Ahmad Shahzad’s opening partner in Quetta Gladiators Luke Wright believes the Pakistani right-hand batsman is young and still has an opportunity to make a meaningful comeback into the national squad.
“Both Kevin Pietersen and I spoke to Ahmed on this subject,” said Wright. “Fact is that we have all been left out of our country’s squad at some point in our careers. There aren’t too many people who go through their career without being left out of the team and it is important not to dwell upon this but to work at getting back into the team. In my experience, even the best England players like Ian Bell have been left out but came back to make important contributions for the squad,” he added.
The 30-year-old opined that Shahzad will be an important part of Pakistan’s cricketing future.
“Ahmed Shehzad is only 24 and he is a very good player. I do believe that he will be a very important player for Pakistan in the future. What he needs to do now is to go away and make lots of runs and he will be back in the squad soon,” said Wright.
‘Pakistan strong competitors for World T20’
Wright, one of the top-scorers of the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL), further said that Pakistan would have been a difficult opposition to beat if Shahzad was in the World T20 squad but the Shahid Afridi-led men still have what it takes to be the best.
“I believe Pakistan have a good chance of impressing in the World T20,” he said. “They are all very skillful players and most importantly they know the conditions very well. In my personal view, they would have had a better chance if they had Shahzad in the side, but even without him, the squad is a strong one and very difficult to beat.”
‘Nawaz is a smart bowler’
The right-hand batsman also praised fellow Quetta teammate all-rounder Muhammad Nawaz who was selected in the national squad for the upcoming World T20.
“He is a very smart bowler; a nice and humble guy,” said Wright. “I think he will do a great job for Pakistan with his all-round capabilities. Apart from taking wickets throughout this tournament, he also scored a pretty smart 42 against Lahore Qalandars. He will do very well for Pakistan in the future and he is also lucky to have some good advice from the very experienced Zulfiqar Babar in the Quetta team.”
‘PSL has been excellent’
The PSL was not able to attract big crowds in its first phase in Dubai but after the league moved to Sharjah, spectators soared into the stadiums to watch the matches and Wright believes the gap has been filled by the TV audience.
“The standard of the whole tournament has been excellent,” said Wright. “From what I understand, there are a lot of very good players in Pakistan who have been left out of the teams as the competition for places is pretty tough. So the best local players have been picked and that has been complemented with the standard of play as presented by the overseas players.
“I suppose the only missing bit which we always knew would be an issue is the presence of crowds at the games. However, what we have been seeing in Sharjah in terms of crowds has been very heartening and we also know that we have a lot of people watching these games in Pakistan where there is a huge following. The tournament has been organized very well and as players we are all focused on doing our job which is to play to the best of our abilities,” added the Englishman.
Luke Wright was interviewed by PakPassion.