Former England cricketer Mark Butcher has voiced his opinion on the Usama Mir versus Shadab Khan debate, suggesting that Mir could prove to be Pakistan’s X-factor in the upcoming 2023 World Cup. He advocated for Mir to be included in the playing XI over Shadab Khan, who has been struggling with form.
While talking on a podcast, Butcher stated his preference would be to start with Mir in Pakistan’s XI for their opening game against the Netherlands. He praised Mir’s performances in the Pakistan Super League and The Hundred, emphasizing Shadab’s recent lackluster bowling performances.
“Usama Mir is the guy for them. Watching him during the PSL in February and March, and then he had a really good Hundred for the Manchester Originals with the bat and with the ball. Shadab’s been bowling kind of hit-me’s [deliveries] for a long, long time now. Really just lost all of his bite and it just seems to go out of the park every time he lets it go,” Butcher said.
Butcher also suggested pairing Mir with slow left-arm orthodox spinner Mohammad Nawaz for a strategic advantage, particularly if they opt for double spin.
“I think they might have to be a little smart here. I’d play Mohammad Nawaz here with Usama Mir, if they are going to go with double spin.” he further added.
Both leg-spinners played in Pakistan’s final warm-up match against Australia, with Mir taking 2-31 from five overs and Shadab claiming 1-69 in his ten overs.