ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector Iqbal Qasim announced squads for One-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals against South Africa on Wednesday.
It seems Iqbal is totally confused as without any solid reason Shahid Afridi was earlier dropped from the Indian-bound ODI squad and now all of a sudden the stylish all-rounder was recalled for both ODIs and T20 internationals.
The selectors had played a big gamble by dropping Afridi as he is a kind of a player who could turn the entire match with his whirl-wind batting as he is not only a very dangerous batsman but also one of the best fielders and bowlers. Though Afirdi is not performing well as he is neither playing big innings for his team nor taking enough wickets yet he is a match winning player and can steer a big victory anytime. If he lets down his team with his batting he covers that loss with his bowling and fielding.
The chief selector had dropped both Kamran and Umar Akmal sighting unsatisfactory performances but now both are back in the squad. Sarfraz Ahmed is an average wicketkeeper and the selectors can't pick him just because of his keeping qualities as whenever he had given chance he had not only let himself down but the entire team too.
It is true Kamran is at times very casual with the gloves but his batting qualities give him the edge over all his opponents and Umar is the future of Pakistan cricket and the selectors need to give him the much-needed confidence instead of dropping him or blaming him.
On the other hand, what is the purpose of hiring Dave Whatmore, if he is unable to rectify minor flaws in Umar and other batsmen’s techniques? The PCB is in dire need of cash, still to their credit they have hired coaches who are paid in foreign currency, but the board has so far failed in getting even satisfactory results from both Whatmore and Julian Fountain. Pakistani players are committing same mistakes in fielding and batting as they are dropping catches which even school going kids could have managed to hold on.
The surprise exclusion from both T20 and ODIs is that of Sohail Tanveer, who had performed exceptionally well in both President's Trophy and Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with both willow and leather. He has played domestic cricket in South Africa and is well aware of the conditions.
The chief selector must have to explain the criteria required to be included in the side. If the players who are performing well in Pakistan domestic circuit can't book their berths in the national team then what should they do to get the nod of the chief selector.
The chief selector must have to explain the reasons why Afridi and Akmal brothers were dropped from the earlier squad and what are the reasons they are back. By recalling the trio, the PCB had realised the fact that they had committed a big blunder by dropping them as far as the other players are concerned. The T20 squad looks a balanced one especially with the return of Akmal brothers while Wahab Riaz was firing all cylinders in the domestic circuit and finally he catches the eyes of the selectors and named in the T20 squad.
Imran Farhat once again managed to book berth in the squad. Everyone is fully aware of the fact that Pakistan had the luxury of having at their disposal at least five players who could open the innings and they are more than capable of playing at any given number but Farhat could only bat at the top order so difference is very clear but the selectors have other ideas while retaining Imran for the ODIs. Pakistan bowling as usual looks quite strong and well-balanced especially with the inclusion of Afridi as he would certainly provide the much-needed depth in bowling.