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October 20, 2020

Leg-spinner Zahid unlucky to miss out on selection

Sports

October 20, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Chief selector Misbahul Haq on Monday named 22 players for the One-Day and Twenty20 International series against Zimbabwe. One of the glaring omissions in the list is leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood, one of the most impressive bowlers in the just concluded National T20 Cup.

Though ‘The News’ has learned that Zahid has been asked to get ready for the New Zealand tour, not finding him among the probables for the Zimbabwe series was shocking rather than surprising.

Zahid, who represented Southern Punjab, took 12 wickets from nine matches in the National T20 Cup. More importantly, it was his line and length and control over the leg-spin variations that was the most impressive.

“Chief selector and head coach Misbahul Haq has personally talked to him and assured him that his performances will not go unnoticed,” a Pakistan Cricket Board official said. It has been learned that he is a serious contender for the forthcoming New Zealand tour.

When asked why the selectors did not consider Zahid for the Zimbabwe series as his selection could have boosted his morale, the PCB official said the selectors wanted to try left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar. “They want to give opportunities to all players who are knocking at the door of international cricket,” he said.

Zafar took eight wickets in eight matches for Central Punjab in the National T20 Cup. Power-hitter Azam Khan may also be included in the Pakistan Shaheens squad that will accompany the national team to New Zealand next month.

‘The News’ has learned that around 32 players will be shortlisted for the New Zealand tour that will include a Test series and three T20 Internationals. Shaheens will also play a series of limited-over matches in New Zealand. The selection of Khushdil Shah and Rohail Nazir (backup wicketkeeper) is a welcome sign. There is a good chance that Khushdil will feature in the T20 series against Zimbabwe.