Monday, December 26, 2011

Analysing the Pakistan Test Squad

Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal (wicketkeeper), Azhar Ali, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan (subject to fitness).

Tick tick tick is all we are hearing........... 


As we count down the seconds until the mouth watering Pakistan versus England 3 Test Series begins in the UAE. A series that will decide the position that both Teams hold in the Test arena. In regards to Pakistan having a reputation during their unbeaten 12 months of Test Cricket as merely beating up on the weaker Teams, and then England being viewed as 'fast track billies'. In regard to being number 1 in the Test arena, but with no performances of note on the slower Asian decks as yet.

After this series truth will be known for both........

So let us look at the merits of the Squad

Batting

The Pakistan batting of late has been symbolised by its no risk, resolute batting style. In truth very like England's strict adherence to traditional styles of batting. This has worked well against the Teams that they have been playing which have been the weaker Test Teams in the game. For they have just grounded out big totals, and not worried about the scoring rate in the knowledge that the weaknesses in the opposition will greatly assist in their success.

This will not happen against an England Team symbolised by its exceptional bowling backed up by its brilliant fielding. So Pakistan will need to add a more attacking aspect to its batting or run the risk of England strangling them into submission through drying up their scoring.

It is apparent that the Pakistani Selectors have realised this need by the re-inclusion of the precociously talented and attack minded Umar Akmal in place of Shoaib Malik

If you slot him in the line up at 5 in between Younis Khan at 4 and Misbah ul Haq at 6, it could be a move that transforms Pakistan's batting from one of respect to one of threat as well. 

Sadly, it would mean Asad Shafique being dropped, but from a balance point of view in the batting Akmal's attacking play is needed.

The rest of the batting line up picks itself, but it would have been wise to extend the Squad to 17, and include Sarfraz Ahmed as a back up keeper, and an option to come into the side because of his very decent batting. 

I say this, for the incumbent keeper in Adman Akmal is very meek as a Test batsman with just one score over 50 in his 10 Test career


Bowling


The key name seen in the Squad was that of Wahab Riaz, who recently had been associated and exonerated with the sad spot fixing allegations against Pakistan.


He is a young man in the infancy of his career, but as we saw in the World Cup Semi Final against India. He is a left arm fast man that is very in the likeness of the immortal Wasim Akram. In no way am I saying he is as good as Akram, but he displays the same potential to swing the ball both ways at a decent pace.


His inclusion makes up a very good pace attack of the left arm swing bowler Junaid Khan, the big hearted Aizaz Cheema, and Umar Gul. Who is arguably the most improved fast bowler in Test Cricket, and has assumed the leader of the Pakistani attack.


Testimony to this is his 2011 average of 25.67, which is well down on his career average of 33.24.


As for the spin attack, it is arguably the most complete and diverse in World Cricket with undoubtedly the best spinner in Tests in Saeed Ajmal.


How he goes against England could be decisive in the series outcome, and with balls in his arsenal like his lethal doosra.........
Well you would back him to do well!


The English batsmen will focus mostly on him. Which could mean that the left arm spin of Abdur Rehman ( 2011 average- 26.27 with 36 wickets )  and the very under rated off spin of Mohammad Hafees ( 2011 average 25.93 with 15 wickets ) become more threatening.


Both are very miserly spinners as well, which allows Ajmal to attack the batsmen making him an even greater threat, and them a near perfect spin corp. Combining strangling the scoring rate as well as maintain their immense threat.


My Best Pakistan Side:


Mohammad Hafees


Taufeeq Umar


Azhar Ali


Younis Khan


Umar Akmal


Misbah ul Haq ( C )


Adnan Akmal


Umar Gul


Abdur Rehman


Junaid Khan


Saeed Ajmal

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