Pakistan’s T20 skipper Babar Azam has defended the decision to recall veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, saying the experienced duo’s presence will help the team in its pursuit of retaining the number one spot in the shortest format.
Desperate to hold on to its numero uno status in T20 rankings, Pakistan has recalled Malik and Hafeez in the team for the three-match series against Bangladesh.
After the 0-3 drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka last year, desperate time awaits Pakistan as they need to win all the three matches against Bangladesh, failing which they will slide to second spot behind England or India in the T20 rankings after holding on to the top spot since January 2018.
“I felt that we needed these two (Shoaib Malik, Hafeez) seniors. They were part of the number one team last year,” he said.
“I gave my opinion to the selectors and they heard me. Their presence will help me and the team. I will learn from them on captaincy as well,” Babar added.
The 25-year-old batsman said Pakistan is under no pressure in the series against Bangladesh, especially after the thrashing in last T20 series against Sri Lanka at home in October last year.
“No there is no pressure for us because what is done is done but we will not try to repeat the same mistakes we did against the Lankans,” Babar said.
Babar made it clear that they were not taking Bangladesh lightly.
“Bangladesh have a good combination of youngsters and seniors and it will be a good competitive series. Their players have the advantage of having come here fresh out of the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League),” he said.
This is the first time in 12 years that Bangladesh is touring Pakistan and on the first leg of the visit, they will play the T20 series at Lahore before flying back home.
Babar, who is the top batsman in the ICC T20 rankings, said the series was important for Pakistan as they wanted to retain their number one rankings besides they were also trying out some new players.
The Pakistan captain, however, said that a clear picture about the composition of Pakistan’s World T20 squad would come after the Pakistan Super League in February-March.
An excited Babar also said it is a big moment for him to lead Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium here, a venue where 13 years back he served as a ball boy.
“It has been a long journey for me and I am very excited about captaining Pakistan for the first time at home and that too at the Gaddafi Stadium,” Babar told the reporter.
“No doubt it is a big moment for me because 13 years back I was a ball ball at this stadium.”