Highly-talented 19-year-old batsman Haider Ali must be given T20I opportunities for Pakistan with the home series against Zimbabwe and a tour of New Zealand on the horizon.

Zimbabwe recently announced an extended squad for their ODI and T20I series’ against Pakistan in November, while the Green Shirts are due to tour New Zealand a month later for three T20Is and two Test matches.

CRICKET-ZIM-PAK
Pakistan’s batsmen Imam-ul-Haq (front, L) and Fakhar Zaman (front, R) react during the final cricket match of a five-match ODI series played between Pakistan and host Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, on July 22, 2018. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP via Getty Images)

There has been some speculation around what type of team head coach and chief selector Misbah ul-Haq should pick for the Zimbabwe series, with senior man Mohammad Hafeez suggesting young players should be given priority against the lower-ranked opposition.

However, whether he looks to go full strength or to experiment, Haider Ali should be in the playing XI in the shortest format.

The exciting right-hander announced himself to the world with a swashbuckling 54 on his international debut against a strong England side at Old Trafford at the beginning of September, showing he has the talent to succeed at the top level.

England v Pakistan - 3rd Vitality International Twenty20
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Haider Ali of Pakistan hits a six during the 3rd Vitality International Twenty20 match between England and Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford on September 01, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB)

Haider Ali deserves Pakistan spot for Zimbabwe series

Then, on Wednesday, in his first domestic fixture since returning from the UK, he struck a fantastic 90 off 48 balls for Northern in the National T20 Cup.

 

His innings included seven fours and five sixes against a very strong strong Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowling attack which featured Pakistan internationals Shaheen Afridi, Usman Shinwari, Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz.

The impressive youngster, who turns 20 on Friday, is clearly full of confidence and he deserves a run in the national team as preparations are ramped up for the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.

ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 - Nets Session
BENONI, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 06: Haider Ali of Pakistan in action during the Pakistan nets session at Willowmoore Park on February 06, 2020 in Benoni, South Africa. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Experienced players like Hafeez still have a big role to play, with the Professor proving his worth during the tour of England.

However, Ali has the ability to be a star of Pakistan white-ball cricket for many years to come and while he won’t always get it right at this stage of his career, he deserves opportunities to show what he can do on home soil in the series against Zimbabwe and then against a strong Blackcaps bowling attack in New Zealand.

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