Islamabad - Moin Khan played significant role in the finalisation of the squad for the five-match One-day Internationals series against South Africa starting from October 30 in UAE.
Moin managed to include his favourite Sarfraz Ahmed in the squad, which is totally unjustified especially when a world class player in the shape of Umar Akmal is very much available who is an automatic choice behind the stumps as he had done this job exceptionally well in the past. With Sarfraz in the squad, it means Pakistan has to play with a batsman or bowler short against the world’s top team.
The amount of chances given to Sarfraz speaks volumes of his inefficiency, but on the other hand, it also shows that he has strong connections and lobby that managed to bring him back despite repeated poor showings both with the gloves and bat. Sarfraz has never scored even ordinary runs in such a number of ODIs, yet he is often included in the ODI squad due to his strong connections.
Another surprise exclusion from the squad is Zulfiqar Babar who, despite producing wonderful performance in the first Test, was not even considered in the 16-member squad and Abdul Rehman was once again given the nod. This is a grave injustice with Zulfiqar who, in a very short span of time, has showed his class and caliber but the selectors had other ideas. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should have used common sense by including Zulfiqar rather than the aging Abdul Rehman.
Sohail Tanveer was finally given call after a gap of more than one-year which is a very positive move from the selectors as he will provide much-needed depth in the bowling and he is more than capable of hitting big shots down the order.
The selectors continue to ignore Abdul Razzaq since long, despite being fully aware about his brilliant record against the Proteas. Razzaq could be included in any top side of the world, but don’t know why he is unable to book berth in Pakistan team. It is a great injustice with him who really deserves better treatment from the selectors.
Sohaib Maqsood is the only new face in the announced squad while Wahab Riaz was once again recalled by the selectors, reasons best known to them. Wahab had hardly played any competitive or club cricket for the past two months or so, but one good thing to be noted is the exclusion of not more than average bowlers like Asad Ali, Anwer Ali and Ehsan Adil, who are not more than club level cricketers but managed to play for the national team just because of their political connections otherwise there is a great amount of talent which has been wasted by the PCB.
Nasir Jamshed was also given nod in the squad which is hard to absolve especially keeping in mind the likes of Ahmed Shahzad and M Hafeez in the team. So Nasir does not deserve place in the squad because he can’t move his feet while playing the away deliveries and if he gets nod in the playing XI, he is bound to doom against the world’s best bowling attack just because of his poor technique.
Overall, the selectors with the exception of few blue-eyed players have picked almost the expected squad and Pakistan team looks balanced now. If playing XI is picked on merit, the national team has a very bright chance of winning the One-day series against South Africans.