Pakistan captain Shadab Khan lent support to his young side despite the first-ever international defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in the first T20I of the three-match series here on Friday.
In the first T20I, Pakistan fielded a young team in which Tayyab Tahir, Saim Ayub, Zaman Khan, and Ihsanullah made their debuts.
Shadab, who was in charge of the new lineup against Afghanistan, supported his underclassmen and suggested that the pressure of playing in an international cricket match may have had an impact on their performance.
“This series is for our youngsters. We tried to give them confidence. Sometimes, this can happen due to the nerves of international cricket but we have to back them because they have the talent, and hopefully, they’ll show it in the next game,” said Shadab.
“These players are talented and we are sure about that. We should not make someone a star after just one good performance or discard them after one failure. We will back these players and give them full opportunity to perform during the series,” he added.
Pakistan chose to bat first in the first T20I, but their batting lineup struggled as a result, and they could only muster a meagre 92/9 in the allowed 20 overs—their fifth-lowest total in T20Is.
In addition, Shadab acknowledged that his team’s batting struggled in the opening T20I, but he expressed optimism that the youthful players would perform better in the following match.
“Our bowling and fielding were excellent, but regrettably, our batting fell short. But I’m hoping that these athletes will perform as they did in the PSL,” said Shadab.
It is important to note that Afghanistan’s first-ever victory over the green shirts in international cricket came in the inaugural T20I, when Nabi-inspired Afghanistan defeated Pakistan by six wickets.