ISLAMABAD -


Two genuine all-rounders’ absence was badly felt during the Pakistan’s first match of the ICC champions Trophy 2013 and they will now find it really difficult to make impact in the group stage of the trophy.
This was arguably the easiest match in the Group B, as the other two teams South Africa and India are much stronger opponents. It was expected that the selectors might use their brains and select a balanced side, but they decided to pick Imran Farhat ahead of Umer Amin in the crucial match. The amount of chances, which went in Farhat's way, if given to other players, they could have easily cemented their place in the playing XI, but Farhat live up to his past reputation of chasing the wayward deliveries and throwing away his wicket, exactly did the same mistake against West Indies, and his departure spelled disaster for Pakistan, as batsmen continued throwing their wickets cheaply on ordinary deliveries.
Had Misbah not played one of the best knocks of his career, green caps could have bowled out for less than 100 runs. Nasir Jamshed also played well, but the manner in which he got out was by no means acceptable, as a player who had spent a lot of time at the crease should have played sensibly and try to convert the half century into ton.
Hafeez was a big disappointment with bat as well as Asad Shafique who in his last nine innings had just scored one half century which is quite disappointing. On the other hand, the most disappointing thing is that he is given preference over the likes of Umar Akmal and Younus Khan. Shoaib Malik is in the side now just because of his batting abilities, as he is hardly required to bowl a few overs but he also disappointed the nation. Kamran Akmal has now long overdue runs but he continued throwing away his wicket while trying to play casual strokes.
The selectors are wasting Kamran Akmal's talent by sending him down the order while he had scored majority of runs batting at the top order, but just to accommodate Imran Farhat, Kamran is forced to bat down the order which is neither good for Kamran not the team.
Malik is a complete misfit neither he is bowling well nor his batting is up to the mark while his fielding is also pathetic, but he somehow manages to get the nod ahead of other deserving players.
After the crucial loss, now the remaining two matches are like finals for Pakistan and they have to win both the matches to stand any real chance of progress to semifinals.
Under current circumstances, it looks highly unlikely the green caps can make it to the semi-finals stage, until and unless, Misbah and company adopt aggressive strategy.
Misbah's captaincy is also very ordinary as he lacks the quality of taking timely and bold decisions. Had he used his brain and recalled Irfan for an over when West Indians were at the back foot and seven wickets were down, the outcome of the match could have completely different but Misbah failed to act and his overcautious approach and defensive mindedness cost Pakistan dearly.
There is still time left for team Pakistan to regroup and win next two matches to ensure a place in the semifinals, but this can only be achieved through proper team selection. Imran Farhat should be dropped and Umer Amin should be included.
Kamran and Nasir should open the innings as left and right hand combination will disturb the bowlers and both the openers are more than capable of scoring runs at a brisk pace while Hafeez should come at No 3. Asad and Shoaib have to improve their batting otherwise they must face the music and let the deserving ones replace them.