Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pakistan's Uncapped Unknowns

There are 5 uncapped players in Pakistan's 30 probables for the Champions Trophy including Anwar Ali, whom we have talked about several times, in addition to some new names that have appeared on a Pakistan team sheet for the first time.

Here's a glimpse on who they are.

Ahmed Shehzad: This boy from Lahore is only 16 years old and has been a successful opener for the Pakistan U-19 team and for Lahore.

Shehzad made his frst class debut in the 2006-07 season playing for Lahore, though it was this season (2007-08) that he established himself as one of the most promising upcoming cricketers in Pakistan.

Even though he didn't taste success in first-class cricket, Shehzad had a very successful List A season opening for the Lahore Eagles scoring 360 runs in 8 innings at an average of 51.42.

He played his debut List A match against the visiting South Africans last October and impressed with an aggressive 35 at the top of the order against the likes of Pollock, Ntini, and Nel.

On the U-19 circuit, Shehzad has been one of the best batsmen around. He was the 2nd highest run scorer for Pakistan in the U-19 World Cup earlier this year, and also impressed everyone with his strokeplay in youth tests and ODIs against England and Australia last year.

His 2nd innings 167 was instrumental in leading Pakistan to a 3 wicket win over England in the 2nd Youth test that helped Pakistan draw the 2-test series 1-1.

Against the touring U19 Australians, Shehzad played a major part in leading Pakistan to a 5-0 sweep of the ODI series with a 115 in the 3rd ODI and an unbeaten 99 in the 5th.

Chances: This call up should act as a confidence booster for Shehzad and during the camp next month, it would do him good to get some advice from the likes of Misbah, Salman Butt, and Younis Khan. He wouldn't be expecting a call to the final 15, though he would know that with another 3-4 years of successful domestic seasons, he has a good chance of playing for Pakistan.

Azhar Ali: Another young boy from Lahore, Azhar has been around the domestic scene for a number of seasons, however it was this season that he caught the eye of the selectors during the ABN Amro One-Day Cup Competition.

Playing for Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Azhar impressed with a string of performances displaying his form in each outing with scores of 106*, 49, 60, 119, 88, 47, and 67.

Azhar finished the ABN Amro Cup as the leading run scorer with 558 runs in 9 innings at an average of 79.71 that led him to being the only non-international batsmen among the leading run scorers in List A games for the 2007-08 season in Pakistan.

He also had a fairly successful first class season scoring 603 runs at an average of 50 with 4 centuries and a 50.

Chances: With Mohammad Yousuf missing in action, the selectors could be bold and draft in Azhar Ali who has shown immense potential as a middle order batsman in domestic cricket. Though I think the selectors would prefer to go in with tried and tested names such as Mohamma Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, and Bazid Khan. If Azhar can continue to display the same form in the coming seasons, he could soon find himself fitting into the Ageing Pakistani middle order.

Mohammad Aamer: This Rawal Pindi boy recently made the headlines when Wasim Akram mentioned in an interview that he would draft this 16 year old left arm fast bowler into the national set up right away.

Wasim Akram had pointed out Aamer during the same fast bowlers camp last year, in which he had spotted Sohail Tanvir.

Aamer played his first List A game as recently as March in this season's ABN Amro One Day Cup Competition, in which he represented the Rawal Pindi Rams. He was impressive on his debut itself picking up figures of 3-35.

In 8 matches in the ABN Amro cup, Aamer picked up 14 wickets at 21.92 finishing among the leading wicket takers in the competition.

Prior to this, Aamer had also impressed at the U19 level. He started this yearsU19 World Cup with a figures of 3-12 against Malaysia, however due to a viral infection he missed the rest of the tournament.

At that time Pakistan U19 coach Mansoor Rana had claimed that Aamer was their best bowler, which he had showed in previous matches for the U19s including two 4-wkt hauls in the tri-series leading up to the U19 World Cup that led him to be the leading wicket taker in that tournament.

Chances: With Mohammad Asif suspended, Shoaib Akhtar's inclusion unconfirmed, and Umar Gul under an injury cloud, Aamer could find himself fast-tracked into the final squad of 15 for the Champions Trophy. Wasim Akram has already called for his inclusion and with Sohail Tanvir there as proof, one would be foolish to ignore Wasim Akram's suggestions. Pakistan' bowling resources have looked extremely thin in recent times due to more factor than one and an exciting 16 year old may bring some life into the pace attack.

Mohammad Ali: This 18 year old right arm fast bowler has no claim to fame apart from the fact that he hails from Shoaib Malik's hometown and plays for the Sialkot Stallions, the same team that the Pakistan skipper represents in domestic cricket.

I can only assume that was the reason behind including Ali in the 30 because other than that he hasn't done anything of note to demand the attention of the selectors.

He has played only 4 List A games making his debut in this season's ABN Amro One Day Cup Competition picking up 6 wickets at 25.50.

It is difficult to believe that Malik has that sort of influence over the selectors or the PCB, so I'll just think that the selectors had some good reason for including this boy in the 30.

Maybe to appease Malik?

Who knows.

Chances: Who knows. Maybe Malik wants to play the Sialkot team instead of Pakistan.

Make your pitch on this post...

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19 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Mohammad Ali was in the pacers camp and Wasim Akram rated him highly, from what I have heard he is the fastest of the lot.

  2. Anonymous said...

    LOL at Wasim Akram again.

  3. Q said...

    Oh, I didn't hear that Wasim. I heard Wasim Akram rate Mohammad Aamer highly, but didn't hear abt Mohammad Ali.

    Well if its Wasim Akram saying it I can't argue but at least Aamer has performances to show, Ali doesn't even have those.

  4. Q said...

    Whats so funny anonymous?

  5. Anonymous said...

    There is a lot of talent in Pakistan. It doesn't matter if you play a Sialkot XI, Punjab XI, NWFP XI or Karachi XI- there is abundance of talent.

    As they say in Urdu, "taali donon haathon sey bachti hai". Sure the Board is to be blamed for mismanagement and corruption. Pakistan is not a rich country and money has always been misappropriated by powerful people.

    But the greater fault is of these players themselves. The same country and same Board produced Wasim and Waqar, Imran and Miandad, Inzamam and Yousuf.

    The reason why there aren't more of these players is because the players don't have the same passion, commitment and do-or-die attitude. They are a bunch of lazy and selfish athletes who have been blinded by the glamour of the modern game.

    Where there are talented players who want to perform, they are not getting a chance because of nepotism and politics.

  6. Anonymous said...

    Two wrongs do not make a right,if the chairman or the patron themselves are corrupt then how can we expect a fair selection and accountability of players,the players are mere pawns, its the selection committee and the board which is responsible for selecting them and giving them an extended run, and I do not agree that it's the same board which produced Waqar, Wasim or Miandad, the board is just a legal entity whose character changes with every change in management.

    Half of the players in the current team including the captain would have long gone if Miandad, Majid or any other Ex-cricketer was at the helm of PCB.

    As far as nepotism is concerned if the appointment of the Chairman himself is done on the basis of favoritism then what else we can expect from the players.

    The corruption in the board is the root cause for the poor performance team and the status quo in selection.

    We can change all the players and the result will still be the same,the selectors and the board will again appoint a dummy captain and they will again hire non deserving players.

  7. Anonymous said...


    Wasim Akram talked about all the bowlers he trained in the camp while commentating during a match in Asia cup. I think it was Waqar Younis who asked him a question about the new prospects?

    I saw the matches on cricinfo TV so I don't know if their commentary team was different then other broadcasters.

  8. Anonymous said...

    wasim - its not just the chairman or the patron in chief but the whole tubber is corrupt. So who are you going to change and who are you going to replace with?

    Q - I have answered to your questions on the previous thread. Boy you write threads like news headlines.

    khansahab - gone are the days of talented players now only the tailenders who are left behind.

  9. Anonymous said...

    Purdha hey purdha purdhey kay peechay yeh jo purdha nasheen hey woh woh......?

    Indian view!

    If you want to have this discussion in a civil manner as it is going so far,I can come to your blog or you can come to mine.
    I did not respond to your post on the last thread as we are guests on Q's blog and we have to respect our host.I hope you will understand.

  10. Anonymous said...

    The tubber is corrupt you are right,but none of the ex-player is so powerful that he can't be replaced or hold accountable like DNA if things go wrong.
    The difference is the same as you have between democracy and dictatorship.

  11. Anonymous said...

    My thoughts... I don't think any super young 16 year old or u-19 should be fast tracked into the national scene... let them go through the grind of the domestic circuit... a fast track doesn't lead to any possible results for the overall picture as also seen in the case of India. A fast track will only add to a reputation and a complex when the concerned player is playing in the domestic circuit and often leads to preferential treatment.

  12. Anonymous said...


    What do you think about Anwar Ali?

    I have only seen him bowl in a few matches, he seems to be a good swing bowler.

    Is he the type of bowler who can swing the ball even when pitch conditions are not as helpful?
    Does he deserve to play at this level, what do you think?

  13. Anonymous said...

    excellent review...I am now looking forward to seeing M. Aamir bowl. If Wasim recommends him...he has got to be something...

    lets how everything else falls in place...or not....hehe...

  14. Q said...

    Scorps - that all depends on the 16 year old himself as well as the people managing him.

    Sachin started international at 16.

    So did Razzak and Afridi - well according to the records at least.

    The weaker minds will succumb to what u said. The stronger ones will go on..

  15. Q said...

    India View - aren't the posts supposed to have headlines? :-)

  16. Q said...

    Khansahab - I wasvery impressed with Anwar Ali when he destroyed India in the U19 WC.. I was watching that match live and thinking wat a bowler!! The problem was that after that in domestic cricket in unfriendly conditions, he lost his swing.. though even today on windy Khi days he swings the ball a lot and troubles batsmen... he did so during the Pentangular as well..

    He has a good future i think... he'll do very well in England, Australia..

  17. Q said...

    Thanks UTP... I'm looking forward to that too..

  18. Q said...

    Khansahab - I agree abt the talent. I think what we've lost is people who can nurture and manage this talent the way it should be..

  19. Anonymous said...

    Q what do you mean by aren't posts supposed to have headlines?

    You mean to say that you feel trigger happy by deleting my comment which was a mere response to wasim's call to come to his blog or to invite him to my blog and discuss in a civil way.

    I simply responded to him that I don't own any blog and I have read his comments no his blogs so I prefer not to go and whats wrong in discussing here or on khansahab's blog? Because I write on khansahab's blog as well and I was not being sarcastic but quoting mere facts that I have never been uncivil to anyone and being a Hindu I respect other religion and your country too. And you find my comments offensive? If not, why did you delete them? If that pleases you, than be happy thats all I can say.

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