The Pakistan limited-overs sides’ opening department has met a major blow after the suspension of hard-hitting batsman Sharjeel Khan, newly-appointed ODI and T20 skipper Sarfraz Ahmed admitted on Friday.
Pakistan are set to tour the Caribbean for a four T20Is, three ODIs and as many Tests against West Indies next month.
Sharjeel and Khalid Latif were suspended and then charged last month by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after being accused of meeting a suspicious person linked to an international betting syndicate during the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) season .
Both players, along with Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed are currently suspended and undergoing investigations, with their career futures dwindling.
“Sharjeel was not only settled in but was exactly the sort of player we needed to open the batting,” Sarfraz told while addressing media in Lahore.
“He was the kind of batsman who played cricket in line with modern-day requirements.”
Sharjeel, in his 25 ODIs and 15 T20Is for the country has stood out as far as strike rate is concerned and was emerging as a solution to Pakistan’s opening vows since coming back into the side last year.
“Some players are set in the team, and with their ouster the combination of the team gets upset,” complained Sarfraz.
The skipper, however, hoped players coming in as the southpaw’s replacement will get the best out of the opportunity.
“His (Sharjeel’s) absence will be felt but whoever comes in as a replacement will also be an outstanding player, and they can give their best to take Pakistan forward,” said Sarfraz.
“These young players that we brought in are very talented and they have been selected after consistent domestic performances,” added the 29-year-old
“They have been outstanding and this is the reason they got a chance.”
Sarfraz’s first tour as captain kicks off on March 26 when Pakistan play their first T20 at Bridgetown, Barbados.