Pakistan batter Sohaib Maqsood has been ruled of the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup with veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik named as his replacement.
The news was confirmed by the Pakistan Cricket Board in a statement. Maqsood will miss the tournament due to a lower back injury.
A statement by chief selector Muhammad Wasim read: "Sohaib is devastated to miss out on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as he had worked hard for this event and was in sparkling form. We feel for him but injuries are part and parcel of the sport. I am sure after undergoing rehabilitation, he’ll fully recover to be available for future assignments."
"In his place and following discussions with the team management, we have decided to include Shoaib Malik in the side. I am sure Shoaib’s experience will be handy for the entire squad.”
The news will come as a major blow to Pakistan, with Maqsood pencilled in as a vital part of their batting set-up. The selectors though will hope that Shoaib Malik's experience and canny skills with both the bat and the ball will prove to be a great addition to the squad.
Pakistan will open their campaign at the T20 World Cup against India on October 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
"If we've started well, it's not in my nature to think I should hold myself back" Getty Images
It's the monsoon in Lahore, sweeping rain washing down the red brick of the Gaddafi Stadium complex. The drainage system, ill equipped to handle what the monsoon unleashes in this part of Pakistan, has long given up, water spilling back out onto the streets just outside the PCB's offices in the complex. Still, the place is packed with journalists and TV reporters, because in an intimate little room nestled behind the open-plan office space, Pakistan's T20 captain will spare a few minutes for a chat with the media.
The room was obviously never built to house a dozen TV cameras, and so, instead of sitting at the head of the conference table, the biggest name in Pakistan cricket stands in a corner as questions are breathlessly volleyed at him. He repeats the usual platitudes about players needing to do their best, emphasises the importance of coping with pressure, and - bless him - expresses satisfaction that New Zealand and England are coming to Pakistan to play seven T20Is ahead of the World Cup.
Babar Azam isn't exactly the most engaging speaker, especially not in a crowd. Every word of his is scrutinised and sensationalised by the fans and the media, so being predictably dull is a rather useful skill to possess.
Once it's all done and everyone begins to filter out, Babar sits down for an interview with ESPNcricinfo. Pakistan have only recently returned from the West Indies, where they have split a two-match Test series, and the focus is now fully on the T20 World Cup. Every bit of preparation is geared towards that tournament, one that, had it followed its regular cycle of being held every two years, Pakistan would have been overwhelming favourites for.
In recent years, however, that dominance has evaporated, the dip in results faithfully aligning alongside a coaching change Pakistan made following the 2019 ODI World Cup. In three years under former head coach Mickey Arthur, Pakistan won 30 of 37 T20Is. Since his successor Misbah-ul-Haq came in, Pakistan won just 16 of 34, and slipped to No. 3 in the T20I rankings. Babar acknowledges the change had an effect - something that will undoubtedly concern Pakistan given they have had yet another change of coaches since he spoke. But he also insists the full picture is more nuanced.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) unveiled on Friday the official jersey of the Pakistan cricket team for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021.
The jersey launch comes the same day the national cricket team departed for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to participate in the mega event that is to be played in Oman and the UAE from October 17 to November 14.
The jersey follows the traditional green and yellow scheme with a hint of army camouflage in the base.
A day earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also launched India's official kit for the T20 World Cup.
Unlike Pakistan, the Indian cricket board unveiled the official jersey in a grand fashion with a scintillating light show at the Burj Khalifa, Dubai.
Pakistan’s likely lineup for India clash in T20 World Cup
The clash between the arch-rivals will be one of the most anticipated match of the event
15 October, 2021
Pakistan team will begin their T20 World Cup campaign with match against India on October 24 in Dubai.
The clash between the arch-rivals will be one of the most anticipated match of the event.
As far as the Men in Green’s playing XI for the match is concerned, there is no doubt that the openers will be skipper Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan. The duo have been in red-hot form in the recent past, which is why a change in the opening pair is unlikely during the World Cup.
Haider Ali and Fakhar Zaman are the two options under consideration for the one-down position. Haider’s good run of form in the recently concluded National T20 Cup gives him edge over Fakhar, however lack of left-handed batters in Pakistan’s lineup could tilt the odds in favour of the latter.
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam called veteran all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik as “match winners” which is why there is a strong possibility that the duo will be part of the lineup.
Babar has always been a strong supporter of Malik’s inclusion in the Pakistan side, especially due to the team’s middle-order woes, something which was also confirmed by sources in August this year.
Asif Ali will be used as a finisher, while the spin department will be led by Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim.
Pakistan’s pace battery is likely to include Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf.
Likely Pakistan lineup for India match:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haider Ali/Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Excitement is in the air and the team is in the UAE! They gave us some glimpses of their journey so far on social media.
Photo: Babar Azam/Twitter
Exciting times lie ahead of us! The ICC Men's T20 World Cup is almost here and the Men in Green have flown off to the venue ahead of their first match with India. Fans are on the edge of their seats and the team is adding to that excitement by giving us a look at what they're up to.
The ICC Men's T20 World Cup, which is being hosted by India this time around, will kick off on Sunday with the first round of matches.
The World Cup is being held in the UAE and our cricket team flew off to the venue on October 15 ahead of their first match on October 24.
The team was spotted looking dapper in their new jerseys. The PCB officially unveiled the jerseys to the public on October 15 and they are now available for purchase by fans eager to wear the same duds as Babar Azam and the gang.
Shadab Khan seems particularly excited about the new design. He shared his jersey number with followers on Instagram Stories.
Many players such as captain Azam, Hassan Ali and Khan updated fans about their departure on their personal social media accounts.
Being a PAKISTANI i WOULD LOVE TO SEE PAKISTAN TO LIFT THE WORLD CUP BUT UNFORTUNATELY IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE. FOR ME THE BEST OR TOP THREE T20 ALROUND TEAMS IN ORDER ARE ENGLAND, WESTINDIES AND INDIA. NEWZEALAND MIGHT SURPRISE EVERYBODY.