Iqbal Qasim recalled Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal and Imran Nazir for the series against Australia and the World T20 which follows as so called specialist selections for the shortest version of the game. All of these players bring natural talent; entertainment and match winning ability to the party or in Kamran Akmal’s case even more match losing ability than winning with all due respect.
Twenty20 format should encourage specialists, but if they are young enough to develop, evolve and have a future in the more important formats of the game to provide long term benefit to Pakistan Cricket. Alternatively they could play the other two formats and still play Twenty20 cricket because more often than not test cricketers are ‘complete products’ who have a wider range of skills and attributes to transfer their abilities to the easier formats whereas it doesn’t work the other way round. Also, maintaining that sense of team togetherness by being around the same camp over more days and series in different formats should bring flourishing results across all versions of the 22 yard business. There will be more unity, understanding and bonding that way.
Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal do not have a future in any other format other than Twenty20 cricket in the short term, but naturally when a player is performing well in this format, particularly on a well watched scale like a global T20 tournament, they tend to earn recalls and promotions to other formats as well. This could be detrimental to Pakistan’s future as all are past it or have little to offer where it really counts in the more serious proceedings.
Specialist selections of ageing players in Twenty20 cricket have little benefit for Pakistan’s long term development, planning and hopes.
Hammad Azam, Ahmed Shehzad and a specialist wicket keeper like Jamal or Safraz would have been wiser choices. We want to do well in Twenty20 cricket, but not to the extent that we take it so seriously that we are satisfied with short term glory for long term pain, or in other words making short term sacrifices as opposed to considering the wider picture. Qasim’s choices send out the wrong message. The odd specialist selection of an ageing player is okay, but not as many as this. It’s important to get the balance right.