It seems that Misbah-ul-Haq is determined to bring back the old guard in Pakistan cricket. After taking over as the head coach and chief selector of the team following the exit of Mickey Arthur, Misbah has brought about changes in the side, whether it be diet, fitness or players. Ahead of the Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka beginning on October 5 in Lahore, Misbah has brought some players who did not feature in Mickey Arthur's scheme of things.
The Pakistan Twenty20 International side sees the return of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad. Umar, who last played an ODI series before the World Cup against Australia, did not feature in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 while Shehzad, who last played for Pakistan in June 2018, is also back in the scheme of things.
Shehzad has enjoyed a decent run in the last season, scoring well for Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League and also some decent contributions for Federal Areas in the domestic one-dayers. Speaking on the inclusion of the two players, Misbah said, "Both Shehzad and Umar are experienced players and have performed and left an impact in the T20 format. They trained hard in the recent conditioning camp and have done well in domestic cricket so we are giving them a chance. We are checking players for vacant spots in the team ahead of the World Cup which is important for us," Misbah said, adding he is also looking at Ifthikar Ahmed as a utility player.
Shehzad and Umar Akmal were singled out for some scathing criticism after Pakistan's debacle in the 2016 World T20 which saw them exit in the league stages. Pakistan's then head coach, Waqar Younis, had told in a report which was accessed by ESPNCricinfo which said, " I can assure you that sacrificing one Umar Akmal will allow us to develop other players who can truly and proudly wear the star on their chest and represent Pakistan." On Shehzad, Waqar had said, "How can you consider a player in one tour when you have dropped him in a previous tour? What is the criteria to be selected? To gain support from the media and then bring back into the team."
Pakistan T20 squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (Capt), Babar Azam, Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Ifthikar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Aamir, Muhammad Hasnain, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz