Posts Tagged kamran akmal
Pakistan squad: Younis Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Fawad Alam, Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Yasir Arafat, Saeed Ajmal.
The reaction to the 15 man squad for ODI’s against Australia has generally been positive with most fans approving the selection of Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Akhtar, Ahmed Shahzad and Saeed Ajmal. However, this thread argues that the some players should not have been selected.
There were reports that Younis was against the selection of Ahmed Shahzad in the Sri
Lanka series earlier this year. It is very strange hence that Ahmed has now been selected for this series, and that too against one of the best sides in the world. For those who are not aware, Ahmed Shahzad is a 17 year old aggressive opener from Lahore who has only played 12 List A matches at domestic level. With such inexperience, why was he selected over the likes of Khalid Latif and Khurram Manzoor?
Khalid Latif is a 23 year old opener from Karachi who has played 34 List A matches and averages 54 whereas Shahzad averages 45. In the recently concluded RBS One Day Cup, Latif averaged 114 with a highest score of 204 not out. Latif has a phenomenal conversion rate too, with 8 hundreds and 2 fifties which shows that when he gets going, he tends to score big.
It is accepted that Latif had a poor debut against Zimbabwe last year when he made 19 runs. However, many players have had lacklustre debuts. Surely Abdul Qadir or Younis Khan could not have made their decision based on one sole innings?
Since Younis is known to prefer experience over youth, it is just mindboggling why he
would prefer to play Shahzad over Latif or Manzoor. Manzoor has so far shown inconsistent batting technique. His debut was impressive, but in his next few matches he struggled with shot selection. However, largely he impressed and in the 2nd Test vs Sri Lanka at Lahore, he played more confidently than Salman Butt. Is this how PCB wants to reward performance?
One could argue that recent domestic tournaments have little bearing, or should have little bearing, for international selection but it would be wrong for someone to say that. Abdul Qadir stated at the start of the RBS Cup that players who perform will be considered for the series against Australia. Selectors around the world use domestic tournaments to decide who should feature in a given forthcoming international assignment. It is not that case that Nasir Jamshed or Ahmed Shahzad are established players, if one wanted to argue that one poor domestic tournament should not affect their chances of playing against a top team.
Speaking of Nasir Jamshed, we have always spoken in support of him on LS. However, as a matter of principle he should also have not been selected and his place should have gone to Khurram Manzoor who as stated earlier, has so far performed adequately (this is on the basis that Shahzad’s place should have gone to Khalid Latif). Nasir was out of form in the RBS Cup and only scored 153 runs in 7 matches, whereas Manzoor had a much better tournament, scoring 246 runs in 6 matches.
The reason why is it submitted this selection is diabolical is because the opposition team is Australia, not Zimbabwe or Sri Lanka. There are reports that a second string team will be sent to play Pakistan, but even a third string team will be tough for Pakistan to handle. It seems as though there is a conspiracy to favour Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad, whilst depriving Latif and Manzoor. This is because you only need to score 1 fifty in 5 matches against Australia to build a reputation as a formidable international-level opener. Salman Butt went through his worst form after his century against Australia in one of his earlier Tests, but he was constantly picked on the pretext of being the batsman who “scored a century against Australia”. So this series is a tremendous confidence booster and a golden chance in all respects for Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad. The only problem is that there were other players who deserved this golden chance more than them.
Saeed Ajmal has been satisfactory so far, but is he really useful to the team? Shoaib Malik has recently improved his bowling and seems to be bowling just as effectively as Ajmal. Ajmal is a pretty mediocre fielder and further, he failed to impress in the RBS Cup. Qadir had suggested selecting Yasir Shah, a young legspinner from NWFP who has been in good form over the past year or so. It is strange Qadir chose the ostensibly useless spinner Ajmal and ignored Shah, who is an attacking legspinner and shows considerable promise. With Malik and Afridi containing the batsmen and attacking them too occasionally, it would have been much more useful playing the attacking Yasir Shah, his inexperience notwithstanding.
Shoaib Akhtar and Kamran Akmal are other controversial selections. Whereas Akhtar is likely to be injured or unfit, Akmal’s batting performance is the RBS Cup was average. We have discussed both Akhtar and Akmal many times previously. One has to wonder that if Younis Khan is supporting the constant selection of Akmal, can he guarantee Akmal will stop dropping catches? Whoever has been responsible for the unfair selection of this squad should come forward and explain his choices. This series is all-important because the opposition is Australia and hence it was very crucial that the most in-form players should have been selected.
Pakistan again ended up conceding over 600 runs to Sri Lanka in the 1st innings. Everyone was in unison over this wicket being a supportive one for both pacers and spinners but barring Umar Gul, there was no one else who left a mark. This article aims to cover just what is lacking in the current side which is resulting in such lacklustre team performances. Pakistan scored more than Sri Lanka in the Karachi Test; however that was largely due to the efforts of a flawless triple century by Younis and a huge century by Akmal. Akmal’s century however was nothing spectacular as it was achieved against a tired, directionless Sri Lankan attack consisting mainly of part timers such as Dilshan.
Danish Kaneria has been a huge disappointment for Pakistan ever since Akmal started dropping catches off his bowling. Akmal drops approximately 1-2 catches off Kaneria per Test and it seems this has done incalculable damage to Kaneria’s confidence. Surely this has to be the reason, because Kaneria started with a bang in international cricket and comparisons were drawn immediately with Shane Warne. Kaneria had virtually everything in his repertoire a successful spinner needs- flight, variation, bounce, turn capacity etc, yet Kaneria has completely failed to apply any of those elements successfully to his bowling of late.His biggest problem has been that he is constantly overpitching and all 6 balls of his overs are pitched at different lines and lengths. This is usually a simple problem to remedy, but Kaneria seems to be clueless. The most important aspect of a spinner in Test cricket is control, and if control is absent, the spinner is treated like a club level bowler which is exactly what is happening with Kaneria at the moment. PCB needs to consider whether Afridi’s dynamism and all round capabilities can provide what Pakistan is looking for. Although not a specialist legspinner in the Test mould, Afridi has experience and variety and he certainly can do a better job than Kaneria in the circumstances. Pakistan can also benefit from his spirited fielding, good motivational skills and aggressive batting.
Akmal dropped Samaraweera off Kaneria on the 1st day when the batsman was on 68 and he went on to score 214. This is not the first time this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last. Akmal has dropped South Africans, Indians, Australians; in fact, batsmen from all teams in his under-achieving career, yet his place in the team seems to be set in stone on the pretext of some good batting performances.
Enough is enough and PCB and Younis Khan need to consider whether they want a keeper who can hold onto his catches, or they want a batsman who occasionally dominates docile bowling attacks on flat pitches? I am no Don Bradman, but Akmal’s batting technique is laughable on bowling pitches. His record against good teams speaks for itself. He is not a good batsman and he is a worse keeper. Period. Players like Sarfraz Ahmed and Ali Asad who can keep better than Akmal have been hitting 100’s and 50’s at domestic level consistently and how are the selectors rewarding them?
YOUNUS KHAN is slowly but surely is in the making of a legend for Pakistan cricket team. He is on the right path of success and taken his captaincy challenge to prove a point that he is not a “dummy captain”, but a leader who leads from the front. Unlike Malik, the burden of captaincy did not affect his batting, in fact it played an opposite role on his psyche. He realized that in the absence of his former colleagues Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf the middle order is not so dependable and he has to play the anchor role which he did to perfection.
Having said that it does not mean the other batsmen should continue to play the role of a second fiddle and always look up to Younus Khan as a father figure to rescue them in the times of trouble. Players like Shoaib Malik and Misbah with ample experience should pull up their socks and get ready for a big score in Lahore. Malik should not consider himself as a “fifty-sixty” player. His test performance is poor but his 11 years of experience at the international level is enough to handle any kinda pressure under any given circumstances. Misbah too, must strive to prove his worth, just a solo century in test cricket is not something one would expect from him to cherish for the rest of his life. Kamran Akmal the fourth most experienced batsman and the so-called wicketkeeper must understand that a big hundred on a dead wicket may assure his place for another few matches, but not forever. He needs to do something with his butterfingers. They may have proved to be good and handy while he was dealing with the former skipper or while he is was spreading butter on Ijaz’s Butt and, not when he is keeping the wickets.
Doing analysis of a 5 day test match is always a difficult task, as one needs to rely too much on his memory or, jot down the notes. But, the postmortem of a dead test match is easy, one doesn’t need to delve deeper into the finer details of what went wrong and how those mistakes could have been rectified? The answer is simple, no more dead wickets. As Waqar Younus says, ” you need a grass on the wicket” and thats all.
At the end of the second day’s play when Sri Lanka posted a huge total of 644/7 declared, I said: “if Pakistan plays sensibly they can avoid defeat, if they play this match like a 50 over game or in twenty20 style they will end up scoring 250 odd runs.” Thanks God, Younus Khan played the anchor role just like Jayawardene the Sri Lankan captain did and partnerships evolved around his 313. Its a shame that he got out so cheaply on the 5th day after adding only 7 runs to his overnight total, because all Pakistanis were hoping to see him breaking, Inzamam and Hanif Mohammad’s record if not of Lara’s.
There is nothing much to write home about on this test match and now all focus is on Lahore. As expected the same squad has been retained but, the sources indicate that Sohail Khan will be replaced by Talha! Once again its a shame for the rookie fast bowler Sohail Khan if he is excluded in the second test. Because, it wasn’t his fault bowling a dead wicket, besides two catches of his bowling were dropped one by Malik and the other by Misbah. Getting wickets on a dead pitch is a rarity.
Among the batsmen I think Khurram Manzoor will go. I would like to see Fawad Alam in the team instead of the new batsman who scored a century in the two days warm up game against Sri Lanka. That kid is too young to be included in a crucial match because, Pakistan needs to win this match i.e., if they really want to prove a point to the rest of the world that staying away from the test arena for 14 months has not dampened their spirits. They fought bravely in the first test and were not intimidated by the huge total of 644 runs and neither by the deadly spin attack of Murali & Mendis. In fact they lofted them for sixes and fours.
If there is “a grass” on the Lahore pitch then Umar Gul & Co., should be able to extract some pace, bounce and swing but Vaas and Dilhara are also known to produce the same and Vaas especially is more experienced than Gul. So, the chances of winning for both sides are equal but, I still think Sri Lankan’s have an edge over Pakistan’s batting especially in players like, Jayawardene and Sangakara, both are capable of turning the tables and bring Sri Lanka on top. The chances of a draw in Lahore are very remote unless it rains or, the hooligans of Nawaz and Shahbaaz Sharif continue to march on the streets and burn tires or, damage properties to create chaos in the country and the teams decide to stay away from the trouble, then God bless Pakistan.