Uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafiq has been rewarded for his performances in the domestic circuit with a maiden Pakistan call-up in place of Shoaib Malik for the Zimbabwe series. Misbah-ul-Haq insisted that some senior players are not picked for the series but they shouldn’t worry about their career.
Uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafiq has been performing consistently for his home side Central Punjab, which was evident in the recently-concluded National T20 Cup, where the 20-year old finished as the seventh most successful batsman in the tourney with 358 runs at a strike-rate of over 133. He also became only the second player in history to make a century on both first-class and T20 debuts as he scored a century on his T20 debut.
On Monday, Shafiq earned a maiden national call-up as reward for his consistent performances, but senior players Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, and Mohammad Amir were left out from Pakistan's 22-man probables list for the ODI and T20I series against Zimbabwe next month. Shafiq was included in place of Malik, while gloveman Rohail Nazir was named as Mohammad Rizwan's back-up.
"Abdullah Shafiq has been rewarded for his tremendous potential and performance. He has been identified as a future prospect and, therefore, drafted into the squad as part of his development," Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said in a statement as quoted by TOI.
Misbah stated that the players who have not been picked should not be disappointed and should continue working hard to get selected. He assured the senior players that their career is still not over and insisted that performance was the only criterion for selection.
"A few leading performers may feel disappointed that they have been unable to break into the squad. But, I want to reassure them that they will remain in consideration for the New Zealand tour and early next year's home series," Misbah said.
"Seniors like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed have not been picked for this series, but I want to categorically state that their careers are not over by any means as performance remains the only criterion for selection. We have followed the same philosophy while leaving out Mohammad Amir and Usman Shinwari so that bowlers like Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, and Haris Rauf can get an extended run."
The ODI series will be played at the Pindi cricket stadium on October 30, November 1, and 3, followed by three T20Is at the Gaddafi Stadium on November 7, 8, and 10.