ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector and coach Mohsin Hasan Khan termed Pakistan squad as very balanced and fully capable of defeating any side in the T20 World Cup.
Talking exclusively to The Nation on Sunday he said Pakistan team is very strong on papers, very competitive but they need to play as combined unit and sensibly. “I am very astonished why selectors are ignoring wicket-keeping department. They should have selected specialist wicket-keeper for the recently-concluded Asia Cup. Had selectors opted to choose regular wicket keeper, things could have been completely different. Now Kamran Akmal is selected for the mega event and he must be drafted into playing XI rather than keeping him on the bench. He is the one who must open the innings to provide team a solid and explosive start, which would put opponents under tremendous pressure.”
He said Umar Akmal is a brilliant fielder and it would be additional benefit of having a world class player like Umar fielding at different positions, which would certainly boost others and give Pakistan an edge. Kamran is a good keeper and I am sure after being left out for such a long period, he has improved his wicket keeping and looked hungry to silence his critics with match-winning performances both behind and in front of the wickets, he added.
Mohsin said not only Pakistan but other teams also must take minnows challenge very seriously as it is a very strange and difficult format and any team could pose serious threat especially minnows, who had no fear and nothing to lose, it would give them edge on top professional sides.
He said players had to show complete dedication, application and must not relax while playing against relatively weaker opponents. “Every team had earned the right to appear in the mega event by winning qualifying matches. Any leniency could coast team dearly. Pakistan team has to play for the pride and remove the tag of inconsistency and in habit of throwing away matches, which they could have easily won. Pakistan team management must prepare a positive team plan before each and every match. Injured players cost Pakistan dearly in the Asia Cup. I had time and again warned against over utilising pacers Umar Gul and M Irfan but no one bothered to pay any heed, which resulted in losing one of the most feared player Irfan, who was a sign of terror for the opponents. But he was used consistently against weaker opponents as results could have no impact on overall standings but Irfan was wasted. Same is the case with Gul. He is overburdened since long, I had during my days chalked out a comprehensive plan regarding utilising Irfan and Gul in matches that matters most to preserve their energies and safe them form burning out. But all my plans were never followed and Pakistan team suffered and it was strange that instead of batting, bowling cost Pakistan Asia Cup final.”
He said Shoaib Malik has loads of experience behind his back and he should be very much part of team management plans, as he provides much-needed depth in the middle order, good fielder and could also bowl a few handy overs as well. “It makes no sense if Malik was kept on the bench. He should be immediately drafted into the playing XI.”
About the explosive opener of the event against India Mohsin said Pakistan-India match always add spice and most decorated match of the entire event. “Whenever both teams clash in any event, the pressure factor always comes into consideration. According to my assessment, Pakistan have very bright chances of winning the encounter. Especially Asia Cup victory had given green caps additional edge. Team planning and players positive attitude hold the key for Pakistan team to progress in the event. They had ability and what it takes to excel at the top, I don't see why they can't lift the coveted trophy for the second time,” Mohsin concluded.