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Pakistan`s squad needs work for World T20 challenge

01 January, 2020

Pakistan have lost their last four T20 international series on the bounce, proving themselves outsiders for the World T20 in 2020.

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The Green Army have not been able to compete with the leading nations in the world in the shortest format, losing to South Africa, England and Australia in 2019 alone. 

They were soundly beaten by Sri Lanka on home soil, which prompted the sacking of Sarfaraz Ahmed as the captain of both the Test and T20 sides. Babar Azam was named as his successor, being left with the challenge of reversing the fortunes of the team in a short space of time. Pakistan are backed at 10/1 the cricket betting odds to win the World T20 for the second time – after triumphing in the second edition of the tournament in 2009.

There is no shortage of talent in the Pakistan squad. Azam himself is developing into one of the leading batsmen in the game in all formats. The 25-year-old has an imperious average of 50.17 in T20 internationals, including 12 half-centuries in only 36 matches.

Azam has to be the player that Pakistan build their side around, and he has taken upon himself to open the batting to provide impetus, but he has not received a great deal of support from his team-mates – notably in their series defeat to Australia. It was encouraging that Azam was able to thrive, scoring two fifties against the Aussies – who are the hosts of the World T20.

However, the rest of the line-up will have to get themselves in gear to ensure that their captain is not fighting a losing battle.

Fakhar Zaman has not been able to transfer his impressive form from the 50-over game into the shortest format. The 29-year-old is a quality player at the top of the order, but he has struggled to impose himself, averaging only 22.90 in his 34 games – a stark contrast to his record in ODIs. Zaman is the not the only player to fail to thrive Imam Ul-Haq and Haris Solail have also been unable to rise to the occasion for the Green Army. There are not a lot of options behind them therefore it will be on those players to step up for the tournament unless there is an emergence of fresh talent. 

The bowling ranks also boast an array of quality led by Mohammad Amir. The 28-year-old has an excellent record in T20Is and has no excuse not to perform after retiring from Test cricket. Shadab Khan is a very intriguing leg spinner, who at the age of 21 will only improve as he gains further experience at the highest level.

Pakistan need their two stars to perform on a consistent basis as the rest of their attack is mercurial to say the least. Wahab Riaz has had his moments, but has had as many bad days then good. Hasan Ali could be the key – when Pakistan stunned the world by winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, the right-arm seamer was outstanding. He has the ability, but will need to rediscover his peak form in order for his team to have a sniff at the crown.


 
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