The world cup is back to where we won it, but our team is not quite where we need it to be.

We had a solid batting line up back in 1992 with Ramiz Raja and Aamir Sohail up top, the new found -talent – later, legend – Inzamam ul Haq, and Imran’s deputy Javed Miandad preceded the skipper and Saleem Malik.

On the bowling side, we had arguably the best swing bowler in the history of the sport in Wasim Akram, who was also known to do some damage with his batting. Alongside him, we had a very accurate Aqib Javed, a genuine fast bowler who contained runs very well with his disciplined line and length. Can’t forget captain Imran Khan’s pace bowling, and the cunning Mushtaq Ahmed who bamboozled batsmen with his unique action and odd googlies.

We had a good balance in our side. We had combinations that worked, that had been tested – which is not the case this year.

This time around, our most reliable batsmen – or the only reliable batsmen – are Misbah and Younis. Half the country doesn’t want to see Younis playing, claiming he is not a one-day player. They had the same problem with Misbah, with some “affectionately” calling him “tuk-tuk”, but later realized the importance of a solid defense. He has consistently proven himself to be the back bone of our batting line-up. Mohammad Hafeez has been a consistent performer – for Pakistani standards – at the top spot, but he’s out of the cup now. Not that big of a loss since he wasn’t going to bowl, anyway.

Not sure why Fawad Alam isn’t in the squad. The guy has the second highest one day average (45) in Pakistan’s history, after Zaheer Abbas. Yes, he hasn’t played as many innings as, let’s say, Mohammad Yousaf or Younis Khan, but he has been making runs consistently. If you think about it, nobody in our line-up has really played much international cricket except Afridi, Misbah and Younis. Afridi’s experience doesn’t count for much when it comes to batting: even after his 401 matches, he is as mature as a 16-year-old playing tape ball cricket in the streets.

We are a very inexperienced team. We have guys in the mid-twenties with little international exposure. It’s different when a 28-year-old Australian cricket player makes his international debut than when a 26-year-old Pakistani does. Our domestic cricket level can’t be compared to theirs. A player coming out of their system is physically stronger and fitter, has faced a lot more diversity, and comes through much tougher competition. For our players, international cricket is a huge change and an eye-opener. For Aussie youngsters or debutants, it’s a smooth transition.

It worries me to think that, going into this world cup, Pakistan’s batting might be better than its bowling, or in other words, our bowling might be worse than our batting. It is worrisome because that has never been the case for us. We have never liked to rely on our batting. We have won matches with our bowling, historically. Our batting will shine once in a while but hardly ever under pressure. It is our bowling that will get us out of holes that our batting digs up.

Our best bowler on the roster is Shahid Afridi. Mohammad Irfan might have better stats at the moment but the number of times Afridi has given us breakthroughs when critically needed is too darn high. He’s won us more matches with his bowling and fielding than with his batting. He is an attacking, wicket taking leg spin bowler with a very deceptive wrong’n. He seems to be in control at the helm of affairs when he has the ball in hand, unlike when he has the bat in his hand. With the ball in hand, it looks like he could strike on any delivery.

The person I’ll miss the most in our squad is the magician, Saeed Ajmal. That void will not be filled because we don’t have a replacement for him; there is no replacement for him. He reminds me of Saqlain Mushtaq, a very creative and extremely gutsy off-spin bowler. He has made off-spin bowling cool again. He’s made it dangerous. His ‘doosra’ is probably the most feared delivery in cricket.

Imagine this bowling line-up: Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi. Three of the best fast bowlers and three of the best spinners in the world playing at the same time, I would put my money on this team regardless of the batting lineup. What hurts is that this could have been Pakistan’s bowling attack for this world cup – “attack” in every sense of the word. Unfortunately it’s not and instead we are going to Australia/New Zealand 2015 with one of the least experienced bowling line-ups.

The format of this year’s world cup will greatly increase our chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals but to get past that, we’ll need miracles.