Friday, July 31, 2009

Umar Akmal Has Got to Play

Pakistan's middle order at the moment looks extremely congested with big names like Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, and Abdul Razzaq.

Even Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal are part of that when they are not opening.

Then how does a new and upcoming promising batsman like Umar Akmal make his way into the side?

It is not easy but at times tough decisions need to be taken.

The names mentioned above are big ones; most of them senior and experienced cricketers who have served Pakistan for a long time.

But when things are not going right, something has got to give. Pakistan cannot keep hanging on to these tried and tested players just for the sake of seniority.

Misbah's ODI form has been patchy for a long time now; Mohammad Yousuf's brief absence actually gave Pakistan a much better balanced ODI outfit.

Then why is Pakistan hell bent on continuing with these batsmen?

Particularly when someone like Umar Akmal is waiting for his chance.

Umar has been in awesome form and this is the best time to give him a taste of international cricket.

In his last 6 first class and List A games against Australia A and Sri Lanka A, Umar has smashed 4 centuries.

Form like that cannot be ignored; moreover his exuberance and aggression can do Pakistan a lot of good, especially when the current middle order is failing to fire.

Come to think of it, it should not even be such a hard decision to take.

If Younis Khan is thinking 2011 then he should not be thinking of Yousuf and Misbah as a part of those plans. I believe it is time for Yousuf and Misbah to concentrate on test cricket and be told that there was no longer a place for them in the ODI team.

That way Umar Akmal can come into the middle order; as can Shoaib Malik with either one of Nasir Jamshed or Imran Nazir partnering Kamran Akmal at the top.

Pakistan should not repeat the same mistake they did with Fawad Alam by keeping Umar on the bench for two years before giving him a proper chance.

Umar Akmal has got to play tomorrow!

Make your pitch on this post...

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9 Pitched:

  1. Indophile said...

    why Misbah? why not Shoaib Malik. But even if they keep the same team it should be fine as they look pretty decent . They can bat deep and got enough bowling options. Dambulla is always unpredictable so its fine for if they keep the team unchanged for one more match. Even Srilanka is not picking that Udawaitta fellow when they can clearly drop couple of their batsmen and get him in the team

  2. SM said...

    Q , I think Sho Ma and Misbah should make way for Umar akmal and Imran Nazir / Nasir Jamshed .

  3. Q said...


    A couple of reasons for that.

    1) Malik will be around in 2011, Misbah probably not.

    2) Malik has done much better than Misbah in ODIs, while I feel Malik is slightly out of touch, misbah is probably past his best. He's still good in tests.. not ODIs though..

  4. Q said...


    I want those 2 changes but for Misbah and Yousuf, not Malik..

  5. SM said...

    I thought You would probably play Yousuf in couple of more series and prove him that he is not fit for this format . probably tests suit him more ...the other day he let Jayasurya and Tharanga run 4 runs in a slow outfield due to his sluggish chase and his weak arm throw ..

    And let me know reasonably well that he is not in the scheme of ODIs if 2011 needs to be planned from now onwards

  6. BAQ said...

    I just had a weird/absurd thought regarding the Pak batting line-up, maybe its more like a dream because it is rather unlikely. How great would it be if somehow they got Yousaf to open the innings. He is still probably our best batsman if you take into account his technique and ability to score big so often. I don't think any of the openers in the current squad can handle the swing/seam of tushara and kulasakera, maybe they could blast their way through but most probably we would be 2 down within the first 3 overs. Now Yousaf was probably at his best in the ODI team playing at no. 3 which is not that different from opening when you take into account the fact that Pakistani openers don't exactly last too long. Plus over the years he must have accumulated enough experience to fare well against the new ball. Moreover, the psychological effect that it would have on your opponents if they saw your best batsman striding out in the middle to face the first ball. Ofcourse, if he fails you won't have a Yousaf in the middle order to re-build the innings with Younis's help. But considering we have so many options in the middle-order we could take a gamble in this respect.
    I wish Younis shows more strength and confidence in his leadership abilities to put out the most balanced unit possible. I would still pick Malik over Misbah and try and squeeze in both alam and umar in the middle-order to give us some youthful enthusiasm. I think Younis might be inclined to pick Misbah more on the fact that he might be showing some leadership on the field and behind the scenes and probably still thinks he's capable of playing a match-winning innings.

  7. Q said...


    That's a good plan I think.. but YK implemented it faster than even I expected him too..

    Having said that, I guess MoYo might be back for Malik for the next one..

  8. Q said...


    Welcome to Well Pitched.

    That was some dream.. I think MoYo's best performances have come at 4 not 3.. either way I would not like to see him open..

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