PCB turned down Babar Azam's request to have Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in T20I side
Pakistan's newly-appointed T20I captain Babar Azam has revealed that he asked for some senior players in the squad for the upcoming T20I series against Australia but his request was turned down by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Babar held his first press-conference as Pakistan's T20I captain last week ahead of the team's departure to Australia.
Babar was asked about the exclusions of veteran players like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik from the T20I squad. He revealed that he had his say ahead of the selections and was keen on including some senior players. It has emerged that head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq had also agreed on the selection of Hafeez with Babar but the duo was advised by some PCB officials against picking the batting all-rounder.
Both Hafeez and Malik had missed Pakistan's recently concluded T20I series against Sri Lanka at home. The hosts were thrashed 3-0 by the second-string Sri Lankan team raising questions over Misbah's selections. Sarfaraz Ahmed was subsequently removed as Test and T20I captain and dropped from both squads.
When asked if he was consulted by the team management and selectors before the T20I squad was picked, Babar stated that he wanted a few players but didn't get them. "I had given my input for selection of the squad. I felt I required some seniors but it is decision of selectors," said the 25-year-old, who has a huge challenge lying ahead of him in his first major assignment as Pakistan captain in Australia.
Babar, who is currently the top-ranked T20I batsman in the world, said he would like his team to play an aggressive brand of cricket like Australians.
"It is a big challenge playing in Australia and beating them. The idea is to play fearless cricket and give them a good fight. Play aggressive cricket like they do," said the Pakistan T20I skipper.
Pakistan will be looking to bounce back strongly after their 3-0 drubbing against Sri Lanka as they continue their preparations for the World T20 next year.