Pakistan’s premier and seasoned opening batsman Ahmed Shahzad has not been picked in the T20I squad against Bangladesh. The green team is going to play three T20Is against Bangladesh on the 24th, 25th and 27th of January at the Qaddafi Stadium Lahore.
A lot of young players have been picked in the squad but the experienced opener Ahmed Shahzad has been neglected once again.
Shahzad last played for Pakistan in the T20I home series against Sri Lanka where he failed badly. Ahmed Shahzad and Umar Akmal both were picked in the side for that series and Shahzad couldn’t perform up to the expectations of the fans.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Shahzad has got the backing of the former English batsman Kevin Pietersen. Kevin has played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for Quetta Gladiators and he has seen Ahmed Shahzad performing brilliantly for the franchise.
In a long tweet, Kevin said that he has gone through the T20I side of Pakistan and he is shocked to see Ahmed Shahzad not being picked in the squad. Both Ahmed Shahzad and Umar Akmal have been dropped from the side and their exclusion has surprised many cricketers and fans around the world.
Kevin Pietersen also went on to say that the players who are picked ahead of Ahmed Shahzad don’t have better domestic numbers than Shahzad. Kevin Pietersen called it a stupid decision by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Head Coach and Chief Selector Misbah-ul-Haq.
Apart from Kevin Pietersen, former Pakistan captain and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq also backed Ahmed Shahzad and wanted him to be included in the T20I squad against Bangladesh.
Abdul Razzaq tweeted that a talented player like Ahmed Shahzad should have been picked in the T20I squad because of his great numbers against Bangladesh. Ahmed Shahzad enjoyed great form against Bangladesh every time he plays against them.
He also scored his maiden T20I hundred against Bangladesh in 2014 and became the only Pakistan player to have scored centuries across every format.
Abdul Razzaq also said that a talented player like Ahmed Shahzad deserves another chance as he has been scoring runs consistently in the domestic T20 competitions of Pakistan.
Ahmed Shahzad was only 17 when he grabbed the attention of the selectors in the ICC U-19 World Cup 2008.
Many other superstars of the cricketing world like Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson also played in that World Cup alongside him. Shahzad rose to prominence due to his attacking nature and was drafted into the ODI side of Pakistan in 2009.
He was fast-tracked into the national side but the youngster kept on going with his natural style of batting. Shahzad enjoyed a great tour of New Zealand in 2010 where he also scored his maiden ODI hundred against the Kiwis.
He was also part of the ICC World Cup 2011 squad but he couldn’t live up to the expectations in the mega event.
Since then, Ahmed Shahzad has been struggling to get into the national side permanently but he somehow loses his place after a string of poor performances. He also took part in the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009 where he emerged as a part of the champion Pakistan team.
He was also picked in the ICC T20 World Cups in 2014 and 2016. Ahmed Shahzad couldn’t perform in any of those tournaments but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) persisted with him due to his valuable performances in the longer format of the game. Shahzad also played a magnificent innings of 178 against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He was part of the ICC World Cup 2015 where he failed once again with the bat in some of the crucial matches. Shahzad could only score two half-centuries in that tournament and both of them came against the lower-ranked teams like United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ireland.
After the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, Shahzad was also picked in the squad for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2016. He went to India to participate in the event and he once again failed badly in that tournament. Ahmed was going through a horrific form before the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and people wanted him out of the side immediately.
He played the first match of the Champions Trophy in 2017 and all of the Pakistan batters failed in that innings. In the upcoming games of the tournament, Ahmed Shahzad was replaced by Fakhar Zaman who went on to grab the opportunity with both hands.
It is safe to say that Ahmed Shahzad lost his permanent place in the squad after that match against India in the Champions Trophy. After Pakistan triumphed over India in the final of the tournament, Ahmed Shahzad was completely dropped from the squad for the upcoming series’ and his struggle is still going on.