran all-rounder’s replacement yet. Aaqib Javed said that veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik “perfectly fits” the number four spot in the XI in the shortest format.

“Pakistan doesn’t have a replacement for Shoaib Malik. He perfectly fits at the No.4 spot. Tell me is there anyone apart from him?” he said.

Pakistan veteran cricketer Shoaib Malik | Photo: Twitter Image
Pakistan veteran cricketer Shoaib Malik | Photo: Twitter Image

Shoaib Malik’s last T20I was in November 2021 and his last ODI was in June 2019. He played 35 Tests, 287 ODIs, and 124 T20Is amassing over 10,000 runs in all three formats combined averaging above 30 in each besides taking above 200 scalps combined.

Shoaib Malik became the first Pakistani batsman to score 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket in October 2020. He is married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza.

Aaqib Javed: Pakistan Should Test Shan Masood In T20Is

The former Pakistan bowler, who has represented the country in 22 Tests and 163 ODIs, further said that Pakistan should try Shan Masood in the T20Is; however, the batter is not named in the Asia Cup squad as well.

“I have been saying this for a long time now that Shan Masood should be tested at this position. Viewing grounds of Australia, a batter playing proper cricketing shots would succeed there,” he insisted.

Aaqib Javed (Screengrab: YouTube)
Aaqib Javed (Screengrab: YouTube)

Talking about those selected for the squad (Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, and Asif Ali), Aaqib Javed stated that while Iftikhar Ahmed has not been consistent with his appearances over the past few years, the other two are “one-dimensional.”

“Iftikhar Ahmed is in and out for last five years and has not made an impact while Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali is one-dimensional players,” said Aaqib Javed.

Before the Asia Cup, Pakistan will also take part in a three-match ODI series against the Netherlands. Babar Azam will lead the side in both series.

Shaheen Shah Afridi is named in both squads and is in line to make his return to cricket during the three-match Super League series against the Netherlands after he missed the recent second Test against Sri Lanka last month. Pacer Naseem Shah is included in place of fellow quick Hasan Ali.

There will be a total of five changes from the squad that tackles the Netherlands to the one that competes at the Asia Cup 2022 in the UAE, with Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Haris, Salman Ali Agha, and Zahid Mehmood being replaced by Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Usman Qadir.

Pakistan squad for Netherlands ODIs: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mehmood

Pakistan squad for Asia Cup: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir