ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz warned the team management of doing experiments at this stage, as Pakistan team look well-balanced and quite capable of doing well in the Twenty20 World Cup.
Talking to The Nation on Wednesday, Sarfraz said: “Soon after return from the Asia Cup, the selectors should have selected 11 players for the Twenty20 event and involved them in practice matches before departure, but no heed was paid at that time and now the team management is left with no other option but to use different combinations in the warm-up matches.” “Honestly, Pakistan team is in dire need of a batsman in the middle order, who could bat at No 6. Now green shirts have no other option but to include Sohaib Malik as batting all-rounder who can bowl a few overs as well. The main area of concern is still fast bowling department as Umar Gul and M Talha don’t look 100 percent fit so it will be difficult for the them to handle the pressure and bowl well against India.”
Replying to a query regarding Sharjeel Khan's inclusion, Sarfraz said: “Sharjeel is a big flop with the bat as after getting a lot of chances, he completely failed to justify his selection and he even don’t have any feet movement at all. He plays his strokes without moving feet, which allows the opponents to easily grab his wicket. I don't think he deserves any further chances at least not in the Twenty20 World Cup, where Pakistan has a very tough pool and they can't afford to relax and take even a single match easily,” he added.
The former pacer further said: “Afridi's fitness is another area of concern for the team management, as he is a key player for Pakistan team's ambitions of making progress in the event. If he is not fully fit or even half fit, the selectors will be in a fix, as Afridi is big match player which he has already proved in the recently-concluded Asia Cup. Pakistan can't even think about playing at the moment without him. He should be given proper rest and if not fully fit, then he should be utilized in pressure games only. India provides perfect platform for not only Afridi but also others,” the former pacer stated.
“Pakistan should enter the crunch match with two fast bowlers if pitch is totally flat and Junaid should be selected alongside experienced Umar Gul, if pitch provides some kind of assistance to fast bowlers then third pacer should be included from either Talha or Bilawal Bhatti, same is the case with Sohail Tanvir, I prefer Sohaib Malik in the playing XI just to give more cushion to middle order, he should be in the starting XI,” he added.
“I think India is a very tough opponent and very hard to crack, but I can't rule out green shirts who are also capable of registering empathetic victory against their nemeses. Though Pakistan had never beaten India in the World Cups either in 50 overs or 20 overs, but if they field well, bowl accordingly and batsmen respond well, I am putting my money on men in green to win not only the opening encounter of the event but also lift the title,” Sarfraz concluded.