Without an experienced opener, Pakistan likely to suffer in T20 WC

ISLAMABAD: At a time when Twenty20 World Cup is about to start and all the participating teams are geared up with experienced players, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has maintained its history of illustrative lack of vision and wisdom by inducting four uncapped players in the squad for the mega event.

The team announced by PCB for T20 Asia Cup and World Cup stunned many cricket experts and millions of fans when the experienced opening batsman Ahmed Shahzad was dropped from the team in favour of right-handed batsman Khurram Manzoor, who has not featured even in Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Ahmed Shehzad, who has represented green shirts in 11 Tests, 75 ODIs and 40 T20s with an average of 43.05, 33.91 and 24.76 respectively and is the only Pakistani batsman with a century in all the three formats, is probably the only opener in last five years, who had earned a permanent position at the top slot before he had some so-called “disciplinary” issues with head coach Waqar Younus which forced him out of the team every now and then, thus shattering his form and confidence.

Khurram Manzoor, who is inducted in the team due to his fine performance in Pakistan A team, has not yet played even a single T20 international and his record in Tests and One Days is just satisfactory. He has played 16 Tests and 7 ODIs with an average of 28.17 and 33.71 respectively having only one century to his name and that too only in Test matches.

It has been reported in the media that T20 skipper Shahid Afridi has also abandoned his support of Ahmed Shahzad which played an important role in his exclusion from the squad as the head coach is already unhappy with the opening batsman.

“If any of the captains had supported me in the past, he had done it for the benefit of the team,” said Ahmed Shahzad while talking to a TV channel.

He said he was about to become the fastest player to reach 1000 runs in T20 with only 50 runs short, and such records only became possible with good performances.

On the other hand, the inclusion of Iftikhar Ahmed and Rumman Raees in the team has also put doubts in the minds of many about the “selection on merit” slogan of the selection committee.

Iftikhar Ahmed is also not playing in the PSL while if a comparison is made between the performance of left armer Rumman Raees with Junaid Khan, the latter will emerge as more deserving and experienced as far as making place in the squad is concerned. Junaid has so far taken five wickets in the league as compared to three wickets of Raees.

In mega events like the World Cup, every team try to come up with the best of the lot and some experienced cricketers who could absorb the pressure of big matches, but unfortunately in Pakistan decisions are made without any vision and wisdom and on the basis of prejudice.

Then, if the PCB had to pick some players on the basis of form and consistency, Pakistan Super League (PSL) was probably the best platform for this purpose where pressure matches are being played and some of the young players are exhibiting their skills brilliantly.