KARACHI: It will be a new day, new format and a new captain for Pakistan on Friday as the men in green would try to ease the nation’s gloom by winning the one-off T20I against Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Fresh off a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of the hosts, Pakistan were given only a day’s gap to recover from the humiliation.
Those involved in the ODI series are still trying to come to terms with the loss, but there is still hope, with new faces expected to bring a refreshing change.
Discarded due to behavioural issues from the ODI and Test squads, Ahmed Shehzad has a perfect chance to expend all his pent-up energy through his bat against Bangladeshi bowling line-up, while skipper Shahid Afridi will be looking to make an impact in his solitary outing on the tour.
Additionally, T20 specialist Sohail Tanvir will rejuvenate the pace battery, which struggled in the three 50-over matches, while all-rounder Mukhtar Ahmed is expected to make his debut.
Chief selector Haroon Rashid is hopeful that things will turn around for Pakistan on the tour, starting with the T20I. “It will be a new day and a new challenge for Pakistan, and hopefully the team will swoop in on the chance to redeem itself,” Haroon told The Express Tribune.
“The match will feature some players different than the ODI side, so I feel Pakistan will do well. But having said that, I don’t think it will be an easy sailing because Bangladesh have a good T20 side as well and I’m anticipating a close contest.”
‘Pakistan’s whitewash entirely unexpected’
Before the tour had begun, Bangladeshi players had made claims that this was their best chance to beat Pakistan in the ODI series.
While many felt that there was substance in those statements, hardly anyone expected that Pakistan could be whitewashed, least of all Haroon. “We all knew before the tour that it won’t be easy this time around as Bangladesh have improved a lot, but none of us expected such a comprehensive defeat for Pakistan.”
The official pointed out that all was not lost, as was seen in the flashes of brilliance displayed by Muhammad Rizwan, Saad Nasim and then Sami Aslam. “The team is going through a rebuilding process and will struggle for the time being but the purpose is to test new players who can do well in international cricket,” said Haroon. “It will take some time to build a team and get over this transitional period.”
Pakistan’s batting leaves a lot to be desired, but the men in green are also struggling in the bowling department and apart from injuries, the remodelled action of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is forgettable at best.
Asked whether it is worrying for the selectors to see Ajmal struggling with the new action, Haroon stated, “We were mentally prepared that it won’t be easy for Ajmal to come back and do well straightaway. He has struggled in the initial outings and he knows where he stands right now.”
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