Show your guts, be a man, it is time for payback: Shoaib Akhtar to Sharjeel Khan

by Asif Ali
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Sharjeel Khan was named earlier this month in the squad to play a series of Twenty20 internationals in South Africa and Zimbabwe next month

After Sharjeel Khan was recalled to the national side for the first time in over four years, former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has advised the southpaw to play his natural game and bat fearlessly in the upcoming four-match T20I series against South Africa.

According to Akhtar, if Sharjeel delivers at the top of the order then it will help Pakistan’s batting, which at times is dependent on skipper Babar Azam.

“Show your guts. Be a man and go on the field, it is time for payback. Sharjeel has all the shots in the book. All he needs is confidence. Don’t let the pressure get the better of you. He should allow himself to display his talent,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan on PTV Sports.

“If he goes on to become a fitter player and a reliable opener, it will solve half of Pakistan team’s problems. Currently, there is a lot of load on Babar Azam,” he added.

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif shared his thoughts on Sharjeel’s fitness and gameplay and advised that the team management to let Younis Khan be the left-hander’s guide for now.

“Sharjeel should work with Younis on his batting and fitness. Sharjeel should stay back in Zimbabwe during the Test series,” Rashid said.

Sharjeel Khan was recalled to the Pakistan national cricket team after completing his ban for spot-fixing. The 31-year-old was banned in 2017 for five years — with half the sentence suspended — for his part in rigging Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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