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Asia Cup: Sharjeel, Sami in line for call-ups as Pak selectors mull changes

Karachi: Pakistan's selectors may opt for last-minute changes in the national squad for the forthcoming Asia Cup and World T20 with opener Sharjeel Khan and fast bowler Mohammad Sami in line to get surprise call-ups after impressive performances in PSL.

Sharjeel, a left-handed opener from Hyderabad whose last appearance for Pakistan was in August 2014, has got the selectors thinking with a blistering 117 runs off 62 balls in the Pakistan Super League eliminator against favourites Peshawar Zalmi.

Sharjeel, who has played 11 ODIs and three T20I internationals, savaged the Peshawar attack led by national T20 captain Shahid Afridi to guide Islamabad United to a surprise spot in the final.

Afridi, clearly impressed by Sharjeel's knock, said at the post-match ceremony that the match belonged to the batsman. "The day belongs to Sharjeel and he will get his reward," Afridi said.

Fast bowler Sami has also been in top form for Islamabad, taking 5/8 in the playoffs against Karachi Kings.

A source close to the selectors said batsman Khalid Latif could also be placed on stand-bye for the two tournaments. Chief selector Haroon Rasheed and Afridi have said that since the ICC has allowed teams in the main round of the World T20 to make changes within the March 8 deadline, there could be changes based on performances of players in the Asia Cup being held in Bangladesh from February 24.

Sharjeel has so far scored 287 runs in the PSL with a batting average of 31.88 and a strike rate of 151.05.

The selectors had dropped the seasoned Ahmed Shehzad for the two tournaments and instead recalled Test opener Khurrum Manzoor who didn't feature in the PSL since no franchise picked him for the event.

Rasheed is presently in Dubai for the PSL and the source said that the selectors had spoken to Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis who is in Lahore and were trying to decide when to announce the changes.

"In all probability there would be some unfortunate players who were in the announced squad for the two events who will be dropped like batsman Ifthikar Ahmed," the source added.

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