Pace attack October 26, 2006

Urgently required: one spearhead

After several days basking in the glory of a victory over Sri Lanka, Pakistan's Champions Trophy could end in a dismal rush

After several days basking in the glory of a victory over Sri Lanka, Pakistan's Champions Trophy could end in a dismal rush. Younis Khan's team is certainly capable of defeating South Africa but it will be an achievement to immediately bounce back from the New Zealand match.

Even if Pakistan win, a big question mark hangs over the team's bowling attack. With Rana Naved-ul Hasan looking a shadow of the bowler that won hearts with his courage and his incisions, the bowling has a toothless look to it.

Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar can be valuable support bowlers but a bowling attack without a spearhead is a bowling attack waiting to be taken to the cleaners, particularly in India. Rana has been recovering from injury but he has been back long enough for that excuse to be redundant. As much as everyone would like to see him recover his form, this Rana isn't the raja who became a definite selection.

This is a major problem for Pakistan. Rana's form was poor in the one-day series in England and he continues to be ineffective. The selection committee's patience must be running out, it may have run out already. It is not immediately obvious that Rana will ever get his form back. Pakistan need an alternative and quickly.

Some of you have commented that Pakistan's poor bowling performance confirms the sense in Imran Khan's demand for a recall for Mohammad Sami and Danish Kaneria. Imran's one day philosophy was always to play the best available bowlers and peg back the opposition by taking wickets.

The worry for Pakistan though is that without Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif there really isn't anybody to lead the bowling attack. This thought will inevitably weigh heavily upon the tribunal members at tomorrow's hearing.

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

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