Veteran batsman was not selected for the upcoming three-match series
Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim said that all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez was not dropped from the team.
“Hafeez was not available, that’s why he was not included in the team,” said Wasim. “Given the way he’s performing, he has an important role on the team.”
Wasim said that the PCB set a deadline for the players to check into the biosecure bubble set up in Lahore. “Players who reached by the night of February 3 would be considered,” the chief selector said in a pre-recorded interview. "If he was available, there was no reason to exclude him from the team."
“I had to select the team from the list of available players,” the chief selector said, adding that he unsuccessfully tried to convince Hafeez to join. “His absence from the team will definitely be felt.”
Pakistan included nine uncapped players in the squad for the test series against South Africa. “People have called it a populist selection. However, we have used a formula giving importance to domestic cricket, especially since we now believe that domestic cricket has improved and become more competitive,” the chief selector said.
“If some players are performing constantly [in domestic circles], they deserve a chance [on the national team],” Wasim explained. “This practice will continue in the future.”
“If popular selection is about acknowledging domestic cricketers and bringing better lads to the national squad, there’s no harm in the popular selection,” he asserted.
The PCB is closely watching Sharjeel Khan, Azam Khan, Sohaib Maqsood and Sohail Tanveer. “They have performed well in the domestic circuit,” he said adding that there are reservations over their fitness and fielding. “If they show improvement during PSL, you’ll definitely see them included in our plans.”