Rafatullah set to become Pakistan’s oldest T20I debutant

Umar Akmal dropped after being embroiled in latest controversy

Nabeel Hashmi November 12, 2015
Left-handed Rafatullah is set to become Pakistan’s oldest T20 debutant at 39 and according to Haroon, can play for a few years to come as he has shown no signs of aging. PHOTO: AFP


The national selection committee led by chief selector Haroon Rasheed has named 39-year-old opener Rafatullah Mohmand in the T20I side after his consistent performances for Peshawar helped them win back-to-back T20 titles, while batsmen Umar Akmal and Mukhtar Ahmed were dropped.

Rafatullah has played in 169 first-class matches, 131 List A outings and 45 domestic T20s for Peshawar, Wapda and HBL.

Peshawar win National T20 cup by defeating Karachi Blues

Haroon said Rafatullah has shown all the ingredients needed to succeed at the international level, adding that the 39-year-old will help overcome Pakistan’s opening woes.

“Age is no barrier for a player like Rafatullah as he is performing consistently and is super fit, even at 39,” Haroon told The Express Tribune. “He has put in consistent displays in domestic T20s and List A matches. We have tried a few openers but they haven’t worked out, which is why we’ve decided to try out Rafatullah. He is a good fielder as well.”

In addition, Rafatullah’s Peshawar teammate Iftikhar Ahmed was also named in the T20I squad. The middle-order batsman had been called up for the ODI squad as Younus Khan’s replacement after the veteran batsman unexpectedly announced his ODI retirement after the first match against England.

Haroon added that Iftikhar’s impressive domestic performances in limited overs games helped him make the decision.

Rafatullah destroys ZTBL hopes

Controversy once again surrounds Umar

Middle-order batsman Umar was dropped on disciplinary grounds for allegedly violating the code of conduct along with three other players of domestic side SNGPL. The other three players were Umar’s brother Adnan Akmal, former Pakistan U19 captain Azeem Ghumman and Saleem Mughal.

Umar was taken to the Hyderabad Site Police Station before being released by the police. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan has ordered an inquiry into the matter, and asked the selectors to drop him from the T20I squad and suspend him till the inquiry is concluded.

“I’ve asked for an inquiry against Umar, and he will be given the chance to tell his side of things,” said Shaharyar. “We will make a decision once the inquiry is completed. For now, I’ve decided to suspend him and have asked Haroon not to select him.”

Haroon also confirmed that Umar was supposed to be part of the T20I squad before he became embroiled in his latest controversy. “Umar had been pencilled in for selection, but he has subsequently been dropped, as he has been issued a show-cause notice for bringing the PCB and Pakistan cricket into disrepute,” confirmed Haroon.

National T20 Cup: One final hurdle between glory and Karachi Blues

Umar, however, has maintained that he has not done anything wrong and only went for dinner with his friends. The 25-year-old added that he will defend himself and is confident that he would be able to clear his name as he hasn’t done anything wrong.

The chosen few: Pakistan’s 16-member T20I squad

Shahid Afridi (c), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Rafatullah Mohmand, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim (subject to fitness, otherwise Bilal Asif), Imran Khan Junior, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Amir Yamin

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2015.

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Bunty | 8 years ago | Reply GUys cool down please... we should appreciate him... He was not given chance for 19 years but he kept fighting and now he is getting his dream... HE FOUGHT FOR HIS POSITION.... he made the peshawer win this t20 domestic cup.... He deserve it.. RIFFAT I have just seen you playing on TV and i respect your hardwork and patience... ALL THE BEST...
Adnan Siddiqi | 8 years ago | Reply Mindless selection and devoid of logic. PCB just wants to honor a player with a trip to UAE who has almost 400 first class matches to his credit. His domestic T20 average as an opener is a modest 26.00
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