Posts Tagged Shoaib Akhtar

A JUSTIFIABLE SELECTION POLICY?

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.

Is it Younis who is running the show?

Is it Younis who is running the show?

There were reports that Younis was against the selection of Ahmed Shahzad in the Sri

Why was Ahmed Shahzad chosen over Khalid Latif?

Why was Ahmed Shahzad chosen over Khalid Latif?

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?

After his aggressive 50 against Sri Lanka at Lahore in Pakistans last Test, Manzoor should have been selected for this series

After his aggressive 50 against Sri Lanka at Lahore in Pakistan's last Test, Manzoor should have been selected for this series

Since Younis is known to prefer experience over youth, it is just mindboggling why he

Khalid Latif had an outstanding domestic one-day tournament but has been overlooked in favour of Ahmed Shahzad

Khalid Latif had an outstanding domestic one-day tournament but has been overlooked in favour of Ahmed Shahzad

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 is seems to be a useless selection

Saeed Ajmal seems to be a useless selection

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.

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THIS TEAM NEEDS A REVAMP

Pakistan’s humiliating loss to Sri Lanka displayed everything that we on LS have spoken about numerous times; pathetic captaincy, favouritism towards certain players, lack of unity and lack of planning. Javed A Khan in his preview of the series predicted a 2-1 victory for Sri Lanka and how true did that come! 2-1 on paper does not appear that humiliating, but one needs to analyse how Sri Lanka came back at Pakistan and the margins of defeat in the 2nd and 3rd ODI. In the 2nd ODI Pakistan lost by 129 runs and in the 3rd it was an unbearable margin of 234 runs.

Malik was pathetic as captain as usual

Malik was pathetic as captain as usual

Malik in the post-match ceremoy again tried to blame other factors for the defeat instead of his captaincy, citing that it is difficult if the team has not played much cricket, but if that was the case why did the team even bother practising before the commencement of this series? And what was the point playing in the Q&A Trophy if it would have been difficult beating Sri Lanka? Malik might as well have stayed at home flying kites in Sialkot, or spent time with Sayali Bhagat in India.

Why is it that only inside Pakistan Malik gets bundles of support,

Pathetic Akmal needs to go- should have been sacked 3 years ago

Pathetic Akmal needs to go- should have been sacked 3 years ago

but outside Pakistan people consider him to be an idiot? Malik commands no respect from any cricketer outside Pakistan, whether that is Dhoni, Jayawardene or Greame Smith. Further, all foreign commentators have been extremely critical of Malik and just cannot understand why Malik keeps making ridiculous decisions. Dominic Cork is the latest addition to Malik’s critics, asking why Malik is so defensive and why he keeps making silly mistakes like not using Gul for his total quota of 10 overs and sending Akmal to bat at no 4? Malik’s captaincy was laughable in this series; in particular, he made some very basic errors in field placing to the benefit of the likes of Dilshan, Kandamby and Sangakkara.

Sarfraz is batting like a proper batsman in domestic cricket and he averages more than Akmal in first class

Sarfraz is batting like a proper batsman in domestic cricket and he averages more than Akmal in first class

Akmal was again a major disappointment. He dropped about 4-5 catches and missed a very crucial stumping chance off Malik today. What is it about Akmal that Malik finds so attractive? For 3 years Akmal has been a major liability in the keeping department. He has played a major part in ruining careers of Kaneria and Sami, and now he is playing a major part in destroying Afridi’s career. He dropped 3 catches off Afridi this series. Again, most international commentators, from Robin Jackman, to Tony Creig to Dominic Cork have been highly critical of Akmal’s keeping and puzzled as to why Sarfraz Ahmed is not being encouraged, yet we keep seeing Akmal again and again. I remember how Jackman and Ian Bishop in some series kept asking  Waqar Younis and Ramiz Raja, “Why is Sarfraz not being played?” and “What is he doing sitting on the bench?” but

Ramiz- along with Waqar, very biased in commentary

Ramiz- along with Waqar, very biased in commentary

Ramiz and Waqar provided no answers.

Speaking of Ramiz and Waqar, what is their problem anyway? They have been silent on criticising Malik and giving Akmal his due. Isn’t the job of a commentator to be neutral and call a spade, a spade? Ramiz Raja on his TV show frequently supports Malik and Akmal when discussing cricket with his friends. Ramiz is usually Pakistan’s only saving grace in the commentary box with his suave appearance, reasonably good command of English and wit, yet observing his bias is an unpleasant experience.

Any reason left now to offer any more support to Akhtar?

Any reason left now to offer any more support to Akhtar?

It will be unfair to square the blame only on Malik and Akmal, but these two players have definitely tried their best to demoralise the team owing to their constant failures in their respective roles. Shahid Afridi risks being dropped permanently after failing to shine with both ball and bat, although Akmal’s lack of support behind the stumps has dented Afridi’s confidence completely. Yet, most fans expected better from Afridi this series. Shoaib Akhtar was thought to make a difference in this series, but he was the worst bowler and let the team down completely. For over a year Javed A Khan and myself have asked for Shoaib to be sacked from the team, yet Shoaib has many admirers who have lived in denial and accused myself and Javed A Khan for making these statements for controversial reasons. Yet, Javed A Khan and myself have always been on the dot with Shoaib’s performance and attitude. He is history.

The team needs someone like Fawad Alam, who is mature, left

Seriously, what more does he have to do to get into the team?

Seriously, what more does he have to do to get into the team?

handed and can provide some stability in the middle order. Ever since the ABN AMRO T20 Cup in 2006, Fawad has been imperious in domestic cricket.  He is unique in the sense that apart from Misbah he is the only player averaging more than 40 in all forms of domestic cricket in Pakistan. Nothing is guaranteed in life except death and taxes, and there is no guarantee Fawad will become the next Brian Lara. But, as far as deserving chances to perform goes, no player deserves it more than Fawad Alam.

Fawad Alam’s stats compared with other batsmen:

Name                    Format                               Average

Shoaib Malik      First Class (4 day)             29

Shoaib Malik        List A    (one day)            39

Shoaib Malik         T20                                      42

Younis Khan        First class                           51

Younis Khan        List A                                   35

Younis Khan        T20                                       25

Misbah ul Haq     First class                           51

Misbah ul Haq      List A                                  46

Misbah ul Haq       T20                                     43

Mohd Yousuf         first class                           51

Mohd Yousuf        List A                                   41

Mohd Yousuf         T20                                      17

Fawad Alam First class                         57

Fawad Alam List A                                 44

Fawad Alam T20                                  41

Hence, you can see Fawad Alam generally has better stats than everyone except Misbah ul Haq,

Future captain of Pakistan

Future captain of Pakistan?

and compared to Misbah he has a higher first class average.

In conlusion, enough is enough and a revamp is definitely needed. PCB needs to stop destroying cricket and use the right players. Akmal needs to be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed, Malik needs to be replaced by Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi needs to be kept on his toes. The PCB will not make Afridi the captain, so perhaps it is in Afridi’s best interests to resign from international cricket rather than face the humiliation of being sacked permanently. With Younis still confused about captaincy and Misbah suffering from finding his role in the team and inconsistency, Umar Gul is perhaps the best option for captaincy, as he is the only player with a defined role, proven track record and required aggression and commitment. So, my vote for Pakistan’s future captain is Umar Gul. He should hope, however, that Akmal doesn’t start dropping catches off his bowling too!

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PAK – LANKA

DESPERATE Pakistan in need of international cricket and this is a pruned series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and that too arranged in haste. The expression in this case: “Two thirds of an apple is better than no apple,” is very apt.

The cool, calm and composed captain

The cool, calm and composed captain

Mendis The Magician

Mendis The Magician

The reluctance of international teams visiting Pakistan, mainly Australia’s refusal followed by India’s withdrawal after the Mumbai attack left Pakistan in a situation where they can only hope of playing domestic tournaments or inviting Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Arjuna Ranatunga was bold, loud and clear in making a decision that Sri Lanka will play 3 tests, 5 ODI’s and a T20.  But, India came in like a dog in the manger and steal a test match and a couple of ODI’s from the schedule by inviting Sri Lanka to visit India. Much worst was Ranatunga was sacked and the new administration is sold out to India for 10 years for a price tag of 45 million US dollars.

This is the first time in the history of cricket that a cricket board has been sold to another cricket board, this is not the institutionalization of the game but, “prostitutionalization” of cricket at its highest form. In any case the PCB not only wants to make some money from this hasty deal, but they also want to show to the people of Pakistan that the Butt Administration is gyrating and making some moves. The height of desperation can be measured from the way the PCB chief Ijaz Butt went to Karachi Airport to receive the Sri Lankan Cricket Team upon arrival. There is nothing wrong in it, but as a matter of protocol it was not needed.

The back to back ODI’s in Karachi has not created much interest among the general public as they have been very slow in purchasing tickets; either it is due to working days or lack of interest in team selection. It could be both as some of the local boys are not even in the squad of 15 selected. Fawad Alam is the man who is not selected for whatever reasons, although his track record against Sri Lanka is good and he was instrumental in winning one of the ODI’s in which he slammed 3 sixes in a row and made the target look so easy and Malik by virtue of being there like an observer then finally hit the winning shot to get the MoM award.

The Pathani Circus

The Pathani Circus

Sri Lanka are favourites to win this series 3-0 and they have been playing international cricket more than Pakistan and some of their not so famous players have been scoring runs which is a good and ominous sign for them. Their spin bowling deadly duo of Murali and Mendis would be hard for the Pakistanis to play against and not to mention Chaminda Vaas who always plays well against Pakistan. Apart from the Captain and the wicketkeeper, i.e., Jayawardene and Sangakara, the legendary Jayasuriya along with Uppal Tharanga is in the team and their confidence is sky high.

Pakistan included Shoaib Aktar only to create a drama and he may not be able to play because he is and he was never fit to play cricket for the last so many years. The Rawalpindi Express is now being called as the Raw-Bhindi Express because of his fitnress problems and his attitude. If Pakistan can rely on any player at the moment to score runs for them, there is none other than Younis Khan. But, one person alone cannot win 3 matches. Afridi, Malik and Saeed Ajmal are not wicket takers like Murali and Mendis on a consistent basis. Therefore, my prediction is 2-1 in favour of Sri Lanka.

The Karachi pitch is dry and can produce a lot of runs, so whoever wins toss must bat first.

The Winner is on the LEFT

The Winner is on the LEFT

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