Pakistan to go with best XI in Lahore matches

Abdul Mohi Shah
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan are planning to go with their best combination for the remaining three T20 Internationals against England with Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah likely to return to the playing XI for the fifth match to be held at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday (tomorrow).

“It has been decided that Pakistan should go all out and with the best available combination for the rest of three matches against England,” a team management official said. “Both Naseem and Shadab are an important part of that best combination. Though Naseem played one match in Karachi, a fitter and ready Naseem will be there for the fifth match. Shadab missed all the four matches of the series against England in Karachi after developing an injury during the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka on September 11,” the official said.

He said that though Shadab had regained fitness a week back he was given extended rest to get him completely ready for the tri-series in New Zealand and the T20 World Cup. The team management is also considering including backup wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris in one of the remaining matches. “If Pakistan succeed in wrapping up the series by winning the next two T20 matches, a few changes are expected in the seventh. The team management is contemplating including reserve wicketkeeper Haris in the playing line up,” said the official.

The team management has expressed its delight at Iftikhar Ahmad's bowling performance in the fourth T20. “Iftikhar has proved his worth by conceding just 23 runs in four over. On a few occasions he also came close to taking a wicket. His bowling performance has really given an extra option in bowling which is big news for the country’s cricket,” he said.

The official was all praise for the exceptional performance shown by pacer Haris Rauf. “He is a great addition to the Pakistan bowling armory and hopefully would continue with the same vein in months and years to come. He is a true white ball bowler who can develop into a real force even in red ball cricket,” he said.

England might include fast bowler Mark Wood in the playing XI for the fifth T20. Wood, who has the capacity to bowl at 160km, was the difference between Pakistan and England sides during the third T20. He was rested for the fourth.