Team sheet January 27, 2007

Shock, awe, and possible implosion

With injuries and poor form asking fundamental questions about Pakistan's one-day squad for South Africa, the selectors have answered with a vote for thrills--and probably quite a few spills and missed heartbeats.

The recall of Abdul Razzaq was expected. When fit, Razzaq is an ideal one-day player even if his place in the Test team is worth challenging. Shabbir Ahmed's return was inevitable too given Pakistan's injured fast bowlers, but it's hard to see how he can have been unfit last week yet fit now.

Razzaq, of course, is a lower middle-order whirlwind. In combination with Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir--who have both made surprising returns--Pakistan's one-day team has just adopted the shock and awe strategy.

Afridi did well in his season of domestic cricket in South Africa although he looks to have opted out of domestic cricket in his own country, something we were told he would have to succeed in to win selection. Nazir, by contrast, has performed due diligence by rebuilding his reputation at home and it is a surprise that the selectors have resisted recalling him until now.

Whatever the machinations, I'm all for this daring approach. Now is the time to get these big-hitting players in form before the World Cup. They add an explosive capability to the more trenchant qualities of Pakistan's classy middle-order. There is a risk though that these bombers will inflict more damage on their own men than the opposition.

Call me reckless but I'd have it no other way. The Pakistani cricket team has been most successful when it has attacked, and with Afridi, Razzaq, and Nazir in your batting line-up, attack is turned into all-out assault. Hold onto your sun-hats.

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