Sarfraz Ahmed : Sharjeel's absence a blow for Pakistan
LAHORE, Pakistan (CMC):
Opener Sharjeel Khan's absence from Pakistan's limited overs tour of West Indies later this month will be a big loss for the side, captain Sarfraz Ahmed has said.
Sharjeel was provisionally suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board over his alleged role in a spot-fixing scandal during the first week of the just concluded Pakistan Super League.
The 27-year-old has emerged as a potent force in recent months and was the side's leading batsman on the one-day tour of Australia in January.
"It's saddening when you lose some players who are perfect for the setup. Sharjeel was the type of player who we needed as he was perfect for the contemporary run-and-gun style of cricket," said Sarfraz following a training session in preparation for the upcoming series.
"He isn't with us anymore so of course it will affect us but I have full faith in the newcomers and they will translate their domestic form at international level."
He added: "The West Indies tour holds immense importance for the team. Sharjeel's absence will make a difference, but hopefully the other openers will step up and not let us feel his absence."
Pakistan take on West Indies in a full tour which runs from March 26 to May 14. The tour will include four Twenty20 Internationals, three One-Day Internationals and three Tests.
In the limited overs squad named this week, selectors included the likes of veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, both of whom Sarfraz said a lot would be expected from.
"The presence of senior players like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik is very important for the team. We will leverage the capabilities of those players who are in form," Sarfraz stressed.