The PCB are said to have made supreme standards of fitness non-negotiable as opener Sharjeel Khan has reportedly been told to shed weight over the course of the next 2 weeks in order to be eligible for selection. Shajeel’s selection, earlier, did not go down well with the management.
Disgraced-opener Sharjeel Khan’s return to the Pakistan first team might not be so straightforward as reports have emerged that the 31-year-old has been asked to shed ‘considerable weight’ over the course of the next couple of weeks in order to be contention for selection for the T20Is versus South Africa, starting April 10. Sharjeel, who was banned in 2017 for his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal, was named in the T20I squad for the South Africa tour after impressing in the Pakistan Super League, but while the selectors picked the southpaw on batting merit, the management and the support staff are said to have been left unimpressed by the 28-year-old’s fitness.
Cricinfo reports that the management, led by coach Misbah-ul-Haq, are ‘unwilling to compromise on fitness standards’ and hence have asked the opener to work on his fitness from now until the start of the T20Is, which is still 17 days away. The Pakistan players are currently playing intra-squad warm-up matches at the Gaddafi stadium as a part of the training camp, but Sharjeel has been left out of the same and has been asked to work on shedding weight.
Sharjeel, the report adds, has been provided with a personal trainer and has been asked to get back in shape by putting in hard yards over the course of the next 17 days.
"I agree his fitness isn't great but we will bring him up to the mark. His form right now can help us and he is one of the best openers. I have played with him in Karachi Kings and he can take away the pressure and totally change the game,” Azam had earlier said of Sharjeel’s selection.
"We are working on his fitness and you will see a difference. I never asked for him in ODIs but for T20 cricket, which is a short format, you can adjust."
Sharjeel, who partnered Babar Azam at Karachi Kings, was one of the best openers in PSL 2021, striking 200 runs in 5 games at an astounding SR of 170.94. The 31-year-old last represented Pakistan on January 26, 2017, at the Adelaide Oval against Australia.