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Saud Shakeel aims to lead from the front

  • Pakistan Shaheens to play two four-day and three one-day matches in Sri Lanka, 25-member squad left Karachi last night for the tour

Karachi, 21 October 2021: Pakistan Shaheens captain Saud Shakeel is keen on leading his side from the front on their tour to Sri Lanka. Eighteen players and seven officials left Karachi for Colombo last night after a five-day preparation camp which was held at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre and the National Stadium.

The 26-year-old Saud who made his international debut for Pakistan in the three-match ODI series against England earlier in the year feels that the tour is vital both for him and the players part of the squad as it provides them the opportunity of making a name and subsequently progressing to international cricket.

“My message is very clear to the boys, do well on the tour and try and stake a claim in Pakistan men’s national team. Of course our aim is to win on the tour at the same time providing exposure to the players in foreign conditions will be our target. I really enjoy captaincy and look forward to leading any side as it keeps me involved in the game, I always strive to encourage my players to perform while focusing on my own performance.”

Saud made a mark in his second ODI by scoring 56 at Lord’s –the home of cricket. The left-handed middle-order batter feels that he gained great confidence through that innings and it was his experience of touring England with the Pakistan A’ team (Shaheens) that helped him counter the English conditions.

“I gained a lot of confidence by playing international cricket, scoring a half-century at Lord’s gave me a real feel of how things work at the highest level. What really worked for me was my experience of playing in England since I had toured there with the A’ team prior to playing international cricket. I really think these tours are vital and help immensely in the development of the players.”

The southpaw averages 48.78 in 46 first-class appearances (3220 runs, 10 100s), he is considered as one of the most technically gifted players in the Pakistan circuit. After getting a taste of international cricket, Saud is optimistic of making it to Pakistan’s Test eleven soon.

“After tasting international cricket in one-day format, I am really keen on making my Test debut, I have been part of the Test team but haven’t made an appearance yet so my aim is to play Test cricket and serve Pakistan for a long time.”

Pakistan Shaheens squad (in alphabetical order):Saud Shakeel (captain), Kamran Ghulam (vice-captain), Abbas Afridi, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Arshad Iqbal, Irfanullah Shah, Khurram Shahzad, Mohammad Haris (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Taha, Naseem Shah, Omair Bin Yousuf, Qasim Akram, Salman Ali Agha, Salman Khan (wicketkeeper), Usman Salahuddin and Zahid Mahmood.

Player Support Personnel: Ijaz Ahmed (head coach and team manager), Rao Iftikhar  (Assistant coach), Mohtashim Rashid (fielding coach), Mohammad Javed (trainer), Faisal Rai (analyst) and Hafiz Naeem (physiotherapist), Col. Usman Anwar (security manager).

Tour schedule:

28-31 Oct – 1st four-day match, Kandy

4-7 Nov – 2nd four-day match, Kandy

10 Nov – 1st 50-over match, Colombo

12 Nov – 2nd 50-over match, Colombo

14 Nov – 3rd 50-over match, Colombo