Veteran Malik back in Pakistan T20 squad

Pakistan batsman Sohaib Maqsood will miss the Twenty20 World Cup with a back injury, giving an unexpected chance to 39-year-old veteran Shoaib Malik.

After an MRI scan on his lower back, Maqsood was replaced in the 15-member squad by Malik for the tournament which begins later this month.

“Sohaib is devastated to miss out as he had worked hard for this event and was in sparkling form,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said on Saturday.

“We feel for him but injuries are part and parcel of the sport. I am sure after undergoing rehabilitation, he’ll fully recover to be available for future assignments.”

Malik has not played a T20 international since competing against England last year.

The selectors didn’t include him in the initial T20 World Cup squad last month and he didn’t feature when Pakistan made three changes on Friday, bringing in Sarfaraz Ahmed, Haider Ali and Fakhar Zaman.

But Wasim said: “Shoaib’s experience will be handy for the entire squad.”

Malik is the world’s most capped T20 international player, having played in 116 games, three more than countryman Mohammad Hafeez.

Malik led Pakistan in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and was a member of the Pakistan team which won the tournament in England in 2009.

Although he missed out on the 2010 edition, he featured in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 tournaments.

He had a below-par performance in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League in the West Indies with only 67 runs in 11 games for Guyana Amazon Warriors.

Pakistan will play two warm-up games against the West Indies and South Africa on October 18 and 20, respectively, before taking on arch rivals India in their opening Group 2 game on October 24 at Dubai. New Zealand and Afghanistan are also in the group.

The Fort News