Junaid Khan contemplates playing for England instead of Pakistan

NEW DELHI: Junaid Khan is Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in their current fast-bowling lineup with 71 wickets but despite such stats, he feels dejected as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues to overlook him after a series of rejections, Indian media reported on Wednesday.

The selection committee is led by former captain Inzamamul Haq, who says that the left-arm pacer has not been at his best since a knee injury that he sustained last year. The Pakistani now wants to settle permanently in England with hopes of representing the English National Team one day. He has shown glimpses of his glorious best after having an impressive campaign for Pakistan Super League’s Peshawar Zalmi team, taking the wicket of West Indian hitman Chris Gayle in his very first over against the Lahore Qalandars.

Junaid though played down the belief that he is still struggling from the effects of the knee injury saying, “I’m perfectly fit, and have been taking part in all the usual training exercises.” he added: “I don’t know why I’ve been overlooked. It’s demoralising for me and I feel heartbroken.”

He said that he was looking forward to bowling in English conditions feeling that the Pakistani squad would have been able to use his superior swing bowling, considering the fact that he has bowled in difficult pitches thus far. Junaid said, “I’ve performed on barren pitches so far in my career and when the time came for me to bowl in conditions that would perfectly suit my bowling, I was ignored.”

The Matra born bowler was named in the squad for the 50-over Pakistan Cup. He was also named in the army led fitness boot camp in Kakul. The ICC carried out random doping tests on the fast-bowler, while also testing fellow Pakistanis Yasir Shah, ODI captain Azhar Ali and Test captain Misbahul Haq.

His 71 wickets have come at a paltry average of 31.73, which include 5 five-wicket hauls in only 22 Test matches. Although his stats don’t look too bright, it has to be taken into consideration that he bowled on the pitches of the UAE and Sri Lanka.

Junaid’s family member has also raised concerns and said “Junaid feels hurt after being constantly ignored by the selectors and is looking to permanently settle in England.” They also added, “He thinks that he is being treated unjustly and therefore feels it is better for him to play his cricket in England where his talent is respected and valued.”

The fast-bowler has already played for county teams Lancashire and Middlesex, impressing on both occasions. His wife already lives in England, which should make things less complicated for him if he actually moves there permanently.

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