West Indies series is important event for Pakistan: Sallu
Karachi: Former Pakistan chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu feels that Pakistan cricket must take West Indies series seriously and land in the Caribbean with all guns blazing.
“The series is important for Pakistan as our direct qualification for World Cup depends on it. So, I feel the series must not be taken lightly. Our team should put their best in all matches,” Sallu told on Sunday.
Sallu said that the four T20Is would help the Pakistan acclimatize with the Caribbean conditions and get good practice ahead of the important ODI series.
The former Pakistan cricketer added that the squads announced for T20Is and ODIs are a fine blend of experience and youth.
“Ahmed Shahzad and Kamran Akmal have earned their places in the squads after working very hard. The duo deserved a recall. Expectations are high from them. I feel they will be able to give good start for the team as openers during the West Indies tour,” he said.
He further said that he has high hopes from batsman Babar Azam and right-arm leg teen-age spinner Shadab Khan. “I am very much impressed by Shadab Khan. He is not only a good spinner he can also be considered as a good all-rounder. Moreover, I remember even Viv Richards and other top West Indies players struggled against our Abdul Qadir. I expect Shadab, our other right-arm leg spinner, could also unsettle the Caribbean players just like Qadir did in the past. However, Shadab has to work very diligently if he wants to reach Qadir’s level and I think it is a bit too early to compare him with the legendary spin wizard.”
Sallu was of the view that several players including uncapped players made it to the national squad after performing well in Pakistan Super League so pacer Sohail Khan, who had been the highest wicket taker in the league, also deserved a call from selectors.
“I think Sohail Khan, after being the top wicket-keeper in PSL deserved a place in the national squad. May be in place of uncapped Fahim Ashraf who at the moment lacks international experience,” Sallu said.
Sallu also praised skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for being an aggressive skipper, the characteristic which has become necessary for contemporary cricket.
“Apart from leading Pakistan T20 side for some time, Sarfraz had led the U-19 team to World Cup victory in 2006. He has also captained PIA side and importantly Sarfraz has also led Quetta Gladiators in the PSL finals in both editions so far,” Sallu said.
Sallu also said that West Indies also has dangerous players in its fold including its T20 skipper Carlos Brathwaite, spin maestro Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard.
“So, West Indies is also replete of firepower. There will tough encounters, but I think if our team put their best they could pull 3-0 win in ODIs. They can also do well in T20Is against the champions. I am very hopeful of a good showing from a side,” Sallu concluded.