Monday, November 18, 2019

Pakistan vs Australia Test Series: Selection Decisions for Pakistan

Pakistan's T20 International series against Australia was not the kind of start that new T20 captain, Babar Azam, was looking for; however we at least witnessed Babar take charge and impose his authority with the bat in 2 of the 3 T20 games.

Suffice to say that captaincy burdens will not hamper Babar's batting ability.

Despite Pakistan suffering a 2-0 loss, there has been plenty of excitement building up among the Pakistan fans for the upcoming Test Series.

Particularly due to the video clips of Naseem Shah's bowling circulating on social media.

This boy is going to be a sensation.

Even though it was Imran Khan whose 5 wickets destroyed Australia A in the 3-day match, every Pakistani was focused solely on Naseem Shah's 8 overs, his speed, and his 1 wicket.

There is something about a free flowing express pace bowler who keeps the batsmen jumping.

Naseem Shah is the real deal and every Pakistani is hoping he is the one who will continue the legacy of Pakistan's pace bowling.

But will Misbah and Azhar Ali play him in the first test that starts in 3 days?

Here's a look at some selection decisions that Pakistan will face for the first test against Australia.

Mohammad Abbas and Yasir Shah are sure starters in the 4-man bowling attack that Pakistan will field in the first test against Australia at Brisbane.

That leaves two spots and a choice between Shaheen Afridi, Imran Khan, Naseem Shah, and Muhammad Musa.

Musa impressed in the 2-day game against Cricket Australia XI with figures of 2-32 in his 14 overs. He generated quite a but of pace too, consistently bowling in the 140s.

Shaheen has been on a comeback trail and had a good outing against Australia A, picking up 2-42 in 16 overs in the first innings and 1-22 in 9 overs in the second.

Imran Khan was the star of the first practice game with sterling figures of 5-32.

But the talk of the town has been Naseem Shah!

So who gets to play come Thursday?

It will be a tough choice for the Pakistan team management. I think Imran Khan and Shaheen Afridi would be the wise choice, but I really want to see Naseem Shah in the XI.

While Pakistan's bowling does look exciting, its ability to pick 20 Australian wickets is debatable.

In fact, I believe that Pakistan's batting will shine in the upcoming test series and it will be the bowlers who will struggle against the Aussie batting.

Babar Azam has been in wonderful touch. He kicked off the T20s with two 50s and then followed that up with an unbeaten 150 odd against Australia A. He dominated an international level bowling attack and played some stunning strokes in that innings, leaving everyone in awe of his talent and form.

Iftikhar Ahmed has also been in great form since his comeback to the side in the home series against Sri Lanka. In Australia, he played a brutal unbeaten knock of 62 of only 30 odd deliveries in the last T20, and in the 3-day match against Australia A, he again played an unbeaten knock of 79. Bowlers have found it extremely difficult to dismiss him, and all his unbeaten knocks have catapulted his average in T20 Internationals to a whopping 75!

Asad Shafiq, the mainstay of Pakistan's Test batting line up for the past many years, has warmed up for the test series with centuries in each of the practice matches. He scored an unbeaten 119 against Australia A, where he was involved in an unbroken partnership of 276 with Babar Azam. He followed that up with another unbeaten knock of 101 against Cricket Australia XI, where again he put on a century partnership with Babar.

The openers Shan Masood and Imam Ul Haq have also warmed up well. Shan managed scores of 65 and 76 in the two matches, while Imam played a solitary innings of 44.

The only batsmen not to find any form were Pakistan's new Test Captain, Azhar Ali, and Haris Sohail. Azhar scored 11 and 1 in the two innings against Australia A and then sat out the match against CA XI. While Haris has scores of 18, 2, and 4 in the three innings he played in these practice games. Haris also had a very disappointing T20 series.

Even though Haris Sohail scored a 147 in the last test series he played for Pakistan, I feel his struggle in Australia is real and he should sit out the first test. Moreso because Iftikhar Ahmed has been in red hot form and deserves to add to his solitary test cap.

The other 5 batsmen pick themselves.

The bowling, as mentioned above is the tricky part, however I am sold on the excitement generated by Naseem Shah, and I feel Pakistan should play two bowlers who bowl in the 140s, rather than two who bowl in the 130s.

I am not convinced with Mohammad Rizwan's ability to shine in international cricket, but there is no choice really. Abid Ali, while a far superior batsman, is not an international level wicket keeper. One needs a specialist for Test matches.

Here's my XI for the first test1. Shan Masood 2. Imam Ul Haq 3. Azhar Ali 4. Babar Azam 5. Iftikhar Ahmed 6. Asad Shafiq 7. Mohammad Rizwan 8. Yasir Shah 9. Shaheen Afridi 10. Mohammad Abbas 11. Naseem Shah

Can't wait for this Test Series to start already!

Make your pitch on this post...

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8 Pitched:

  1. Unknown said...

    Pick Abid ali in place of Rizwan ahmed rizwan ahmed is not a good batsman pls selector and team manager

  2. Unknown said...

    Your selection is superb, I also hope that.

  3. Saurabh jain said...

    Nice team selection.

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