Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Pakistan Cup & how it demonstrates PCB's ineptness once again!

The PCB launched the Pakistan Cup recently, a domestic one-day competition that replaces the Pentangular Cup, with all the right buzz words like "improved product", "tougher competition", "attracting investors" and so on.

The Pakistan Cup will be contested by 5 regions - Punjab, Sindh, KPK, Balochistan, and Federal, which will be captained by Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, and Misbah Ul Haq respectively.

Yesterday, the PCB conducted a draft for the selection of the 15-man squads for each of the teams. We have heard of player auctions for domestic T20 leagues, and we even witnessed a first ever player draft on the lines of the NBA two months ago for the Pakistan Super League. However, for a one-day competition, this was a first.

Full marks for being innovative!

The draft began with a list of around 170 cricketers that the regions could select from. Besides selecting one U-19 player from their own region, there was no other criteria for selection.

Here's a list of the players that the regions had to select from.

And here are the selected squads.

All well and good?

Not at all.

So here are my issues with all of this.

1. The Captains

So it makes sense to make Azhar Ali the captain of one of the teams considering he is Pakistan's ODI captain. Makes sense to make Sarfraz captain as well considering he has just been announced captain of Pakistan's T20 team and is also the Vice Captain of the ODI team.

But the other three captains do not make sense at all.

Misbah and Younis have long retired from ODIs, while Shoaib Malik is in the final few years of his career.

The PCB missed a golden opportunity of providing captaincy experience to future prospective leaders. At a time when the national team has a dearth of leaders this was the perfect chance to test the captaincy skills of some players and even groom some of them.

I can understand the presence of Misbah and Younis in the squads despite their ODI retirements. They are senior players and will bring in plenty of wisdom to the dressing room that other players can draw upon and learn from. However, having them captain the teams serves no purpose. Another player with the reigns, coupled with the opportunity to bank on advice from senior pros, would have provided for a great learning opportunity.

Imad Wasim, a former U19 captain and Asad Shafiq are just two examples of players who could have benefited from such an approach.

But then again, we know that the PCB has no vision for the future!

2. The U19 Selections


Anyone who watched the U19 World Cup earlier this year (each one of the PCB members and selectors should have been watching it) must have seen Hasan Mohsin. The way the kid batted must have put some of the senior players to shame!

He was Pakistan's leading run scorer and leading wicket taker in the U19 World Cup.


There has been a lot of hoopla regarding the selection of Arsal Shaikh by the Federal region and the consequent disappointment of Misbah. For those who are unaware, Arsal is the son of Shakeel Shaikh who is a member of the Governing Board of the PCB. He is also the head of PCB's cricket committee and was the head of the recent committee formed to investigate the humiliation at the World T20.

So that is the only claim to fame for Arsal Shaikh as his performance is shit. What was the basis of his selection? We all know the answer don't we.

3. The Other Selections

I have no idea what the criteria was for the pool of 170 odd cricketers or for the 15 selected by each region. It does not seem like performance was given any due weightage. Rather the captains / regions just selected players they were comfortable with.

This is why I think so:

Usman Salahuddin
He was part of the pool of 170 but not selected by any region.
Anyone know why?

In the National One-Day Cup that was played in December 2015 he was the 4th highest run scorer with 469 runs in 7 innings at an average of 93.80 and a strike rate of 84.5. He knocked 2 centuries and 2 fifties in those 7 innings.

Sadaf Hussain
He was also part of the pool of 170 but not selected by any region.

In the National One-Day Cup he was the highest wicket taker with 20 wickets at an ave of 16.55 and an economy of 4.58. In the Quaid-e-Azam trophy he took 36 wickets at an average of 19.55.

His domestic record is for everyone to see and why he has never got a chance to play for Pakistan or in the premier domestic tournaments, I will never understand.

Saeed Anwar
He was also part of the pool of 170 but not selected by any region.

In the National One-Day Cup he was the 5th highest run scorer with 404 runs in 8 innings at an average of 57.71 and a strike rate of 90.38. He scored 1 century and 3 fifties!

Abdul Rehman Muzammil
He was also part of the pool of 170 but not selected by any region.

In the National One-Day Cup he scored 337 runs in 5 innings at an average of 67.40 and a strike rate of 100.89. He scored 2 centuries in those 5 innings including a 159!

Raza Ali Dar
He was also part of the pool of 170 but not selected by any region.

In the National One-Day Cup he scored 293 runs in 6 innings at an average of 97.66 and a strike rate of 88.25. He scored 1 century and 2 fifties. On top of that, he also picked up 11 wickets in the competition at an average of 27.18 and had an economy of 6.1!

Faisal Iqbal
He was also part of the pool of 170 but not selected by any region.

In the National One-Day Cup he scored 265 runs in 7 innings at an average of 53.00 and a strike rate of 88.92. He scored 3 fifties in those 7 innings. Additionally, he had a fruitful Quaid-e-Azam trophy as well scoring 490 runs at an average of 49.00 including 2 centuries and 2 fifties.

*                                    *                                    *

These are just a few names of the cricketers that were ignored by the 5 regions taking part in the Pakistan Cup. As always no justification or explanation was given for the players selected or for the players that were omitted.

As always, nepotism and favoritism played a role in selecting squads. The usual suspects like the Akmal brothers, Salman Butt, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed and many others all made it to different squads. Players who have been tried and tested and failed repeatedly are continuing to get chances to display their mediocre talents, yet other emerging and deserving cricketers sit at home and wonder what they need to do.

As always, the PCB missed a good opportunity to test some emerging players, to provide promising talent with an opportunity to play alongside and learn from more experienced international cricketers, to test leadership qualities with the aim of identifying potential future captains.

Waqar Younis' scathing report following the humiliating World T20 was there for everyone to see. The PCB made it public to embarrass Waqar. Instead all it ended up doing was, as always, embarrass itself!

The call for improving domestic cricket, the call for working with a vision for the future, the call for disciplining some of the players and providing opportunities to other emerging talent were all ignored by the PCB in its first plan, the Pakistan Cup, following the report.

Pathetic as always.

How can Pakistan cricket ever improve?

Make your pitch on this post...

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8 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...
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  2. Anonymous said...

    In Pakistan Super League and Pakistan Cup 2016 I want youngsters to perform well. So far Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan have performed well but they are going to be retired very soon. Youngsters should analyze the oppertunity and play at a level where top crcicketers of the world are playing

  3. Sherry Shah said...

    I am a fan of Pakistan Cricket Team but when they have to compete they are required to stay competitive in all departments. After a successful inaugural PSL T20 they failed in ICC T20 World Cup. Now, after disappointing performance they will play England and we know their last visit. Pakistan vs England is always crucial to play and watch. In their tour they are required to stay focused and disciplined.

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