Shahid Afridi Feels Fakhar Zaman And Sharjeel Khan Should Open In T20s And He Isn't Happy With Zaman's Batting Spot
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Shahid Afridi Feels Fakhar Zaman And Sharjeel Khan Should Open In T20s And He Isn’t Happy With Zaman’s Batting Spot

akhar Zaman becomes first Pakistan batsman to score double century in ODI cricket | Photo Credit: AP
Fakhar Zaman becomes first Pakistan batsman to score double century in ODI cricket | Photo Credit: AP

Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan all-rounder, reckoned that the left-handed duo of Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan should open the batting for the Men in Green in the shortest format- T20 cricket. But, of late, Pakistan has used their skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan as their two openers in the shorter format.

But Shahid Afridi said that Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan possess the ability to put Pakistan in the driver’s seat in the powerplay itself. Sharjeel Khan has shown ominous form in the recent National T20 Cup, scoring 339 runs for Sindh with one century and a half-century in 9 matches averaging 37.66, but he isn’t in Pakistan’s squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Sharjeel Khan plundered 338 runs in the 11 innings that he played in the PSL this year, averaging 30.75, and what was impressive was the fact that he scored his runs at a strike rate of close to 150. He has also played 21 T20Is for Pakistan and has amassed 406 runs in the international arena.

Shahid Afridi played in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is for Pakistan.© AFP
Shahid Afridi played in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is for Pakistan.© AFP

Shahid Afridi Feels Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan Should Be Pakistan’s Openers In T20Is

Fakhar Zaman, on the other hand, was initially a part of the travelling reserve for the event in the UAE. But he made his way into the main 15-member squad, swapping positions with Khushdil Shah, as PCB announced changes after the squad was selected.

“Everyone has their opinion but I think that Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan should be Pakistan’s openers in T20 cricket. Even if one of them clicks, we will win the game inside the first six overs,” Afridi was quoted as saying on his official YouTube channel.

Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan(Getty Images)
Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan(Getty Images)

Shahid Afridi, who last played international cricket in 2018, was of the opinion that Fakhar Zaman, who’s playing for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National T20 Cup, isn’t equipped to bat in the middle order.

“I’m not happy with Fakhar Zaman’s batting position. I don’t know who has told him to bat at number five or six because he has played as an opener throughout his career. Our team needs an opener like him who can score as many runs as possible in the first six overs,” he stated.

Apart from roping in Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan made two more changes in their squad for the World Cup. They drafted Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali and left out Mohammad Hasnain and Azam Khan. Sohaib Maqsood was also finally ruled out of the showpiece event due to a sustained lower back injury and was replaced by senior batsman Shoaib Malik. Fakhar Zaman, originally named a travel reserve, has swapped places with Khushdil Shah.

Shahid Afridi: Azam Khan Needs To Work Really Hard On Form And Fitness

Shahid Afridi was clear-cut in saying that Azam Khan needs to work on his form and fitness to become a regular member of the Pakistan national squad.

“No, he [Azam Khan] should not be part of the side right now. He doesn’t have the required form and fitness. He needs to work really hard on them and especially his fitness,” Afridi added.

Azam Khan, the hard-hitting batsman from Quetta Gladiators, © Getty
Azam Khan, the hard-hitting batsman from Quetta Gladiators, © Getty

Azam Khan has featured in only three T20Is in his career and has aggregated only six runs in two innings. Still, his exploits in domestic T20 competitions had helped him seal a berth in the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad before he was dropped again for experienced Sarfaraz Ahmed.

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