mobile app bar

“Why they r there for”: Mohammad Hafeez questions batting promotions for Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz in the presence of Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali

Dixit Bhargav

"Why they r there for": Mohammad Hafeez questions batting promotions for Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz in the presence of Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali

Mohammad Hafeez questions batting promotions: The former Pakistani all-rounder wants specialist batters to bat in the middle-order.

Pakistan have won two T20Is in as many days at the Hagley Oval to kick-start their last series before ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in the best possible manner.

Yet to find answers for all their selection conundrums, they wouldn’t really be minding victories before a world event. Pakistan, who defeated Bangladesh by 21 runs yesterday, beat New Zealand by 6 wickets to tick multiple boxes in the first round of New Zealand T20I Tri-Nation Series 2022.

Chasing a 148-run target against the hosts, Pakistan thrived on the back of captain Babar Azam’s 28th T20I half-century. Azam, who hit 11 fours at a strike rate of 149.05, was well-assisted by vice-captain Shadab Khan (34) in the middle overs.

Promoted to No. 4 inside the powerplay, Khan hit two fours and sixes each to not let his team struggle after the fielding restriction overs. With middle-order being a major shortcoming for this Pakistani T20I unit, it was a relief to see them not looking clueless after losing top-order batters in Mohammad Rizwan (4) and Shan Masood (0) cheaply.

Mohammad Hafeez questions batting promotions for Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz in the presence of Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali

Other than Khan, Pakistan also promoted all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz (16) at No. 5 resulting in a demotion for specialist batters namely Haider Ali (10*), Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali.

In spite of a victory, the move hasn’t received validation from former Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez. Quite vocal on social media platform Twitter of late, Hafeez tweeted to question the decision of promoting Khan and Nawaz over specialist batters.

Believing that such tactics would only give “short-term success”, Hafeez opined that demotions could further pressurize Haider, Ahmed and Asif by making them question their place in the side.

Considering the amount of faith Pakistan have put in Ahmed and Asif, they would really want them to excel as finishers in the shortest format. Having said that, Pakistan can also not afford repeated middle-order debacles especially with a World Cup to be played later this month.

If not both Khan and Nawaz, at least a promotion for the former could solve Pakistan’s middle-order woes. For the unversed, Khan has a proven track record at No. 4 scoring 577 runs in 20 T20 innings at an average and strike rate of 28.85 and 157.65 respectively including four half-centuries. Moving Khan to No. 4 could perhaps provide clarity to out of form specialist batters with respect to their big-hitting roles.

Babar Azam hints at longer role for Shadab Khan in the middle-order

Azam, meanwhile, didn’t shy away from revealing their plan of using more of Khan in the middle-order.

“We have a plan to send him [Shadab Khan] up the order to charge the bowlers. He played well. Me and Shadab planned that I will play all the way and he will go for his shots,” Azam told Spark Sport during the post-match presentation ceremony in Christchurch on Saturday.

Khan, who himself is quite active on Twitter, took to the platform after the match hoping for fans to have enjoyed Pakistan’s intent today. Laying emphasis on working hard and correcting their mistakes, Khan sought fans’ support for the team.

There is no hiding to the fact that lack of contributions from the middle-order usually put undue pressure on Pakistan opening batters in Azam and Rizwan. The in-form pair can really up their game in the near future if they receive surety of (quick) runs from the middle-order.

About the author

Dixit Bhargav

Dixit Bhargav


Born and brought up in Pathankot, Dixit Bhargav is an engineering and sports management graduate who works as a Cricket Editor at The SportsRush. Having written more than 10,000 articles across more than five years at TSR, his first cricketing memory dates back to 2002 when former India captain Sourav Ganguly had waved his jersey at the historic Lord’s balcony. What followed for an 8-year-old was an instant adulation for both Ganguly and the sport. The optimist in him is waiting for the day when Punjab Kings will win their maiden Indian Premier League title. When not watching cricket, he is mostly found in a cinema hall watching a Punjabi movie.

Read more from Dixit Bhargav

Share this article