Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pakistan Have a Selection Problem

And for once, it is a good one!

The problem I'm talking about is the one regarding the selection of the playing XI for the upcoming ODIs against Sri Lanka.

With the return of the ICL rebels into the international fold, Pakistan's 16 man squad looks very strong on paper.

I believe the squad provides Younis Khan with a lot of options; he and the team management have a lot of thinking to do.

Who is going to open?

Will it be the specialists, Imran Nazir and Nasir Jamshed? Will it be Kamran Akmal who had a great impact in the position during the World T20? Or will Fawad Alam continue in his new found role?

If Fawad Alam does not open, does he have a spot in the XI?

With Yousuf's return, the middle order seems packed with him, Younis, Misbah, Malik, Afridi, Akmal, Razzaq; will Fawad continue to be ignored?

Where will Shahid Afridi bat?

Will he continue in the lower order where he has batted in ODIs for the last 3 years? Will he be used as a floater? Or will he come up the order where he rediscovered his batting form during the World T20?

How will Mohammad Yousuf fit back into the ODI team?

With Yousuf out, Pakistan had the luxury to play with 6 bowling options; with Yousuf back, will they revert to using Malik as the 5th bowler? Or will Misbah or Malik make way for Yousuf?

How will Abdul Razzaq fit into the ODI XI?

Razzaq has not played an ODI for over two years now; does he still have a place in the team? If specialist openers are used with Malik, Afridi, and Akmal in the lower order then where does Razzaq fit in?

There are just some of the questions that Younis Khan and Co. should be looking to answer.

They better be thinking about it.

I surely am and I have still not been able to figure out what the best XI should be.

I always prefer to have 6 bowling options in ODIs; 5 is too big a risk in my view.

At the same time, I am extremely excited about watching a potentially explosive opening pair in Imran Nazir & Nasir Jamshed.

However, if that happens it would leave only 5 bowling options considering that Younis, Yousuf, Misbah, Malik, Afridi, and Akmal are almost garanteed a spot in the XI.

Unless Younis considers himself as the 6th option, which he should going by the way he bowled in the tests.

Given that, who fills in the final 3 spots?

3 pacers? Or Saeed Ajmal and 2 pacers? If Ajmal plays then does Razzaq still make the team as the 2nd pacer?

See the problem I'm talking about. I think it has been a while since Pakistan faced so many options with the selection of an XI.

This is the XI I would look to play.

Q's XI: 1. Imran Nazir 2. Nasir Jamshed 3. Shahid Afridi 4. Younis Khan 5. Shoaib Malik 6. Fawad Alam 7. Abdul Razzaq 8. Kamran Akmal 9. Umar Gul 10. Mohammad Aamer 11. Saeed Ajmal.

Though I don't think that will happen. There is no way Younis Khan will drop Yousuf and / or Misbah.

I believe he should.

Which XI will you play?

Make your pitch on this post...

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17 Pitched:

  1. smk said...

    I really don't think both jamshed and nazir will play, especially since both of them failed to perform against sri lanka A. I am surprised you didn't mention akmal junior who scored yet another century and could easily slot in at the top of the order as well!

    My XI:
    1) K Akmal
    2) Jamshed
    3) Younis
    4) MoYo
    5) F Alam
    6) S Malik
    7) S Afridi
    8) Razzle Dazzle
    9) U Gul
    10) S Ajmal
    11) M. Aamer

    Though it's unlikely fawad will make the cut ahead of misbah... how predictable pak selectors are!

  2. Som said...

    I have this sneaking supicion that Akmal will open since that would also help accommodate Fawwad in the middle.

  3. BEE said...

    I hate the argument that only 'specialist' openers should open, especially in the case of limited overs cricket. I think Younis and the management would probably prefer to open with akmal where I believe he's been most effective and would allow the team more flexibility, I think he's a better hitter of the new ball than the old one.
    Although I used to be a fan of imran nazir I am not exactly sure what he's done since being dropped not so long ago to warrant a place in the starting XI of the ODI team. The T20 game would be a different story.
    Looking at the practice game, I am guessing younis won't be too impressed with starting with nasir jamshed (although one failure doesn't mean he can't play) and would probably prefer fawad alam who really hasn't done much wrong in his international career so far (plus he gives them an extra spin bowling option which might be useful in srilankan conditions and his fielding is better than nasir).
    Scoring a hundred in about 70 balls would in most teams get you a spot in the final XI, but considering Pakistan cares so much about the whole seniority issue, I don't think he'll play (unless they make him open with his brother?). With Malik scoring a 100 in the last game, Misbah being the vice-captain, Younis being the captain and Yousaf being Yousaf, I dont see these folks getting the axe either. A bowling unit comprising of Gul, Razzaq, Aamer, Ajmal, Afridi, Malik/Younis/Alam should be strong enough.

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  5. Unknown said...

    Fawad Alam seems to be naturall replacement for Shoaib Malik. Will provide stability in the middel order and will also provide a bowling option. There is no way Yousuf can be dropped from ODI. One specialist opener will have to be sacrificed to accomodate Razzaq (to have 6 bowling options whihc is absolutely neceessary in ODI)

    1) N.Jamshed / I.Nazir
    2) K. Akmal
    3) Younis
    4) Yousuf
    5) Misbah
    6) Fawad
    7) Afridi
    8) Razzaq
    9) Umer Gul
    10) Ajmal
    11) Amir

  6. Anonymous said...

    stop blogging - go to the uk already!

  7. Fayez said...

    I'm surprised Umar Akmal is in no one's list. The best time to give someone a debut is when they are in-form. He's going through a dream run of Bradman-isque proportions. I'd drop Nasir J or Imran Nazir any day for this guys.

    As much as I love Misbah, I don't think his recent form warrants a place over Fawad Alam, especially given that we'll need someone to fill the opening spot.

    So here is my 11:
    1) Kamran Akmal
    2) Fawad Alam
    3) Shahid Afridi
    4) Mohd Yousof
    5) Shoaib Malik
    6) Yonis Khan
    7) Umar Akmal
    8) Razzaq
    9) Umar Gul
    10) Mohd Aamir
    11) Saeed Ajmal

    This is one action packed lineup with Akmal and Afridi at the top and Razzaq and Akmal (junior) at the bottom. Also, note that there are 8 guys who can bowl in this lineup.

  8. Q said...


    When I wrote this, I had not checked the score of the game against SL A; u may be right abt both Nazir and Jamshed not playing.

    I can't believe I forgot about Umar Akmal after hyping him up prior to his selection.. but I think it will be difficult to include him in the XI with all these seniors around..

  9. Q said...


    Ur right.. Akmal may open but I don't think that will fit Fawad in the middle..

  10. Q said...


    Who gave the argument about specialist openers for ODIs?

  11. Q said...


    Welcome to Well Pitched.

    I like the look of ur team but I don't think Malik will be dropped.

    And somehow I would like to see Umar Akmal in the XI.

  12. Q said...


    I'm going, I'm going.. tonight!

    But the blogging won't stop even when I'm there...

  13. Q said...


    I really like the look of that XI.. no matter how much I would love to see it I don't think YK will drop Misbah.. he's VC and will probably play all the games with Umar missing out.. it will be a shame but it looks likely..

  14. smk said...

    Wow, could pak have selected more out of form batsmen?? Malik opening...really!

  15. Q said...

    I could not believe that either SMK..

  16. Imran Suhail Ashraf said...

    I have two team choises :)

    1) specialist openers, weaker middle order
    Imran nazir
    nasir jamshed
    K akmal
    U akmal
    S afridi
    fawad alam
    abdul razzak /rana naveed
    Umar gull
    M Aamer / rao iftekhar
    Saeed Ajmal

    2) Stronger middle order, risky opening
    Imran nazir
    K akmal
    U akmal
    S afridi
    fawad alam
    Muhammad yusuf
    abdul razzak /rana naveed
    Umar gull
    M Aamer / rao iftekhar
    Saeed Ajmal

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