Shortsighted to prefer 40-year-olds Hafeez, Malik over young blood: former senator

Abdul Mohi Shah
Mohammad Hafeez (L) and Shoaib Malik (R) often face criticism whenever selected for T20 cricket. Photo: File

Enver Baig, a former member of Senate's Standing Committee on Sports, has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to inject young cricketers in the system now with an eye on 2021 T20 World Cup instead of still relying on veterans such as Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

Senator Baig, while speaking to The News, said he was surprised to see aging players getting preference over young blood at a time when Pakistan should be building a team for the T20 World Cup.

"T20 cricket is all about young legs, sharp reflexes and athleticism. Time is ripe for Pakistan to induct youngsters in the team rather than including players who are around or over 40."

"I was amazed at the selection of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik instead of Haider Ali and Khushdil Shah for the first T20 against England.

"Malik and Hafeez played in Pakistan’s first ever T20 International in 2006 and surprisingly they are still playing. It is amazing and at the same time worrying as well. Such a policy cannot groom your talent. Who knows how fit both of them will be in 14 months."

READ: Ramiz Raja urges management to experiment with Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah in 2nd T20I

Senator Baig was also unhappy with head coach and chief selector Misbahul Haq’s 'go-slow' policy. 

"You need to induct youth in the T20s at the earliest. These youngsters have proved their mettle in the Pakistan Super League and are capable of delivering at the international level. Don’t rob them of their due," he said.

He called on PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani to intervene and ensure timely introduction of youth in T20 International cricket. 

"It is not like Test cricket where you need experience. This is T20s where you require athleticism and exuberance rather than one and a half decades of experience.”

Senator Baig said Pakistan must take a leaf out of England strategy-makers’ book.

"Look at the way they are grooming Tom Banton and a host of other youngsters. They may lose a few matches on the way, which is natural, but they will have a young and settled team by the time the T20 World Cup arrives.

"Banton was a failure in PSL V and yet has got full faith of English selectors and he has already started delivering. Let’s take a lesson from the usually ultra conservative England selectors who took a chance with 22-year-old Crawley even in Test cricket," he said.

READ: Graham Thorpe cautions Tom Banton after being compared to Kevin Pitersen

Pak vs Eng: 'Shortsighted to play 40-year-olds Hafeez, Malik'