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October 12, 2006

Middle order

Who can replace Inzy the batsman?

Kamran Abbasi
Inzamam-ul-Haq goes on the attack, England v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Lord's, September 2, 2006
 © AFP
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The best call from the PCB over the past few days was to confirm Inzamam as captain for the West Indies series, simply because it helped settle any uncertainty about what would happen after the Champions Trophy.

But it only served to remind us of the crater Inzy’s absence creates in the middle order, which was Pakistan’s strongest suit over a troubled summer. Indeed, Inzy appeared in the finest touch particularly in helping to save the Lord’s Test but also in the dismissive way he batted in the one-day series.

As with each adversity there is an opportunity. Who will seize it?

In terms of team selection, this has become the biggest question for Pakistan’s Champions Trophy campaign. The rest of the team almost picks itself and I expect the openers to fare much better on India’s helpful tracks.

A straight swap would bring in Faisal Iqbal, a young man whose talent many people doubt but who nonetheless has shown flashes of brilliance. Anybody who earns praise from Shane Warne must have something about him.

Another option might be to play Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, and Shoaib Malik in the top three. But that brings us to the possibility of Younis Khan dropping down the order, and that might be a move that is widely criticised especially if it fails.

Pakistan could of course play Shoaib Malik at 5, and that’s the option I’d go for. Always bearing in mind that Pakistan’s multitude of all-rounders offers great flexibility and Shahid Afridi batting in a Powerplay might win you the match in a few breathtaking overs.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Vineet Raj Kapoor on (March 15, 2007, 17:43 GMT)

Well Inzy has been a great player of course. But if we analyze the 2005 batting performance of all pakistan players - 4 names come up: Abdul Razzaq Shoaib Malik Inzamamul Haq Younis Khan

all had an average of 33-39 and a strike rates of 70-78. So all were about the same. yes, Abdul Razzaq remained till the end in 7 matches in 2007 so he is a worthy batsman to watch for. And with a good bowling skill he must always be a part of the team. All others flattered to decieve. So bottomline is that Inzy has got people who'd be there after him to serve pakistan.. so Cheers!!

Posted by Haseeb on (October 16, 2006, 7:56 GMT)

I would rate inzy the best bastsman in the world. No one can replace Inzy because YOU WON'T FIND A PLAYER EASILY WHO CAN ALWAYS PERFORM WELL UNDER PRESSURE & NEVER SHOWS HIS EXPRESSIONS TO THE OPPOSITIONS while players like tendulkar & lara don't have such qualities. And yes if you mean replacement after he retires then i would say adding a left handed bastman in the middle order will add spice in pakistani line up so i would say asim kamal and offcourse not to forget faisal iqbal and hassan raza.

Posted by Khurram on (October 16, 2006, 5:39 GMT)

Slamz, I'm big fan of inzy, it would be great test for pakistan team without inzy during championans trophy. So far the replacement is concerns, i read few of the suggestions, but i wonder that no body even discussed about Asim Kamal. I think Asim kamal is the best replacement, because he is left handed specialist batsman in the middle order and so far i saw his inning he very much competent for no. 5 position. An other reason to include specialist batsman in the team is already pakistan have more than 4 alroundrz. sometimes it create problem on tough batting conditions.

Farhat Akmal Younis Yousaf Asim Kamal Malik Afridi Razzaq Rana Shoaib Asif

Posted by Faisal on (October 16, 2006, 4:47 GMT)

Inzamam is one player. Agreed he is the player on which pakistan cricket has laregely ridden on since the turn of the century, but still he is only 1 of 11 men who play for pakistan, each match. In regards to who should take is spot, i really believe that it's time Hasan Raza is given a permanent shot in the team, both in tests and one-dayers. There are enough destructive batsman in the team, to make up for his slow scoring. Plus he really deserves to have a decent shot at making it in int cricket.

Posted by Ayem Gilani on (October 16, 2006, 4:43 GMT)

iam surprised everyone is thinking abt dropping down SHoaib Malik, because of Younis Khan he had to compromise, he should have stayed as the no 3, he made runs almost every time he batted there, younis khan in my opinion is not that good of a one day player, but he should come at no 5, mohammad yousuf should be 4, salman butt should be given another shot, and wat abt Asim Kamal, Faisal Iqbal is good, Asim kamal played well everytime the team was in trouble, he has been very unfairly treated

Posted by samir hassan on (October 16, 2006, 3:52 GMT)

I agree with some people's views that it is goignt o be very hard to repalce Inzi however he is drawing to the end of his career and most likely the world cup will be his last tournament so pakistan needs to prepare for life after Inzi. I think we should have younis and yousaf coming in at 4 and 5. The openers in my opinion should be yasir Hameed and imran nazir two batsmen which great talent but not given enough opportunities. Coming in at number 3 should be shoaib malik in my opinion. With that we will have younis and yousaf to stablize our order at 4 and 5. With razzaq afridi and akmal to follow. Therefore I feel this is the solution to solving who can replace Inzi but even than we wills till miss him as he has been the backbone of our batting for the last 12 years. Thanks Inzi and when the time comes for you to go we'll miss u.

Posted by Shahid Faruqui, Detroit on (October 16, 2006, 3:20 GMT)

No one can replace Inzy. He is the best batsman Pakistan has ever produced (Miandad, Hanif, Zaheer and Malik included). Havind said that, guys, Faysal is not the right person. That is for sure. If they were gonna pick some one from Karachi, Asim was a better option. But that should not be the criterion. It should be purely on merit. It is a shame that it happened that way. Ever since the increase in street violence and exit of a lot of talented Karachites to oversees, we have not seen a decent batsman from Karachi. There was a time we had more than half the side from Karachi. Why, let the Karachites decide that, but please do not tell me there is regional or linguistic reason.

Posted by tariq hafiz on (October 15, 2006, 23:34 GMT)

I live in a community that is represented by Pakistani and Indian cricket fans. Its very obvious that nobody but INZI has been able to achieve the respect and the status that can come any close to THE GREAT IMRAN KHAN. I hope that MOHD YOUSUF can become the next INZI.

Posted by Jatt on (October 15, 2006, 23:11 GMT)

i would think pakistan have only one player who can replace inzi, which is mohammed yusaf. who's currently playing in elevin. i been watching pakistani cricket from years and i don't seen anyone who can replace inzi. it will be a big lose to pakistani cricket.

Posted by A.Qayum on (October 15, 2006, 21:52 GMT)

The best possible team in the absence of Inzy would be M hafeez/Imran Farhat shahid afridy shohaib malik younis khan muhammad yousaf Abdul razzak kamran akmal Rana naveed shoaib akhtar muhammad asif I think bringing Afridi up in the order will help the team in power play overs especially on sucontinent pitche..... As in his own words he is a risky player...what if team get benefit from his "Risky play".we are waisting shohaib malik`s talent by doing experiments on him as an opener, he is such a telented plyer in top midle order

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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