Friday, July 29, 2011

An Opportunity Missed By Pakistan

Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Rameez Raja junior, Adnan Akmal (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema.

The naming of the Squad for Zimbabwe and the 1 Test, 1 T20 and 3 Odi schedule was indeed one of promise. In regards to including some of the precocious youth with a sighter to it's future. Though with the future in mind, it missed the opportunity to assess some concerns in the present.

I say this for with the concern over the leadership void that Misbah ul Huq will leave when he departs the scene. Then also his workload, after taking on the Captaincy duties in T20/Odis left vacant by Shahid Afridi. It would have made great sense to rest Misbah and to see how others deal with the responsibility of leadership. Perfect candidates would have been Mohammad Harfeez, a man widely regarded for his tactical nous in Pakistan to lead the Team in Odis/T20. Then Azhar Ali, as Captain in the sole Test

Then think if this move was embraced by both and positive results came out of it. You could ensure Misbah's longevity in the Test arena by giving the Captaincy to Harfeez in the shorter forms of the game. This in the knowledge that Misbah has little future in these arenas and as such Pakistan should focus on youth for them with an eye on success in the 2015 World Cup. Also you'd allow Azhar Ali a taste of leadership with an eye to groom him as Misbah's sucessor in Tests.

The squad was characterised by some youthful types included and reward for others who have performed well for a while. Then the key name in the squad was Imran Farhat, a man that has immense talent and has indeed shown this at times in his career. Though has failed time and time again in his career. On one hand you can understand his inclusion, for one of Pakistan's key weaknesses is in the openers role in Tests with the incumbent pair of Taufeeq Umar and Mohammed Harfeez failing to cement their roles. Though on the other Imran Farhat should have been dispensed with as a candidate for the National Team with these failures in mind

Duly Taufeeq should be persisted with in Tests, but Harfeez is more suited for the Odi/T20 arena. So it leaves a position at the top to fill. So Farhat would be the favourite to be given a go, but sense would be seen in trying young Rameez Raja jnr in the role. A player that had good judges drooling in his potential in the recent T20 Toutnament in Pakistan. Admittedly T20 shouldn't be used to judge any player, for it's in essence entertainment, rather than pure cricket. Though still he got reactions like this from Azam Khan

"He was superb throughout and never showed any signs of nerves. He is suitable for all three formats."

Away from the batting side of the squad, the bowling unit saw incumbents Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz and Tanvir Ahmed rested for the tour. Which made you wander what they indeed rest from? Maybe from having too much rest!

My attempt at humour aside, you could understand them not being included so as to run the rule over other bowlers deserving of a chances. Names such as

A left arm quick bowler, who has the left arm variety of an outswinger. Then touted by names such as Wasim Akram to be a very fine performer for Pakistan in the near future

At 31, old to be starting an International career for a fast bowler. Though his selection has been reward for fine performances in Pakistan First class cricket for a long period.

An attack minded leg spin bowler, that has been talked about in glowing terms by the immortal Abdul Qadir. Here is his opportunity to stake a claim on a place in the Team with incumbent spinner Abdur Rehman rested.

They join players who have experienced Test cricket in Sohail Tanvir and Sohail Khan in the bowling unit.

Lastly Adnan Akmal has been reinserted behind the stumps for Pakistan replacing Mohammad Salman

All in all not a bad squad, but in my mind this Tour was an opportunity lost for Pakistan. To address some of it's concerns in the future now.


  1. well written . . . but i do not agree with ur justification of imran farhat selection . .


    he should be banned to even watch a cricket match

  2. Agree Ahsan, I wouldnt have picked Farhat, but I can understand why he was chose because of Pakistan's weakness at the top of their order in Tests