Simon Doull has asked Pakistan to avoid playing veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez together in the playing XI against India, calling them an “80-year-old running around in two bodies”.
Simon Doull’s remarks came on a chat show. While picking his preferred XI for Pakistan for the entertaining clash, the former New Zealand pacer said he’ll choose Mohammed Hafeez and Haider Ali in the middle order instead. He suggested that Mohammed Hafeez, 41, and Shoaib Malik, 39, playing together will be detrimental to the team.
Simon Doull: Pakistan Cannot Play 2 Forty Year Olds Mohammed Hafeez And Shoaib Malik On The Same Team Against India
Veteran batsman Shoaib Malik was included in Pakistan’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, replacing top-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood, who was ruled out due to a back problem. Shoaib Malik had captained Pakistan in the inaugural event in 2007 and was a member of the side that won the tournament in 2009. After missing the West Indies event in 2010, he featured in the next 3 T20I World cup tournaments- 2012, 2014, and 2016 tournaments.
Shoaib Malik’s last T20I was in September 2020, and his last ODI was in June 2019. He played 35 Tests, 287 ODIs, and 116 T20Is, amassing over 10,000 runs in all three formats combined, averaging above 30 in each. Shoaib Malik became the first Pakistani batsman to score 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket in October 2020.
Simon Doull said: “Babar and Mohammad Rizwan at the top; Fakhar Zaman at three; Hafeez and Haider Ali. I don’t think they can play Hafeez and Shoaib Malik together. You don’t need an 80-year-old running around in two people. That can’t happen. I just I don’t think they can play two 40-year-olds on the same team so I will go with Hafeez and Haidar Ali. [Then] Asif Ali, Imad Wasim definitely then Shadab, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi.”
Despite his age, Mohammad Hafeez has kept his Pakistan career on track on the backs of consistent performances in the middle order. Overall, he has played 113 T20Is, scoring 2429 runs at a strike rate of just under 121. Shoaib Malik, meanwhile, hasn’t been a part of the national team for the better part of the last two years. He has played 116 T20Is, scoring 2335 runs at a strike rate of 124.
Both spin-bowling all-rounders weren’t part of the preliminary Pakistani squad for the T20 World Cup 2021, with the selectors going with younger batters. They were only added to the team recently, apparently because of the pair’s performances in the National T20 Cup.
The sluggish pitches in the UAE also played a part in the decision, with the selectors finding value in their experience in PSL. Sohaib Malik did well in PSL 2021 amassing 354 runs in 13 games averaging 35.4 at a strike rate of nearly 150 with 2 fifties. Mohammed Hafeez scored 271 runs averaging 33.87 at a strike rate of 138.26 in PSL 2021.
Simon Doull: Shoaib Malik Was Really Bad In The CPL
Explaining his assessment of the duo, Simon Doull said he watched both of them during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2021 and that Shoaib Malik was “really bad”. Shoaib Malik just managed 67 runs in 11 CPL games averaging a pathetic 7.44 at an extremely poor strike rate of 59.82.
The commentator said the duo struggles to get going early on in their innings, but Mohammed Hafeez gets an edge over Shoaib Malik just because he could still contribute with the ball.
Simon Doull said: “I watched them both in the CPL and, I mean, I have got to say Shoaib Malik was really bad. Really bad. Eyes were gone, [he was] really struggling. I know he had one really good innings in the [National T20 cup] but I just watched him enough in the CPL to think I just couldn’t have the two of them in the same team. They both struggle to get going early on so they have to make that choice. And because Hafeez can bowl a bit still, that’s why I would go with him.”
The T20 World Cup 2021 match between India and Pakistan will begin at 7:30 PM IST in Dubai.
Pakistan’s 12-member squad against India: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Hasan Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, and Shaheen Shah Afridi.