The countdown for the T20 WC has begun, a few countries including India and Pakistan have announced their squads. In the Indian squad Tendulkar is missing because of his own decision to stay out of T20 format. In my opinion that is a big loss for team India. As regards Pakistan team, the squad was announced more than a week ago and the name of the captain was withheld for some silly reason. The PCB made a mockery of their decision not only by delaying the announcement of the Captain’s name but, creating more divisions, factions and groupings within the team by disclosing 4 names as probable candidates. The obvious choice was Shahid Afridi and the ultimate result is Shahid Afridi. So, what was the reason to create this mess? The PCB has proved that it is they who sow the seeds of groupings and division in the team. Why name 4 probable candidates when none other than Afridi are capable?
I think the whole captaincy hoopla was created only to get in Salman Butt and Misbah ul Haq in the 15 member squad. Because, they were the other two candidates the PCB was mulling over their names as possible captains, so that way they crept in otherwise there was no other way for them to justify their inclusion in the 15 member squad. How ridiculous and absurd it is to even think of including them in the squad let aside considering them for Captaincy. There are two reasons they wanted them to get them in the side, first of all both of them are from Punjab and secondly, both speak better English than others. Neither of this is a criteria or a prerequisite to captain the side. Especially since their form is so “digustipatingly” pathetic.
Abdul Razzaq was another candidate for captaincy, he is a much better player than the other two especially if he clicks he could be dangerous. In the recent past he was kinda lost in translation, not only he lost the sting in his bowling but, his batting was totally off-colour and fielding was never his forte, he could compete with Mohammed Yousuf and Danish Kaneria in the fielding department. There was a time when Abdul Razzaq was in two minds and he demonstrated it by wearing a cap (reverse) and a helmet on top of it. Since he was not sure what to wear, he wore both. Like, normally in the shorter version of the game he used long handle bats to slog but, in test matches he was using long handle to defend. Whatever that may be, he looked very confused after gavashing himself with loads and loads of spinach. Perhaps he saw too much of Popye The Sailor Man serial. In any case he is not a captain’s material, he is meek, weak and submissive in leading the team. Although Afridi with his Akhroat brain was backing Abdul Razzaq as a logical choice in case he himself is not considered for captaincy. That is so Akhroatish of him to do that. Because, it is the job of the PCB to decide whom they want to appoint as captain and finally they did.
The other stupid thing the PCB did, in fact it is not really stupid but, it is very cunning and deceiving act by selecting the team before announcing the captain so that Afridi has no say in the team selection. In fact when Shahid Afridi asked the coaches and the selectors recently to review the team selection because he feels the need to make some changes and to have some say in team selection. But, they just gave him a lolly pop candy by saying: “OK next time, the captain will have his say.” Next time? Who knows what happens next time? In Pakistan everything changes so fast and what is good today is bad tomorrow, who knows whether Afridi will remain captain of the team or they may someone else? It is such a conniving and scheming act by the PCB mafia that they knew Afridi wouldn’t be able to put pressure on the because of the current situation in which he is owing to the ball biting incident and his weaker position to dictate and negotiate, they took this as an opportunity to sideline him and shove in nothing players like, Salman Butt and Misbah ul Haq in the team.
The only good thing that has happened in this team selection is, the team is sans Shoaib Malick the schemer and tactician and Rana Naveed, who can single-handedly give away the match to the opposition on a silver platter with his mediocre and pathetic bowling and fielding. I am glad that both these players are not in the squad. Although Malik may try to over turn the ban or reduce his sentence on parole by using his senator connections and his regional clout yet, there is no chance of him coming back in the WC squad, which is a good thing to keep the dressing atmosphere clean.
The players I don’t want to see in the team are Salman Butt and Khalid Latif. I would include Imran Nazir (despite his pathetic form, hoping he will click in one of the crucial matches) the second one is Shahzaib Hasan Khan both as openers and I would like to see Mohammad Sami instead of Yasir Arafat. And, Misbah should go home along with Butt and Latif.
Although the selectors, coach and even some of the players are saying that Caribbean pitches will suit Pakistan team, but that is not true they had a disastrous WC in 2007 when they lost to the WI and then to Ireland. Especially against the Ireland the pitch had a very uneven bounce and Boyd Rankin ruined the Pakistani batting line up. However, this team may not do that i.e., lose against the likes of minnos such as Bangladesh, because this is not ODI, but T20 but, you never know because Bangladesh has some very good players these days especially Tamim Iqbal and Sakibul Hasan and they are capable of giving a tough time to Pakistan. The other team in Pakistan’s group is Australia and they have a mental block against Australia. On paper they have a better track record under Afridi’s captaincy in T20 when they lost to Pakistan in Dubai but, under Malik’s captaincy Pakistan lost to Australia. And, Australia are getting stronger by the day with some real good fast bowlers and hard hitting batsmen in their side. So, moving from first round to the second may not be a piece of cake for Pakistan and they must thank their stars that neither the West Indies nor Ireland are in their group.
Now, it is up to you guys to decide who should be in the playing XI and to predict which team will be in the top of their group and who will reach the semis and who will win the CUP?