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Misbah unimpressed with Sharjeel’s fitness, full of praise for Haider

The 45-year-old has advised the left-hand opener to get leaner in order to improve his fitness

PHOTO: PSL

Pakistan’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq was not impressed with Karachi Kings’ opener Sharjeel Khan’s fitness in the fifth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL)

While speaking with reporters in a teleconference, the 45-year-old advised the left-handed opener to get leaner in order to improve his fitness.

“I don’t doubt Sharjeel’s potential as an opener as he can play at a strike rate of 150. However, he needs a lot of work on his fitness, which he has time for now,” Misbah said. “He also needs to lose weight which will eventually improve his fitness. Sharjeel needs to keep in mind that his fitness needs to be at the same level as other players in the team. Once he meets the standard required for international cricket, only then he will be considered for national selection. I am confident that Sharjeel will focus on improving his fitness.”

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Misbah was full of praise for Peshawar Zalmi’s Haider Ali and said that the rookie batsman has proved to be a quality batsman at all levels.

“Haider Ali had already made a name for himself after performing in domestic and junior level cricket. Even in Under 19 cricket, his performances were outstanding,” he said. “Now he has impressed everyone in T20 cricket as well with his batting in PSL.  He is someone who can play quality strokes against any kind of bowler.”

“Azam Khan also played some solid innings which shows his temperament. However, he needs to lose weight and improve his fitness level,” he added.

Misbah also responded on criticism regarding Islamabad United’s performance, who finished at the bottom of the points table, in PSL 5,

“I’m not disappointed over the fact that I decided to coach Islamabad United because we played good cricket overall,” he said. “Some things, such as rain interruptions, also did not go our way. We lost one match on DLS despite scoring nearly 200 runs. It was closely fought tournament and had we won our last game, people would not have been saying things about our side that they are now.”

Lahore Qalandars’ Dilbar Hussain also caught the attention of Misbah, who believes that the pacer can develop into a quality T20 bowler.

Finally, the chief selector revealed that they there is no fixed plan of keeping a single wicketkeeper across all formats, as they are looking at various options that can improve the team’s combination.