Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Maaz's Take on WI ODI Squad

Squad: Shahid Afridi (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad, Taufiq Umar, Usman Salahuddin, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Abdul Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam, Aizaz Cheema and Mohammad Salman (wk)

Brilliant selection in my view. Hammad Azam, Usman Salahuddin, Aizaz Cheema and Mohammad Salman have been names that have been regularly mentioned on pages for a long time. Good to see them finally getting their chances.

Good to see some brains prevailed. Dropping Misbah would have created chaos and plus you need a balance of experience and youth. Making wholesale changes can be disastrous. Misbah should continue to play all formats until the 2012 ICC World T20 as he has the Test Captaincy in his hands and his presence gives Pakistan Cricket much needed stability. He is key for grooming youngsters so once he does make way at least those youngsters will be properly groomed and can take over the responsibility. We need to plan towards the 2015 ICC World Cup but take a few steps at a time rather than rushing into things. Plus will keep him prepared and give him a chance to keep his form ahead of the Test Series which arguably should have priority. Always helps when the Test Captain is around the camp for the shorter formats. His form has been stupendous. You cannot drop/axe Younis and Misbah simultaneously just like that. Need at least one experienced batsmen to stick around to help newcomers and as Misbah is Test Captain he gets priority.

Anything can happen in pressure. He was a key player for the team reaching the semis in the first place. Poor captaincy, no strategy in constructing the chase, drop catches and shot selection are to blame. Had Misbah batted at 3 or 4 and others were supporting him on the other end this could have turned out to have been a match winning effort. Using him at number 5 when the rate is climbing is not bound to get you anywhere. No innovation or flexibility from the skipper. Anyway, without his innings Pakistan would have lost by 60+ runs. One match does not make a bad player overnight. Afridi's erroneous captaincy was even worse than Misbah's innings that day otherwise it would have been a comfortable win. As expected Afridi's captaincy let Pakistan down in the bigger matches. He failed to take the kill and use his aggression in the field and completely set the wrong field to Sehwag. I re-inforced this exact point at the beginning of the tournament. Afridi's captaincy specifically was a huge area of concern and it turned out to be a downfall.

Kamran Akmal, Razzaq and Younis Khan have been dropped for the ODI team. All of these moves are logical and totally understandable. However, Razzaq might play T20 cricket and obviously Younis Khan is automatically in the Test Side. However, this probably is the end of the road for the crooked and laughable tried and tested wicket keeper which is a sigh of relief in itself. There were also rumours of Farhat returning but as many will agree it was good to see that was prevented from happening. Taufiq Umar makes it to the ODI team as well.

Now that Kamran is apparently dropped it is of utmost significance that Umar learns his lessons from the past and does not look to deliberately make room, give others a hard time and save his elder brother otherwise he could be punished by being dropped for good. Representing a nation is a privilege and honour and a right which cannot be abused. It is advisable that Umar only thinks about the team and his future and not worry where Kamran has ended up regardless.


Whether he is utilised properly or not he ends up being a waste of space who performs once every now and then. His inclusion has been creating great fuss with the team composition they go in with as they don't have the brains to send him up the order and let's face it that he won't be batting up there anytime soon. Plus need to plan for the future and invest in more worthwhile options rather than carrying extra baggage to fill up the playing numbers. I sympathise with Razzaq with the way he has been treated but he has to go if we are to get anywhere. He should not be part of the ODI set up anymore. Maybe recall him for the next WT20 but nothing more than that.

Waqar wanted him dropped for an extra fast bowler. That is some serious courage. If they are not going to use him properly they might as well drop him which he did. Dropping him is better than keeping him in the 11 to make up the numbers. At least he was decisive unlike Afridi who wanted him back in the team but still was reluctant to promote him up the order.

Umar Gul

He asked for rest. Good decision because of the workload he has done in recent times. He needed it as he has been playing all 3 formats with regularity. He will come back fresh and hard when he returns. It means Wahab will lead the attack and other bowlers can get some exposure in his absence. Umar Gul should return for the Test Series. I don't mind him skipping ODIs.

Mohammad Salman

Salman is apparently a hard hitting batsmen but many people are raising eyebrows at his selection over Safraz who has been performing better. Reports were suggesting Pakistan's 2006 Under 19 World Cup winning captain and young wicket keeper Safraz Ahmed will replace Kamran Akmal for the tour of the West Indies. Safraz is highly regarded by the likes of Rashid Latif who was probably the greatest Pakistani wicket keeper of all time. For those that might argue his batting is not good enough I recommend you check his recent stats and see his average was 164 during a domestic tournament!!! Anything but a change from the Fakmal mafia and shambles is a welcome relief for Pakistani Supporters who have been begging for Kamran's exclusion from the team.

Ahmed Shehzad

I agree on Shehzad. Let's not forgot his centuries in New Zealand and in one of the World Cup warm up fixtures. Also, scored a half century in the last T20 international he played. Failure in the WC should not mean he is totally axed long term. Even Younis Khan failed in WCs in 2003 but he went on to become one of the best players of this generation. We should not draw any conclusion regarding his future solely based on this WC performance.


Aizaz Cheema has been a consistent and prolific bowler on the domestic circuit for a number of years and it has been surprising why he was not selected beforehand but's it's never too late and now he will receive the honour of an international cap. He is an impressive and experienced pacer who has been regularly running through sides and taking wickets. He played for PIA and was amongst the top 5 leading wicket takers in the 2010/11 QEA trophy. PIA were runners up during the tournament. He also played for Lahore Lions who are the current winners of the domestic T20 tournament. He also played in the 2010 Asian Games where Pakistan concluded with a 3rd place position after beating Sri Lanka in the play off. Cheema was part of the 30 man preliminary squad for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup as well.


Sadaf Hussain has replaced unfit Aizaz Cheema in the 16 man squad for the tour of the West Indies T20 and ODIs teams. Sadaf is a 21 year left arm fast bowler who has taken 90 wickets in his first 18 FC matches. His bowling action is similar to India's Zaheer Khan.


  1. Maaz,

    - Why they can't use Razzaq better? Look at Watson isn't he a shit bowler but he has developed as batsman. It is probably too much time passed in Razzaq case but it is just senseless for not trying it couple of time.

    - I hope they stay away from Kamran now but I doubt he will be back as soon as a chance will come, bastard. And also Salman have to perform really well to put pressure on him.

    - Ahmed Shazad will have to prove his worth in this tour to be counted, it will be hard to come back once dropped after this.

    - Isn't Cheema and Tanvir getting too old? We should also look for young fast bowlers, Junaid is one, Asad Ali I heard is another.

    - If Taufeeq Umar can come in ODI why not try Azhar Ali? He can play a role of either Younis or Misbah?

    Anyways, It will be a fun tour just to watch these new comers.

  2. Salam Mudassar

    Sadaf Hussain will replace Aizaz Cheema who was declared unfit by the doctors in the last 24 hours. I don't see the point of having 3 front line left arm pacers when Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan are already in the team. I would have preferred another right arm fast bowler like Asad Ali, Mohammad Talha, Anwar Ali or Sohail Khan.

    I totally agree with you on Azhar Ali but Taufiq Umar is another good option and being a left hander he can add some variety to the batting line up which has been a tad one dimensional. I am always in favour of left/right combinations if possible.

    Razzaq seems to be unhappy with his exclusion and I agree with you that it was senseless with the way he was utilised and the pathetic way his role in the team was defined by Afridi and co. One great waste of batting talent. Never reached his optimum level due to the way the clowns treated him even when he was willing to bat at number 3. Hopefully Hamamd does well. He is a better bowler than Razzaq and has proven what a mature and talented batsmen he can be. He was part of the squad which went to the 2010 ICC World T20 but did not get a game. He will be going to the West Indies again almost exactly a year since he last went so he should have a rough idea of the conditions which should put him in good stead.

    Fingers crossed Salman performs and Kamran is history. We all wish the new wicket keeper every success.