Sunday, January 20, 2008

Who Will Open for Pakistan?

Pakistan's squad for the first 2 ODIs against Zimbabwe was announced over the weekend.

I was disappointed not to see Sohail Khan in it. Initially I thought that the selectors had made a blunder but the next day reports of an elbow problem did the rounds. Apparently the problem is not when he bowls - he hurls the ball down at 85mph. The problem is with throwing the ball, which he cannot do due to an elbow injury. Pakistan's newest pace prospect is out with an elbow injury even before playing an international game. I remember AMKs comment when I did a post on Sohail Khan - didn't take long for him to break down did it?

The uncapped 18 year old Nasir Jamshed beat Kalid Latif and Khurram Manzoor to the opener's slot due to his magnificant 182 in the 4-day practice game against the Zimbos. The selectors are keen to have him open the innings with Salman Butt but I hear that Shoaib Malik wants Kamran Akmal to open.

I don't know why Kamran Akmal is in the squad in the first place. Sarfraz Ahmed is in the squad as well but apparently as an understudy. 2 wicket keepers in a squad of 15 for the first 2 ODIs? It doesn't make sense to me. Sarfraz should play all 5 matches.

I don't like makeshift openers and Akmal is just that. He should be on the bench.

The reason Malik wants him to open is so that he could play an extra bowler, which only shows how much confidence Malik has in his own ability as a bowler. According to the reports I've read the selectors would like to play the following team:

1. Salman Butt
2. Nasir Jamshed
3. Younis Khan
4. Mohd Yousuf
5. Shoaib Malik
6. Misbah ul Haq
7. Shahid Afridi
8. Kamran Akmal
9. Sohail Tanvir
10. Rao Iftikhar
11. Samiullah Niazi

Shoaib Malik on the other hand wants Kamran Akmal to open and either of Fawad Alam and Yasir Arafat to play instead of Nasir. Alam, a top order batsman and a left arm spinnner, and Yasir Arafat, a fast bowler who can bat a bit, are both ideal for the ODI game. Both deserve a place in the team but not instead of a specialist opener.

The selectors along with Malik and Lawson will be sitting down today to decide on the final XI. Lets see whose vote prevails - Malik's or the selectors.

If I were chairing that meeting I would ask Malik to open with Nasir, drop Butt, and play Alam or Arafat instead of him. Malik is not a make shift opener. He has done it for Pakistan, Sialkot, and PIA before. All his ODI hundred have come from that position too. Why he has moved down from even the number 3 position since becoming captain is anybody's guess.

Sadly I am not Chairman of Selectors for the PCB.

Make your pitch on this post...

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6 Pitched:

  1. NAzhar said...

    I agree about Safraz being there instead of Akmal. I don't think it is fair to drop Butt - he was very successful in the ODI series against India. I would alam Alam instead of Jamshed.

  2. Q said...

    Looks like the selectors' choice prevailed. The XI that was rumoured to be the choice of the selecors is the one that turned out this morning.

    A changing era in Pakistan with the board having more power than the players?

  3. NAzhar said...

    Bad selection - this was probably the best series to try the youngsters instead of trying to go for a 5-0 result!

  4. Q said...

    We had 2 debuts today with Nasir and Samiullah. I expect more in the series for players like Kamran Hussain, Khalid Latif, and Khurram Manzoor.

    Plus younger players like Alam, Sarfraz, Yasir will get some games too.

    I guess the selectors wanted to play the seniors in the 1st 2 ODIs and notch up wins and then give the newer players matches in the last 3 ODIs. I hope they follow this policy. I expect Yousuf, Younis, Afridi to be rested / rotated.

    Out of todays team, only Kamran shud not have played.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Afaq Raheem and Khuram manzoor are future opening batsmen of pakistan,Nasir Jamshed scored runs but not impressed with his technique looks as though he is a bit of a hitter, he will struggle on bouncy seaming tracks against decent opposition

  6. Q said...

    Nasir was aggressive in the 1st ODI but i guess he's true ability will come to the fore against stronger opposition. If he is ableto curb his instincts he may have a good future.

    I hope Khurram Manzoor and Khalid Latif get a chance during this series.

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