I don't have a solution for Pakistan's batting problems. I don't think anyone does.
In this day and age, countries are producing batsmen like Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith, and Quinton de Kock to name a few. All these batsmen seem far more mature than their age suggests. Yet Pakistan continues to produce batsmen who can't tell the difference between their leg stump and off stump.
How or even if this will be ever corrected, I do not know, but one thing I do know is that Pakistan cannot continue with Misbah at the helm, or even in the team, with the World Cup just 5 months away.
Misbah is having an atrocious year with the bat. Sure he had a great period for a year and a half, but this year has been bad.
Not only does that affect Pakistan's batting, it definitely takes a toll on the captain as well. Continuous losses have definitely put him under pressure, so much so, that he refused to bat at the all important number 3 position when the management requested him to.
Misbah needs to be relieved of his duties as soon as possible, otherwise the team will continue to struggle, and the World Cup will be a very long and painful 2 months for Pakistan fans.
Not only did he get a first ball duck, he started the entire match on the wrong foot with bad team selection.
The exclusion of Sohaib Maqsood in the first ODI against Australia is just inexplicable. Just two ODIs ago, the man played the innings of his life and completed an improbable chase for Pakistan.
And today he found himself out of the team?
Not playing Junaid Khan is also bewildering. He is one of the best fast bowling prospects in the country yet he finds himself on the sidelines.
How can anyone play Asad Shafiq and Anwar Ali ahead of Maqsood and Junaid?
Asad Shafiq has been given numerous chances in ODIs, and despite his great performances in tests, he has just not got going in ODIs. And while Anwar Ali may have potential as an allrounder that Pakistan is so desperately looking for, his bowling just does not have the same bite that it did during his U19 days,
Playing him to add batting depth, ahead of a pacer like Junaid Khan is way too defensive a tactic. It smells of fear of losing than trying to play attacking cricket to win.
Sure there were a few positives in the ODI, but Pakistan just don't look like a team that can give major teams competition.
Shahid Afridi shone like a champion with the ball in the absence of Saeed Ajmal. He took on the responsibility like the senior he is and proved his worth. Irfan looks fit and menacing and will be a handful in Australia.
The debutant, Zulfiqar Babar, also did extremely well with the ball, and it was criminal of Misbah to not bowl him for his quota of 10.
Sarfraz Ahmed has finally come into his own with the bat and he is now doing for Pakistan what he has been doing for PIA for the past many years. He is a solid attacking opening batsman for PIA in the domestic one-day circuit and his first innings in that role for Pakistan was full of promise.
So yes there are positives, but there are way too many things that need to be corrected, and they need to be corrected soon.
1. Misbah needs to be removed from the team. Give the captaincy to Afridi or Hafeez or anyone, just take it away from Misbah and tell him to bid ODIs goodbye.
2. Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, and Umar Akmal need to be Pakistan's middle order in ODIs. Misbah, Asad Shafique, and Umar Amin should be no where in it.
3. Shehzad and Sarfraz need to keep opening. They need to be persisted with till the World Cup.
4. Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, and Wahab Riaz need to be Pakistan's three pacers.
It is not difficult to implement all this.
A solid playing XI with the right batting order is staring in everyone's faces yet for some reason the management's brain remains fried.