Pakistan captain Babar Azam rules out Shoaib Malik’s return for T20 World Cup

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has ruled out the return of veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik to the T20 squad ahead of the World Cup in Australia.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam rules out Shoaib Malik’s return for ICC T20 World Cup (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Babar has ruled out Shoaib Malik’s return for T20 World Cup
  • Babar is backing Hasan Ali to return to international cricket
  • Pakistan will play three ODIs in Rotterdam before arriving in the UAE

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said his team needed to give fresh talent more opportunities to develop, thus ruling out a return for veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik to the T20 squad ahead of the World Cup in Australia.

Malik, who played the last of his 124 T20Is against Bangladesh last November, has impressed in Pakistan’s domestic T20 league and with the Asia Cup and World Cup on the horizon, local media suggested the 40-year-old’s experience could prove invaluable.

However, there was no place for the former captain, a useful all-rounder, in the squad for this month’s Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Babar said they were looking to the future with the World Cup coming up in October-November.

“There are matches immediately after the Netherlands, so it’s unlikely there will be time for changes,” Babar told reporters on Thursday ahead of their Dutch tour next week.

“When senior players leave the side, those replacing them need focus. (Mohammad) Hafeez and Malik were huge players and we’ll miss them a lot, and players like Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar (Ahmed) need to fill their boots. “We want to give them plenty of matches and confidence, and these players have performed.”

Babar is backing Hasan Ali to return to international cricket after the fast bowler was dropped for the one-day international series against the Netherlands and the T20 Asia Cup.

“I know Hasan Ali is not in form, but it’s not like he has to prove anything,” Babar said in Lahore on Thursday as Pakistan prepared to leave for the Netherlands.

Pakistan will play three ODIs in Rotterdam before arriving in the UAE where they begin their Asia Cup campaign with an Aug. 28 blockbuster against arch-rivals India in Dubai.

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