Nothing new in new chief selector’s selection

September 17, 2019

ISLAMABAD    -  Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq went with the same old names in his first assignment as he revealed 20 probables for the training camp, which will commence at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore from September 18.

The camp would be set-up to prepare the side for the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka, which would be held from September 27 to October 9. Misbah will announce the two squads on 21st of this month, Pakistani ODI side will move to Karachi on 24th, where the first ODI will be played on 27th. Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik have not been named, as they have been granted NOC until 12 October to participate in the Caribbean Premier League.

PCB has also appointed team management for the Sri Lanka and Australia series, Misbah-ul-Haq (head coach and chief selector); Mansoor Rana (team operations, logistics and administrative manager), Waqar Younis (bowling coach), Grant Bradburn (fielding coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant to head coach on cricket), Cliffe Deacon (Physiotherapist), Yasir Malik (trainer), Maj (R) Azhar Arif (security manager, Col (R) Usman Anwari (security manager  for Australia tour), Raza Kitchlew (team media manager), Talha Butt (team analyst) and Malang Ali (Masseur).

It was expected that Misbah will use commonsense and make improvements for the future of Pakistan cricket rather than banking on same old guns. Number of players invited for the camp had already announced retirement from Tests and withdrawn from the Quaid-e-Azam Tournament. But even than Misbah made sure none of his close aides deprive from the likely list of players.

Not only Aamir and Wahab were included, but Director International Cricket Zakir Khan’s two close aides Mansoor Rana and Shahid Aslam were also accommodated. As Sri Lanka had named a completely inexperienced team to tour Pakistan, it was expected that the PCB will also explore their options and provide opportunities to those youngsters, who are knocking at the doors of the national team since long despite performing well, when given opportunity.

It was expected that Misbah, as per his blunt statement soon after taking both the roles, will ensure exciting and aggressive cricket from the national team, but he completely failed to justify his tall claims and acknowledge genuine talent. If the PCB can’t provide chances to emerging players against such weak Sri Lankan side, then it would be almost impossible for the youngsters to even think about getting chances against top sides like Australia. Misbah must clarify his stance and explain reasons for inviting those players, who never performed at any level.

Fakhar Zaman was a super flop, while Faheem Ashraf was sent home for poor showings in the World Cup. Ahmed Shahzad had been given countless chances, but he never fulfilled the expectations. Umar Akmal was not even considered for the mega event and Abid Ali was sent home. Same is the case with Hassan Ali and number of other players, whom highly-inexperienced Misbah selected for the camp.

It was a golden opportunity for Misbah and the PCB to give break to youngsters like Ali Imran, who had proved himself. He was dubbed as natural replacement of great all-rounder Abdul Razzaq. He had not only batted as opener, but taken lot of crucial wickets with his fast medium pace bowling. His ability to hit genuine pacers out of the park is no secret to all, as he had hit massive sixes to English all-rounder Wood in the UAE. Ali had hit ton on his debut in the Emerging Asia Cup as well. It was perfect time when Pakistan could have discovered a stylish hard-hitting opener in the shape of Ali.

While youngsters Rohail Nazir, who is captaining Pakistan U-19 after scoring lots of runs, Haider Ali, who had proved at U-19 level being a natural opener, Nasim, who is a quality fast bowler, and Musa Khan, who is a genuine pace bowler, were also not invited. What is the purpose of providing chances to same used bullets instead of emerging players? Pakistan team is in dire need of a quality all-rounder, as the team never found a suitable replacement of Razzaq. Ali Imran is a good replacement for Razzaq, as many cricket experts and players including Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt and Muhammad Wasim had shown full faith in Ali. But Misbah had other ideas, as Ali and such other players did not have any close relative in the PCB, who can raise voice for providing them justice. It is need of the hour that Prime Minister Imran Khan must take notice and seek explanation from the PCB.

Probables: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain) (Sindh), Babar Azam (vice-captain) (Central Punjab), Abid Ali (Sindh), Ahmed Shehzad (Central Punjab), Asif Ali (Northern), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Iftikhar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Imad Wasim (Northern), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Mohammad Amir (Northern), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shadab Khan (Northern), Umar Akmal (Central Punjab), Usman Shinwari (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Wahab Riaz (Southern Punjab).

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