T20 World Cup: Imran Nazir, Ahmed Shehzad name Pakistan’s ideal opening pair

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T20 World Cup: Imran Nazir, Ahmed Shehzad name Pakistan's ideal opening pair

Former Pakistani opener Imran Nazir and Ahmed Shehzad opened up on the ongoing debate about who should be Pakistan’s openers during the T20 World Cup 2024.

Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, will begin their T20 World Cup campaign on June 6 against the United States in Dallas and all eyes are on the players who will open the innings for them.

Nazir, who represented Pakistan in 25 T20Is, believed that Fakhar Zaman should open the innings alongside Mohammad Rizwan as scoring in the first six overs is the most important thing in T20Is.

“We can only talk about the players from the 15-man squad, not those who are already out. If I talk about Fakhar [Zaman], I think he is one of those batters [for opening]. If you cannot set a tune [of the match] in the first six overs, neither you can chase the target nor you can score a big total. For a long time, we have the same players opening the innings, Saim [Ayub] got the chance but he could not do much,” Nazir said while talking on Geo News.

“I would go with Fakhar opening the innings alongside [Mohammad] Rizwan and Babar would come at number three.”

Shehzad was sitting next to Nazir and he agreed with some of the former batter’s views. The 32-year-old named Usman Khan as the opener next to Rizwan saying that if someone is included in the team, then they should play at their original position.

“I will agree with some of Imran Bhai’s points because it is very important to have a good start in the first six overs. Gone are the days when you used to play in the UAE where you would score 140 or 145 and defend the target because of your elite spin attack,” Shehzad said.

“It is one thing to play a poor ball and time it perfectly, everyone can do that. But when you score boundaries on great balls then it affects the bowlers and the team. So, keeping everything in mind, Rizwan should open alongside Usman Khan.

“Usman Khan because if you have put him in the team, then play him at his position. He showed his potential in the last match [against England]. If Babar comes as an opener, then our middle order is already vulnerable, who will stand there? So, he should come in at number three and try to take the game deep with a good strike rate.”