The 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League saw tainted swashbuckling opener Sharjeel Khan make a comeback to competitive cricket after serving his time away from the game due to his involvement in the PSL spot-fixing scandal. The southpaw is opening with Babar Azam for the Karachi Kings.
Sharjeel racked up an unbeaten 151-run-stand with Azam in Karachi’s league-stage match against Lahore Qalandars where the southpaw shellacked the opposition bowlers to the tune of 74 (not-out) oFf 59 balls- an innings which includes five sixes and as many fours.
But despite his whirlwind knock, former Pakistani cricketers like Shoaib Akhtar and Ramiz Raja have lambasted the left-handed opener on his shoddy fitness.
Shoaib Akhtar and Ramiz Raja not impressed with Sharjeel Khan’s fitness
Speaking on his official YouTube channel, Shoaib Akhtar criticized Khan for not utilizing the free time to work on his fitness and reckoned that he needs to lose his ‘fat belly’
“Even though Sharjeel scored fifty, but he was also dropped thrice. He has so much talent, but he needs to lose his belly fat and get fit. He had around six months from the time he got selected for PSL [to get fit]. He has so much time which he needs to utilize to get lean and ready for fielding.” Shoaib said.
The Rawalpindi Express also urged Sharjeel to mark his fielders and implement his shots in his strong zone. Akhtar believes that if Sharjeel can do that, then they’re no bigger batsman than him in Pakistan
“Plus, he needs to mark his fielders while batting and play shots within his strong zone. Once he does that, there is not a bigger batsman than him in Pakistan. It was good to see him among the runs again,” Akhtar added.
Former captain Ramiz Raza also echoed Shoaib’s views and reckoned that Sharjeel’s ‘zero’ running between the wickets had left his partner Babar Azam frustrated at various times.
“Sharjeel needs to improve his fitness. He still looks very fat and unfit. His running between the wickets is almost zero. Babar Azam looked frustrated at various times with Sharjeel’s running,” Ramiz said.
Rameez also reckoned that Sharjeel needs to work hard on his fitness as his inability to take singles will not help him develop any sort of rhythm to his batting.
“He needs to understand that he can’t rely on just fours and sixes. His batting needs rhythm which will come through taking singles, so he needs to work a lot on his fitness.”