5 Pakistan Players who should have been a part of Asia XI against World XI
Think about an Asia XI without Pakistan players. It seems absurd, right?
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The Bangladesh Cricket Board announced the Asia XI squad which will face the World XI in a T20I series to commemorate the birth centenary of Sheik Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding father. With a team consisting of many Indians, many cricket fans were unhappy as they waned to witness Pakistan players playing with the Indians in the same team.
While the Indian cricket team will host a three-match ODI series against the South African team beginning from March 12, the participation of Virat Kohli is still not clear. While the national duties are surrounding the Indian captain, it is up to him whether he will declare himself available for the series.
Think about an Asia XI without Pakistan players. It seems absurd, right? Unfortunately, this time, there are no Pakistan players picked up by the BCB for the series. Have a look at the top 5 players who should have been picked if Pakistan players were considered for selection.
1. Babar Azam
When we talk about a batsman who is technically correct, stylish, and dependable, Babar Azam’s image pops up in your mind. While this stylish right-hander filled up the gap of number 3, which was haunting the Pakistan cricket team for decades, it is no brainer that Babar Azam could have been an alternate to Virat Kohli if the Indian skipper would have opted to miss out the match.
The 5th best batsman in the world when it comes to the toughest format of the game, Babar has been the rescuer of the Pakistani batting line up in recent years. Apart from being a formidable number 3 batsman, this Pakistani gem is often denoted as a talented opening batsman. With an average of 54.18 in ODIs, and 50.72 in the T20s, Babar is one of the best batsmen in the modern era.
While the Asia XI vs World XI series is scheduled to take place in accordance with the shorter format of the game, he could have been the difference-maker if the teams would have opted to include Pakistan players in their squad.
2. Shaheen Shah Afridi
This 19-year-old prodigy has been the pick of the bowlers on the Pakistani side for a year. With a baby face, Shaheen Afridi has the ability to trouble any batsman in the world. This batsman broke into the national scene when he took 8/39 on his debut in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. This was the best ever figures for a debutant in the tournament’s history.
After shaking the domestic circuit, there has been no look back for the tall left-arm bowler. He became the first bowler in the millennium to represent Pakistan when he played the third T20I against the Windies. He replaced Mohammad Amir in the Asia Cup squad and had a lukewarm tournament.
With a reach of 6ft 6in, this fast bowler can change the game in no time. With his intelligence, he can blend the slower deliveries with the Yorkers and can trouble the batsmen. Being a newbie at the international level, this series could have been a gateway for more learning for Shaheen.
3. Mohammad Amir
The “Wasim Akram” of the modern-day era, Mohammad Amir came into the international circuit in 2009. With a whippy pace and excellent skills, he troubled almost every batsman in the circuit.
If the Asia XI team needed someone to bowl the final overs, it is no doubt that Mohammad Amir was the man. With experience and skills, Amir can easily bowl the slower deliveries and swinging Yorkers, which can be a big plus point in any bowler’s arsenal.
The greatness of this left-arm bowler came into play when he forced the Indian batsmen to dance on his tunes in the Champions Trophy final while defending 338. Amir is the bowler who has the ability to give early breakthroughs to the team.
4. Shoaib Malik
Experience is something that can help a team cross the victory line. With batsmen like KL Rahul and Virat Kohli in the team, imagine what difference, the inclusion of Shoaib Malik could have made!
With 287 ODI games and 113 T20Is, Shoaib Malik can provide stability to the middle order. His ability to score big during difficult situations is priceless and his T20 expertise had guided Pakistan to the finals of the inaugural T20 World Cup, along with the 2009 T20 World Cup. As the former Pakistan captain has played his last World Cup, this could have been a fitting farewell for one of the greats in the shorter format.
Mr. Dependable of the Pakistan team could have been a great partner for the Indian captain and could have calmed down the team in case the batting order faced an early setback.
5. Shadab Khan
The leg spinners are an asset to any team. On their day, they can turn the game at any moment. In a “batsman-dominated” era, Shadab Khan has been the pick of the bowlers of the “leg-spinner” genre.
Unlike the modern era leg spinners, Shadab bowls with a trajectory and his wrist are a part of his arsenal to fox the batsmen. With figures of 4-0-7-3 on his debut, he is no doubt a player any team will thrive on.
With an economy of 7.03 in T20Is, he has been an impactful performer in the shorter format of the game. With many impactful performers in the team, the presence of Shahdab Khan could have made the game in favor of Asia XI.