Pakistan’s opening batsman Sharjeel Khan had fallen out of favor since 2017 owing to his fitness issues but the cricketer is all set to make a comeback in the team as he has been included in Pakistan’s T20I squad for the T20I series against South Africa. Sharjeel had made a case for himself by producing a tremendous performance in the postponed 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Sharjeel was the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 200 runs to his name in 5 games at an astonishing strike-rate of 170.94. Also, he was the only player to score a hundred before the tournament came to a halt. However, the 31-year-old’s massive weight can act as a roadblock to his career.
According to a report published in Cricket Pakistan, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and skipper Babar Azam aren’t happy with Sharjeel’s 112 kilos weight. The batsman is unlikely to feature in even a single game both the head coach and skipper find Sharjeel unfit and believe that the selection of Sharjeel will pave the way for more ‘unfit’ players in the Pakistan team.
Meanwhile, Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim backed Sharjeel Khan saying that fitness can’t be the only criteria for selection as talent is above everything. Wasim believes that Sharjeel can be a vital part of Pakistan’s set-up as he can win crunch games for the team with the willow.
“Fitness isn’t the only criteria for selection – at the end of the day, a player has to play cricket. We are already working on reviewing the fitness testing levels and will introduce a new strategy [to gauge fitness]. I didn’t comment on Sharjeel’s fitness earlier as his performances [last year] were patchy, but now we have to look at anyone who performs, whatever the fitness they have.
“Yes, I understand there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on his fitness and he will improve with time, but at the moment he can win us big games with his bat,” Mohammad Wasim said in a press conference.