Muhammad Hafeez renounces the Bangladesh tour, Iftikhar Ahmed will probably replace him
The experienced all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has decided to reject the upcoming Bangladesh tour in order to leave a place free for a youngster in the team.
LAHORE: The formidable Iftikhar Ahmed was accepted in place of the experienced all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez when the national selection committee announced on Monday an 18-strong Pakistani squad for the tour of Bangladesh, on which a series of T20 International consisting of three games will be played 19., 20 and November 22nd in Dhaka.
31-year-old Iftikhar, who has played 13 T20 Internationals so far, is the only change in the squad currently represented at the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE. According to PCB, 41-year-old Hafeez decided to skip the tour to give every youngster a chance, so Iftikhar, who was named the best player of the last national T20 tournament, was selected.
"The only change in the team that has qualified for the semi-finals of the ICC T20 World Cup is Mohammad Hafeez, who quit after talks with chief selection champion Mohammad Wasim so that younger thugs have the opportunity to perform and gain international experience exposure" According to a PCB press release on Monday.
One of the favorites on the T20 squad, Iftikhar, lost because the selection favored Shoaib Malik's experience. Iftikhar had impressive T20 numbers this year: his 654 T20 runs averaged 54.50. He beat her at 145.98. Pakistan will have Haider Ali and Khushdil Shah in the middle along with Iftikhar. It is likely that all the benched players of the World Cup against Bangladesh will be given a chance, where they will have the freedom to choose from 18 members.
Hafeez, the second-longest cricketer in Pakistan after Malik, has given in at his request, but it is unclear whether he withdrew from the game altogether. He had originally planned to retire after the T20 World Cup in Australia in November last year to reconsider his decision due to the postponement of the tournament.
He had recently eluded a question about retirement and said he would "decide what to do" after the T20 World Cup. The PCB for its part made it clear, however, that Hafeez had discussed his unavailability for the current tour with the election committee Muhammad Wasim.
Ramiz Raja, the current PCB chairman, was one of the high profile voices calling on Hafeez and fellow veteran Malik to "gracefully retire". The PCB is keen to rebuild the squad after a number of resignations, including former head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis less than a month before the World Cup.
Saqlain Mushtaq is currently the interim head coach, a new full-time coach has yet to be determined. Mathew Hayden's short-term performance as a punch coach is due to end after the ongoing T20 World Cup, while Vernon Philander will extend his stay in Bangladesh for the three T20Is and the first test.
The Pakistani team will fly to Dhaka from the United Arab Emirates and enter another bio-safe bubble that has formed in Dhaka. The three-game T20I series will be followed by two tests in Chattogram (November 26-30) and Dhaka (December 4-8). The roster for the test series will be announced by November 15th.