Champions Trophy – What is Pakistan thinking?
In my second article on the ensuing Champion’s Trophy I shall today take a look at the Pakistan side. The squad assembled by arguably one of the most mercurial sides in world cricket for this tournament looks like this:
Misbah ul Haq(C), Mohammad Hafeez, Junaid Khan, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Ali, Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Umar Amin, Shoaib Malik, Abdur Rehman, Asad Shafiq, Ehsan Adil and Saeed Ajmal
The squad looks good enough and is filled with specialists with Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik being the only allrounders in the team. I would have been tempted to call this a team a better one for the longer version given the fact that multi dimensional cricketers are better placed to succeed in the shorter formats of the game but still would resist from doing so. However, I would still like to ask why there was no place in the team for seam bowling allrounders Abdur Razzaq and Sohail Tanvir.
Both Tanvir and Razzaq have had plenty of experience playing county cricket over the years and I have a feeling they would have lent some additional depth to the side at no.s 7 and 8. Their bowling too would have complemented the quicker men like Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz. Considering the fact that Umar Gul is not playing I feel that their experience, especially with the ball will be missed in the tournament. It is in this vein that I think that the team will be missing Afridi who is the heartbeat of the team in many ways. It will be interesting to see how the team copes without him in England where he has oodles of experience as an overseas T-2O star.
The selection of the seam bowling pair of Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali is pretty strange to me. Given the fact that Gul is not playing guys like Rahat Ali and Aijaz Cheema could have been selected. Cheema, in fact, is an experienced bowler and was one of the reasons why Pakistan clinched the last Asia Cup in Bangladesh in an absolute nail-biter. In any case I think that Ali will not be getting too many chances to show what he is made of in the championship proper. With regards to batting the decision to leave out Umar Akmal came as a shock to me because he is one of their finest young players – both in terms of their batting and fielding.
Younis Khan, I hear, has been talking to selectors about his role in the shorter formats of the game. In my opinion, Misbah ul Haq, the skipper could do with some soul searching as well. However, he still remains a good enough player due to his composed demeanor and assertive captaincy skills. The selectors have also opted to give seniors like Malik and Kamran Akmal warnings that this might be their last chance to make it big.
Given the fact that they have gone down the route previously and have had to go back on such actions, owing to their performances, should have desisted them but it hasn’t. It remains to be seen what happens when the tournament is over. The non-selection of Ahmed Shehzad, a confident young strokemaker, is a little bit baffling as well.
All in all, the site looks good on paper but lacks the bite and depth one has normally come to associate with the Pakistan team of late!
For more information about Champions Trophy, you may refer to the following: