SHARJAH - Pakistan enter in Sunday’s ODI without their regular captain Misbahul Haq with an aim to end the winning streak of New Zealand on the Sharjah ground. Kiwis have won one Test and one ODI so far on this ground in the series and would be looking to make it their happy-hunting ground with a hatrick of victories.

Pakistan team is facing injury crisis as Misbah’s MRI scans suggested that he would not be available to perform his duty in the third one-dayer and Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi would lead the team in his absence. Umar Gul and Bilawal Bhatti both are also ruled out from the series with injuries. The injuries have forced the selectors to retain M Hafeez with the squad, who was supposed to go to Chennai, India for remedial work on his bowling action. Anawar Ali and Yasir Shah were rushed to UAE to join the team. Earlier head coach Waqar Tounis and chief selector Moin Khan ruled out possibility of any reinforcements but now they had to eat their words, as injury crisis worsens.

Pakistan face an uphill task of bouncing back and pose serious challenge to high-flying Kiwis, who are keeping close eye on winning the match and take upper hand and the momentum is very much with the visitors. With Afridi leading the side, Pakistan team had better chances of inflicting defeat on Black Caps, as he is by nature aggressive and could take best out of his players and also he would be determined to prove his credentials as captain.


Had Misbah was fit and leading the side, Pakistan team chances of bouncing back looked quite slim, team management must think positively instead of cautious approach and defensive-minded thinking they must come out all cylinders blazing. Umar Akmal and ZUlfiqar Babar must be included in the side. Asad Shafique should make way. Anwar Ali and Yasir Shah could also make big impact. Anwar not only can bowl few good overs but is well-known to hit lusty blows when it matters most.

Moin is not ready to back off from his policy of showering countless blessings on one certain area. Umar Akmal should have been the part of the series, but he was kept out. Every other country opts to include maximum all-rounders even in longer version of the game, but Pakistani selectors think in opposite direction, they put personal relations ahead of country’s interest.

Now Bilawal is also out with injury, as he was hit on the right hand during practice and had two stiches, selectors are running out of options. Moin now have to include players, he would have otherwise kept them sitting on the bench.

Pakistani fast bowlers, who were once signs of terror, are now not more than liabilities. Pakistani fast bowling looked quite weak, hardly taking wickets, which remains an area of concern for the captain, but no heed is paid. Waqar is not ready to realise ground realities. He was a big flop in his first tenure and remained highly controversial figure and is still very much the same. He hasn’t learnt from the past mistakes. Grant Flower is hired to help Pakistani batsmen remove minor flaws but he failed to make any impact as the batsmen are committing same mistakes and lack consistency. What is the need of hiring foreign coaches, who fail to give even ordinary results?

Cricket lovers turn up in tremendous numbers for the second ODI at Sharjah but had to face the worst from the security deployed at the main gates, who not only pushed spectators but also manhandled and even not stopped from physically beating them with sticks. Such harsh treatment is by no means acceptable. PCB must talk to Sharjah administration.

Sunday is a working day in Sharjah and very thin crowd is expected in the third ODI. PCB should declare open for all without paying to ensure stadium give perfect look and players took advantage from their presence.