Former Pakistani cricket captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, has added his voice to the ongoing debate surrounding Pakistan’s opening slot conundrum, showing his support for the struggling opener Saim Ayub.

Ayub was entrusted and accommodated in the opening position during Mohammad Hafeez’s tenure as team director. The established opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were split to settle the youngster on top.

However, the young batter has failed to live up to expectations, prompting questions about his place in the playing XI. Despite showing promise with a 45-run innings in the first T20I against Ireland recently, his subsequent performances of 6 and 14 in the series have cast doubts on his suitability for the role.

With an average of just 15.77 in 18 innings, concerns have mounted regarding Ayub’s effectiveness at the top and his place in the team.


While some fans and experts advocate for reinstating the tried-and-tested opening pair of Azam and Rizwan, Misbah believes in persisting with Ayub.

The former skipper argues that a right-left combination at the top, pairing Ayub with either Babar or Rizwan, could prove beneficial for the team. This combination, according to Misbah, offers a dynamic balance that can unsettle opposing bowlers and maximize scoring opportunities.

“I feel that the best opening combination, looking at the team, would be a right-left combination. That would be ideal. They are currently playing Saim Ayub, who is not delivering at the moment. I feel that different kinds of players – Saim on one end and Babar or Rizwan on the other end – can complement each other well,” Misbah said.

Moreover, Misbah has thrown his support behind the selection of seasoned campaigner Mohammad Amir, whose return to the international fold has stirred both excitement and scepticism.


“There is quite a difference between the Amir of 2017 [Champions Trophy] and today’s Amir. Back then, there was more pace, more swing, more zip in his bowling. Now these factors might have been slightly reduced, but there is an advantage. He has huge experience,” Misbah-ul-Haq said.

Despite acknowledging Amir’s waning pace and swing compared to his peak years, Misbah highlights the invaluable experience and tactical acumen that the left-arm pacer brings to the table.

He particularly emphasizes Amir’s prowess as a death bowler, citing his ability to handle pressure and deliver crucial wickets in high-stakes encounters, notably against arch-rivals India.

“And his experience as a death bowler, how to bowl under pressure and use variations. These factors will be a crucial asset in Amir’s forte this time. He might not be that effective with the new ball, but in the death, he will be crucial with his slower balls, aimed at outside the off stump.”

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