Middle order October 12, 2006

Who can replace Inzy the batsman?

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.

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

Comments