When it comes to Pakistan cricket, there is never a dull day in the office for anyone. Recently, for the World T20 squad and the shock departure of the men’s team head coach, Misbah ul Haq and bowling Waqar Younis, Pakistan cricket is doing what Pakistan cricket does best – playing with the fire. And that too, a few weeks before the showdown at the mega event.
On Monday morning, the PCB Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim addressed a press conference at the ever-so popular Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore where he announced the squad for the World T20. He also said that the squad lacks depth is to say water is wet. It is an understatement to say the least.
Some of the obvious names that are missing out from the squad are Faheem Ashraf, who is a terrific all-rounder, Shoaib Malik, an experienced batsman, and Wahab Riaz, who has a superb record at the PSL in Dubai.
One finds it odd to see the names of Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Asif Ali and Mohammad Nawaz in the squad. Azam Khan has so far failed in international cricket and hasn’t been able to translate his success to the international level. His wicket-keeping is shoddy and doesn’t merit a place in the team on the pretext of a backup wicketkeeper. The same goes for Haris Rauf who has so far very average numbers in international cricket and is known to concede runs at crucial stages.And the less said about Asif Ali, the better.
Having failed to live up to the expectations, despite a long run with the team, Asif’s selection continues to shock everyone, including the man in the picture himself, who must wonder just what’s going on in the mind of the selectors. Asif has played over 50 international games for Pakistan and is yet to win a game for them. He, however, has cost them many.
Nawaz’s selection is surprising because he is a truly ‘bits and pieces’ player who is yet to find his mojo in international cricket. As if selection blunders were not enough, the manner in which the head coach and bowling coach have resigned only indicates one thing: the new boss in Ramiz Raja will not back down until and unless he has achieved what he thinks is appropriate for the team.
Local media is abuzz with reports that both Misbah and Babar Azam, the all-format captain of Pakistan, were unhappy over the selection of Azam Khan, Sohaib Maqsood and Khushdil Shah. Whatever is the case, there is one thing for sure: Pakistan cricket is operating at a level of madness that is unprecedented. And seeing how madness has often driven Pakistan to desirable results, it only means one thing – are Pakistan winning the World T20 later this year?