The 32-year-old also defended his decision to include the right-hander in the playing XI
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has thrown his weight behind struggling opener Ahmed Shehzad, after he failed to make an impact in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) against Sri Lanka in Lahore.
While speaking during the post-match press conference at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the Men in Green’s skipper backed Shehzad to come good in future matches.
“Misbah [bhai] and I had decided that Ahmed Shehzad should be tried because looking ahead to the World Cup, if he gets set in the team as an opener, then we cannot find a better player,” said Sarfaraz. “We wanted to play Ahmed and Umar Akmal at their numbers, so if we played Fakhar Zaman as an opener, Ahmed would have to play one-down.”
“As I had said before, whichever players we bring into the squad will be given adequate chances. They are good players who have performed in domestic and will do well in the future,” he added.
The 32-year-old also defended his decision to include hard-hitting batsman Umar Akmal instead of in-form middle-order batsman Haris Sohail in the playing XI.
“The same reasoning we had for playing Umar Akmal in Sohail’s position as we had seen what Haris can do,” he said. “However, we wanted to try Umar at this position only, despite Haris doing well in his last T20I.”
Sarfaraz was also not too concerned about leg-spinner Shadab Khan’s dwindling form in limited-overs cricket.
“Shadab is fine but is going through a bad patch right now,” he said. “He needs your support as he is a bowler who in the past has put in good performances for Pakistan.”
The remaining two matches will be played on Monday and Wednesday — also in Lahore.
We discuss Pakistan's squad for South Africa Tests in Talk Cricket with Saleem Khaliq16/Jan/2021