Pakistan T20I

Pakistan are likely to be on the brink of a T20I overhaul, but which of the members of the T20 World Cup squad are going to survive that?

Defeats to the USA and India were enough to ensure Pakistan’s exit from the group stage of the T20 World Cup. As often happens, this may lead to a complete overhaul of their squad and structure in the line-up. We look at which of the members are likely to be part of their plans in the long run.

Also read: Imad Wasim: Pakistan need to change mindset and 'get rid of fear of failure'


Shaheen Shah Afridi: The spearhead of the attack, Shaheen is one of the most-feared new-ball bowlers across formats. His hitting abilities add to batting depth, and he has had proven success as PSL captain. Only 24, he is definitely in line to be Pakistan’s new T20I captain.  

Naseem Shah: Despite Pakistan’s rich legacy of producing fast bowlers, only a handful were as good at 21 as Naseem. Another for the long-term future.

Mohammad Amir: There is no cricketing reason for Amir to be dropped. It may sound ridiculous, but he is really 32 – and has age on his side. At the World Cup, he demonstrated that he still has a few years left in him.

Mohammad Rizwan: Much has been spoken about the relevance of anchors in T20, but some teams want one. If Pakistan have to pick one, Rizwan’s wicketkeeping provides him an edge.

Shadab Khan: The best fielder in the side, a strike rate of 140 (very high by Pakistan standards), and the ability to bowl his full quota if needed makes Shadab the MVP of the Pakistan T20I unit. 

Usman Khan: The record-breaking outing in PSL 2024 needs some more backing. He is yet to cross fifty in T20Is, but he has played only nine games including two on the low-scoring New York pitch. 

Abbas Afridi: Pakistan seldom rotate their fast bowlers, as a result of which they were rendered helpless when Naseem was ruled out of the 2023 World Cup. Managing their seamers’ workload will be key to Pakistan’s future. Abbas should get more games. 

Haris Rauf: Amir’s excellent comeback might have reduced Haris to fourth in the fast-bowling ranks, but he should be in contention in near future.

Neither here nor there

Babar Azam: England have moved on from Joe Root in T20Is. Australia, from Steve Smith. It will not be a surprise if New Zealand drop Kane Williamson. Had India left Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli out of their World Cup squad, it would not have been an illogical move. How long before Pakistan think on the same lines about Babar, Pakistan’s finest in the two longer formats by some distance and their biggest star but with 36 in 28 balls on an average per T20I innings? 


Azam Khan: A single-digit average across 14 T20Is sounds poor, but then again, the role of a “finisher” demands longer runs. With a 1,000-run cut-off, Azam has the second-best strike rate among Pakistanis in the PSL. In the history of T20, only six batters have scored more runs at No.5 or 6 than Azam while scoring at quicker than his 150. Whether Pakistan want to back a rare finisher despite his initial failures is up to them.  

Abrar Ahmed: It is difficult to think of a role for Abrar unless Shadab remains injured for a sustained period of time or loses form altogether and gets dropped from the side.

Iftikhar Ahmed: Barring 2022, Iftikhar has struck at over 140 in every calendar since 2020 in all T20, but a dry 2024 in T20Is might have hurt his cause.


Fakhar Zaman: As time passes, it will be difficult to find a role for Fakhar, a third anchor in the XI. At 34, he is not exactly young, and the likes of Usman may pip him in the long term.

Saim Ayub: To accommodate Saim, Pakistan did the unthinkable – they split up Babar and Rizwan. Saim is yet to get a fifty from 20 games – mostly while opening batting. It would have been acceptable had he not struck at 123, slower than Babar and Rizwan’s scoring rates. Saim is too talented to be shut out altogether, but he may not be playing T20Is in near future.

Imad Wasim: Imad can give Pakistan four economical overs per match, but with a strong pace attack backed by Shadab, do Pakistan need another bowler? His batting adds little value, for he strikes at 131 – below par for someone who usually bats at six or seven. Unless Pakistan find a role that maximises his bowling but uses him as an emergency batter, his presence will probably mess up the balance more than enhance it.

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