Shahid Afridi spoke about Shoaib Malik’s absence from the T20 World Cup squad, a week before the side’s scheduled start to the campaign against India.
The Pakistan cricket team will kickstart its T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals India on October 23. Ahead of the tournament, the side took part in multiple T20I series including a seven-match rubber against England, where they conceded a close 3-4 defeat. In the T20I tri-series involving New Zealand and Bangladesh, however, the Babar Azam-led side clinched a brilliant win in the final against the Kiwis.
One of the major concerns for Pakistan in the lead up to the T20 World Cup, however, has been their middle-order. Even as the final of the tri-series saw players in the middle-order like Mohammad Nawaz and Haider Ali stepping up, the underwhelming performance from the side’s 3-6 put significant pressure on its top order of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan.
The Pakistan Cricket Board persisted with the existing middle-order batters for the T20 World Cup, though, as they snubbed veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik who was widely touted for a return to the side. Pakistan’s former captain Shahid Afridi spoke about Malik’s absence a week before the start of the side’s campaign at the tournament, insisting that one only remembers players like him when the existing ones fail to perform.
“Ham naye ladke ko chance dete hain. Vo perform nahi kar paate toh puraane yaad aane lagte hain. Logon ko Shoaib Malik kyun yaad aata hai? Isliye kyunki koi perform nahi kar raha hota aur fir vo hi hamein achha lag raha hota hai. (We give chances to new people, and when they don’t perform, we start remembering the old ones. Why are people remembering Shoaib Malik? It’s because the newer guys aren’t performing),” Afridi said on Samaa TV.
“Mere baare me logon ki rai thi ki Lala aap abhi bhi khel sakte hain. Par main bol deta hu ki bas, ho gaya hai. (People also tell me that I can still play for Pakistan. But for me, that chapter is over),” said the former Pakistan skipper.