Pakistan Cricket Team is all set to leave with a new captain for ODI side. Sarfaraz was selected as a captain for the ODI side after Azhar Ali’s resignation in February 2017. Sarfaraz led Pakistan in T20 international against England and West Indies. Pakistan won all the matches under his captaincy. Sarafraz also captained Quetta Gladiators in HBL PSL 2016 & 2017 and both the times his team made it into the finals. Stats have so far supported Sarfaraz a good captain for Pakistan side. But ODI is a different format and since we are on 8th in ODI ranking therefore captaining Pakistan will be a huge task for Sarfaraz.
Apart from his batting abilities, he proved himself a decent player behind the stumps. Sarfaraz has to led a side, which is merger of young and old blood. With the presence of his counterpart Kamran Akmal in the team. Sarfaraz will obviously feel some extra pressure. Kamran Akmal’s superb form forced him into the team. He scored 1035 runs in recently concluded Quaide Azam Trophy and averaged about 79.62. He also scored 361 runs in One Day Cup with an average of 45.31. He was also incredible behind the stumps throughout the tournament. He dismissed 37 batsmen in 9 matches of QEA Trophy and 7 batsmen in 8 matches of One Day Cup. Let us not forget Kamran’s 353 runs and 12 dismissals (the highest) in HBL PSL 2017. His current stats justify his presence in the team.
Mohammad Hafeez’s selection in the team is a question mark, with an average of 7 runs in a match and only took 7 wickets in 10 games of HBL PSL 2017. Also his domestic performance is below average. Hafeez failed to score runs in a practice match (part of WI’s tour preparation) played on March 15th 2017 and is in the team now.
Keeping in mind the Caribbean conditions are similar to those of UAE. Pakistan is going with 5 spinners in each format supported by 5 fast bowlers.
HBL PSL has turned out to be a talent spotter for Pakistan cricket and has given many bright names like Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Usman Khan Shinwari, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees Khan, Mohammad Asghar and Babar Azam. Although Babar Azam is in his tremendous form from a couple of years, his HBL PSL’s performance helped him in regaining his place in national side.
Another young man Hasan Ali is in the side and his performance in England (10 wickets), Australia (12 wickets), UAE against West Indies (7 wickets) and in HBL PSL 2017 (12 wickets) clearly shows why he’s in the team. Keeping in mind WC & CT in England, we need fast bowlers to strengthen our side and young guns like Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari. These bowlers are capable of bringing our pace attack back on track. Rumman Raees Khan, was the part of the team in 2016 against WI in UAE. His HBL PSL 2017 performance light up his career and he’s back in the national side. Usman Khan Shinwari is again back to the side after taking 6 wickets in 8 matches in HBL PSL 2017. He was included in the national side in 2013 against Sri Lanka after taking 5-fer in the final of Faysal Bank Departmental T20 Cup 2013 but unfortunately failed to deliver at international level. Hopefully things turn out into his favor this time.
Shadab Khan is another bright prospect for Pakistan. Being called up at the age of 18 into the national team is a dream moment for a cricketer. He played Pakistan Cup last year and HBL PSL this year. Hopes are very high from this young lad. Mohammad Asghar is another future prospect for Pakistan. His domestic performance from a couple of years and both the editions of HBL PSL proved to be his road to national side.
Fakhar Zaman and Asif Zakir who are ruling the domestic circuit with their explosive batting are into the national side. Pakistan’s batting line up has always been a complete failure but now, by the inclusion of these two, one can look for a stronger side.
Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir should be rested in this series. They are lacking their potentials due to overburdening of cricket from last couple of years. Fahim Ashraf is a surprise inclusion in the team who averages 14 with the bat. There are many good all-rounders sitting outside better than him. Hammad Azam’s stats are much better than him. Pakistan need proper all-rounders for WC & CT in England and Hammad Azam is capable of filling the slot, scored 530 runs with an average of 44.17 and also took 20 wickets with an economy rate of 2.53 in recently concluded QEA Trophy. Also Hammad’s playing club cricket in England and is doing really well in English conditions.
Besides all the criticism, lets wish to see Pakistan team playing up to their potentials and improve their team ranking.
by: Sidra Sheikh