World Cup 2007 February 23, 2007

Road to Jamaica 1: The openers

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It must be quite frustrating for Imran Khan, for a decade almost everything he said was implemented. He was the first and last word in Pakistan cricket, with a few thousand thrown in between by Javed Miandad. The rule of Khan culminated in Pakistan winning the World Cup, enough said. Now Imran struggles to get his way--and let's be clear that the PCB's strategy of pep talks by great players is more of an intrusion than a benefit at this late stage.

But one area that Imran has complained so much about that perhaps everyone has stopped hearing him is the dilemma of openers. Inzamam believes he has the best pair available. Bob Woolmer, I suspect, is less sure but will do his best with the materials given him. Imran is more definite: the choice should have been Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed.

Imran may well have a point but it was hard to prove since the PCB and Inzamam have failed to try that combination in the run up to the World Cup. Particularly baffling was the decision not to give Yasir Hameed a run in South Africa.

Nonetheless, it's true enough that none of the openers have succeeded. This opening problem is not new for Pakistan and Imran knows it well. Middle-order batsmen have been made into openers going right back to the 1975 and 1979 World Cups when Majid Khan opened the innings but did well against the mighty West Indian bowling attack. By 1983, Mohsin and Mudassar had formed a stable opening partnership but one that failed to deliver its promise. In all three World Cups, Pakistan had been knocked out by West Indies.

The mainstay in the next two tournaments was Ramiz Raja, who despite a decent World Cup record had the habit of firing only sporadically. Indeed his pairing with Aamer Sohail in 1992 was often a hair-raising enterprise. Sohail had matured to some degree by the time he partnered Saeed Anwar in 1996--although that isn't saying much. But on Asian wickets, the combination of Aamer and Saeed was dynamite and perhaps the best that Pakistan has ever enjoyed at a World Cup.

When the 1999 tournament came around, Saeed had established himself as a World class opener, the best Pakistan has had since Hanif Mohammad. This meant that his unknown partner Wajahatullah Wasti had an easier ride than most Pakistani openers have ever had. I'll never forget the sight of Imran Khan teaching Wasti how to play a forward defensive on the team balcony after he'd got out in one of Pakistan's group matches. It was as if he was teaching a six-year old.

Come 2003, Pakistan were a confused outfit. Saeed was bowing out but underutilised prior to the tournament, and Shahid Afrid was in one minute and out the next. Pakistan's chop-and-change strategy was in full swing. Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi, Taufeeq Umar, and Saleem Elahi were all given a go.

Four years later, who could have predicted that Pakistan would still be confused about their first choice openers but they clearly are. Yet, Imran Nazir has a rare talent if he can be persuaded to harness it sensibly. Mohammad Hafeez is a hitter who can graft--or is he a grafter who can hit? In Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi Pakistan have further explosive capabilities. Desperation, though, can provide a creative solution, and the suggestion that Younis Khan might open is in the grand tradition of Pakistani middle-order batsmen turned openers and it is one that might succeed.

Most importantly, Pakistan need to decide their strategy and stick to it. The openers will have five games, including warm ups, to find a certain chemistry. I reckon Hafeez and Nazir is the pairing to go with in this squad. A World Cup is a stage to make a name for yourself and grow as a cricketer, and both of them should be hungry. They will be helped by West Indian wickets being unlike South African, Australian, or English. Might Pakistan turn a weakness into a strength? If they can, Pakistan's challenge will become a genuine one.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • christian on August 24, 2008, 22:41 GMT

    I would like to say that i love your site blogs.cricinfo.com a lot now.. back on topic lol I cant say that i agree with what you wrote... care to clear things up for me?

  • shair mohammad panhwar on March 3, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    ALLAH sucess pakistani team. But there is no chance of sucess without shoaib and asif so that any bowler can not take place of it. so there begain of worldcup. they plan must then play game.As "imran khan said 1992 worldcup do and die"

  • ikram on March 2, 2007, 9:06 GMT

    GOOD LUCK TO PAKISTAN. All our prayers with the team. We should support our team no matter what. The team is selected. I wish them the best. I hope the board president or the powers to be bother to read blogs like these to realise what a mess they have made of pak cricket.

  • ali on March 1, 2007, 23:41 GMT

    there is no doubt that the pakistani team is in a deep hole , now the leadership of inzamam will be really tested..i always feel that inzamam may have brought stability in terms of unity in the side but unfortunately he is not a good leader..all the captains in the world lead from the front and are aggressive and he is vice versa infact he is looking for excuses all the time an keeps on batting lower and lower down the order which is definately not inspiring for the youngsters.there is mo point in mourning about the absence of our premier bowelrs and creating unneccesary panic...after all they got what they deserved...secondly we must also consider that asif was a new crop and only came a year ago, shoaib can be a match winner and definately puts pressure on the mental strength of other teams but can also go for plenty as the grounds are small and even an edge would clear the boundary at his pace..pakistan maybe not at their full strength but if you have a decent captain who can motivate the team and lead from the front by making wise moves (which apparently is not inzamam) he is too negative ..this team deifinately has th ability to make it to the semis and who knows from there one goodd day can make all the difference..we should not play 2 openers we have enough options ..if we had a quality opener than it would have been different ..razzak has been deliberately thrown out from the team according to dawn and azhar has deep connections because he was sent to the world cup at the last moment in the last world cup and there are no exceptions this year either.this is a big blow in crucial matches we will miss razzak like anything...the only allrounder with potential in the team.

  • Haroon Rashid on March 1, 2007, 19:45 GMT

    Woolmer and Inzi made the right decision of bringing Imran Nazir, as all others failed so he was the best selection. He might fail in 3 or 4 innings but his 5th will be match winner. In current scenerio you dont need other opener. You have 4 in form batsmen Malik, Inzi, Yousaf and Younis then a keeper one all rounder Afridi. And four specialised bowlers. Gul, Rao, Kaneria, (rana or sami ** our weak links ). So one thing Inzi should do is come as opener. I think Malik has really played well as last specialist batsman.

    I dont agree with Kamran, lately Razzaq has been a big disappointment when it came to bowling. In my point of view our magnificient batting failed because of poor bowling from these all rounders in south africa. Pakistan real problem has been 20 to 40 overs. When afridi and razzaq bowl. They look so ordinary. I believe there should have been attacking bowler on the other end.

    I am sure they will have four specialist bowlers with afridi in world cup.

    Good thing happened in shape of Razzaq and Shoaibs out of team, real bad thing happened when Asif went out. But I believe its the team that wins not individuals. We have the best team after Imran Khans 92 team. I am sure these guys will fight like tigers.

    Haroon

  • wasim saqib (detroit) on March 1, 2007, 14:30 GMT

    Well as expected pakistan team will be playing the cup without shoaib and Asif,I believe if our batting scores 300 plus in every match we are in with a chance. We should look at the tactics of South Africa and Australia their batsmen after settling in launch an offensive and they keep on going on and on untill they fall,whereas our players they normally loose their wicket after settling in,which is primarily because of poor shot selection and execution We need to play with a do or die attitude the grounds are small and the wickets are slow and low so 300 plus score will be equvivalent to 270 and we should not be surprised if we see 400 plus score. The good news is that the wickets support the spinners and we have the most spinning allrounders in our team. It is imperitive for the team to keep their heads up and make a statement in the very first game and send a message to other teams we are there for the win and not as a formality.

  • Siva on March 1, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Openers: Kamran + Nazir (or Hafiz depending on form) 3 to 7: Younis, Yousuf, Inzi, Shoiab and Afridi 8 to 11: Sami, Umar Gul, Kaneria and Arafat (or Naved Ul Hasan). As you can see, with the above team, Pak will find it difficult to reach semi finals. Too many things are missing: Shoiab, Asif, Razzaq and at least one good opener plus Wicket keeping std is also low.

  • Sahab on March 1, 2007, 12:21 GMT

    I think razzaq should have stayed in the squad until the super 8's came, then they should have decided whether he should play or not. I also think that the replacements for Asif and Akhtar should have been Anwar Ali and Jamshed Ahmed. Yasir hameed should open because he can play aggressively in powerplay overs. Imran Nazir is a person who can hit sixes as well when the powerplays are used up. if hameed out of form, then Butt or Farhat should come up. Butt is capable of playing a long innings and can keep the run rate up to standard when needed. While on the other hand if we have farhat opening with nazir then we will have an awesome start if each of them can get 30+ score, we will also have a right-left combo and they are the most aggressive openers for Pakistan.

  • mohammad ali 14yrs old, dubai on March 1, 2007, 11:49 GMT

    pakistan have had alot of problems in their opening slot. If I were a selector for the world cup I would promote Afridi up the order to open wid Imaran Nazir. Like in the 1996 world cup we can see wat damage the sri lankan openers did and afridi can do alot of damage in the small grounds of the west indies where the bounce is nice and low like in the sub continent. You have seen wat Afridi has done in the past. Against India at Kanpur he killed them with his lightining 100 and before that in the west indies when pakistan were railing staring at a heavy defeat he bought the dressin room somthin to cheer about when he scored a quick fire hundred, so in the end i think this opening partnership of afridi and nazir would be ideal after afridi serves his ban

  • malik shafiq ahmed Dubai on March 1, 2007, 9:14 GMT

    for pak best opening choice salman butt and yasir hameed,imran nazir is not a reliable batsman and Hafeez also have same probleme, he start very well and when he set he through his wicket.if pak open with afridi and give him confidence and free hand,you play as you think,no body drop you may be pak get good result,other wise yousaf and younas open the innings,because both come in 2nd over

  • christian on August 24, 2008, 22:41 GMT

    I would like to say that i love your site blogs.cricinfo.com a lot now.. back on topic lol I cant say that i agree with what you wrote... care to clear things up for me?

  • shair mohammad panhwar on March 3, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    ALLAH sucess pakistani team. But there is no chance of sucess without shoaib and asif so that any bowler can not take place of it. so there begain of worldcup. they plan must then play game.As "imran khan said 1992 worldcup do and die"

  • ikram on March 2, 2007, 9:06 GMT

    GOOD LUCK TO PAKISTAN. All our prayers with the team. We should support our team no matter what. The team is selected. I wish them the best. I hope the board president or the powers to be bother to read blogs like these to realise what a mess they have made of pak cricket.

  • ali on March 1, 2007, 23:41 GMT

    there is no doubt that the pakistani team is in a deep hole , now the leadership of inzamam will be really tested..i always feel that inzamam may have brought stability in terms of unity in the side but unfortunately he is not a good leader..all the captains in the world lead from the front and are aggressive and he is vice versa infact he is looking for excuses all the time an keeps on batting lower and lower down the order which is definately not inspiring for the youngsters.there is mo point in mourning about the absence of our premier bowelrs and creating unneccesary panic...after all they got what they deserved...secondly we must also consider that asif was a new crop and only came a year ago, shoaib can be a match winner and definately puts pressure on the mental strength of other teams but can also go for plenty as the grounds are small and even an edge would clear the boundary at his pace..pakistan maybe not at their full strength but if you have a decent captain who can motivate the team and lead from the front by making wise moves (which apparently is not inzamam) he is too negative ..this team deifinately has th ability to make it to the semis and who knows from there one goodd day can make all the difference..we should not play 2 openers we have enough options ..if we had a quality opener than it would have been different ..razzak has been deliberately thrown out from the team according to dawn and azhar has deep connections because he was sent to the world cup at the last moment in the last world cup and there are no exceptions this year either.this is a big blow in crucial matches we will miss razzak like anything...the only allrounder with potential in the team.

  • Haroon Rashid on March 1, 2007, 19:45 GMT

    Woolmer and Inzi made the right decision of bringing Imran Nazir, as all others failed so he was the best selection. He might fail in 3 or 4 innings but his 5th will be match winner. In current scenerio you dont need other opener. You have 4 in form batsmen Malik, Inzi, Yousaf and Younis then a keeper one all rounder Afridi. And four specialised bowlers. Gul, Rao, Kaneria, (rana or sami ** our weak links ). So one thing Inzi should do is come as opener. I think Malik has really played well as last specialist batsman.

    I dont agree with Kamran, lately Razzaq has been a big disappointment when it came to bowling. In my point of view our magnificient batting failed because of poor bowling from these all rounders in south africa. Pakistan real problem has been 20 to 40 overs. When afridi and razzaq bowl. They look so ordinary. I believe there should have been attacking bowler on the other end.

    I am sure they will have four specialist bowlers with afridi in world cup.

    Good thing happened in shape of Razzaq and Shoaibs out of team, real bad thing happened when Asif went out. But I believe its the team that wins not individuals. We have the best team after Imran Khans 92 team. I am sure these guys will fight like tigers.

    Haroon

  • wasim saqib (detroit) on March 1, 2007, 14:30 GMT

    Well as expected pakistan team will be playing the cup without shoaib and Asif,I believe if our batting scores 300 plus in every match we are in with a chance. We should look at the tactics of South Africa and Australia their batsmen after settling in launch an offensive and they keep on going on and on untill they fall,whereas our players they normally loose their wicket after settling in,which is primarily because of poor shot selection and execution We need to play with a do or die attitude the grounds are small and the wickets are slow and low so 300 plus score will be equvivalent to 270 and we should not be surprised if we see 400 plus score. The good news is that the wickets support the spinners and we have the most spinning allrounders in our team. It is imperitive for the team to keep their heads up and make a statement in the very first game and send a message to other teams we are there for the win and not as a formality.

  • Siva on March 1, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Openers: Kamran + Nazir (or Hafiz depending on form) 3 to 7: Younis, Yousuf, Inzi, Shoiab and Afridi 8 to 11: Sami, Umar Gul, Kaneria and Arafat (or Naved Ul Hasan). As you can see, with the above team, Pak will find it difficult to reach semi finals. Too many things are missing: Shoiab, Asif, Razzaq and at least one good opener plus Wicket keeping std is also low.

  • Sahab on March 1, 2007, 12:21 GMT

    I think razzaq should have stayed in the squad until the super 8's came, then they should have decided whether he should play or not. I also think that the replacements for Asif and Akhtar should have been Anwar Ali and Jamshed Ahmed. Yasir hameed should open because he can play aggressively in powerplay overs. Imran Nazir is a person who can hit sixes as well when the powerplays are used up. if hameed out of form, then Butt or Farhat should come up. Butt is capable of playing a long innings and can keep the run rate up to standard when needed. While on the other hand if we have farhat opening with nazir then we will have an awesome start if each of them can get 30+ score, we will also have a right-left combo and they are the most aggressive openers for Pakistan.

  • mohammad ali 14yrs old, dubai on March 1, 2007, 11:49 GMT

    pakistan have had alot of problems in their opening slot. If I were a selector for the world cup I would promote Afridi up the order to open wid Imaran Nazir. Like in the 1996 world cup we can see wat damage the sri lankan openers did and afridi can do alot of damage in the small grounds of the west indies where the bounce is nice and low like in the sub continent. You have seen wat Afridi has done in the past. Against India at Kanpur he killed them with his lightining 100 and before that in the west indies when pakistan were railing staring at a heavy defeat he bought the dressin room somthin to cheer about when he scored a quick fire hundred, so in the end i think this opening partnership of afridi and nazir would be ideal after afridi serves his ban

  • malik shafiq ahmed Dubai on March 1, 2007, 9:14 GMT

    for pak best opening choice salman butt and yasir hameed,imran nazir is not a reliable batsman and Hafeez also have same probleme, he start very well and when he set he through his wicket.if pak open with afridi and give him confidence and free hand,you play as you think,no body drop you may be pak get good result,other wise yousaf and younas open the innings,because both come in 2nd over

  • ali on March 1, 2007, 8:58 GMT

    I dont really know as to what is happening ..a controversy after another ...razzak in my opinion was the best all rounder that pakistan possessed and that is certainly a very big blow for the paki side but what is even more aggravating is the fact that the real reason behind his exclusion is not an injury..but more mystery lies ahead ..even before his injury report was disclosed azhar was given the go signal..i mean this is rediculous anybody with any decree of sanity wouldnt have done that.he was the only dependable player in the lower order who could have steadied the ship in desperate situations and azhar mehmood with a batting average of 18 was chosen ahead of razzak who is a potential match winner.I am very unaware of the criteria or pre requisite of making such hasty and dumb descisions but if they have done it on the basis of current form half of the pakistani team shouldnt be playing.Razzak was th only genuine allrounder in the team he has a nag of taking crucial wickets and can bat in any situation. Well for all of the ppl who think that this might be a blessing in disguise..i would rather not start counting my eggs on an infected chicken. As far as afridi is concerned it would be unfair to count him as an allrounder..everybody is aware of his slogging abilities but it happens once in ten matches so incase he plays thats a bonus.his place in the team merely as a bowler and fielder considering the current bowling options is justified.I would hate to play rana in my elevn as he can be detrimental to the team ..but if azhar mehmood is an allrounder i would rather go with rana as he can not be worst in batting comparitively to azhar ...even he averages 14 odd runs and is technically more correct than many players and can also strike the ball when requiried and his stats suggest that he is the best death bowler.

  • Sohaib Alam on March 1, 2007, 5:03 GMT

    I rekon that Mohammad Yousef should open wif Imnran Nazir, that wil get Pakistan going

  • Usman Malik on March 1, 2007, 0:33 GMT

    To Open or Not to Open Entire world knows the woes Pakistan Cricket Team has had in putting together 2 openers for the 1day format of the game since the departure of Saeed and Amir in late 90's.

    So what do we all know so far Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez are slated to open the innings for our beloved Pakistan Cricket Team in this edition of the World Cup.

    Expect to see Imran/Hafeez combination being used in the round robin stage of the tournament.

    Any sign of weakness in any of them expect a change with the likes of reserves Salman Butt coming in or even Yasir Hameed. This change will coiside with the Asif/Shohaib Medical Condition (wink wink)

    Coming to the medical condition who are they kidding here is my interpetaion of why they are in London; They are being given masking agent which will ensure that both of them successfully pass the dope test. I am surprised to see how PCB has handled the whole situation and have not dealt with it earlier.

  • Mohammad Najib Zaman on February 28, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    o i really wished salman butt and imran nazir will open the world cup, because we do not have any specialist left hand batsman and salman butt really plays well when handling pressure which most pakistani openers have failed at. but i believe hafeez should not open the innings, i would go with imran nazir and shoaib malik opening the innings or nazir and afridi. if both pairs click, they end up making such a huge score on board that the opposition might wana give up. but i, like many others, have total faith in inzi bhai and inshallah he will lift the 2007 world cup.

  • Raashid Shunthoo on February 28, 2007, 15:55 GMT

    Opening has always been an problem for Pakistan eversince Aamir Sohail and Syed Anwar left the scene.They have tried many combinations, but still results are far from desired.In any form of cricket opening stand can do wonders for any team. Salam Butt & Yasir Hamid seem to be best option at the moment.We should for sure follow Imran Khan,s advice and he knows what is ailing Pakistan cricket.

  • Ghalib Taimur on February 28, 2007, 11:56 GMT

    You have got to be kidding Zafar!!

  • wasim saqib on February 27, 2007, 22:06 GMT

    Those of you still crying over the non selection of Yasir hameed and Salman Butt, Please look at their record:

    Salman Butt during his last six Odis Scored only, 0 ,0 ,13,26,4,1

    Yasir Hameed during his last six outings in odis scored 12,24,41,57,71,41 his last 10 innings as an opener he scored 41,12,18,48,13,0,0,39,15,41 As far as salman Butt is concerned I think his record speaks out loud why he is not a part of the team. As regards Yasir is concerned he is more suitable to the test cricket his strike rate is only around 60,he scores the runs too slow which puts immense pressure on his partners, i think this was the main reason he was dropped.

    Whereas hafeez he scored 0,31,1,92,21,0 But also bowled some use ful spells was pretty ecnomical in his spells averaging around 4 an over. Imran Nazir in his last six outings scored 1,27,57,13,0,22 from the most recent record clearly both imran and Hafeez have better scores. Hafeez, with our bowling line up going thinner and thinner and rana Naveed has become the third most expensive bowler in the history of ODIS sami is also catching up fast so we need a multi role player who can control some runs also given that our key bowlers will not be playing the tournament and so we have to depend on these all rounders. I hope that this will conclude this discussion and everybody will shutup on this isuue,as the more we criticise the more we are going to put pressure on these players let them play with a clear mind. Thankyou

  • Zafar on February 27, 2007, 18:40 GMT

    Why not to open with Rana Naveed ul Hassan and Mohammad Sami. I think they can stay for 5 overs on wicket as well and than routine batting and you can ply 2 more bowlers. It will give team a very good bowling attack and Pakistan have always won with their Bowling not with their batting.

  • Oz on February 27, 2007, 16:03 GMT

    We have so many different combinations suggested in above lines that we will have to play 5 world cups in a row in order to try all the suggestions and then perhaps (only perhaps) we might stumble upon some reliable/quality opening pair. In light of my previous comment it seems that given the team that has been announced, the best thing to do is have senior batsmen come at the top order meaning along with one of the jerks (i.e., nazir, afridi, hafeez etc) we should have maybe Younis or Shoaib. Then have Yousuf come one down, Inzi two down and so on so forth. The younger players must get this feeling that their seniors are trying to help them when the situation is most difficult.

  • Mo on February 27, 2007, 14:32 GMT

    The whole opening dilemma is just the beginning. Hameed has been consistently overlooked but he is not the only one in this regard.

    Take today when Razzaq was ruled out - why oh why does Yasir Arafat not get a lookin? For me he is a better batsman, better bowler and his age and consequent agility advantage also gives him the edge over Azhar Mahmood in the fielding category.

    Some of the selection committee clearly have their favourites.

    If anything, both Yasirs have let themselves by not expressing their disapproval more publicly as this seems to work in Pakistan. Take the recent examples of Azhar Mahmood and Danish Kaneria. It was not long after they criticised their exclusion from the one day arena that no sooner were they back and now both are on the plane for the W Indies.

  • khansahab on February 27, 2007, 14:30 GMT

    razzaq's news is a blessing in disguise. he should not even have played in SA. out-of-form experience can only be tolerated up to a point. this is an excellent chance for mahmood to prove his worth and perform. currently he is definitely a better player than razzaq.

  • Mustafa Moiz on February 27, 2007, 13:12 GMT

    The easy way to settle this is that whatever Imran Khan says to do is immediately listened to. Pakistan's only capable openers right now are Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed and Salman Butt, with Butt and Hameed being the best of these. Hameed's scores were 48, 41 and 57 before he got dropped. Coming back when Razzaq captained(who captained very well with the team he got) he top-scored again with 71 and then got 41. No, once more, he has been dropped. Butt plays excellently while neither Nazir nor Hafeez should have been replaced by openers like Afridi or Akmal or especially Farhat. And to Faisal Akhter, Saeed Anwar was going to retire, anyways. And Malik shouldn't open but should bat lower down at 6 or 7 and get a minimum of 6-8 overs a match to bowl. A big blow is Razzaq being out of the World Cup as he, along with Malik and Yousuf, was the most valuable opener to Pakistan.

  • AK Prawat on February 27, 2007, 12:34 GMT

    what is happening with Shoaib and asif? The Pakistani team have already claimed that they will take both to the WC if fit, so why then havent they been drug tested where ever they may be in the world? how much inconvenience can come from pissing into a cup?

  • Ghalib Taimur on February 27, 2007, 12:06 GMT

    Mr Ashaq please stop insulting our hero Mr Imran Khan.He knows when a decision is right or wrong long term.Both Inzi and Bob have failed in their jo.Pakistan is going very unprepared for the cup and it will be a miracle if we win.Imran compliments where it is due but his first opinion abt anything related to cricket he is 90% of the times right..Also managing cricket is not his job.If he became PCB chairman i have no doubt we wud be the best team in the world.

  • nasar farid, luton on February 27, 2007, 11:12 GMT

    Well folks, what i'd like to add has already been mentioned by a few people out there. First of all, i don't agree with Kamran's opening choice of imran nasir & mohd hafeez (they dont have big match temperament). Imran Khan has mentioned Salman Butt & Yasir Hameed, and to be honest with all the combinations we have tried over the past 5-6 years etc.. i would have to agree with him, these two have the best temparement and batting technique. However, i still feel that this is not the perfect choice. We have three World Class batsmen in Inzy, Mohd Yousaf, Younas... one of these three needs to come in as one of the openers. Remember, openers have to face the best bowling from the opposition upfront, therefore you would like to see your best batsmen overcome them. Personally my choice would be either Younas Khan or Inzaman. How many times have we witnessed younas khan come in really early for batting, literally within the first 5 overs ... so why not just save the hassle and send him in as an opener. Then theres Inzaman, arguebly pakistan's finest batsmen ever.... and remember what Imran Khan has always said about Inzy ""the best player/batsmen against Pace"" and trust me not many would disagree!!! So why not have Inzy open, a position where he will face PACE. Also the reason why i'm more in favour of Inzaman opening more then younas khan, is that inzaman doesnt like running quick singles etc... and with the field restrictions he wont get much opportunity anyway. So all he will be looking to do is hit boundaries, which he loves....!!!! To summarise, i'd like to see Inzaman open with either salman butt or yasir hameed, yasir would be my choice because he has played recently. So to conclude and give you my opening choice i would say:

    INZAMAN & YASIR HAMEED

    thank u

  • waqas on February 27, 2007, 10:25 GMT

    hi i m waqas .SHAHID AFRIDI & IMRAN NAZIR is the best opener in the world.B/C The new ru;e is best for these two player.

  • Amer Hussain on February 27, 2007, 10:11 GMT

    Hello Kamran,

    I have noticed in some of your posts that you are not enamoured by the PCB. I have just been on their website and read the following article :http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Pakistan/Articles/5/5869.html I would like to see your response to this, and also feel that it would be worth publishing on these pages as there are others who may not have seen the vision that the PCB claim to have.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on February 27, 2007, 9:51 GMT

    Mr Khan's comments are always to the point, candid and very nice indeed. I love reading it, today he mentioned what Zaheer revealed about Shabbir, well this is just the tip of the ice berg there are many more glaring revelations like: Shoaib malik is partner in business with the son of Bob Woolmer and so he is a certainty in every Pakistan out fit. Salman was shown the door by Inzamam only because he refused to have a bearded look. Imran Nazir is sellected only because he is bound to fail and so Shoaib Malik will be asked to open in the World Cup matches. There are many more such things which goes to prove the fiasco of this Pakistan team and Inzamam mafia. Sad isn't it, well take it or just leave it as no one can do anything to change what is happening in PCB. the Super Idiot Bari Chief of the sellection committee comes on TV and says that he convinced Inzamam to keep Danish in the squad, what a joke and to say that he still contests being just a rubber stamp. What is the sellection committee there for if they cannot sellect the right man for the team without the approval of Inzamam, the teams should always be sellected on merits and not as per the wishes of Inzamam. When on tour our captain asks the sellection committee to send such and such player and the chairman obliges him by sending persons of his choice, isn't it silly. The tour management should not be asking for players by name instead by the position for which the players is required as replacement and the decession to send the right guy should always be of the sellection committee and not the captain on tour. Strangely Bari has no objection to it and some how feels satisfied also by sending the perticular player / players desired by Inzamam and goes on saying that we (sellection committee, coach and the captain) have a good rapport, this really shows the hieght of stupidity of Bari and proves the generally talked about fact that he really is a rubber stamp. Kamran Sahib, "ALLAH MALIK HAI - HUM AAP KUCH NAHEE KAR SAKTEY". When so many Idiots come together (as there are in PCB) then can only try to learn to live with it.

  • TK on February 27, 2007, 8:21 GMT

    Despite all mistakes, mishaps, blunders committed by PCB, the Pakistan cricket team still has an array of very talented players in its fold and by adopting correct strategy for each game they can still perform well.

    The never ending quest for a reliable opening pair and pursuit of world cup reminds one of poems by Faiz Ahmad Faiz:

    Tum aaye ho, na shab-e-intizar ghuzree hay Talaash may hay sahar, bar bar ghuzhree hay

    Junoon may jitnee bhee ghuzree hat baykar ghuzree hay Aghar chay dil pay kharabee hazaar ghuzree hay

    …..

    Neither have you come, nor has ended the long night of wait. Even the breeze has whisked about, time and again, seeking you.

    Whatever time spent in frenzy is well spent Even if the heart has taken on a thousand mishaps.

    ….

    Let’s hope Pakistan team’s shab-e-intizar ends and it finally sees the sunrise of success.

  • Haseeb - Kuwait on February 27, 2007, 7:58 GMT

    Don't post any comments which will discourage any of our opener, We should support pakistani team, i would say in present situation Hafeez and Imran Nazir are our best choice and Inshallah i hope so pakistan's weakness will become their strength in the worldcup.

  • Ashaq on February 27, 2007, 6:17 GMT

    Apologies for what must seem less like a debate and more like a personal feud between myself Javed Bhai. Getting back to the cricket.

    I think ultimately what will decide the fate of our team and dictate the performance of our openers is the mindset that they enter the arena with.AS Imran Khan said "The mind is actually more important then your Physical talent."

    You can practice all you want behind closed doors but performing in front of an audience no matter how small takes getting used. Over time some are able to cope better than othere.

    Most athletes have similar psychological barriers they have to conquer.Regardless of the level they are competing.

    They may know the flaws in the technique spend hours practicing and look exceptional behind closed doors. But as soon as they are in front of an audience and the pressure is on they make the same error over and over again. Ala Imran Farhat.

    Or Can become consumed by the fear of making a mistake and losing. Therefore become Ultra defensive and only delay the inevitable. I suppose in a similar way to toufiq Umar last year in England.

    A guy who works hard realises his flaws but makes too many changes Tries to perform in textbook fashion.When the pressure is on he therefore Thinks too much and is unable to react instinctively. Ala Mohammed Hafeez.

    AS for Imran Nazir He reminds of a guy from my Amateur Boxing Gym many years ago called Gareth he would display all his natural talent in the gym. Soon as you put him in the ring infront of an audience he would turn into a crude slugger. A natural crowd pleaser he managed to get quite a following. He Inevitably lost more then he won. His favourite response to any criticism "At least I went down fighting".

    I suspect performing infront of a large crowd has a similar effect on Imran Nazir and He also always goes down fighting.

  • Asif Khan on February 27, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    Dear Kamran Abbasi Thanks for the topic u selected I must say in this concern is that if Pakistan use a single pair then it might work Our first priority is Imran Nazir as he is a natural hitter and he can bear up the pressure. It is a great move by the PCB to include Nazir in the team. With Imran Nazir, I must reccomend Yasir Hameed because he played well a couple of seasons against Newzeland (Home and away). Hameed is a stylish batsman. His way of playing and his selection of shots make him a world class batsman. I must say that Pakistan should use the Nazir, Hameed couple the entire tournament. Kamran Akmal is not in his best form, so why should we take risk to play him at the main position of opening stand. Shahid Afridi is a good batsman but he has a less temprament. Shahid Afridi must be in the squad as well as the final 11 of the whole tournament. Shoaib Malik openend well in the past few series, but I suggest him at the No. 3 position cause he is one of the most prominent batsman of Pakistan because he can play through the whole innings.

  • Munir on February 27, 2007, 5:29 GMT

    I don't think this is a right time to discuss this issue. This should be addressed quite a long time before WC. What I think is that PCB and most importantly Inzamam gave chances to all those players but they repeatedly failed to deliver consistently. I think the problem lies in the mind of PCB and not the players as they expect them to deliver in every match like Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail. Those two were the greatest openers ever produced by Paksitan and the world circket. There is always a difference between good and world class player. Just see and compare the shots played by our openers vs Mohd. Yousaf and you will get the answer. What I want to comment is to stick with selected openers and give them your faith. I think with one of the strongest middle and lower order batting line up in the current world cricket with the likes of Mohd. Yousaf, Inzi, Malik, Afridi, Razzaq and Akmal, why we are forcing our openers and Younis to score quickly. What they need to do is to play 10-15 overs safely by scoring 40-60 runs. I think the team like Pakistan doesn't need to take the advantage of first 20 overs and score 100 plus. They can score the same amount of runs in the last ten if wickets remains in hand.

    So what I think is to stop discussing this problem as we all see the problem lies in our bowling. We all see in Champions trophy in India, every team got the score in the region of 200-240. But in both the matches, Pakistan conceeded above 250. You can't win the match by having one quality bowler in your bag (Gul). The same case we saw in South Africa (Asif). Kamran, I think you need to discuss this problem as if Shoaib and Asif would not play as it is almost certain they won't to avoid dope test and life ban, Pakistan bowlers can't defend the score in the region of 280-320. Inshallah, we will win the Cup. Best of luck to Pakistan team.

  • mohammad Ismail on February 27, 2007, 4:48 GMT

    Medium pacers hold the key in the world cup. not spinners. pakistan should throw out kaneria.

  • Danish Khan on February 27, 2007, 4:00 GMT

    It was quite amusing to read through the comments on openers spiral down to religion; so I'd add in my words for thought. Religion is an individual, personal and a relationship link with God. Now this could mean anything to anyone, as for Pakistani Cricket, if someone likes to emulate his relationship with God and keeps a beard for example, it is not to please supporters like us, but to please God in his own personal way. At the end of it all, its not us who would be the judge of actions or intents.

    To come to a political view of this, I don't even see the harm in the way a number of the team members emulate by keeping a beard or reciting a verse or two before every ball; it for one shows that not all bearded men are 'fundos' and help in projecting a lighter image. They are after all ambassadors not just of the game but the Country as well, maybe minus Inziiiiiiiii's English skills, nevertheless, thanks to colonial past, English is a widely spoken language, imagine Ricky Ponting speaking Urdu had the Asians been the ones colonizing.

    And one other thing to those who suggest keeping and sticking to cricket; games and sports were essentially invented to keep armies and its soldiers fit, it spread and instilled with it various cultures and subsequent inventions; cricket being one of them lovely lot. Cricket was used to in the pre-partition era in the Sub-Continent as a political and social tool as well. My point is essentially, that Kamran Bhai should not limit it to JUST cricket and neither should the people on the blog, a game, in this case cricket can serve as a prism to expand knowledge and reflect on debates that surround it or affect it. Do you think 'Gentlemen' at Lord's talk about 'Cricket' all the time!? No, they talk and debate on various issues including cricket. By the way, the Aboriginals were introduced to English society through cricket.

    Hehe, Cricket!!!! I am sorry but I had to say this reading through the comments. Road to Jamaica!

  • Ben on February 27, 2007, 3:53 GMT

    Knowing Pakistan's propensity to collapse, one should not touch the settled portion of the team, ie positions 3,4,5 (Younis, Yousuf, Inzi). Having them open is an undue risk and they will not be comfortable nor play as well as what they're used to.

    The opening spots beg for one aggressive and one stable batsman. Anyone can belt around, but the stable batsman has to be calm, mature, experienced. He has to settle and remain in this pos for the entire WC.

    Pos 6 and 7 are for the belters. If all above have done their job, then here's where you open up the risks (Afridi, Razzaq, wkpr).

    Once strategy has been finalized, then explain to all as to what their purpose is on the team and practiced with the warm-up, minnow matches.

  • sohrab on February 27, 2007, 3:09 GMT

    kamran sb kick this javed fellow out of the blog...hez starting to irritate everyone now

  • Ashaq on February 27, 2007, 1:45 GMT

    Javed.A.Khan. I would first like to say is that you should read and digest what other people have written before engaging in a tirade against them.

    As your remark about me trying to ape American athletes. All I did was try to point out a fact that American athletes , site religion as helping them become better athletes and performers.They are confident enough to praise the lord,and They do not get criticised for doing so.

    Unlike the pakistani players who are criticised for saying the word Bismillah in the speeches, for keeping beards, and doing a sajda after scoring a century. Why do people like youre self get so embarassed and feel ashamed when they see muslim athlete proudly displaying his faith.

    No I dont feel threatened about my faith. I believe its those people who walk around the streets of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Dressed in their blue blazers and ties who feel threatened By the loss of prestige. They try to emulate colonialists from a bygone era. They consider themselves to be superior,cultured and more refined then other Pakistanis. Because they can speak the queens English went private boarding schools and have studied the works of shakespeare,and Tennyson.

    These are people Who upon arriving in the west develop an even greater inferiority complex about their roots and heritage. To the extent that they feel embarrased and attack anyone who proudly displays their Pakistani heritage. As being backward and uncivilised and uncultured.

    If you have read my previous post I dont have a beard. So naturally I dont feel any inferior for not having one either. I would also like to point out that not everyone who has a beard is an extremist.

    Youre comments about my posts being laughable and full of contradictions. Look whos pointing! You know what they say about people who live in glass houses..........

    The Irony is that You dont even find these Upperclass elitists among the English Anymore.

  • Brian on February 26, 2007, 23:25 GMT

    Hello Pakistani cricket fans, Wow! What responses. I hope Kamran is getting huge bonuses for all the reactions to his blogmails. I don't think other journalists are even close. I like the way we are so passionate about Pak cricket. It looks like we eat, drink, sleep and breathe Pak cricket. Anyway, Afridi is banned for the first 2 games of the WC. My suggestion assuming there is no change to the 15 chosen, is to have Malik and Nazir open, followed by Younis, Inzi, Yousef, Akmal, Razzak, Shoaib, Gul, Asif and Kaneira (assuming Shoaib and Asif are allowed to play). If Shoaib and Asif are not allowed to play, then you may want to substitute them with Sami or Shabbir or Rana. When Afridi comes back then allow him to open with Nazir and move Malik behind Yousef and drop Kaneira. There is no use complaining about the selection now when the WC is just 2 weeks away. If Pakistan doesn't do well then fire all the selectors if that is what is needed. In the mean time enjoy this amazing event and hope the Pakistani cricketers give it their shot and also enjoy themselves playing against the best and representing Pakistan proudly. Kamran, you should organize a reunion of all Pakistani cricket fans. It will be a blast (sorry, I mean a hoot!) CHEERS, Brian from Toronto

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 26, 2007, 21:59 GMT

    I wish there were a few smiley icons or emoticons here on this blog to add in our posts. Ashaq, you make me laugh by displaying such triviality in your comments. First you've asked us to watch "American Sports where athletes display religious behaviour", then in your second post you draw a line by saying that, "our brethren in North America suffer from an Inferiority complex. Unlike those of us Who reside in Europe." THANK YOU for creating more (firqay) sects among the Muslims by comparing North American and European Muslims? Bravo, first you love to ape the North American athletes and then you are creating this disintegration among Muslims, great! So why do you take the trouble of calling us "Brothers"?

    If the name of the country is added to the name of the poster its not something to display proudly that we are Americans or Canadians. I have explained this already and now Mohsin Malik has added his point of view that it shows this blog called "Pak-Spin" is not just for or from Pakistan or only for Pakistanis from Pakistan but, the supporters of Pakistani cricket are spread all over the continents.... and it certainly adds colour to the blog being truly International.

    I wonder why people like you are so quick to form opinions and pass judgments on others when anything is discussed about religion in a slightly critical way? And this kinda criticism is healthy and must be taken in its true spirit, rather than sulking and brooding. Isn't it true that if you over do anything, people would talk about it? But why this notion that if someone talks about a Muslim player's beard or his over enthusiasm about religion, it is considered as anti-Islam? Why do you suddenly jump to the conclusion that Islam is in danger? Islam was never and will never be in danger. Its the sense of insecurity among some people that makes them feel like that. My faith in Allah, His Prophet and in Islam is not so weak and trite that I judge a person without a beard is not a true Muslim. Who am I or anyone for that matter to judge anyone like that?

    If you think I hate such people then, why would have I been asking for Saeed Anwar to come forward to help the youngsters? As a player Saeed Anwar deserves a lot of respect and if he has grown a beard thats his choice. I have no problems with him or with others. I have always praised Mohammad Yousuf's game and never talked a word about his faith, beard or whatsoever. But, it is a fact that Inzamam is creating that kinda culture where other players who do not follow that pattern are not welcome or not patronized.

    It is not only to be seen among the team he chooses but, the way Waqar Yonus was dumped and Mushy was included as a coach is another example. Zaheer Abbass has also revealed some new information about how Inzi and Bob tried to corner him when he approached the players to share some experience. (read today's Dawn) Another news that why Shabbir was called in to SA only on the grounds of his new bearded look that pleased Inzamam, despite the fact that Shabbir was injured, Inzi insisted upon him to be sent to SA and wanted him desperately and see what happened then? That is why, most of us on this blog including myself have been criticizing Inzi for the poor team selection and poor captaincy. As a batsman he is good, currently he is out of form but, he is a class player and hopefully he performs in the Caribbean otherwise it will be a sad ending to his great career.

    PS. This is the most liberal and THE BEST BLOG I have ever seen and Kamran Abbasi deserves the credit and the praise. I have been reading his articles since a long time, including the most famous and interesting one on BMJ about Javed Miandad's famous SIX.

  • Ather Shah Khan Aurakzai, Toronto Canada North America Earth on February 26, 2007, 21:40 GMT

    Yep, there's nothing wrong with writing your street address with your name (and yes, this is a figuratively-sarcastic comment, & literalists probably won't "get" it). I personally think we've discussed/argued/speculated too much already. Let's calm down and give the team a chance. Afterall as the King said: A little less coversation a little more action please.

  • Shahid on February 26, 2007, 19:49 GMT

    i am sorry guys but i have to disagree with some of you. Every posting i read regards Saeed Anwar as a real icon. Saeed was a decent enough player but when it comes to performing against great teams and at bouncy pitches Saeed always struggled. He never helped us chase a big score and that was the primary reason that he never made it to Imrans chosen 11 players. On bouncy pitches i think Aamir sohails loss was a bigger loss. He was a real good player on bouncy pitches. In general Pakistan has always struggled against the new ball and against better teams at pitches that support seam movement and bounce. All the runs Saeed scored was either in sub continent or Sharjah. More than domestic cricket the reason that Pakistan has never been able to produce world class openers, is actually tape ball cricket in Pakistan. On one hand, where tapeball cricket has helped us produce great fast bowlers it has also hampered batsmen ability and specifically on top of the order. To add to the miseries PCB doesnt seem to have taken any major step. PCB sends its bowler to Chennai (although we ourself have great bowlers here in Pakistan) but i think PCB needs to work more on its young batsmen and have them attend academies in Australia, South Africa, England etc. As far as the world cup is concerned i think our major concern will be the bowling and not batting. It will be more important to bowl the teams out cheaply.

  • Karim Khan on February 26, 2007, 19:04 GMT

    spinners will play a crucial role in this world cup and not pace bowlers. Shoaib should be kicked out for sure without thinking even a wee bit.

  • Mohammad Sulemaan on February 26, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    Akmal opening, to me, is not a very smart option. Afridi must be sent to open. Yonis or Yousuf should be his partner to control the innings at the other end.

  • KJM on February 26, 2007, 17:53 GMT

    Now it's too late to add Salman Butt in the squad. Instead of going with Kamran and Imran Nazir as openers, Pak should go with Shoib Malik and Imran Nazir. We tried Shoib before and he's to some extent better than others. Kamran doesn't suite for the opener position. Imran Nazir is not serious, even though he can hit the ball hard, but he tries to become Afridi, which he cannot. If we tell our openers to stay at the crease at least 10-15 overs with 3-4 runs per over, we can build a big total. We have worries in every department of the games. Bowling also looks mediocre without Shoib and Asif. What happened to Rana? He's going high at WI series, and came down to floor in SA. Sami, Nazir and Shabbir are all wasted stock. I'm so surprised that for the biggest event of Cricket, we are far behind to compete Australia and SA. I'm hoping that we can tackle the rest of the world. It'll be pleasant surprise if Pakistan wins the final, and at the same time it will be acrid taste if Pakistan doesn't get to semifinals. This is such a big event, we can ask Imran to accompany players to WI, and give him all the authorities he's asking and see the diffrence he can bring to the team. I know it's a wishfull thinking. New York

  • Nauman on February 26, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    Why can't Inzaman himself bat as an opener. Its a waste having him come at 5 or 6 preceeding Yousuf, Younis & Shoaib Malik. He is the captain, he needs to lead by example. Dravid has done it recently when India had injured & out-of-form openers, Stephen Fleming plays in the middle-order in Tests but opens in one-dayers, even Flintoff lifted himself to 1-down when the top order lacked confidence & experience. Inzamam is a natural stroke player and will be suited to exploit the fielding restrictions earlier on. Besides, he has far better chances of playing through the inning, holding one end together. I think Kamran Akmal needs to go down below all-rounders (Malik & Razzaq), should be sent a clear message that his role is that of a specialist wicket-keeper who can chip in a quick-fire 20 in the slog overs, that would release pressure off him, will relax him to perform better as wicket-keeper.

  • Euceph Ahmed on February 26, 2007, 16:43 GMT

    Ashaq... Thank you for "taking it on the chin" - always the sign of a great boxer. You showed great character. Keep throwing the jab, and nail 'em with the uppercut.

  • SAAD on February 26, 2007, 16:25 GMT

    ABOUT BOOM BOOM...........0 performance (AFRIDI)

    One should play by technique and then using his power becoz one should know whether the bowl will go otherwise it will go the wrong place like it happen to Afridi in 20twenty against SA. If afridi continues to do that then the BOOM BOOM will turn into ......BOO BOO

  • Kota Na Insaan on February 26, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    Pakistan should not worry about openers they should send in Bob Woolmer and Inzi. After some chicken curry, roti and dont forget pepsi they will be on the boost. Firing on all cyclinders, WHY LOOK TO unexperienced openers when the answer is in front of u. come on Bob and inzi a few more chickens under the gut will do u or Pakistan no harm.

  • HASHIM on February 26, 2007, 16:11 GMT

    I believe Its too late for the pakistan team to decide whether who is going to open in the world cup. We have too many choices but all of them lacks one sided. Yet Nazir and Hafeez are the best of the choices provided. But the injuries problem and the DOPE concern of the two main fast bowlers still a big problem therefore Pakistan without any hesitation and shame should withdraw from the WORLD CUP and be back after 4 years with a full throttle and learn from their past mistakes. They should avoid misunderstandings among the Players because the key is TEAM SPIRIT.

  • Khawaja Nadeem on February 26, 2007, 16:00 GMT

    AA, I am a great cricket fan. I've been living in US for last 15 years and Cricket is the only support I've been watching all these years. Living in a socity where time is money, I've always make time to watch cricket - espacially pakistan matches.

    But I must admit, I've completly LOST faith in pakistan selectors and management after seeing what they've done to Yasir Hammed. A man with a great talent who makes Cricket look more beautiful then Aishwaryia Rai when playing his strokes.

    I was planning to go to west indies and watch super 8 games but now I am very bitter and don't even want to watch any of pakistan matches. You may think I am crazy but I am being honest and that's how I feel about my team.

    Yasir: If you read these comment, you must believe that there are thousands of international fans out there who appreciate you a lot more then Inzi, Bob, and our dumb selectors.

  • Ammar Wasif Saljoqi on February 26, 2007, 15:47 GMT

    Assalam-u-Alaikum to Everyone!!!

    Well i enjoyed reading all the blog, it was like an earth-quake graph. tilting up and down sharply. Well as to say about Pakistan performance at the WC'07, Pakistan can only win if they try hard and with the commitment and team effort. the statistical standing of pakistan in terms of recent performances is not good, but they are always capable of UPSETS if they Want TOO.

    The Last Thing is That Religion has nothing to do with sports it is an individuals own choice and deeds, it is like a person wearing clothes of his desire. so clothes are never a hurdle in a persons actions. May Allah Help Pakistan Win this world cup. and for the future, i favor people like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Saeed Anwar to be in the selection board to guide Pakistan Cricket to a safe place in the world of Cricket.

    Allah Hafiz!!!

  • Sahab on February 26, 2007, 12:17 GMT

    I think Imran Nazir and Yasir Hameed should be openers for ONE DAYS. if hameed is out of form then they should call Farhat or Butt, so a left-right combo is playing. for tests i think Malik and Younis should open

  • Zubair on February 26, 2007, 11:49 GMT

    I believe, we have no choice other than Inzamam to use himself as an opener. It would do a great deal to the team in various ways.. Like it can provide us with a solid and stable opening stand, that would act as a gd plateform for a big total on the board. In addition to that it will be a great moral booster for the players as their skipper weill be leading from front. Plus more it provides Inzi great chance to deliver maximum. Its the only way, he can add optimum value to the team. 2nd partner with Inzimam can be Imran Nazeer, as he's an exciting player and can give a gud combination i.e. an exciting bat with cool inzi.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on February 26, 2007, 11:28 GMT

    Sorry Folks I was away and so i guess i missed out on many interesting comments. Kamran Sahib I quite agree with you that Pakistan has always had problems with openers. Most of our seccessful openers were initially a one down batsman or some one who could paly at any position (a utility player), having said this I really wonder why. maybe Pakistan cricket never took this position as seriously as they should have, for if we can have a world class player fro number 3 spot then we can also produce solid openers. The logic that we have low bounce wickets and so on implies for the one down batsman as well (for most of the time the number 3 batsman has to come in early as our openers get out quickly). I personally fel that its not that we cannot produce good openers instead I think the problem is in the planning process at the PCB.

    Now coming to what Imran says, well I will accept what he says as I also feel that Salman is the best choice and he should have been partnered with Yasir Hameed, or we could have tried to persue Younis to open with Salman because Younis is a class act and he has to face the new ball more than often as our openers always get out soon. This would create a possibility for Inzamam to bat at number 3, thus we could accomodate an extra batsman in the team. My ideal combination would have been Salman, Younis, Inzamam, Yousuf, Yasir Hameed, Shahid/Shoaib, Kamran, Razzak, Gul, Asif/Sami, Shoaib/Danish. Shoaib I think has no chance and maybe Asif too as I feel that they might not clear the dope test, and that is why PCB is playing hide and seek on this issue.In case they are not there than we must play Sami and Danish.

  • Niranjan Shetty on February 26, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    Apart from Austrails & to some extent Srlanka every team doesnot have solid opening Stand. Kiwis struggling for same the reason for last 20 years since Edger retired. According to me the best avialble option for Pakistan is AsifKamal with Salaman Butt, Next down to order Sohibmalik, Ysus, InZi .... like wise.Keep Bazid Khan instead of Afridi..

  • Omer Admani on February 26, 2007, 11:12 GMT

    Javed A. Khan keeps on getting more amusing with his posts. After all, he is one cricket commentator who would write an English essay full of ironies at a sports column: He would start with a general discussion on uncertainty, then say a line about cricket, and then advocate for bombers in the team in the concluding paragraph (criticize uncertainty and then advocate uncertainty). When you adopt the philosophy that it is all about style, sense or no sense, you will find him quite amusing. The thing is he is the most likely person among all to be hired for a job at the PCB.

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on February 26, 2007, 10:02 GMT

    Dear Khansahab:

    Way to go!

    It simply shows that team supporters from all walks of life and spread over all continents are sharing views here.

    There is nothing wrong about that, rather it is reflective of the response this blog is generating from readers. A little diversity including (different time zones) adds spice and flavor to this blog.

    I am sure by providing our input and feedback at different times during the 24 hour period on any given day; we keep Kamran Abbasi busy on his desk. He does not seem to mind it a bit. He would be rather pleased with his effort that Pakspin is indeed, leading the pack of all other blogs on Cricinfo!

    Let's keep going with a positive frame of mind and talk more about cricket.

    Cheers!

  • Naveed on February 26, 2007, 9:21 GMT

    I think Salman Butt and Imran Nazir were better option as Opener. Salman Butt has proved that he can play big innings and matchwinning Innings. He would be my first choice. I think he is being wasted as Saeed Anwar was. In this wc-squad we dont have any left handed Batsman or Bowler.

  • Qasim Saeed on February 26, 2007, 9:06 GMT

    I refer to some of the posts about religion mixing with sports. First of all let me point out that this discussion has cropped up due to people criticizing Inzamam for turning to religion and not by the ones praising him and others for doing so. Why do we forget that Inzamam or the other guys who have turned to religion had it made already and did not take up Islam for any worldly gain. They might still have many faults and even a lifetime will not be enough to rectify all of them. I remember when Saeed Anwar transformed, people blamed religion for his poor form. Thank you Muhammed Yousuf for a fitting reply. Religion my friends is not fries on the side that you may neglect and focus on the meal. It is a way of life and should be applied in every aspect of it. If u criticize some ppl of forming an opinion of overseas Pakistanis as jahannammi etc. what do you think of the ones who consider every person with a beard or any other Sunnah trait as an extremist or tableeghi. I would say equally narrow-minded. I’m sure that some people find suggestions to Inzamam to set up a tableeghi jamaat quite amusing. What is a tableeghi jamaat? Why does it sound so degrading to us. I agree, Inzamam would be much better off in a Tableeghi jamaat and earn for the hereafter than play for a thankless Pakistani following who can’t remember a decent innings from him since 1992.

  • Armughan on February 26, 2007, 8:49 GMT

    Dear mr. Kamran! I am getting quite sick of two things on this blog, one is people criticsizing other people for what they have written, on occasions they have a good reaon but mostly due to personal likings or dislikings and secondly, too many people writing kutchera(trash) about the team. Now its their right to have trash mouths, but their has to be a line, for example "Mr. Cancerous INZI" really went over board with his opinion. Again, I am not trying to criticise any on myself as I am against it, but there has to be a line drawn. It is ok to express an Opinion until it gets abusive. Please do keep a check on these replies posted!

  • Harry Iyris on February 26, 2007, 8:36 GMT

    Salman is a fighter and talented opener. I am shocked that he not in squad. He played a couple of match winning centuries against India under pressue( true test of ability). Pakistan is short of this rare breed, by ignoring hi at the big stage you have dented his confidence and reduced the chances at WC. Hafeeez appears to be solid but does not appear to have flair and strike rate required for ODI. Great Saeed Anwar has left a huge void which no body in subcontinent can fill.He was treat to watch. I am an indian, I still fondly remember his 194 against us in chennai and again his strokeful innings in QF at WC 96 Bangalore. Saeed Bhai we really miss you!!

  • Faizan malik jaffar on February 26, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    I agree with KHANSAHAB that why do Javed A Khan from Montreal, Canada and Mohsin Malik from San Francisco Bay mention where they are writing from? does this make them feel superior to the other people who try to write comments here? i do feel that it is not necessary.

  • Rohit on February 26, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    Pakistan must kick out Shoaib immediately.

  • calgary highlander on February 26, 2007, 5:21 GMT

    Khansahab you smacked the mole on the head.

    Calgary Highlander, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  • Amjad Ali on February 26, 2007, 5:13 GMT

    i agree...the great Imran khan has said it all.. i mean what is wrong in giving Yasir Hameed a chance..not a chance but a place he deserves...he is a great player not doubt...knowing the fact that he waz not a regular opener..he was tested against india as opener and he did a fantastic job as opener...so why not give him his place? why are the selector so unfair to him? what has he done wrong? every player go through this "out of form" phase of a career..even the greatest of the greats have gone through this phase...that doeznt mean that u kick him out of the rank if he is out of form..

    com'on for God's sake... give him his place.. he will deliver inshallah.....we need players like him...not players like CHAL GAYA TO THEEK WARNA KOI bAAT NAHI ...its not fair...com'mon

    peace

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 26, 2007, 5:09 GMT

    Mr. Euceph Ahmed;

    Please don't take my comments seriously, it was all said in a very light humour, c'est une blague seulement. People get frustrated by their lives when they cannot do or achieve something they aim for, and for me cricket is only a game, leave alone getting frustrated, I wouldn't even be bothered if the Pakistani team won't reach the semi-final. And btw, thank you for airing your views to tell the super sensitive Ashaq to chill out.

    khansahab; has anyone ever questioned you about your adding "sahab" to your name? Now, you wanna ape me :-) is it something like, "keeping up with the joneses" thingi? Let me tell you the reason. First of all my name is so common, like someone said, in Pakistan if you pick up a stone, you'll find ten Javed's under it. :-) But, thats not the reason, my name, rather ID was stolen / used by someone else on this blog, so I prefer to write the city and the country name. As regards the other person from the San Francisco Bay area, he even writes the local time up to the second :-) But, he is not the only one, there are quite a few by now who write their pind number and chak number as well. They believe that. "In Rome do as the *Romanians* do." c'est une blague aussi ;-)

    Finally about Shoaib and Asif's trip to London is similar to other Pakistani players commuting between Pakistan and South Africa. Does, PCB, Inzamam and Woolmer think that the rest of the world is so naive that they cannot understand why they are going to London so frequently? Inzi has pulled wool over his eyes but not everyone else!

  • fizzy on February 26, 2007, 4:46 GMT

    everyone is talkin about how flat the pitches gonna be in the westindies but the fact of the matter is most of the grounds and pitches are brand new and no one knows for sure how they gonna behave and secondly barbados has one of the quickest wickets in the carrabien where pakistan is supposed to play most of its super eight matches.Sorry to disappoint anyone who is hopeful that paki team is gona produce a miracle coz the game is much more proffesional than it used to be and if individual brilliance used to win us 4 or 5 games out of 10 now its not gona win us more than 1 game out of every 10 the fact is that if we make it to the super8s we will have the worst chance of making the semis than any team

  • julian highfield on February 26, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    Imran was a leader and it was due to his commanding leadership and all round ability that turned loosing into winning the 1992 world cup. This does not detract the fact that the team performed as a team when need most ( the final qualifying match against NZ ; then the semi final & the finals ) all contributed in their own way . But it was Imran that welded the team together . Inziman is a world class batsmen ; but as a leader of a team I have no faith in him ever leading the Pakistan team to victory . A team can only win if they have the hunger to win and God helps those that help themselves ; Religion or politice have no place in a team. Get the right openers in and Pakistan will be unbeatable

  • wasim saqib (detroit) on February 26, 2007, 4:38 GMT

    Hello Everyone

    I have a request for everybody stop criticising your team now and stop comparing current openers with Saeed Anwar,I think every body on this blog is speaking the mind of Sarfraz Nawaz and other Ex-Pakistan Players,we will not gain anything from it and will only embarass our own team and country. All the comments made by these Explayers are motivated as all of them are looking for a job With PCB, I ask every one tolook at the records did we win more under Javed Miandad Or woolmer,its not that we havnt lost before,reading and listening to the comments made by these ex-players its sickening. They flip flop so many times that now i donot even give them any serious consideration. If Salman and Yasir were selected they would have criticized thier selection, we all have short term memory we forget the previous performance of these players and please donot mention the scores of yasir just look how many balls he took to score them. I strongly sugest even if we perform poorly their should not be any mass choping and axing of players like the last world cup bcz we will not gain any thing from it. Show true spirit sometimes you win and sometimes you loose,we have lost in the past with teams alot stronger than the current. I am not routing for losing,only trying to be positive. Just enjoy cricket and during the cup only encourage your players and discuss strategy,discuss other teams for a change and their players. Inshallah the result will be much better than we all expect.

  • An Indian Fan on February 26, 2007, 4:00 GMT

    First of all.. I am a die-hard Indian fan. I was following this blog to see if any of my fellow Indian responds. I proud to be an Indian. None of my fellow conutry-people interfered in your blog to spoil the enthusiasm of the blog (much so as you guys do). Anyways, things aside, in my sincere opinion Afridi should open. I like the way he used to bash the opening bowlers. I want to see his blaze and his critical role in Pakistan's victory. I am not against your country but against those few idiots who think they are street-smart and try to degrade my country. I wish Pakistan a best of luck in the world cup.

  • Dr Javaid Abbasi, Des Moines, Iowa on February 26, 2007, 3:18 GMT

    Pakistan should field the following team in this batting order: Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Younis, Yousuf, Inzi, Malik, Razzaq, Akmal, Akhtar, Gul, Asif. Many people may not agree with the choice of Afridi as an opener but thats the position where Afridi has played most of his best one day innings. Sure, the way Afridi plays there is no way telling if he is going to succeed or fail but thats a chance we will have to take. I am sure he will fail a few times, but, I am also sure he will succeed a few times too. What you don't want to do is to hastily change his batting position if he fails. I think he should be told upfront that he will be opening in the whole tournament so he can put his mind at ease and concentrate on his role as an opener - as well as a more than useful bowler and a fielder. If he does fail a few times, there is still quite a lot of batting to follow. What they should not do is drop him if he fails a few times - he is too good a player not to be an automatic selection, considering what players we have available at our disposable at the present time. I guarantee if Pakistan stick to this combination for the whole tournament they will perform well.

  • Ashaq on February 26, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    Mr Euceph.A.Ahmed. and Javed.A.Khan. I would however like to thankyou in pointing out that I was indeed in error in calling for those who make certain remarks about Islam to be censured.

    Or as Muhammad Ali once said " A guy who allows his temper and emotion to cloud his judgement has lost the Fight before he has even stepped in the ring."

    However I stand by everything else I have stated.

  • Ashaq on February 26, 2007, 2:18 GMT

    To Javed.A.Khan. I believe your responding to my post about crude and crass remarks being made about Islam on this blog.

    Well first of all I dont have a beard, I dont wear a Jilbab, or tope and neither Would I claim to be a particular observant muslim. Nor have I ever attended a Halaqa group what ever that is.

    Mr.Khan. I am 33 years old and I have spent 30 of those living in the city of Birmingham U.k. Indeed I have only made 2 brief visits to pakistan in the last 25 years the first visit was after a period of 17 years.

    So your assumption that people who find the crude and crass remarks about Islam insulting have beards turbans live in some backward village in Pakistan and are concerned about dividing men and women.Are clearly wrong.

    I may not be a particularly observant muslim myself however I will not denigrate or insult those who are.

    Looking at the previous blogs you will notice that those who keep making these derogatory remarks about Islam. Proudly display their address of residence as either U.S.A. or Canada. It seems to me that our brethren in North America suffer from an Inferiority complex. Unlike those of us Who reside in Europe.

    Having grown up in the United Kingdom I of course do not claim that people have lost there identity or have become brainwashed by living in the west.

    NO indeed I think the people making these remarks where brainwashed whilst attending the old colonial boarding schools in Pakistan. Indeed I have come across such people on my brief visits to pakistan. I find them to be most obnoxious I Agree with Imran Khans remark about these people being Brown Sahibs. These are the people who after settling in the west feel the need to denigrate anything of Pakistani heritage and culture.

    You say "lets not spoil this blog with a religious debate, Keep it clean,keep it fair and limit this forum to the game of cricket only please."

    Indeed my point exactly this is a cricket forum. Why is it that we have people such as yourself and others making consistent snide remarks about Islam. I think its quite an infantile attitude to first make derogatiory statements, And then stating that we shouldnt debate about it. Since many people have raised the issue that Islam has impeded the performance of the team. I think it is Proper to debate it.

    since you say "limit this forum to the game of cricket". I would like to know what the several thesis that you wrote about BHAI CULTURE and BHAISM have to do with cricket. I find that to be quite a double standard.

  • qazah on February 26, 2007, 1:24 GMT

    here are combinations pakistan are worth trying: firs the most riskest one: imran nazir and shahid afridi, second imran nazir and younis khan, imran nazir and shoaib malik, or i guess the most reliable is shoaib malik and younis khan, hafeen overall i guess wouldn't be a bad choice only if he is able to understand whether we wants to play agressive or defensive

  • Dr Shahzad on February 26, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    Main reason for Pakistan's struggling for openers sice last world cup is the single person's dicisions in the board. Tauqir Zia and Amir Sohail are the most responsible persons in this scenario. If Inzi can play till now, Saeed Anwar could have not only played but also could help new opener to develop. It was the jealousy of Amer Sohail or hate of Tauqir Zia or both forced Saeed Anwar to leave cricket but certainly not the performance bec. Saeed was the only pakistani to have century in last world cup. In previous couple series Younis Khan, most of the cases, came to bat in first couple of overs after an opener had gone. He practically plays in condition of like opening.I would suggest for the world cup to start the batting with Younis Khan and Imran Nazir. This wicket will be safe. Shoaib Malik is good middle order player, he is not as technically perfect as Younis to handle this pressure. Younis is the only solution at the moment. With prayers for Pakistan team and Doping issue as well.

  • Atif on February 26, 2007, 0:59 GMT

    Who doesn't want pakistan to win? PCB is doing it's best not to give pakistan cricket team best players so our team can win. It's a shame organization, people that work are all useless. They are players who have done nothing in their career starting with wasim bari...We absolutely need imran khan in PCB so that we can be a ligitimate contender come 2011. And thank god inzi is done after this WC because he is truly not a leader and someone who can put a winning strategy. Someone said above that if your captain is one of the worst fielder in the world then what can you expect from others in your team. Inzi needs to come up in the order...what is taking so long for that potato to understand this. Ponting comes at 3rd position and single handedly wins game for Australia...gosh we need active players in our team that can take our team to a higher level not people like inzi or kamran akmal and others. Pakistan has no and i mean no chance of going farther than super 8 and the reason we will most probably be in super 8 is because our group is one of the easiest one. Inzi will not be a winning captain READ MY LIPS

  • Waqar Ali on February 26, 2007, 0:41 GMT

    Imran Nazir, even though, may come less as a genuine batsman but he can do much on Caribbean tracks. Hafeez is something that Pakistan would always consider due to his occassional economical off-breaks. But what both these players really possess is great fielding - it may sound ridiculous but that's something Pakistan desperately needs and, come to think of it, Pakistan is worse in this department compared to all the major playing nations, even including Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

    So somehow, even though these two may not be handy enough to give you those magical starts of 50 odd runs, but they can sure do a lot to stop the opposition from getting them, too.

    I have a gut feeling that Pakistan may actually get away with their openning dilemma on Caribbean pitches.

  • zaheer muhammad on February 25, 2007, 23:41 GMT

    imran nazir will get out in less than 10balls in every other match.we dont have openers lets face it. lets send yunis as a opner with any body any other dummy because no matter who we send they will give u same result

  • chudhary on February 25, 2007, 23:00 GMT

    Afridi should not be opening at all !

    Refering to Mohammad Masood's comments A captain don't need enthusiasm to inspire the team.

    we'll see where we are after the worldcup, between 6 & 8 or better :)

  • person on February 25, 2007, 22:05 GMT

    Imran Nazir should open with his destructive approach along with a stable batsman who does not attack alot i.e Yasir Hameed.

  • khansahab on February 25, 2007, 20:09 GMT

    Why do Javed A Khan from Montreal, Canada and Mohsin Malik from San Francisco Bay Area need to mention about their respective localities when they post on this blog? Their unnecessary act of mentioning the places they reside in has influenced me, in that from now on I will also mention my city of residence.

    Khansahab from Manchester, United Kingdom.

  • Euceph Ahmed on February 25, 2007, 20:04 GMT

    Ashaq... you're usually one sensible writer on this blog but I was a bit disappointed with your last post calling for Kamran to censure people's comments. For one, you should know that no one, and absolutely no one, has the right to be on any sort of religious high ground to have that holier-than-thou attitude. Secondly, this is only a blog and people have a certain freedom to voice their opinion without the fear of being politically correct. Conversely, you have the freedom not to read those posts. But this demand for censure is absolutely unjustified.

  • Muhammad Mazher on February 25, 2007, 19:55 GMT

    In 1999 and 2003 World Cups , Team which was qualified in Super Six Round were given 3 points for beating those teams which were qualified along with them . For Example , In 2003 World Cup , At the start of Super Six Round Australia had 10 points (3 for beating India , 3 for beating Zimbabwe , 1 for beating Pakistan , 1 for beating Namibia , 1 for beating Holland and 1 for beating England ). And Kenya also had 8 points before start of Super Six Round in 2003 World Cup which helped Kenya to qualify in Semi Final despite losing two games in Super Six Round.

    I want to know , Will this World Cup(2007) have same format ? Will it be any advantage given to a team who has won all the matches from its group ? For Example , If Pakistan beats West Indies , Ireland , Zimbabwe and then later on West Indies qualify for Super Eight Round along with Pakistan then will there be any bonus points given to Pakistan for beating West Indies ? Or teams will start Super Right Round from 0 point ?

  • Euceph Ahmed on February 25, 2007, 19:46 GMT

    My dear JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA... now that you think you know how I watch my cricket, maybe I should tell you some more but I have a feeling that vous ne voulez pas savoir... wink, wink.

    I understand your call for bringing Saeed Anwar into the picture, but I get the feeling that you're saying that more out of frustration than anything else. Saeed Anwar was a gifted player, and no matter what he does he cannot transfer the gift into other players. Shahid Afridi is an entirely different breed and cannot learn a thing from him. Imran nazir seems to have the gift of timing, but you cannot take the paindoo-ness out of him. Academic intelligence (or at least a calculating temperament) is required for batting and more so for opening. This is especially true for test matches.

    Your frustration, as everybody else's, seems to stem from the belief that opening is a problem with the Pakistan team. I think that the solution lies in not treating it as problem, especially in ODIs. It's simply a weakness, and you should be able to you build your strategy around your teams strengths and weaknesses? The South Africans, as we saw, have a definite weakness when it comes to bowling at the death. I'm sure they have some sort of a strategy in place for that. So we have a weakness in opening. Let's put some strategies in place instead of worrying about the problem too much.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 25, 2007, 19:13 GMT

    To advise Kamran Abbassi, to admonish some posters who comment or criticize about the intrusion of religion in sports, specially in the game of cricket and to suggest Kamran that he must not allow such posters to express their views on this blog or to suggest them to go to some other forum, is like creating a segregation among men and men. Aren't they happy and satisfied by already putting up a curtain between men and women gatherings?

    KAMRAN ABBASSI has lived in the Western World and has seen and experienced how people from Pakistan live and behave in the western society in general. So, I am pretty sure that he would not pay any heed to such trivial suggestions which are going to ruin this blog and making it look more like a 'halaqa group'. For some people the form and appearance is more important than the substance and spirit. They think that if you wear a Tope, a CanTura, or a Dish Dash and grow a mushy beard or create a mehrab on your forehead then you are a true Muslim, otherwise you are a farangi, a westerner and a jahanoomi.

    There is this silly, stupendous notion among a few that all Pakistani's who have gone abroad have been brainwashed by the western culture. If a purblind nocturnal sees not the sunlight its not the later to be blamed. Lets not forget that knowledge is not the property of those who claim with those trivial outwardly outfits, which is so deceptive and hypocritical and in reality they are the ones who don't practice the true values of Islam and they are the ones who have created a bad image of Islam.

    Lets, not spoil this blog with a religious debate, keep it clean, keep it fair and limit this forum to the game of cricket only. PLEASE.

  • Sheheryar Khan on February 25, 2007, 19:10 GMT

    I agree that Yasir Hameed should have been picked and ahead of Hafeez. Pak already has a similar player in Shoaib Malik. Enough said. What about opening with Afridi? With little or no real threatening bounce, he might be a handful. I find your suggestion of Younis opening quite intriguing. Why not Shoaib Malik? They can both be tried interchangebly. Now if only Gul is 100% and Rana can find his mojo ... we'll be in better shape than expected.

  • Hamid on February 25, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    Although I have consistently been reading through the PakSpin blogs, I was generally of the opinion that it never did much more than help people vent their frustrations. However, I believe that after the Danish Kaneira blog, his inclusion in the WC squad made me realize that this blog had something to do with it. Keep it up, Kamran Abassi!! Now, let me vent my thoughts on the openers. I do feel that not including Yasir Hameed is a disservice to the cricketing fans, and to Pakistan Cricket as a whole. Nevertheless, we do need to make the most of what the coach, captain and the selectors have chosen. In this scenario, I agree that Afridi should be kept padded up from the begining and Pakistan will need to improvise on the situation at hand. If the opening pair clicks on a particular day, then Afridi should come towards the death. Otherwise, he needs to be sent in earlier to get the run-rate to a reasonable level. It is a pity that the Pakistan Cricket team does not demonstrate agressiveness and professionalism. I believe these are the two traits that Australia and South Africa understand well and perhaps is the reason for their ascendency. Lets start with the Captain. We need to see Inzi bring out the unity in the team. This is an open World Cup and Pakistan should have as good a chance as any other team. All it needs is professionalism. The talent speaks for itself.

  • Asif on February 25, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Afridi and Nazir have to open to guarntee someone takes the attack to other teams in the powerplays. If both get a quick 50 between them not bad considiring younis is always in when the scores on 10-20. They have had wonderful success together Afridi hits a four Nazir thinks i have to do the same thing lol great aggression if it works for an hour or so.

  • Coldice on February 25, 2007, 17:29 GMT

    All that pakistan needs to win world cup is some individual brilliance in super stages.let's face it,Pakistan has never been a united team.They always rely on sparkling indiviual performances.We do not have to worry much about openers.Let's hope that someone gives extraordinary performanece inn early stages of super eights.It can be Asif's bowling or Afridi's innings or Yousuf's century or Inzamam's match winning innings.And for information of people,Saeed Anwar was also not good at bouncy or seamy tracks.He could only play big innings at subcontinent or Sharjah.He also never succeded in Australia or SA.So it is useless to criticize our present young openers.Let;s pray for pakistan's success.

  • Zahid on February 25, 2007, 16:37 GMT

    the best option.. pakistan shud lure players like gilchrist, hayden, sehwag, gayle etc to join pak team. Only then the problem will be solved or else they shud start their inning at the score of o overs, 0 runs for 2 wickets ;).. hahaha poor paki team !!!

  • Cancerous INZI on February 25, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    inzimam has ruined pakistan cricket, opening is not the biggest of their problems, its the captain and the management, this is the guy along with woolmer has destroyed pakistan cricket in recent years, they are responsible for asif/akhtar debacle, waqar younis's forced resignation, humiliating defeat in South Africa, 1 away test win which was in Srilanka, barely came back to tie the series against the lowely westindies. its been one failures after another.. and yet bob and his sidekick inzi still havnt figured out a decent opening tandom, because they have been too busy bullying other people in the team.

    why doesnt inzimam just open up a religious school and quit cricket? it would help pakistan cricket immensely.

    There has to be a complete Overhaul of Pakistan Cricket, starting from PCB execs, Management, Coaches and Captain.

    Lets hope they get annihilated in this upcomming world cup.. as a true fan im willing to take this one sacrifice.

  • Ali Mujtaba. Islamabad on February 25, 2007, 14:24 GMT

    PCB’s decision to put Mushtaq Ahmed as an assistant coach replacing Waqar Younis just before the commencement of the World Cup 2007, is not understood. I think Vicky bahi was an excellent choice and guys were really getting some very useful tips from him.We have just only 1 leg spinner in our international team who had just played 7 ODI,s since his debut back in 2000, and for one leg spinner, the choice of Mushtaq is not justified, especially when there are 6 or 7 fast bowlers already lined up. What would they do? Mushtaq is of no use for them as he cant train these fast bowlers. And secondly Mushtaq has not yet announced his retirement from either international or county cricket. I cant understand why PCB has selected him as a coach and not as a member of Pakistani Squad. Young bowlers like Umer Gul, Rana Naveed and Mohammad Sami were improving day by day in the presense of waqar younis. They were getting to know how to do reverse swing with old ball as well as to control the new one. So it is my considered opinion that it was a poor decision by PCB to appoint Mushtaq as coach in place of Waqar.

    Furthermore, the PCB should have consulted with our veteran players like Imran, Javed Mian Dad, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram etc…. before selecting the 15 squad for the World Cup 2007. PCB should have arranged a meeting with old players and should have discussed about selection, game plan, and other important factors with those legends. We have 9 officials with our 15 men squad. By all standards the figure is too high, we should have just 3 or 4 officials with our squad.

    Finally a word for the skipper. The is high time to perform as a captain and give reply ho his critics that he still has the spark which he once showed in the World Cup of 1992. He must pluck up the courage to promote himself up the order. He is the senior most player in our team and he should create examples for the young players to follow.

  • Usman on February 25, 2007, 14:13 GMT

    I think comparing Saeed Anwar with anyone will not be fair since he was one of a kind. He was not one of the finest but the finest opener Pakistan has ever produced. He was simply unlucky that he was brought in quiet late into the team and later was forced to retire just when he was getting back into his grove. He was blamed for not being a good fielder. Well how many good fielders we had in the team at that time? and secondly just on his sheer class even if he couldnt stop a single ball he shouldve been in the team. And he was not that bad of a fielder. We have worst fielders than him in the team right now. Anyway if we talk about the openers right now i am afraid no one is no where near Saeed Anwar or even Aamir Sohail. They are all flat track players.Imran Nazir and Hafeez might even succeed in the Carribean, But they cannot handle pressure. That is the main problem. Forget the swinging ball. No one can play it in the Pakistani line up. I think the only solution for the world cup is to promote Afridi and let him open with Imran Nazir and hope they click. Because even if they give a flying start of 60-70 runs that will put enoromous pressure on the opposing side. To be honest all we can do is pray that somehow they click. As far as the future of the openers is concerned, we need to get someone in from the under 19's and just hope that they have some talent otherwise all the available openers have huge technical flaws. Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed etc you name em. They all follow the moving ball and present gifts to the slips and keepers. We should hire them to train our slip fielders and wicketkeepers !!!!

  • abdullah on February 25, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    I dont know why we are always crying over useless issues Imran Nazir i suppose alongwith Shoaib Malik is an ideal opening pair, And a pair good enough to help us win this CUp INSHALLAH. We should just keep our fingurs crossed and see how well this pair does i have full faith in IMRAN NAZIR capabilities, and Comeon Pakistan u can do it even without Shoaib and Asif.

  • Just one man from far away .... on February 25, 2007, 13:28 GMT

    parkistan's top order looks very weak and middle is world class. I think major problem for is not top two batters. For me, pakistani's 1 and 2 batsmen do not apply themselves. They lack exp. They go far too many shots. As jeff bycott would say "the play pencentage game poorly".

    may be next time...pakistan will get right. i hope they do anyway.

  • Frantz Fanon on February 25, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    Somebody mentioned on the forum about Taufeeq umar not winning matches for pakistan...well, its not entirely accurate, he set up some test wins for Pakistan against South Africa when they toured. I am happy to admit I'm a fan of his. He may not be a one-day player..but at test level, he has the most respectable average of the current lot of usual subjects. His decent average is not boosted so much by minnows, rather it is against south africa..and that too in south africa. its a shame he's no longer part of the set up. How many opening pak batsmen (heck, any pak batsman) can claim to have done well against SAF in SAF. not even saeed anwar...wasim bari has much to answer for. On a lighter, do you think Warris Baig, Aleem Dar and Waqar Younis are long lost brothers!!

  • khurem on February 25, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    I can't understand all the comments made here about Imran Farhat.. we Pakistani have very short memory i guess and hate reasoning... Farhat is the one who has made many big scores for pakistan which guys like Imran Nazir and Hafeez havent been able to still...and during the last 5 years he had given the best opening stand with other partners.. if anyone has any doubt then check the record... technically he's way better than other opnening batsman but it's just when the ball gets moving that his short temperament fails him... for reference check his nice domestic record ...

    and for deciding who is the best of the opening batsman that we hav tried... just have a look at the averages of all the openers Pakistan have... Hameed is at the top with around 40 followed by Farhat and Butt who9 are around 35...(strike rate of imran is better than hameed, which is also v important in ODI ) ....but the pity is all these three were ignored and the two who were chosen are the worst of them all... imran nazir and hameed with averages of around 20 and 19 respectively.. what a shame... we are saying opening is weak and then selecting opening players with career acerage of 19 and then expecting them to score more than 19 every match... pretty foolish!

  • irtiza on February 25, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    Saad's comments about Saeed Anwar shaving off his beard to get back into the team were quite funny. But i think its the other way round. Salman Butt should sport a beard and join the Tablighi Jamat to get Inzi's favor.

    Enough! Those kinda things arnt gona get us anywhere

    Lets stop talking about Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed atleast for now. They are not in the squad and our comments/views are not going to get them selected! Its probably making us more frustrated. Our selection committee incl. the captain and coach have probably made that one single blunder(by not selectin Salman n Yasir) that is gonna send us packing early in the world cup!

    Hafeez is perhaps the most overrated player of his generation. I still dont know on what basis was he selected in the first place. THat chap cant bat. Its really as simple as that. He doesnt have the technique to play against quality opposition. He looks out of his depth everytime he's out in the middle. Because he doesnt have the technique and the skill s required at this level he consistently manages to get us going to horribly slow starts(if at all) which eventually contributes to middle order collapses and dismal scores. One day cric is all about scoring runs and this chap cant do that. If heads are to roll after the WC i suggest we start with him. I am sorry but thats how it is.

    The only solution now is to open with Kamran and Nazir. Yes both are aggressive players with faulty techniques. But they score runs or atleast try scoring runs unlike Hafeez. Its better to be 50-2 in 10ovrs than 20-2 in 10 and eventually gettin out for 150(our last few matches are exampleS). Younis should not open. He is not in form and will probably get out for a low score leavin Mo Yo all alone. Yousuf( the only player who looks ready for the World CUp) is fine at 4. Inzi should come at 5 if not earlier, but not lower than that. I am beginin to believe that he is becoming more of a liability than an asset due to his bad back. apologies to all inzi fans ( i am one too dont get me wrong) but thats how it is.

    The Afridi experiment: This man can do wonders on his day. On his day. No point in him openin the innigs and finding out that its not his day. He'll be better off comin after Malik.

    As for our chances..well the less said the better. Asif n Shoaib r not going to the WCup thats for sure. which means that we will again be playin with one wicket taking bowler, Gul. Kaneria might do a Mushi for us but i have my doubts. As for Rana...lets pray that he doesnt stray!! Lets admit it we are a mediocre team at best going into this world cup and its going to be a major failure. But that wouldnt stop me from supporting my team. There is always hope!

  • Kashif on February 25, 2007, 11:50 GMT

    Well its just too late to comment on who should have been selected. The captain and coach should focus on how to get the best out of the selected ones. Perhaps Shoaib Malik and Imran Nazir is a good option. Whatever be the combination, I hope the team management will continue with it throughout the tournament.

  • Shariq Butt on February 25, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    With the current form of the Pakistani Team, it would be very difficult to imagine Pakistan in the Semi Finals.......forget it folks.....I forsee a 2003 WC Debacle again coming up.....

  • Prabal on February 25, 2007, 10:26 GMT

    It is always two Y's Younis and Yousuf who have to consolidate the innings, Inzi has not looked good and the rest of the batting line is not dependable.

  • MOhammad Masood on February 25, 2007, 9:42 GMT

    Lets face it, Pakistan is a mediocre team in batting, bowling and fielding. Inzamam, the captian lacks enthusiasm. Compare him to Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jaywardane. All of them infuse ennergy into the game. Inzamam infuses laziness in the game. Younis Khan is overrated. His ability to get out on wide balls is amazing. If we take an objective of the Pakistani team we would come to the following conclusions 1) Every player hates to field 2) The don't play with the game plan 3)Their batsman are technically faulty 3) The bowlers lack penetration 5) The coach is old and lack energy and enthusiam. Keeping all of the foregoing, Pakistan would be very lucky to rank between 6 & 8 in the World Cup.

  • Ibrahim on February 25, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    If Imran Nazir and Hafeez don't click in the first couple of matches, then maybe Abdul Razzaq should be put up at No. 3 to graft it out and hold the innings together like he did in 1999 WC. I know it's a pity not to see him hitting at the death but come the hour, come the man and all that. Anyway it's a real pity not to see Yasir Hameed in the squad. He's been the most consistent opener for a LONG LONG time.

  • MFK on February 25, 2007, 9:18 GMT

    No one has been as successful as Shoaib Malik in the opening slot, in the recent past. Why was he relegated to the middle is beyond me. And if you look at the number 3 slot, Adbul Razaq has been successful at that, but this management never tried him. Iman Nazir is good if he gets going and I would prefer Malik opening with him, as they know each other's game well and have a good understanding. Now all this hoopla about Yasir Hameed being dropped...well a guy who gets out to the same delivery again and again and again...I wouldn't take him in the team (and he lives just behind us in Peshawar!!!) with that attitude. And for the people who mention his scoreline in the last few matches...well please check the amount of balls/overs that he wasted and then gave away his wicket in the same way as he has done on so many occasions. I would have Butt coming into the team...he is good and can score well; the only problem with him is that the team management have taken away his confidence and I doubt that he will be able to bat with the same attitude as when he burst on to the scene. This very same mistake was committed with Saeed Anwar during the glorified Imran Khan days...Butt could be the one for Pak future. Openers: Malik and Nazir N0:3: Abdul Razaq 4,5....we all know!!! NO:6 Afridi The rest can then follow!!!!!

  • Sakin Hussein on February 25, 2007, 8:17 GMT

    People saying Younis or Inzy should open are really living in a dream-world. You only move your middle order to opening, when you have a good replacement for them in the middle order. We dont. If a bowler produces 2 unplayable deliveries and we lose Inzy and Younis right away, then we are 5-2 with only Yousef left to rely on. Cant happen. The reason why the team has been sending Kamran Akmal to open is : 1) He has a good technique - defensive and otherwise. 2) He has opened before and got 100's - in Australia as well. 3) Kamran opening, means the team can play an extra allrounder in the lower order, giving depth to the batting line up. I think its a logical move - every move has risks, Kami hasnt been in good form but he's a fighter and people calling for his head, need to remember the innings he played when Pakistan was down and out against India. He`s the kind of person we need. He fights hard and he has the talent and ability to go with it. The wickets in the West Indies will be almost like Pakistan wickets, which means Imran Nazir can be attacking right from the begining. Let's remember - the power plays have added a new dimension to the game - which is that teams who can go hard at the bowling in the first 10-20 overs - have a 80% change of getting a big total. So if Nazir gets us off to a flier, and Akmal chips in with a 40 ball 30 for example, then that means that Pakistan will have a good run rate for the likes of Younis,Inzy,Yousef to play themselves in and then for the likes of Afridi,Malik and Razzaq to have a go at the bowlers in the depth. With Asif and Akhtar not going to the WC, the likely Pakistan team would be Nazir,Akmal,Inzy,Younis,Yousef,Malik,Afridi,RazzaqSami,Gul,Rao. This means that we would have 3 frontline fast bowlers, a 4th seamer in Razzaq and Malik and Afridi as the 5th and 6th bowlers. On turning wickets, we could play Kaneria in place of Sami, but I dont see that happening. Anyway, I think Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal are the logical pair for the world cup, Shoaib Malik would also do well at opening, but I think he's needed in the middle order where he's done a lot of good as well. Oh ya and people suggesting Taufiq Umar and Yasir Hameed, need to realize both may have reasonable techniques but they`ve also played a lot of international games and have never won matches for Pakistan, ie they are not match winners. Imran Nazir can be a match winner, and has been in the past, and so has Kamran Akmal. I would rather play a match winner with a dodgy technique rather than someone who has a good technique but will never win me matches.

  • Shahneel Baray on February 25, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    SISSIES!!! Pakistani Experienced Players... They are all SISSIES!!! The best players in the team are supposed to open the innings. Inziman, Younus, Yousuf, Afridi and Malik who are the most experienced... are more concerned with their batting averages!!! that is why they don't open the innings. It just shows they are afraid to face the REAL MUSIC!!! Look around you, Jayasuria, Ganguly, Haydin/Gilchrist, Fleming, Vaughan, Chanderpaul/Gayle... WHO ARE THESE?!?!? ARE THEY NOT ONE OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED PLAYERS??!??!?! and Pakistan... we have Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat, Mohd. Hafeez, Taufiq Umer, Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir... where is the EXPERIENCE???

  • Faridoon on February 25, 2007, 5:30 GMT

    If our key bowlers can't make it to the team due to drugs or injuries, then we should do what teh Indian team had done all through the 90's. Since they lacked in teh bowlign department, they always packed their side with batsmen. One way to win a match is also to make mountains of runs, lets bat up to number 9. Lets have two pace bowlers and other bits and pieces players can help complete 50 overs. I'm sure, Afridi, Hafeez, Razaq, Malik, even Yunis and Imran Nazir can string together 30 overs.

    Think about it, if we're batting first we can set up huge totals. If we're bowling first, let the opposition score 300 or even more, there'll be more chances of chasing it down if we bat to number 9. Hello? anyone listening? Inzi? Bob? Bari?

  • haris khan on February 25, 2007, 5:23 GMT

    How about afridi and imran nazir? The pair has successfully opened on certain occasions and i believe pakistan have always had this option available. I dont believe pakistan is going to leave any kind of impact in this world cup, simply coz of the catostrophy they have within the team and manegment so why not play with every card they have since there is hardly anything to lose anyway. I believe a good defence always produce a good offence and we are missing that good defence so why not just take our chances and be aggresive and postive right from the start and hope for the best, something like getting a quick start by either of imran or afridi and one of our main middle order batsman graft the innings and lower order utilize and put a finishing touch to the innings. What we should have done to find reliable openers is an argument with the least importance at the moment. Its too late to discus about that.

  • Shuja on February 25, 2007, 4:50 GMT

    Altho Inzi is not a gambling man (atleast I think he’s not) but he’s unthinkingly taken a gamble on the opening pair atleast for this world cup. One that might go in his favour too. In Imran Nazir he has one of the best timers in batting, one that could change the perspective of a game. No one expects him to click in all the matches, I would be happy if he would click when it matters most. Not many countries remember his game therefore not many will have a gameplay for his wicket. That could just end up in Pakistan’s favour. Bring the all rounders down the order esp Afridi. My other advice for Inzi wud be to go firing, this is his last world cup and he needs to regain his form. In the warm-up matches, he shud just slog, lossen his muscles, just do what his instincts tells him even if that means getting out on 0. I think Inzi’s batting skills holds the key in this tournament for us. All said and done, the team is decided (de facto -2 bowlers), the players are training, the fans are praying. Come 13th March and all shall be known.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 25, 2007, 4:37 GMT

    KIRAN MUZAMMIL .......thanks for enlightening all of us with your input. You sound a bit bitter but, I won't call Javed Miandad with all those names for the fact that his contribution to the Pakistan cricket team in the past has been very valuable. If PCB has treated Saeed Anwar like that, then its really sad but what else do you expect from a bunch of bureaucrats who are out there to take control of cricket in Pakistan? They can only think of benefiting themselves financially and for their own personal honour and prestige. I think they deserve the blunt treatment they get from people like Miandad and Sarfaraz nawaz.

    However, I would still insist that people should raise their voice in asking for Saeed Anwar to come forward for the sake of the country and spend whatever few days that are left before the WC starts and coach only the few probable opening combinations like, Afridi, Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. OR, Bob Woolmer should at least get Saeed Anwar's videos and show them again and again and ask them to practice those wristy shots that Saeed used to play and clip over the fielders. Afridi and Imran Nazir both love to hit so hard that they end up skying the ball high up in the air. Especially now all the bowlers have a variety of slow balls in their armoury, so its all the more important for the batsmen to either judge the the slow delivery and play late or play with soft hands. People might say its too late for that, but like they say the last minute revision before the exams sometimes helps you in remembering some important points, likewise Saeed Anwar's advice may help them to over come this short comings that Pakistan's openers have.

    PS.

    Advise for Abdul Razzaq, he should only use long handle bat after the 45th over.

  • Ashaq on February 25, 2007, 4:36 GMT

    Dear Kamran I am getting fed up with the consistent and sometimes downright crass and insulting remarks about Islam being made by posters on this Blog.

    I think you should either politely point these people to the Neo-Con forums on the Net. Where they can show how Westernised and Enlightened they are. Or do a post on whether religion effects the performance of an athlete either negatively or positively.

    So this issue can be debated. As far as i know all the research in the field of sports Psychology shows that religious conviction has a positive effect on athletic performance.

    Secondly If you follow American Sports you consistently see athletes displaying religious behavior and praising there lord and Master Jesus Christ. We dont see the Christian community having any inferiority complex about this.

    But our Pakistani cousins living in North America have stooped so low, And have become so embarrased at seeing religion displayed by pakistani players. They come up with one insulting remark after another.All I would like to know is why these people have such an inferiority complex.

  • Taimur Huk on February 25, 2007, 4:09 GMT

    i think yasir hameed should open, because that will increase his confidence even more after scoring 40+ runs in his last four matches. and i think his opening partner should be shoaib malik, because he is developing into a really good batsman.

  • mohd.vaseem khan on February 25, 2007, 2:18 GMT

    let me remember you pakistan win only when afridi or shoib klick, match can not be win by sadabahar,like yousuf & inzmam,these player make run almost all the match but pakistan win??? no only when one like afridi,nazir,shoaib,gul,perform nobody can stop winning, you PCB and pakistan dont have enough brain, sanath, gilly, is hitter but he is opener too, give Afridi and Nazir to open and believe on both only the way to win the world cup, other wise pakistan has spent a ransom amount on woolmer but what he delivered nothing not worth of Rs.1. he should be kicked out,what happend in south africa only afridi and akhter won the match, not woolmer, you r paying without reason you stupid, all asian are stupid, they run after white people,what has delivered chappel to india, nothing but the trend is going on, you did not give enough time to afridi and you could and are not utilize the talent of afridi, and one final word salman,farhat,malik, younis khan arenot made for one dayerssssssssss

  • Aditya on February 25, 2007, 2:04 GMT

    I think Afridi is Pakistan's best option for the opening slot. But I think that you have a bigger problem than opening...your bowling attack, which you need to sort out.

  • fhs on February 25, 2007, 1:26 GMT

    Great subject, Kamran! And agreed on Ghalib Taimur. My choice for openers is also Imran Nazir and Salman Butt. Both are fully cabable to play against any fast bowler on any ground.

  • Rohit on February 24, 2007, 23:03 GMT

    Well. All said and done but the question keeps on coming back and there are no definite answers yet. From what I suppose, all this tussle to find The opening combination should revolve around the nature of the pitch and also vary depending on the bowling attack of the opposition. Now Nazir, Hamid,Afridi, malik, hafeez etc are very good on the pitches which are not dicey but decent batting pitches. But when it comes to dicey bowling pitches and then you have likes of pollock and Ntini coming at you then then whole thing needs a relook as what may be working great so far may just not work now. Carribean pitches support bowlers who move/cut/swing it around. Also, the ball doesn't come properly to the bat but stops a bit unlike on the subcontinent ptiches.

    Afridi, on a batting pitch is simply dangerous, until and unless a Pollock or McGrath is coming at him. Other slot should go to nazir.

    On dicey ptiches,I think, Akmal has got the right technique and temperament. He has shown the stomach to fight on big occasions and in extremely difficult situations as well. The other slot needs some one from the middle order - yousuf, younis, malik, inzi to raise his hand and say I will do this job for pakistan in the world cup.

  • Faraz Hashmi on February 24, 2007, 22:58 GMT

    I totally agree with Faisal Akhter from Toronto, he actually said what most of us feel, Look at the silly squad i have been stating it for so many days i even called up Geo Super people, Pakistan has no left handed batsmen in this world cup squad, No one realizes most of the bowlers, mitchell johnson,nathan bracken,irfan pathan, zaheer khan,chaminda vaas, the one from westindies etc are genuine left arm bowlers, Inzi with his weight tends to move infront of the stumps and is often trapped leg before, Yousuf does the same early on ,he shuffles, these left armers would exploit the all right handed side, imagine a statement by the aussie selectors early on which said we would prefer a decent left and right combination, they actually prefer to have at least 3 left handers,i dont know but wasim bari has no idea, Salman butt should have been in southafrica, salman played a series in southafrica against rest of southafrica to support the jacque kallis foundation, he scored a 100 in the first game, pakistan sent sami and salman butt their, how well salman butt played in india, when he chased down huge scores scoring 100's.......what is wrong Osman Sahab ! please do mention this all right handed batting line up in ur other articles. this worries me, all teams have already worked out the channel outside off, if i know aussies and southafrica they probably have set their fields on laptops for all teams.

  • khan on February 24, 2007, 22:51 GMT

    I would say to Pakistan team that play as you want to play but when you going to play the white teams like Aus,SA,Eng,NZ then play with a surprise team. Now why and What is a surprise team? A surprise team will be to make big changes in batting order some other changes which they don't expect of you. Then they can be defeated easily. Because they do a lot of home work on your weaknesses, and if you give them surprise then their plan wont work. Most of the good batsman get out at unexpected delivery, so make them out with un-expected match plan. To be a good cricketer you must be smart and can adopt quickly to the match situation. If you are playing against australia, and you open you batting with Inzamam and M.Yousaf or Younas.........All their match plan will be sunked........But you have to gamble........As imran did to win the world cup.......Crazy idea huh.........Try it......lol

  • Dawar, USA on February 24, 2007, 22:50 GMT

    We do not have merit system for our selection. We have penalty of talent in our country but due to improper and injustice system we did not find the good openers.

    The good players can not enter in the selection without knowing anyone or their background.

    Do not forget great Saeed Anwar was out from the test cricket team just after scoring three consecutive centuries in one day cricket.

    Captain of that time (Imran) justified his selection and said that he has less temperament.

    Five years back Faisal Athar performed very well in the domestic cricket as an opener but no one picked him for the team. He is from the weak city Hyderabad. Most of you probably never heard his name.

    Currently ex under 19 Captain and opener, Khalid Latif is performing very well in domestic cricket but he is continuously ignored by selectors and Captain. Recently he scored few centuries in current season.

    He is young man with lot of talent. He started his career from the same town and club where Saeed Anwar started his career.

    Instead of trying Shoaib Malik, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal, and Mohammmad Hafeez in this position, PCB and Captain should give opportunity to genuine opener Kahlid Latif. He is not the opener by circumstances.

    We should have check in balance system on the selection process on every level. PCB, Captain and Coach should not have obsolete power.

    Mashallah, Inzamam talked in a religous way, I think he is punctual in his salat. I know from the media.

    He should continue his good practice, it will help him here after.

    But he should remember that Islam is not just limited to here. Islam is a complete way of living. How do you deal with others? How do you use your authority? etc.

    I am sorry to bring religion in the cricket talk. But this is the way currently Inzi Bhai is doing. Recently, he preferred his tabligui partner Mustaq Ahmed on Waqar Younis. Now ex spinner Mustaq is a coach of our fast bowlers. What a crab? Is it merit? Mr. Inzi, we need your Islamic deeds here. Recently we have noticed there are many other actions from you against the Islamic teaching and based on IQRIBA PERVAREY.

    Dawar USA, LA

  • Rohit on February 24, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    Well. All said and done but the question keeps on coming back and there are no definite answers yet. From what I suppose, all this tussle to find The opening combination for pakistan should revolve to a very large extent around the nature of pitch and also the bowling attack of the opposition. Nazir, Hamid,Afridi, malik, hafeez are all very good on the pitches which are not dicey but are decent for the batting. But when it comes to dicey bowling pitches and then you have likes of pollock and Ntini bowling then then whole situation changes.

  • Mohammad Rauf on February 24, 2007, 22:13 GMT

    Openers are batsmen that convert 50's to 100's and not a boundary to 20's. Unfortunately, right now, we have none. Except for Mohammad Hafeez maybe.. Secondly, openning pairs need time to settle down and learn each other. Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar, Pakistan's best pair, was made after almost 5 years of continuous experimentation. Our current openers have'nt even played 4 consecutive one day matches together. Specially when Imran Nazir is making a come-back after years(2-3?). Saeed Anwar has done his time and Afridi can never open for Pakistan as openers dont require aggression infact, 'SENSIBLE' aggression.

  • Asim Hafeez on February 24, 2007, 21:47 GMT

    Well said sir...I alwayz place Saeed Anwar among the top performers in cricket history!!! I used to watch match until Saeed played....He was brilliant and his experience could have helped youngsters to groom....But now its past, talking about future...I have very freak hopes from this present team unless Allah send some Divine help.....

  • Fizaan Farooq on February 24, 2007, 21:45 GMT

    Pakistan have always lacked a decent opener with the exception of saeed anwar. they should stop experimenting and allow 2 openers to settle down without exclusion from the team on their mind all the time

  • Sohail Khan, USA on February 24, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    Pakistan opener soap opera continues...the other teams are planning how to win the WC while PCB, Woolmer and Inzi don't even know who their openers or starting bowlers are gonna be. I am so SICK of all this drama...it is just PATHETIC!

    I HOPE PAKISTAN TEAM FAILS TO QUALIFY EVEN FOR SUPER 8 SO ALL THESE JUNKY, MINISTER SOURCE, TALENTLESS PLAYERS ARE KICKED TO THE CURB.

  • shoaib on February 24, 2007, 21:32 GMT

    I think salman is a good option...also cos of left-rigth combination...also I remember when pak use to win most of the matches in 2005 then salman use to open with Afridi and malik at onedown .....it is a pretty good combination in my opinion....as salman can play an anchor role ....with the fall of the first two wickets early on it puts lot of pressure on other batsmans

  • mohidin gundroo on February 24, 2007, 21:21 GMT

    why not to consider youns khan with Hafiz as openers with shohaib or Razzak at no 3 slott.If this combination fails as openers consider yonus along with shohaib malik with yousuf at 3.Hafiz will still be needed for his bowling. It is alrounders like him in pak team that will deliver. with no shohaib and it seems without Asif too put in as many alronders as possible and only 2 specialist bowlers.if kamrans wicket keeping remains concern drop him and let younus put the gloves on, he cannot do any worse than kamran.on small WI grounds and with batsman friendly wickets Pakistan need to aim for scores of 350 to post or chase.

  • AQC on February 24, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    Once again, the focus should be what's to come after worldcup .. I think it's too late to focus on worldcup ... anyone know who they going to send in place of Asif and Shoaib?? an other idea could be to wait till round 1 matches are over and then send Asif and Shoaid ( I am assuming that gives them enough time to get fit and get rid of the dope test threat) .. ofcourse, if the traces are in blood even then , we should send some young players, ...

    As far as openeres ... I do not see how can they play both Imran Nazir and Mouhmad Hafeez (see below) ... anyone??? I guess Hafeez can only be played instead for Afridi or ... ?

  • nasir on February 24, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    You guys just dont get it. It is not only about technique and averages,its also about mental toughness and cricketing IQ. When push comes to shove all of the well laid plans will go awry. Our cricketers are immature, and not battle hardened. They definitely have the heart for it, possibly the brains also, they just don't have the stomach for it.

  • Adeel on February 24, 2007, 20:09 GMT

    I can only agree to what is written in this article. I am very confused like Imran Khan that Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed were not even tried once in South Africa. But I also hope that Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez will adjust well to the West Indian wickets and perhaps make the opening to a strength for us. If this is the case, the World Cup will inshAllah be a very good one. And there is also a chance that this tournament ends up as that one in 1992 and we go from strength to strength....

  • Shabir on February 24, 2007, 19:18 GMT

    Unfortunately, a disunited team will always be disorganised, Pakistan's perrenial problem. This bunch of misfits deserves not to even be in the world cup, and if they progress to any step or stage, they should think it is by the sheer Grace of God. The Pakistani team certainly doesnt deserve it. So much talent, and such a shambolic ability to harness it. What a waste.

  • rafay usman on February 24, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    the most bad thing is dat we r still searching searching for any1 who can open for us..wht a redicilous thing...how many pairs they had tried in last 2 years.....look likes the selectors & the team managment do every thing from media....which player is critised by media is sitting out in the next match...wht rubbish...they pick team in drawing rooms..nazir & hafiz havnt played a series for a while...u were preparing farhat for the world cup suddenly he goes back to the home....salman butt jus goes wrong in 1 series against india & he is out since yet despite the fact that he is best opener after anwar.... coming to the middle order ...why didnt inzamam batting on 4 ..what he want...he alwayz come to crerase either we had 200 for 4 on board or 50 for 4 on board...both the ocasions he didnt get the write the time to bat..,,and the allrounders...awwhh...we r playing almost 5 or 6 all rounders in 1 team..we all knw that razzaq is not in form..but u r giving & giving him a chance...& the same time ur opener flops at onces..& u kicked him out of the team......... if pakistan wanna win or do well in this big event... then plz plz plz ...think seriously & sincerely..

  • Rashid. on February 24, 2007, 17:52 GMT

    I am so tired of current pakistan managemeant.Who select them and how.Same goes for medical team. I think Salman is the only opener in pakistan who is capable of facing Australia and South Africa consistently.I think Yusuf would be a great captain after the world cup.We should not put Asif into this world cup if we have any doubt about the test(+).He can play at least two more world cup.

  • Gugu on February 24, 2007, 17:00 GMT

    As rightly said, these all discussions are pointless now. My opinion though is that Hafeez and I. Nazir are openers for first two matches only. After that Sahibzada Afridi returns and wise thing to accomodate him will be dropping Hafeez and opening with Shoaib Malik so that Afridi can play in lower order. It will provide sufficient bowling.

  • Sarim Ali on February 24, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    I think that u are right about the fact we are facing a huge crisis involving openers. But I dont think that yasir hameed would be a good choice for pakistan but i do think that salman butt would be good. With Salman we can have imran nazir he also helps out with the fielding alot. Or if not Nazir u can have either Mohammed Hafeez or Shoib Malik. I think Malik will also be a good choice because of late he's preforming great.And i think tht Fizzy is absoloutly right about having a left handed seamer. But i dont think we'll be needing 1 because now we could have asif and akhtar,then gul and razzaq. But I think people like Rana and shahid Nazir and Mohammed Sami wont be right. But if the drug test doesnt clear then we might have to bring them. AND KAMRAN I AGREE WITH U ON MOST THINGS BUT WHAT U SAID ABOUT IMRAN KHAN IS WRONG. THE 1992 WORLD CUP VICTORY WAS ALL BECAUSE OF JAVED MIANDAD THE GREAT HE SCORED RUNS IN EVERY SINGLE GAME AND HE PLAYS FOR THE COUNTRY NOT HIMSELF, LIKE IMRAN KHAN, MAJID KHAN,AND WASIM BARI, THAT RUINED OUR CRICKET BY BRINGING POLITICS. JAVED MIANDAD IS THE BEST BATSMEN WE'VE EVER HAD BUT NOW I THINK MOHAMMED YOUSUFS FOLLOWING IN HIS TRACKS

  • Muhammad Umair Yasir on February 24, 2007, 16:22 GMT

    Lets leave,,,, “should have been” and “could have been”. Salman and Yasir are very good players. But the reality is that they are not in the squad.

    Whats wrong with us, just 3 matches, ,,yes three matches ago,,,,When Nazir hammered South African Bowlers,,,,every one wondered ,,,why Nazir was kept out for so long , we have found the solution ,,,,and now, we are looking for another solution.

    I would say again ,, "If we perform badly in the worldcup, It will not be because of our opening Batsmen", We also have one man called Inzamam, a great batsman,, We have Yousaf,,,the new Inzi,, and Younis Khan ????? . I think they are also there to bat. Can anyone guarantee that Salman and Hameed ,,,, will be successful, if selected ???? No, and if they fail, we will be doing another blog,,,"bring Nazir and Afridi back" . Comeon ,,,,, "Our available opening players are as good as any other opening players". It doesn’t matter in One Day Cricket. A quick partnership of 50+ can do it.

    So Lets see, what happens in the World Cup and then we can compare opening Partnerships of all the good teams against other good teams in this blog.

  • Rohit on February 24, 2007, 16:17 GMT

    Opening batsman should either be a specialist or the best batsman in the team. If pakistan does not have specialists then it should send its best batsmen to do that job. Kamran akmal and yousuf should open for pakistan.

  • Asif Saeed on February 24, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    We will do just fine with any of these four openers if they could just keep three things in mind. As the matter of fact these things need to be drilled in their brains till the WC starts.

    1. DON'T HOOK OR PULL

    2. DON'T CHASE THE BALL AWAY FROM YOUR BODY OUTSIDE OFF.

    3. PLAY WITH STRAIGHT BAT AND WAIT FOR LOOSE BALL

    In my opinion if any of these openers can do that for first fifteen overs, we can achieve a total that our bowlers can defend. Any comments?

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 24, 2007, 15:11 GMT

    O' DEAR EUCEPH AHMAD, so you watch cricket with Ammi, Baji and Bhabhi and say ayat-al-kursi? I guess most of us watch cricket with friends and thats not what they say when Pakistan is losing, ask Mr. Mawali why he ends up his post with AMF! :-)

    If teams can win matches only with duas and prayers then Pakistani moulvis and tableeghis would have won every single World Cup.

    There are some people on this blog who are suggesting the names of players like Taufiq Umar and Imran Farhat to open the innings, when these players are not even in the WC squad. Are they aware of this or still talking about a dream team?

  • aziz mengal on February 24, 2007, 14:02 GMT

    i think from last three years imran is getting every thing wrong, clear example is .. supporting Sami. Yasir hamid is a good opener, but he is like Ramiz and Mudassar who are not suitable choices for the modern cricket. he is a very good test player. why don't aussie selector included Langer in the one day format though he was an agressive test opner as slater was. i think the combination is very good at the moment they just need encouragement from capt, coach and imran as well.

  • Mehboob on February 24, 2007, 13:41 GMT

    i Think pakistan should have opened with imran nazir and salman butt in the world cup. Both young and there is the left and right hand combination. These two can be the future of pakistan cricket as openers and even in the world of cricket.

  • Zain Javed on February 24, 2007, 13:39 GMT

    its useless to cry over the milk which never existed after saeed/aamir pair.pakistan should must have given salim elahi a chance he was a player of long run but unfortunately lost. now under the present circumstances the best thing is to remain positive and have a pair of younis khan and imran nazir to open which gives inzimam a higher place in the line up which really is a need of the hour inzi at 6 is no different from russel arnold used to be for srilanka but inzi is not player of that calibre he is certainly among the to 5.imran nazir attacks well and younis will give stability if you get inzi one down or malik which makes the pair of first opener younis and one down(malik or inzi)look very solid. younis khan,imran nazir, inzimam ul haq, muhammad yousif,shoaib malik,kamran akmal,razaq, shahid afridi.then you have(shoaib akhtar, asif and kaneria)or(rana naveed,umar gul and sami)or(azhar,rao iftikhar anjum,umar gul) . this is a perfect solution to the problem at the moment to stabilise the pakistan team which looks like not having the services of (shoaib akhtar and asif )suffering from so called injuries and in reality shields to their ruining career as a result of some extra energy. thanks every body

  • omar hussain on February 24, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    The dilemma of the openers is confusing because the wrong players have been given an extended run.I have never considered Farahat a test player yet he was always favoured ahead of Yasir Hameed and Nazir.Hafeez is an average player more suited to Test matches.We have the suggestion of Younis doing a Majid Khan but Mr.Abbasi why the myopics of our selectors have ignored a talented and composed player like Asim Kamal?We can use Younis to open with Hameed or I.Nazir and give Kamal Younis's place and keep Afridi for the late assualt.

  • Zee on February 24, 2007, 12:34 GMT

    Opening! the Biggest of all problems, but by far the most important for any chances should Pakistan perform well in the WC-07. I believe this problem must be solved even we can win without Shoaib & Asif but we cannot win or even compete well without good opening stands most of the times we go on to bat......

    After realising this factor, we need to look out our options with our strengths & weaknesses. A good opening batsman must have following capabilities to perform at the top level.

    1- Decent Batting Technique 2- Lots of temperament & self belief 3- Must be able to handle pressure situation 4- Should have wide range of strokes combined with good defensive technique. 5- May not be explosive but able to adopt controlled aggression when required. 6- Enough experience to be exposed at top level

    If we look at our options for the world cup, we have following openers at our disposal. I would like to rate them in light of above pre-requisits of a good opener.

    Muhammad Hafeez: Though he is telented but he does not fulfil most of the above mentioned requirements. He needs to be groomed by someone to perform consistently at this level. Maybe a couple of decent scores under pressure is what he needs.

    Imran Nazir: Explosive but highly unreliable. A gamble that May or may not work in favour. If it does, pakistan may fly to heavens but if it fails, might just be reverse. Point to prove for him is "can he show some maturity" and justify his selection?

    Salman Butt: Has too many technical flaws to perform for too long. Lack of confidence, technique, temperament, shots approach etc....

    Imran Farhat: Most of things are same as mentioned for salman butt. However I feel if he should try a light weight bat, he may perform better. You get the impression that his bat is too heavy for him to control.

    Yasir Hameed: Though he has improved since he was previously dropped from team but still he is throwing away his wicket like Hafeez. I think he along with Hafeez can be a decent opening pair but they need to be polished by someone really good.

    Kamran Akmal: I really dont understand theory behind opening with Imran Nazir & Kamran Akmal. one of them may be used on flat piches but not both & specially on "hard to bat" pitches. It simply is beyond thinking & wastage of good resources.

    Pakistan should go with one aggressor (Imran Nazir or Afridi or Akmal) & one decent batsman whose job is only to hold one end at least till 15~20th over. Whatever goes at the other end should not bother him & he should stick to his job.

    In light of all the above mentioed facts, there are two ppl in this team who can pair with one of the aggressor.

    Shoaib Malik: Having done the job in past with some success on flat pitches, I think he is a good choice to open with Imran Nazir. He may not be technically perfect but has the quality of handling pressure, has experience, can change gears & has proved that he can hold one end for long time. He is simply wasted at No. 6~7.

    Inzamam the captain: Though Aqib Javed has demanded that Inzi should open to solve the problem, it has been previously said by some including myself. However the decision can also backfire for the team. A better idea should have been to try this in a couple of games.

    Like most I thknk that Pakistan can win or even perform in a decent way in the world cup if they plan a decent batting strategy. They have excellent batting resources and its only a matter of handling them in good combination and using the right person for right job.

  • Imran Zia on February 24, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    The thing about Imran Khan is he uses common sense when giving suggestions and that is what our team management lacks. It is certain that of all the opener both Salman and Yasir have the best techniques and Salman Butt has a good head on his shoulders. They should have been a good choice but Salman Butt's fielding is not upto the mark. Mohd Hafeez's performance has not been special but his dismissal have not been rash and more times than the other it has been the bowler who has got him out. You talk about Saeed Anvar and Amir Sohail. Anwar's record is a very good one but he has struggled on tours of SA and Austalia as well. Sohail on the other hand performed well on foreign tours but lacked consistency as his average in the thirties suggests. We only tend to remember the good innings as time passes but i am sure on bouncy wickets there were people who critcised these two as well. We hope for the best for the Pakis and I suppose all this uncertainity is preparation for a World Cup Pakistani Style.

  • Mohammad Athar Hameed on February 24, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    Don't worry!!! Pakistan will be fine. Pakistan palys best cricket, when they are underdog. And other reason that they all know if they did not perform well, they will be gone. (remember last worldcup) Athar, Melbourne, Australia

  • umair on February 24, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    To be honest,i dont believe Pakistan stand any chance in this world cup,the reason is simple enough that they dont have real quality players in their line up like Javed Mianded,Imran khan and Wasim akram.i would go on to say that they dont even deserve to win this time around.we have to think rationally because we are blinded by excessive patriotism which is keeping us from seeing the obvious truth that Pakistan is not good enough to even qualify for the semis.Salman butt,Hafeez,imran,farhat,afridi they are all i am afraid to say that they are joke of a batsman. Inzimam is really one of the most over-rated player i have ever seen in my life.he is a player of dead wickets and can only score runs against horrible bowling attacks. Paksitan has no chance whatsoever.

  • Khalid on February 24, 2007, 11:09 GMT

    I think PCB is a bunch of stupids, they dont give proper time to settle down any pair just trying 2 or 3 matches and try another pair, Inzy is a good player but he could'nt justify a good leader he is still searching a good pair, in my opinion he himself should come up and start with these youngsters and give a stand instead of throwing wickets early.

  • Jupiter on February 24, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    I am still positive that my two nephews can score ten runs more than our openers but that wouldn't make a difference, or would it; losing two wickets for 0 or losing two for 10.

    Openers performing or not, I still have the feeling that we have a team that can at least last the semifinal. Anyone who has writen off Pakitsan should be ready for shock of a lifetime and I really mean it.

  • Ali on February 24, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    I think we need a professional cricketer heading the PCB and not people appointed by the general. Dr. Nasim probably knows just as much as Tauqeer Zia knew about cricket - zilch. They depend upon their advisers(with ulterior motives) to guide them. In the end its about money and power, and they will hold on to their posts for as long as they can, even if it means making the wrong decisions, knowingly or un-knowingly. This mentality reflect in every aspect of our daily lives, just as it does in cricket.

  • Kiran Muzammil on February 24, 2007, 10:29 GMT

    To Javed Khan from Montreal:

    In 2004, Saeed Anwar was invited to coach some of the openers at the National cricket academy. The biggest politician in cricket, Javed Miandad was the coach. He continued to interfere with Saeed, and threatened to quit to the PCB unless Saeed was sent packing. Saeed, quietly distanced himself and has never looked back since. By the way, Saeed Anwar spent almost a month at the academy helping the youngsters out and the PCB didnt pay him one dime. Wasim Akram blasted the PCB for treating a great like that, and he also publicly criticized Saeed for letting the PCB walk away without making them pay him a fee for his services. But Saeed has always been a simple fellow and he didnt make a big issue out of it, whereas money-hungry vultures like Miandad will tear out peoples eyes to get money out of them. Anyway my point is, that why should Saeed help these guys if he isent treated with the respect that he is due? First they ended his career unfairly and then treated him with disrespect. Saab ki izzat hoti hai.

  • Danish Khan on February 24, 2007, 10:01 GMT

    The inclusion of Hafeez in the squad did surprise me, but then again who knows if Hafeez goes on with Imran Nazir and make solid partnerships? Wouldn't we be praising them? The thing is now, you should go down the road with what you have, not what you wouldv'e liked to have.

  • Fahad Soomro on February 24, 2007, 9:27 GMT

    No comments this time just one thing is that a cricket captain is just like a manager in an organization and the best manager is the one that brings out the most out of the resources available to him.

    Yousuf/Inzi should be the mainstay and the rest can revolve around them. Open the bowling with Shoaib and Asif. As Asif is best with the new ball, bowl him through. The rest can be divided in the middle overs and Rana should partner Shoaib at the death because of their abilities to bowl reverse swing, bowl consistently in the block hole and their changes of pace with guile and control.

    Also lets keep our fingers crossed that the fielders take their chances and Akmal finds his form with the gloves.

    May Allah bring glory to our nation again. Aameen.

  • Qasim Mahmood on February 24, 2007, 9:22 GMT

    Problems with opening, fast bowling, wicket keeping and team selection will all get fixed once we find able administrators and selectors. Right now we have administrators who know very little cricket and a chief selector who despite being a real good wicket keeper, always lacked imagination as a captain and tactician. Nasim Ashraf and his cronies are as bad as Tauqir Zia and Sherayar Khan. The house of PCB needs a real cleaning. BTW, I agree that Aamer Sohail and Ramiz Raja were vindictive in how they forced Saeed Anwar out. He is the only Pakistani player who scored centuries in his last completed innings in both forms of cricket.

  • shoaib on February 24, 2007, 9:05 GMT

    my favourite opening pair has been salmanbutt and yasir hameed but in test match.....yasir hameed to me has a good technique but salmanbutt was out of form and has now return to form and also has a pretty good technique in my opinion

    Imran nazir is a crowd favourite no doubt cos when he scores he scores pretty quickly no doubt

  • Fizzy on February 24, 2007, 8:09 GMT

    if we look at other top teams they all have a left handed batsmen at the top like gayle gilchrist ganguly jayasuriya smith the best combination for pak would have been butt and nazir or butt and malik as it would have been a nice right left combination.On the other hand all the top teams have a lefty seamer in their attack just to give a different dimension to the batsmen like bracken vaas zaheer bradshaw .what we need is a left arm seamer like niazi to bring some variety to the attack .i dont think that he can do worse than the likes of RANA and SAMi.PLEASE BRING SOME VARIETY IN THE BOWLING if u wana have a chance of defending a score

  • nwak on February 24, 2007, 8:09 GMT

    whosoever opens for pakistan..the problem is universal:lack of solid defence. be it yasir,salman,imran nazir or farhat or even kamran akmal for that matter, all of them have a great time fishing outside their off-stumps. needless to say, thats the main cause of their downfall. for me,it doesnt really matter who opens cos none of them are technically strong enough to face the new swinging ball. i'd just keep my fingers crossed and hope the openers click when it matters. as our great inzi says "luck 50% count karti hai" so bank on it!!!

  • Saad from Lahore on February 24, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    as much as i admire Imran Khan as a cricketer....i think he has got some serious issues as a cricket analyist. the ONLY reason why he suggests yasir and salman for the opening slot is because...they have'nt been tried as yet. On this formula....one can even name Muhammad Asif and Rana Naveed to open the innings for they havent been tried as yet either!!.....i mean come on!!.......its toooooooooooooooooooooooo late now for any sort of logical planning......we have FAILED to get our basics right.....and if we somehow comeup with good performances in the WC matches....then its NOT gonna be for the reason that we planned well...rather....its gonna be....as the saying goes.....another one of the glorious uncertainties of cricket!!

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on February 24, 2007, 7:20 GMT

    Dear Kamran:

    I find myself inclined to toe Imran Khan’s line here on some merit in as far as including Salman Butt in the playing eleven is concerned.

    Following are some key considerations that will help any team supporter form an assessed opinion and thereafter, hold a firm view of the same, of their own reckoning: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Opening Pair and effective combination:

    It is true to say that out of all the current crop of players vying for the opening slot in the Pakistan team, Salman Butt is the only one who wore a settled look in the past and as an opener in both forms of the game for quite sometime. During his tenure as an opener, he played stable and long innings in both tests and ODIs.

    His ouster from the team was largely due to the guiles of Irfan Pathan who found him fishing in un-chartered territory (outside the off stump) and wrong footed him on occasion(s), in too close proximity to be ignored – that’s the given nature of Pak / India contests.

    Good players have succumbed in the past and been sent into oblivion for their inability to cope with pressures generated by this rivalry.

    Shadab Kabir’s name immediately springs to mind. Who can forget his key contribution versus England at Leeds when he played a fortress of an innings and helped Pakistan to a 2-0 series win in the tests? But subsequent key failures against India saw him make an early exit to an extent that he never made it back to the team shores again.

    Let’s review Salman Butt’s case purposefully here and we find the following strong attributes emerging in his case:

    Slaman Butt has been named as a reserve in the team based on his current form and showing in the domestic season. The general perception is that he has applied necessary corrective action to his erstwhile, strong batting prowess and technique. The coaches have lent him necessary support in this regard.

    Remember, Salman Butt can build an innings i.e. provide stability, control as well as the much needed impetus to go with the aggressive and flamboyant style of play on offer from Imran Nazir.

    If this combination can materialize somehow, it would go on to become the most effective pairing for Pakistan.

    The big question is can he still make it to the playing eleven and partner Imran Nazir to offer the team an opening pair that provides an effective right hand / left hand player combination as well.

    Lastly, do not forget, team Pakistan needs a fare share of luck going into this Cricket World Cup. Wish them good fortune at the same time to make a real turnaround!

    Mohsin Malik San Francisco

  • Najam Shahzad on February 24, 2007, 7:12 GMT

    The best opening pair for Pakistan is Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir/Yasir Hamid. The reason to choose Afridi is that if he scores in 1 game out of 3 than it will be bonus for Pakistan and his explosive powers are undeniable. The other openers are also not doing well so try Afridi if he will put some quick score on score board than it will great for Pakistan. In world cup if Pakistani Captain put him on no. 7 than its better for him not to play.

  • Jibran Baig on February 24, 2007, 7:00 GMT

    WASIM BARI'S SELECTION COMMITTEE IS TO BLAME FOR ALL THE MESS!!! The reason why I am saying this is because it goes back to when Saeed Anwar was playing. All the teams around the world has groomed an opener with another senior opener; the ones that didn't follow this are still looking for openers. Why did Tharanga settle down? because he had Jaysuriya on the other hand to guide him. Before the 2003 world cup they kept Saeed Anwar out for a year, and brought him back right in the world cup to show his magic (which he intially did, after finding his form in couple of matches, and scored a wonderful century against India). If they had groomed Taufiq Umar or Salman Butt with him, any one of them would have been set by now. Instead though Amir Sohail made many good decisions in his small tenure as a Selector but the decision to drop Saeed Anwar after 2003 was the worse one and is still haunting them. Since Wasim Bari has taken over under the tenure of Tauqir Zia, Pakistan had problems with selections. In one sentence, they have not utilized their resources efficiently. I think Saeed Anwar had another year in him, I wonder what it could've been if they had just utilized it.

  • Hassan on February 24, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    All I can say is that with all the problems (injuries mainly) faced by the Pakistan Cricket team and others around us, the WORLD CUP should be postponed... as ridicolous as it sounds and as impossible as it is.... most of the top teams are nursing injuries to top players... and that makes this world cup a sorry affair, sadly!

  • Asim on February 24, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    For the World cup...Inzi should open with Imran Nazir as a stop gap arrangement. Inzi is not scoring at number 5 or 6, so it wil do him no harm even if he fails as an opener.

    Bring back Muhammad Wasim after the World cup for the test matches, and he can keep wickets as well. The folk has real class. Persist with him. To beef up the middle order, play Bazid Khan and Fawad Alam once Inzi calls it a day. Both have a sound head on their shoulders.

    Bowling wise, Akhtar Ayub, Anwar Ali and Jamshed should be groomed. Najaf Shah and Abdul Rauf also deserve to be given chances. Bring on Sarfraz Ahmad, the ex-under 19 Keeper batsman.

    It will be great justice to Pak cricket, if the following players are thrown out for good:

    Rana Naveed Kamran Akmal Muhammad Sami Abdul Razzaq as well as Afridi for Test matches

  • imran peshawari on February 24, 2007, 6:29 GMT

    this is not the time of expirments .we need to go with nazir and younis.b/c we put danish kanirea in the sqad as a spin option.

    now let see fantistic sqad is that.alot batting alot bowling alot spin option.8 batsmans,6 bowling options.two good odi spin bowlers .one wrong thing in fifteen men sqad if we put a good batsman the place of hafiz .i think yasir hameed was a good option.ifwe cahck the hafiz perfomence in last three four series what he do with bat .imran nazir play only four in come back he play a match wining inngis in that so why alot of opjectoin on him why not on hafiz .if nazir play with younis as a opner he will become the good opner .if he play with akmal or hafiz then he has a presure.our main problem is that to play first fourty overs and not lose to many wickets then not any bowling attack can stop us .so hopley pakistan top order play well.

  • Ashaq on February 24, 2007, 6:28 GMT

    Imran Khan Seems to make more U-turns than your average taxi driver. Well one can hardly fault him ,afterall making U-turns is a necessary skill for all politicians. Here is a few gems from Imran Khan.

    1.) Following his retirement from cricket, he was asked on a T.v. show in the U.k. about a potential role in Politics. He said " I have no intention of becoming involved in politics. I believe you can contribute more to society by remaining outside the quagmire of politics."

    2.) Asked in an interview on the BBc asian network radio a 3 years ago about Pakistans opening dilemma he said. " Imran Nazir is the best opening batsman in Pakistan. I dont Know what the selectors are doing. An opening batsman needs time to develop. They should put faith in Imran Nazir."

    3) Asked about Inzamam ul haqs Captaincy in the same interview: "Inzi Is not Captaincy material.He has just fallen into the role because theres nobody else".

    During pakistans Golden Year of 2005 He said. " Inzi has certainly grown as a captain and proven himself to be an Inspirational leader."

    Last year when Pakistan was performing badly he said. " Inzi never showed any captaincy potential.He does not have any Inspirational leadership qualities, He is too defensive minded. We need an aggressive captain. Younis Khan is the only person with necessary skills to be a captain".

    4). Bob Woolmers appointment as coach in 2004. " I do not think its a great idea. We need a localised coach who understands the culture and mindset off Pakistani players. I dont see Bob having any significant impact.Why has Mudassar Nazar not been given a Fair opportunity".

    During the Golden year of 2005. "Bob and Inzi are doing a brilliant Job Woolmer has made a great contribution."

    In 2006 " It was never a great idea to have a foreign coach."

    Not to forget some other Khan classics. Saeed Anwar Pakistans best opener during the last 30 years. Was not highly rated by Imran Khan.After many years off struggling he finally got an extended opportunity, Following Imrans retirement and the rest is history.

    After every Shoaib Akhtar controversy." Shoaib has been let down by the management. They are at fault for not managing him properly". Imrans own comments about players during his tenure " One thing I could not tolerate was a player who played only for himself and was not dedicated to the team".

    During odi series against India in 2006. Shoaib Malik made 2 scores in the 90s and 1 century. Playing in the number 3 slot and was by far Pakistan best player in that series. Imran khan in his analysis said Younis Khan should be played at number 3. He is a lot better than Malik. well Younis Khan has had only fleeting success at number 3. While Shoaib Malik has an average close to 50 batting at number 3.

    Sami has been persisted with following Imran Khans consistent support. Sami has consistently failed.

    Younis Khan was tried as Captain during the Icc trophy following Imran Khans consistent recommendations. Younis proved to be way over his head and was a complete flop.

    Know Kaneria has been included in the world cup upon Imran Khans recommendations. I am certain that he will prove to be a complete flop also.

    He has also been consistently calling for Inzi to play higher up the order. Well in that case inzi will probably break his unique record off run outs in the worldcup.

    On balance the calls for the inclusion off Yasir Hameed and Salman Butt are the only wise recommendations that Imran has made lately.

    How ever if Imran Nazir clicks during the worldcup, then no doubt we will have Imran Khan asking as to why he was left out of the squad for so many years.

    Imran Khans discovery and development oif the likes off Waqar, Wasim , Abdulqadir and Inzi are stuff off legend. And so is his Cornered Tiger speech. But the Great Man has had his fair share off mis-judgements.

    P.s. I was thinking off doing similar post on Javed Miandad. But I think Javeds wonderful eccentrities would take me a year too list.

  • Concerned on February 24, 2007, 6:27 GMT

    Well you can't blame selectors for the slump of openers. You say Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed should've been selected but they have not achieved much to get a place in World Cup. Neither have Imran nazir and Hafeez. But the problem is that paksitan is short of specialist openers and the domestic structure ought to be blamed for it.

  • Euceph Ahmed on February 24, 2007, 6:25 GMT

    Kamran, you seem to be as confused about this one as those that you're criticizing. Test-match and one-day opening are two entirely different and unrelated topics and should be treated as such. And what's this pandering to Imran Khan all about? You want to pull a "PJ Mir" on us or what? LOL...

    I think you're overcomplicating this whole issue of one-day opening. Pakistan has a pretty decent plan-A in various permutations of Imran Nazir, Hafeez, Afridi, Akmal, and Shoaib Malik. Afridi should pad-up at the beginning of every innings but sent at the discretion of the captain and coach at whatever juncture (including opening) they feel necessary. It'll be nice if the openers click otherwise Younus Khan has pretty much been the de facto opener any way and plan B should be to allow him to settle down for about three to five overs. If he fails then the Pakistan innings usually comes down like a deck of cards and it's usually Yousuf and Inzi and the infamous "rebuilding" and the poor Ammi and Baji and Bhabhi and their ayat-al-kursi!!!

    By the way, that bit about Imran showing Wasti how to play a forward defensive is sort of like a surgeon showing an anesthetist how to administer anesthesia to the patient. That probably was acceptable in Imran's time, but in this day and age one would hope that these so-called professionals know the basics of the game when they play at the international level.

  • Tauhira ƒŕõm Ĵämãîċā on February 24, 2007, 5:55 GMT

    Just a few more days to go! All eyes will be focused on the Opening match to be played here y'all. Sweet sweet JAMAICA!

    Everyone's all jittery huh? Who's gonna be the openers ... ? Who's gonna be the middle order batsmen ... ? Who's gonna be the bowlers ... ?

    Well, we don't really know for sure. Any simple reason may lead to drastic changes in the lineup even minutes before the toss, know what I mean?

    Well, I'm really looking forward to the first ball bowled; I can just imagine the roar of the crowd, hopefully I'll be a part of it, lol.

    Good luck to ma Windies!!!

    -Peace!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 24, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    EVERYONE in Pakistan talk about Saeed Anwar but, no one pays any attention to his technique. Why was Saeed Anwar so effective? My observation is he was not a big hitter like Afridi or Imran Nazir, but he simply used to clip the ball with soft hands over the infielder's heads and that is what is needed from openers, they don't have to hit hard, they don't have to go for sixes, just score boundaries and thats all. Allan Border, when he saw Saeed Anwar for the first time scoring runs like that he said, 'the biggest problem for us is we don't know how to contain him in the first 15 overs?' It was Saeed Anwer who used his cool head and scored boundaries by clipping over or pulling over the fielders standing inside the circle and that is why he was such a classy player, if he had continued playing he would have surpassed 14,000 runs by now.

    Can't Inzamam, Woolmer or PCB officials ask Saeed Anwar to come forward and coach these youngsters now? After all PCB, upon Uncle Woolmer's suggestion, hired Princess Diana look alike fielding guru called Jonty Rhodes and paid him $30,000 for one week, they should pay something to Saeed Anwar and use his services. What a shame that Pakistan's own heroes are ill treated and PCB is willing to dish out huge sums of money to people like Jonty Rhodes, Ian Chappel etc., they have a tableeghi bowling coach sitting in the dressing room coaching the players on how to sit and drink water on the field!

    NOW that it is confirmed that Shoaib and Asif are NOT going to the Caribbean to play the WC, they should concentrate on Gul, Sami and Shahid Nazir. And God save Rana Naveed from the opposition.

  • Danish Hasan on February 24, 2007, 5:16 GMT

    It seems that finding an appropriate opening pair has become rocket science for the Paki team. i agree with Imran Khan to an extent that Salman Butt should have been given a chance, he shouldnt have been dropped in the first place,he is a pure opening batsmen with a few glitches that could have been solved had he been not dropped by the management. I would persist with Hafeez, but he needs to understand the value of his wicket. Once he gets going he can be a very dangerous, then he is a brilliant fielder and can also turn over his arm if needed, so he is a utility player. As for Shahid Afridi the board/management themselves have to be blamed. He has been shuffled numerous times that probably he might be the only player who has played on every position. if the management wanted him in the openers role they should have given him a run of 20 matches and told him that nobody would remove him from the opening slot, but after those 20 games his performance would be evaluated, upon which his furture selection would be based on, rather than using him as a guinee pig. As for the World Cup i would have Shahid Afridi play in the middle order rather then make him open. we have a pretty decent batting line up, its just that every batsmen needs to understand the value of there wicket. Muhammad Yousuf is an exception in this line up, he is MashAllah in the form of his life. (Fingers Crossed). As for the bowling God knows what will happen. we desperately need atleast Gul and Asif to be there to pose a threat to good teams. Other than that the paki team will need to enjoy the game rather than play under pressure, which will help them improve there fielding a great deal. As for US the Paki fans we need to support the team as much as we can Moral Support rather than criticize, and yes a word for Mr. Imran Khan... I would just like to say a simple thing to him, either do something about the Pakistan Cricket or stop criticising so much, i knw U are a National hero and i hold u in high regard, but it is highly irritating when someone sits on the side lines and makes the others seem like idiots.

  • Faridoon on February 24, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    Do any of the Pak players ever read your blog and give you comments? You should get Hafeez to read this one. Terms like "Incapable" and "not talented" have been used for him, maybe it'll spur him on.

    An interesting theory floated by ahsan, could the opening be deliberately sabotaged so that the middle order gets more prominence?? interesting but unlikely.

    I also agree with the direction that another suggestion was taking. During an innings, if the team can help it, there should always be one hitter and one grafter in partnership. We have Hafeez, Yusuf, Yunis, Inzi who can stick around and get runs and then there are Afridi, Akmal, Razzaq, Malik who can get quick runs. So, when a wicket falls you replace like for like players e.g., if nazir is out send in another hitter or if hafeez is out send in yusuf, yunis or inzi.

    Obviously if you run out of one kind of player then you improvise.

  • Bilal Malik on February 24, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    legendary stylish left hand batsman Saeed Anwar. He was one the greatest Pakistan cricket ever produce. Salman Butt comes in mind when you talk about Saeed Anwar special vs arch rival India. Similarity between them both love playing against Indians. Even though Salman Butt is in reserve along with other players. I still feel bari and company made might mistake by not picking Salman Butt and give chance to Mohammad Hafeez. When you player like Shoiab Malik, Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq in your squad why the hell do you have to worry about about Mohammad Hafeez. No doubt he is very talented cricketer and utility player. I haven't seen him converting his 20's or 30's into 50 or even 100. If Imran Nazir to open with Hafeez they need put up good partnership and set stage for big guns like Younis, Yousuf and inz follow with explosive afridi and razzaq. If pakistan openers can play proper cricketing shots trust me even if talk about not having Shoiab Or Asif in our team. This pakistan team can be very dangerous. I am sure Pakistan will kick off with first beating WI phir inshallah qualify in super eight meet india to get into semi final. World Cup is wide open any team can win it but Pakistan in their given days might effective and dangrous. Pakistan Zindabaad. Entire Pakistan and Pakistanis living abroad are with full support of our team. We wish inzi and team Pakistan best of luck.

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on February 24, 2007, 4:58 GMT

    Dear Kamran Bhai,

    This morning I was just thinking about the strategy of the every team in WC and particularly about the combination of the openning pair. This is the grey area which is to be sorted out. But since the 15 players have been announced and the technically sound player Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed is not in the squad. If this blog is to get the opinion for PCB, it is too late. You have explosive openers in the squad, but I am afraid no one is technically correct in the job. You have Hafeez, Imran, Afridi, Kamran and Shoaib Malik all are explosive batsmen but once there is any pressure and of them gets out, unwanted pressure will come for the middle orders. Let us hope for the best. It is a short term policy but in the long run, through this blog, I want to assure you that only Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed will be successful for the opening slot. You have to be patient. Take a lesson from other countries e.g. If we check the record of Marvan Attapatu of Sri Lanka, he did not get succeed at the initial stage and was out for many times on zero but the selectors showed faith and he was the successful opener. It is therefore a great lesson that we should first assess the tehnciality of the batsman for the slot and then we select and try otherwise, it will be an issue for ever.

    Let us we talk about the extravaganza of WC and I am with you that somebody will definitely click and get a good start and the experts are harping on that wicket will be similar like the sub continent, if so, these openers will be able to cash the situation. Hafeez and Nazil will be better bet not Kamran as his confident is in the lower side. In some of the games, Afridi could be tried if someone fails not Younis Khan as it is speculated. Take a lesson from Rahul Dravid of India. He is the best man for one down job but due to circumstances, he decided to open and failed miserably. Younis Khan's mindset is already there to play at one down and the management must stick to this theory. Specialist should not be touched at least for one down as this the position which sets tune for the inning and should not be disturbed. Look at Ricky Ponting he is the best man and once he clicks, Aus hardly demoralizes. Younis should not throw his wicked in the WC as he has been doing in the mega even. He let the team down in the Champions Trophy and if he judge his shots correctly, I am sure, he will be one of the valueable player of the tournament provided he does not throw his wicket. Best of Luck..............

  • Hassan on February 24, 2007, 4:57 GMT

    After world cup, (or may be even now), PCB should send emerging talent to play domestic cricket in places like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England. Specially they should send batsman, and pay clubs or counties to give these players some matches every now and then. Here are the few players they should consider: 1. Muhammad Wasim (I dont know why they dont use him atleast in tests already) 2. Babar Naeem 3. Agha Sabir 4. Hasan Raza 5. Fawad Alam 6. Ashar Zaidi

    and list can go on.

  • nabeel adeel on February 24, 2007, 4:37 GMT

    hi dropping hammed for the world cup was a blunder especially when there was a chance of him geting the nod infront of the hapless rana.As far as imran is concerned i think Paksitan wud do well to lisen to him caz he knows too much abt the game to be wrong.He is dead on the money when he sayd inzi should come at the latest on number 4 in the order.But later than 5 is unimgainable.Hafeez and nazir should open,for heaven sake akmal shd stay back.Last but not the least i belive strongly tht pakistan's chances relyy very very heavily on shoaib and asif being cleared and fit to play.Gul from what i hear is 90 percent fit so if these three can play 5 of the six super eight games togather we shd be in the semis.For shoaib these six to seven games are the probably the most imporant ones in his recent career,so he needs to make a positive decision towards getting himself fit and playing these games.With Lee out of the cup and Mcgrath not the same force as he was,if these three play pakistan shd be amongst the top two bowling attacks in the world cup.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz on February 24, 2007, 4:31 GMT

    If the aforementioned comments are anything to go by, then one would be led to believe that Pakistan still needs to experiment with bowlers. Given the injury fast bowling combinations Pakistan has, one needs to worry about who would make the final XI.

    However i can foresee Asif and Gul making the XI. If Asif can not play then Rana can be used. He is an intelligent ODI bowler and should be handy in WI if we ignore his current ODI miseries. Small ground in WI tend to suggest that a team will win if they can defend 350. Pakistan has explosive openers like Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal can open too because its highly unlikely that any opener will make a big score. If Hafeez or Imran can post a decent score so can Akmal but since Nazir has the best looking shots and the highest strike rate, the onus would be on him to push the scoring rate and then there is Younis and Muhammad Yusuf to push the scoring along. Finally we have Afidi and co. to score 100 off the last 10 overs. I think Pakistan's success will largely depend on their ability to defend the score they post. Its as simple as that :)

  • Azam Farooqui on February 24, 2007, 4:29 GMT

    It's hard to believe why Yasir Hameed has been treated in the most bizzare manners by PCB, he should have been in the squad but now there's no point in talk about as the squad is announced and he is not a part of it. I believe Hafeez and Nazir is probably the way to go for Pakistan, although the think tank might stick with Kamran Akmal. No matter what the result, openers will probably not be very sucessful and will struggle in big matches (although i hope they dont), so the emphasis should be on the big three to post huge scores, Kamran mentioned that the WC is the time for players to grow and make a name, i think it's important to 2 and 3 i.e. Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousuf to take it upon themselves and bat the majority of the Pakistan innings, it's about time that Younis Khan adds to his tally of 2 ODI hundreds and that too against the major opponents, not zimbabwe or ireland. I personally would be happy if the Pakistan openers maintain the 35-40 runs avg. of an opening stand through out the WC. Anything beyond that will be a bonus.

  • Haris Mohiuddin on February 24, 2007, 4:15 GMT

    hmmm... i think hafeez and imran are a fine pair... i hope that that the PCB doesnt forget that its WEST INDIES that they're playing in, not SOUTH AFRICA... i fear that based on the south african performances, the selectors might not even give hafeez another go... but obviously, west indies is a different story to south africa... our batsmen, esp. openers, are better suited to the cariibean tracks... i hope PCB keeps its confidence in the openers and doesnt make any further mistakes... and... i also think that trying AFRIDI up the order on the flat & slow carribean tracks mite nt be too bad an idea either... anyways... hafeez and imran should be able to do the job on those tracks... Inshallah. My BEST WISHES with the PAKISTAN team... peace.

  • Syed Asif on February 24, 2007, 4:03 GMT

    But In my opinion Butt should have been added in the 15 players and they have no back up player for the middle order so lets hope Inzi yonis & yosuf can get through without any injury scare.

  • Omer Admani on February 24, 2007, 3:37 GMT

    I have been saying since awhile--to my friends at least-- that Younis (or Inzamam) should open. Considering that Inzamam doesn't like to face the moving ball, Younis seems to be the ideal choice. Akmal is better down the order-- if he is any good at all in the first place-- so Nazir and younis should open. Also, it is not a bad combination in that one is relatively aggresive while the other relies on technique. Besides, Younis is there facing the new ball anyway-- in the first 5 overs he is usually there; calling him an opener is just a formality now. Hafeez doesn't need to be in the team as he is a nothing player. He has a very solid technique but doesn't seem to sight the ball well at all. How else could you explain him getting 20 each time yet not crossing 30? If cricket were like darts, a person had to hit a certain number again and again, Hafeez would be the man. I am afraid Hafeez is way too much bits-and-pieces for a cricketer. If Younis can open, we can play 4 specialist bowlers-- hopefully Shoaib, Asif, Gul, and Kaneria. Besides, Kaneria usually makes as many runs as Hafeez nowadays. I'll repeat again: A solid opener-- either Younis or Inzi-- and 4 specialist bowlers is the way to go. Runs can't only win the matches nowadays, chasing 350s is a norm now. Taking wickets and good bowling will be crucial come mid-innings.

  • Sonia Siddiqui, USA on February 24, 2007, 3:35 GMT

    Good Evening,

    My fiancee and I are a die hard Imran Khan fan and we agree that Pakistan dearly needs a left/right combo openers and nobody better than Yasir Hameed and Salman Butt. Both of them should have been given enough exposure during SA tour and it would be a different story.. what would pakistan team become if Hafeez, Akmal and Nazir started choking...which is very much likely. seems like everything is going wrong with the team at this point.

    'PAKISTAN CRICKET TEAM IS LIKE A CAR WHOSE BREAKS HAVE FAILED AND IT IS GOING FULL SPEED TOWARDS A CLIFF. GOD HELP THEM'

  • ammar ahmad on February 24, 2007, 3:19 GMT

    Afridi and Imran nazir can be very explosive as both can hit hard and make da score card ticking...

  • Haroon Imtiaz on February 24, 2007, 3:00 GMT

    The best thing for Pak is to NOT consider Imran Farhat, Salman Butt and others for at least 5 years. They can't play moving ball, they can't stop themselves fishing outside the off stump and they have no foot work. Simply they do not have the temprament or the technique and they have been around for many many years. Pak should pick a couple of middle order batsmen with good technique and convert them into descent openers.

  • Haroon Imtiaz on February 24, 2007, 2:55 GMT

    I am fan of Inzi but as a batsman, not as a captain. At best, he is a day to day sort of tactical captain with absolutely NO strategic sense. To include Rana, Akmal and Hafeez in the world cup squad is a blunder. Pak should have tried a techically correct batsman such as Asim Kamal in the opening slot. The other could have been Yasir or Malik. The best thing for Pak cricket would be for Inzi (now 37) to retire and have an educated and inteligent person to take reigns of this very talented yet tempramental team.

  • Wasim Nawab on February 24, 2007, 2:43 GMT

    Just wanted to reply to Big D's comments...... who seems to be the only one on this board with a good decent criocket brain..... not left me much to say on the opening issue as he has summed it up nicely.

    How sad that it has taken Kamran all these months to write on the opening dilemma and begin to realise that hameed and butt should have been in the world cup squad. I cant understand y kamran u were definite aboput having guys like hafeez and abdul rehman in ur squad... i have mentioned this point b4 but wud like to reiterate it again.

    Wot i find most frustrating is that i have always seen hameed and butt as being far and away the best openers we have at our disposal and yet when reading ppls posts from previous articles, salman butt hardly got a mention from anyone. Why? big D hit the nail on the head about the averages of the openers and also the fact that players like hafeez have NEVER EVER HIT A MATCH WINNING INNINGS IN THEIR CAREERS. I HAVE BEEN GOING ON ABOUT THIS FOR MONTHS! And still kamran u feel he deserves a place in the squad... i dont want to here this allrounder rubbish... becoz he is a useless allrounder.. anyone who dont agree check his stats in county cricket and ull see that he is just an occasional bowler, certainly not useful! Big D is right in saying that ppl forget the matchwinning innings that butt has played in his career..... this guy has personality and is the sort of player who would help us win the world cup and so he deserves to be in the squad. Hameed and Butt in terms of averages, temperemant, shot range, match winning knocks, shot selection, guts and technique, are far better than all the other openers. Kamran u talk about the fact that these two shud have been tested ages ago but wot about imran nazir, he was out for years and within a few matches he has booked his place to the world cup. Wot ppl dont realise that it dosn't or shouldn't boil down to the fact that these players have been out for long when selecting (these two openers should never have been kicked out in the first place).

    Its about JUSTICE! Unfortunately this word is non existant in pakistani selection. DONT ASK WHO SHUD GO? ..... ASK WHO DESERVES TO GO? If u look at it like this then both hameed and butt pick themselves!!!!!!!!!!

  • jadogar-spin on February 24, 2007, 2:28 GMT

    Open with Inzi. If he sticks, he can play for the next ten years.

  • Asl on February 24, 2007, 1:37 GMT

    Pakistan can never be a decent squad until woolmer and Inzimam are out of the team, In order to Screw Akhtar they held that Drug test, but behold geniuses Asif was also tested positive ..lol.

    and look what woolmer said in a recent article: "'Pakistan still good without Shoaib and Asif' - Woolmer" - http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/pakistan/content/current/story/281342.html - haha thats tooo funny.

    As a Devout Pakistan Fan i just hope Pakistan Does not win, infact they should get embarrassed cause frankly if they dont there wont be any changes in the squad or management.. im looking ahead pakistan fans.. lets admit the fact that this team is just as good as Bangladesh at this point.. dont look at the world ranking , cause they gained most of those numbers on those "Dull Flat" tracks in Pakistan (IMO shouldnt even be considered pitches.

  • hamza khan on February 24, 2007, 0:07 GMT

    i dont think the world cup is the place for pakistan to establish new opening pairs and think about the future. They should have been doing this after the 2003 world cup. Now is the time to be effective and i believe in a one day game the best batsmen should have the opportunity to play long innings. Who are Pakistans best batsmen? Inzimam, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. They should come in at 1, 2 and 3 respectively and give Pakistan a stable start to explode at the end. Anyway, for even after the world cup a similar combination should be kept. Gone are the days when proper opening batsmen were the requirement in one day internationals. Nowadays the best batsmen are eager to come as early as possible so that they can stand up and be counted. I think its time for Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan to add some centuries to their records and they are capable of doing that. If Shane Watson can open the innings on New Zealand wickets and score runs I dont see a reason why these top pakistani batsmen shouldnt be successful openers on WI wickets. Playing Inzi at the top makes sense anyway as the middle overs are used to run singles and a time when the pressure is put on the opposition fielding, Inzi is no longer capable of doing that he is only a hindrance in an explosive middle order.

  • Fahad on February 23, 2007, 23:58 GMT

    I think you're right Kamran. Inspite of all his failures I've always had some faith in Mohammed Hafeez...probably after I watched him smash Lewis off for 2 sixes during the England tour last summer..the Carribean wickets should work out well for him and Imran Nazir. The only thing that sort of worries me is that we have a team of 11 right handers. I seriously think there should have been atleast ONE lefty in the side (Asim Kamal, anyone?)

  • dangerous Dong on February 23, 2007, 23:57 GMT

    Although im a indian fan and just like any other indian loyal fan i dont want pakistan to win but i gotta admit they are bunch of talented and confused blokes leaded by one of the stupid captain the game today some facts: what shoaib malik doing at the bottom with the tale. what Rana doing in the team and so Kamran akmal Players like yasir hammed and salman butt are Out. now im no Expert but by following pakistan matches i can tell that shoaib be best choice as a opener along with imran nazir just like Indi, pakistan dont know where to play there best players

  • Shahzad Arif on February 23, 2007, 23:49 GMT

    I totally agree with Imran Khan, Pakistan should had selected both Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed or at least Yasir in the squad instead of Hafeez. Fair enough Hafeez gives the option of spin bowling but he throws away his wicket way too often as an opener. Imran Nazir is a good aggressive cricketer and a bit of guidance from Bob and senior players would work wonders I guess. I wish Pakistan the best of luck in the WC.

  • Abbas on February 23, 2007, 23:45 GMT

    playin younis as an opener is not a good idea...he is player who learned how to handle pressure situations when pakistan loses a quick wicket...he is fine at his one down position.. what pakistan need to do is make shoaib malik open with imran nazir because malik comes so late in the order that its just a waste...he has shown that he can open and if pakistan persist with him he can become a world class opener rather than a number 6 or 7.. no need to have hafeez in the playing 11...keep afridi for late cameos and handy leg spin.

  • Aftab Qureshi on February 23, 2007, 23:44 GMT

    The selection, good or bad, has been made and the team cannot be changed, unless via replacements for injuries. Bemoaning Yasir hameed's non-selection is crying over spilt milk. Let's be positive and make do with whatever we have. This said, however, I dont think any one in the cricket set is pinning too much hope on the openers. If Imran and Hafeez do not click in the first couple of matches, the right thing to do will be to try Akmal as opener. I will not sacrifice Afridi or Shoaib Malik. Malik will probably do best one down while Afridi should be reserved to bat lower down.

  • sohrab on February 23, 2007, 23:38 GMT

    Imran khan seems to be the only sensible person around. hameed and butt are the most reliable of the lot. the present chairman is nothing but a whole lot of hot air. the selectors belong to a dismal class of their own. like i said before...people can be changed but the mindset and mentality remains the same. pakistans openers will not be able to do anything much more than what they did in south africa. period.

  • Jeff from Melbourne on February 23, 2007, 23:27 GMT

    I've been the lucky one to witness Pakistan win the world cup at the MCG. Pakistan then had a settled opening batsmen, with Imran, Miandad, Ijaz and young Inzamam in the middle. Pakistan still has a good and reliable middle order. But I wouldn't say they are settled. Younis, Yousuf and Inzaman should come at 3,4 and 5 position. Imran Nazir/Shoaib Malik or Hafeez/Shoaib Malik should open the innings and Kamran should come at his normal position of 7. Mr Abdul Razzzak is the most over-rated crickete in Pakistan team my personal opinion is that he shouldn't be in the team. His bowling is not threating, he bats like a number eleven batsman and probably is the worst fielder in Pakistan team. He has absoutely made no progress in the last couple of years to take his game to the next level. I've seen a vast improvement in Dinesh Kinneria's fielding and this what everyone in the team shoudl be doing. Keep improving. Well How can you expect a team to improve their standard of fielding when their leader is one of the lazest fielder in the cricket world. Pakistan had their worst world cup performance in 2003 and I expect the same to happen in 2007.

  • Farhan Khan from Houston, USA on February 23, 2007, 23:06 GMT

    The same decade old problem faced by Pakistan, since the departure of Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail,'The Opening Stand'. To my understanding, the openers in any One-day cricket team cannot be the batsmen having a one day mentality. The best openers in a one-day team can be the batsmen with a Test cricket technique, rythem, patience and who also possess a timely aggressiveness and attacking nature. Now in current Pakistani team who qualifies? umm.. tough question right? In the current Pakistani squad, only Yaseer Hamid gets satisfactory points or Shoaib Malik, since he takes time first to dig in his foundation at the crease and then starts the aggressive mode. Now look back at our Test Players.. the best option for a one-day opener right there, yes! Asim Kamal, a left handed solid player and who goes aggressive down the innings. We need him to open for Pakistan. He also once said that he is ready to open for the team any time. Afridi, Imran nazir, Kamran akmal should come along at number 4th 5th and 6th in batting order. This is the time Inzi, Younas and Yousaf come up the batting line up and provide the make-up for any mishaps of wicket in early opening stand. And.. Last but not least.. For God's sake give some time to any of the opening pair you choose to stay for a while no matter how they perform. Let their confidence build up and they start playing according to the game plan and not just trying to solidify their position in the next games to follow.. enough said..

  • haroon on February 23, 2007, 22:51 GMT

    i belive the opening problem can be solved if the sinor players get the respeonsibality to open for pakistan. we have tried all different pairs but we have never tried the pair of younis and yousuf as an openner. in the past couple of years these two players have been in termandous form. they both have an outstanding record in number three position. it is surprising why they haven't been tried as an openner. we see other countries for example india. thier top batsman like tendulkar, dravid, gangualy and so on can play on any number from 1 to 6. they are so flexable with thier opening pairs that they can send any fo these guys in opening spot and get 300 runs in fifty overs. but pakistan has never tried any of thier best batsman in opening spot. it really looks like as the sinor batsmans are afraid to open. i think the only solution for the opening problem is if we play with sinor batsmans or at least one sinor and one new player. this theory can also be supported as the cornored tigere imran khan has mentioned in the past. our best batsman should play as early as posible. i don't see any one better than yousuf, younis, and inzi. therefore, they shuld open and play in top order. my team would look like that for world cup yousuf, younis, yasir hamid,inzi, Malik, razzaq, kamran akmal, afridi, gul, asif, shoaib. this team has the varity of exprince, pace, agrasivness and i think if they play at thier best pakistan would win the world cup.

    i don't see the point of puting hafiz in the team. he had a very series both in test and one day matchs in south africa. he should have been replaced by yasir hamid.

  • Aamir Yunus on February 23, 2007, 22:50 GMT

    Shoaib M and Y Khan should open. This is a team in which pretty much every player has opened in the past except Rana, Asif and Askhtar. The problem is, we have too many openers.YY and Inzi can come on 3rd and 4th followed by Afridi, Razzaq and Akmal. After that bowlers. This is not going to happen. We are going to go with Hafeez and Nazir who will lose their wickets in first 5 overs at 2runs/over. There will ne pressure on YK and YY. Some consolidation and rash strokes. If top and middle fails, razzaq and afridi don't do anything. Same story of 220+ totals will be repeated and team will watch semifinals at home in Pakistan.

  • Imran Ahmed Khan on February 23, 2007, 22:33 GMT

    If I had some say in the selection then I would have given Yasir Hameed & Asif Kamal a go with Afridi & Akmal in the lower order. With the vast talents in middle & lower middle order all we need is a good solid start from our openers and I believe that if given a chance Asim Kamal can be turned into a good opener as he is one of those players who value their wicket and not throw it away with a wild slash like Imran Nazir or Imran Farhat. Besides he is being wasted by not getting a chance despite an impressive batting average and ability to score in pressure situations. Hameed is maturing as a player and looked decent in the recent outings.

    The reason I see for so many failed opening partnerships is that the new breed doesnt learn from their mistakes, all they want to do is to secure their place with an occasional good knock and then have a good time untill the selectors consider someone else. Once a dejected Richard Pybus said about our players that "these players dont want to learn anything" and this is somewhat true. Untless our players realize their shortcomings and try to improve them, we'll be having these problems again and again.

  • Imran Afridi on February 23, 2007, 22:12 GMT

    I totally agree with you sir.Openers will be the key in the carribian.Imran nazir and Muhammad Hafeez are both attacking players and in this case there is really a huge risk of losing wickets in the early stages of matches,my view is that Younis should play as an opener because he is a defensive batsman and can see off the new ball and if both the openers can hang on upto the first 20 overs then there will be a big chance of getting 350 plus as we have the players capable to destroying other sides at the death overs. Imran Afridi

  • Owais on February 23, 2007, 21:39 GMT

    My first choice openers: Salman Butt (look at his form in the current domestic season), and Imran Nazir....One is capable of consolidating, being cautious and being explosive at the end while the other is capable of providing flying starts. What do you have to say to this?

  • salman on February 23, 2007, 21:31 GMT

    kamran, let me tell you something, imran khan knowa what he is talking about. he has played enough cricket and watched pakistan play many times. in your team you don,t even have one left hand batsman, where any team you look at has 2 to three lefthand batsman.

  • Razi Ahmed - USA on February 23, 2007, 21:18 GMT

    We have dreams not vision, our top leadership never think about leaving their position for younger people. We are a power driven society and we never believe in delagation of authority. Inzi and other senior people never mentored junior batsmen rather they prefered chottas who can polish their boots as a general principle. We can see that we have three mature reliable middel order batsmen but we dont have any for upper order. We can complain about these issues once we did not have money, traning, resources and manpower in previous world cups. There is no damn excuse we are ready to listen for this team beacuse they have given royal treatment. Does this team have knowledge about their fellow country men how they are existing on second by second basis. We expect that our team will display a role model that we fight till the last drop. We need to believe that Sweat saves blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both[please use it inzi].

  • usama on February 23, 2007, 20:55 GMT

    i agree with you mr abbasi in the regard that pakistan seriously need help in the opening position. I also agree with Imran that salman butt and yasir hameed are the best(most stable) pakistan openers at present. However, if imran nazir fires...and i back him to fire more than afridi...even tho afridi's career average is slightly higher...this is because imran usually plays straight but almost always picks the wrong ball to hit across the line...if he fires and mohammad hafeez stays...then it becomes easier for the bashers (abdul razzaq & afridi). There is one question i would like to ask...How come Abdul Razzaq has not developed his game to the fullest? It seems he has two gears, hit mode and defense...he does not seem to score if pakistan loses wickets quickly...that is the perfect time for him to bash the ball into oblivion because the field is up and that will open the field and THEN he can pick singles...he is a rare hitting talent...but i can sit in the living room and make out his mistakes...he should play naturally...thnk u

  • Abdul Waheed on February 23, 2007, 20:52 GMT

    I half agree with Imran Khan. Having watched all the openers tried in the last few years, to me, Salman Butt seems to have the best technique and temperament. As for Yasir Hameed, I have least confidence in his abilities at any position but am quite sure he can not succeed as an opener. Anyway, it is too late to debate over all this. Although the team has been named, I have a feeling that between 2 to 5 players will be replaced before the World Cup starts (or rules permitting during). It can be due to injuries, dope or for some other unknown reasons. However, the good news is, we all Pakistan supporters for once can follow the World Cup without taking Blood Pressure pills since, as far as expectations go there is NONE. I mean expectations from any serious PAK Cricket LOVER. My definition for serious PAK Cricket Lover is, someone who has 15 to 20 years experience of Heartburn and Heart Breaking except last few matches of 92 World Cup. All said and done, watch out for PAKISTAN TEAM as they are at their best when they are completely down and out. GOOD LUCK TO INZAMAM, WOOLMER AND PAKISTAN TEAM.

  • Ali Hasan - Boston, MA on February 23, 2007, 20:50 GMT

    " I reckon Hafeez and Nazir is the pairing to go with in this squad"

    DUH! Dr. Abbassi, I thought you couldv'e done better than this. Who else do you want from this squad to open; Danish Kaneria or may be lets give Asif a try up the order.

    It's frustrating to even think about a combination from the squad that we have. Given the upper stream unstability of our board, we don't even know who to hold responsible for this blunder. What in this world has Yasir Hameed not done to secure a spot in the squad, if not in the final XI. What's his only mistake? Lets take a guess, may be his uncle doesn't know the village idiot, Nasim Ashraf, or perhaps he has just scored too many runs in his last few games to be a Pakistani opener (41, 57, 71, and 41).

    Its already hard for me to swallow the exclusion of Hameed from the squad, but moving on from there isn't any better either. For heavens, please don't even mention messing with our middle-order. I believe we have one of the most formidable middle orders in world cricket, and moving Younis up would surely have an adverse affect on the middle-overs' balance. It's just disastrous to even imagine what's going to happen if the experiment fails.

    So with the given squad, which by no means is the best one we could have picked, our (not so) best bet would be to stick with the two-goon duo at the top i.e Hafeez and Nazir. That would leave us with just the hope that these guys at least see off the first 5 overs with a parternship of about 20 (expecting more will lead to a disappointment syndrome). This would imply that the bulk of the scoring will have to be done by Younis-Yousuf-Inzamam, with a few late order cameos from Razzaqs, Afridis & Maliks.

    In the event that every thing doesn't go as stated, we can hope that Danish Kaneria swings his bat a bit & Rana gets a few in the middle so we can merrily claim that we were at least not dismissed for less than a hundred. Sorry for painting such a grim picture my fellow Pakistanis but, "What goes around, come around"

  • Miten on February 23, 2007, 20:41 GMT

    Saeed Anwar was once in a lifetime opener especially on Asian type pitches. Like India had to do with Rahul Dravid, one of their technically proficient upper middle-order batsmen will have to play the makeshift opener role for this tournament. Younis Khan has the temperament to play opener atleast on a temporary basis. All in all, the middle order has their work cut out if they are to have any chance in this tournament or any other for that matter. Umar and Hafeez may do well contrary to what we all think due to the batting friendly wickets but having someone like Younis Khan open may still be a better idea especially against teams like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand who have formidable new ball pace attacks. On a related note, if Asif doesnt make this trip to South Africa, they are going to be embarassed in this tournament. With Gul less than a 100%, Shabbir Ahmed at home and Shoaib being his usual nonsensical self, Pakistan's fast bowling options look mighty thin.

  • Sheraz on February 23, 2007, 20:39 GMT

    Imran Khan has got it right yet again. Salman Butt with Yasir Hameed is the pair Pakistan should have stuck with but alas!

  • Syed Zeeshan Wasti on February 23, 2007, 20:32 GMT

    What are openers? How do you separate a middle order batsman from an opener? What harm does it bring to have Inzi open?

  • FarooK on February 23, 2007, 20:29 GMT

    There never really was to be an opening problem, the revolving door of the PCB selection committee ensured it happened. Had Yasir Hameed and Salman Butt (two of the most sound openers Pakistan has currently) been given a run of 10-20 matches irrespective of their performances, we would now have an enviable batting lineup from top to bottom going into the World Cup. For now, I would like to see Shahid Afridi up there once he serves his ban because the others are going to fail anyways so we should gamble with him. Id also partner him with Younis Khan so that Shoaib Malik can be properly utilized at number 3 instead of wasting him at 7 or 8. This way our batting and bowling options increase and we can really have a good balanced squad. PS: I miss Saeed Anwar

  • Shawkat Shareef on February 23, 2007, 20:28 GMT

    There will bo no Saeed Anwar and no Aamir Sohail like opening duo in the near future. Whatever potentials Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed had, that are being very painfully destroyed by the inefficient PCB management. Now, for us, only thing left is to sit down and ponder, WHY PCB, WHY?

  • Mawali on February 23, 2007, 20:25 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, despite all the possible pairing you have enumerated. The fact is that the situation remains murky at best. In the face of chaos and overwhelming uncertainty, why not introduce some semblance of stability.

    Look, you might as well call Younis K an opener, cause 9 out of 10 times he has ended up facing the new ball in the recent past. Put him in for his maturity and some experience with Imran Nazir. Imran Nazir is in the Shahid Afridi mould and seems ready to throw caution to the wind at the first opportunity. Younis's leadership and maturity can provide Imran guidance and hopefully, Younis can help calm and steady his nerves. If not well, really what have you lost? AMF!

  • Kunal on February 23, 2007, 20:07 GMT

    Yeah, it is indeed been ages since we have seen a stable pakistani opening pair. In my mind, younis khan should open with imran nazir. That way, they have a calm headed person who can anchor as well as guide imran nazir. This will also leave shoaib malik open to come at no 3 though I would still like to see Inzi coming in much much ahead, ideally at 3.

  • alexbutt on February 23, 2007, 20:02 GMT

    well...4 years is a long enough time to groom a decent opening partnership. But of course we are talking about pakistan here and its board i have to say is as good as being non-existent. In fact I think if they didnt interfere at all it would have been better. Clearly pakistan hasnt got any deficiency of openers. The best options in my view however will be salman butt, yasir hameed, imran nazeer, imran farhat and mohammad hafeez. Amongst these I would personally prefer yasir hameed and imran nazir or maybe salman butt. Yasir hameed should however be a certain opener considering his previoud impressive record, sound technique and range of shots. Imran nazir with yasir hameed would have given a certain impetus that you need at the top of an innings and if he fires which he will more often than an agricultural afridi then pakistan would always have the opportunity to post big totals like they did recently in South Africa. If however you want to go for a more solid partnership with a left and right combination you can go for salman butt as he has more sensible approach than imran farhat and should be relatively safe against better teams like SA and Aussies. Mohammad hafiz who has been selected for WC has certain problems which make him an ordinary player. First of all lets make it clear that inzi picks him because he is a good fielder and bowls well at death and in middle overs rather than because he plays well at the top which should have been the only criterion as we have enough bits and pieces players in our squad already. He is a predominantly defensive player with limited range of shots. Since making his comeback he has been trying to score quickly by use of feet against quick bowlers which is more risky shot than by slashing outside off stump or other ways of improvisation. His failure to convert his starts into big scores is also a big concern. So bottom line is that although he is not bad as a collective package he is not a good opener and hence shouldnt be in the team as an opener. If however you want to play him down the order(if you are drunk of course) then may be he has a case. Anyways, despite the fact that pakistan has only picked 2 regular openers in WC squad and both of them havnt got a very decent record, I would still persist with these 2 players and play them as openers in all matches rather than trying the likes of akmal or afridi. Its not just because akmal and afridi havnt got good records as openers but they are not equipped with any sort of technique to survive at the top of an innings. Whatever is the case however ultimately, I will still say best of luck to my team and hope they reach later than super eight and perform admirably under a talented set of individuals who sometimes plays as a team.

  • RSN on February 23, 2007, 20:00 GMT

    I frankly don't think that you need two solid regular openers in ODIs.

    If I were to name a combination, I would promote Afridi or Shoaib Malik to open /come at first down spots with the No1 spot being taken by a more accomplished regular opener who can hold his end.

    ODIs are becoming farcical nowadays.scores of >350 are overhauled pretty easily nowadays.

    For pakistan, the focus should be to reign in superbly fit,in-form bowlers considering the fact that shoaib and asif may not make it.

  • Shahid Mahmood on February 23, 2007, 19:47 GMT

    Its just a case of liking but otherwise the fect stays as it is. There is not a single world class opner available in the country. whole of the lot is in same class and only thing one can hope now is that Imran and Hafeez will find some type of form on WI wickets.If can contribute scores in 30s, then a long batting line can possibilly compensate the rest. Our strength will always be lying in the middle order and then a handsom finish by the following four. So the real problem at hand is the bowling department. Rana is out of touch and the only bowler we can count on is Gul. We need an other match winning bowler which is not there so I hope Azhar mahmood is taken instead of Sami.

  • Hashar Muhmood Toronto on February 23, 2007, 19:26 GMT

    Dear Abbasi sb You are right.No dought Imran is big icon in Pakistan Cricket.But these days he has no time to watch all cricket.So his analysis and proposal are not to much accurate as was before.So pcb take own decision .As regards opening pair is concerned i agree with imran for the inclusion of yasir hameed.but not return of salman butt. yasir and shoaib malik was good option.

    good luck pakistan hashar malik

  • SShah on February 23, 2007, 19:07 GMT

    Lets not forget Shoaib Malik

  • Amyn Habib on February 23, 2007, 19:06 GMT

    Your analysis ignores the actual performance records of the players you have discussed and therefore it is difficult to take it seriously. The problem is that many players after a certain stage do not improve. Pakistan selectors and commentators do not seem to be able to grasp the simple fact that repeatedly bringing back failed players rarely succeeds. So if you drop Imran Nazir after a string of poor performances, bring him back, he fails again, bring him back, what is going to change? There are so many of these failed mediocre players in the team.

    It is interesting that the two openers selected have the worst ODI batting records of all the available openers. But this is consistent with the high quality of Wasim Bari’s work over the years. I don’t really care if Hafeez is a grafter or a hitter but he averages about 18, and Nazir (his rare but apparently unharnessable talent notwithstanding) about 23. This then, is what the players have done in the past, and this is what you can expect from them in the World Cup. Both should have been completely thrown out of the team a long time ago. I think it is an outrage that Hameed who has a vastly superior ODI batting record was not selected. One suspects that he is not as well connected.

  • Imran Li on February 23, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    I just wanna wish the team all the best. After looking at the dissapointing squad choice and their recent form not to mention the cracks in bowling and woe full situation in which our top strike bowlers placed themselves into... i just am not as interested anymore. What ever happened to the team spirit and playing like a team, they were brilliant when they played in India and even Pakistan, gutsy performance - thats all I ask, least that will restore some pride.

  • Kareem on February 23, 2007, 18:52 GMT

    Pakistan should open with Afridi & Imran nazeer it might be an gamble but imagine the score if these two last for atleast 10 overs!!!! Pakistan 100 plus for no loss????????

  • Aizaz hussaini on February 23, 2007, 18:48 GMT

    Imran Khan can say whatever he wants, but the truth is that he could have been coaching Pakistan right or better yet, he could have been the chairman of PCB if he wanted to. But he decided to get involved in politics and now wants his opinions of cricket heard. It doesn't work like that..... if he wants his word to be taken seriously, he needs to get involved in cricket again. Right now, everybody knows where his priorities lay and we all know he has deserted cricket. As for Salman Butt, it's sad to see he got dropped after one poor ODI series (one in which he scored a century in the first ODI) when Imran Farhat was picked for two test series after getting out the same way over and over again in every single innings.

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on February 23, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    Hello Kamran:

    You are right about Imran He had the final say in team selection but the reason for his success was not this, it was his Judgement about a new player which very rarely proved wrong and his ability to take risk on big occasions with a new player which gave an imense confidence to the new comer.

    Whereas Inzimam he selected Shaihid Yousaf never gave him chance to play,similarly Asim Kamal Is not being given a chance,Yasir hameed selected but is not being considered now for reasons unknown.

    I think Imran Nazir is A good choice but a risky one him and shahid Afridi are alike as far as inconsistency is concerned and have no idea about shot selection.And Afridis weakness has been long exposed to the rest of the teams he cannot handle Short pitched deliveries by a genuine fast bowler with consistency. As regards Mohammad Hafeez he can only score 20 odd runs i dont know if he is being selected for his off spin or what but Yasir hameed, Salman Butt and Imran Farhat were much better choices, But i have been proposing some thing else all along If we look at the last few One days we played look where inzimam Batted he was of no use to us. I think he should open with imran Nazir, I am not in favour of younis to open bcz he is ok at one down but inzi with the current batting order should open.

    One thing Pakistan team should be careful about is playing shahid afridi and razzak against all the teams and all the pitches,The team management should keep in view there weaknesse and should not give them a default inclusion in every match they are only good against asian teams. Against the rest it would not be a bad idea to select a regular bowler and a regular batsmen instead. Shahids Bowling better than razzak so i would prefer him over razzak. I hope he is in good batting form if him and razzak perform well in the tournament we can win it without Asif and Shoaib.

    In the End i would request everybody to start supporting your own team now regardless of the goofups.And For some of the indians And Western people commenting on your blog about shoaib i would tell them we were the first ones to advocate for neutral umpiring and are the first team to undertake voluntry Dope testing I hope you guys can urge your own boards to follow bcz thats the right Path, Who does not know that there are designer Steroids available which cannot be detected with a urine sample and where are the Pharma Companies located which produce these items? It should be compulsory for every player in the world cup to give dope test,and specially players coming out of injury. Also testing by urine sample can only detect for steroids which are known many designer steroids which are unknown and are available to the players of these advanced countries through rogue phamaceutical industries will remain undetectable so what i am saying is the testing procedures should also be changed.

  • Ben on February 23, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    Pak had better get their act together for the opening p'ship. At this point, they have to stabilize the pair. Time for fooling around is past.

    Grafter/belter, LH/RH, experienced/carefree combinations need to be settled upon. Chemistry and confidence is key.

    Afridi s/n/b opening. His position as late order batsman should also be stabilized.

    Imran's selection rationale should be considered, tho not blindly accepted.

    Stabilze, solidify, strengthenize

  • Khalid on February 23, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    I think it wont be bad idea, if Pakistan open the game with Shoaib Malik and Imran Nazir, given that both open for SIALKOT and won games. They are friends and have a great understanding. Malik is a very sensible and experienced opening batsman. Given the chance, I think it could be a vital combination and it also give room for specialist bowler like kaneria, which would help on carribean wickets.

  • Khan22 on February 23, 2007, 18:37 GMT

    Thank God some one noticed about Yasir Hameed. Salman Butt and Yasir hameed are the ideal openers. Inzi and Woolmer r total responsible for ignoring Butt and Hameed. I hope the selectors can change there decision and bring these two openers for world cup. Thanx Kamran for writing an artical about our main issue.

  • Asif Ahmed on February 23, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    Shame on the Pakistan management for not having worked this problem out by this point in time. That having been said, the problem is there and needs to be addressed.

    I agree that Yasir Hameed should have been given a chance, but he is not there and so the questions is moot. The same applies with Salman Butt, although his complete lack of technique was exposed last summer in England. Not everything that Imran Khan says is right; after all, he still thinks that Mohammad Sami is a good bowler.

    So we need to address this question with the squad that we have. Mohammad Hafeez is a good batsman, but has shown that he is unable to build on a decent start to score a big knock. Even Farhat was capable of scoring the occasional 50; Hafeez is only valuable in that he can bowl as well.

    Imran Nazir has to be the constant and given a chance in every match. Granted, he hits across the line and is slightly vulnerable to the moving ball, but the Caribbean pitches should allow him to overcome that and allow his talent to shine through.

    The opening partner is another debate altogether. I personally think that these conditions are tailor made for Afridi, but he does not want to open and seems to have found a nice niche in the middle order. In that case, I would make a very strong case for none other than Kamran Akmal. Allow me to explain.

    Akmal is a strokeplayer who is more than capable of opening under conditions suited to his batting. There are no conditions more suited to his batting than these. Under these circumstances, if he is allowed to flourish, it will give him a tremendous confidence boost and hopefully elevate the standard of his keeping.

    So there it is. Akmal and Nazir. Maybe not the ideal opening pair, but given the selection of our team and the conditions we will be facing, I think that this is tbe best that we can do at this point. When given lemons, make lemonade. The important point now is not to tinker with that opening combination no matter what happens and give them a long, uninterrupted stretch during the tournament to succeed.

    As I have said before, we will do very well in the WC inshallah...

  • Big D on February 23, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    My My MY! doesnt this topic make my blood boil!!! You have 3 openers (if you include Kamran Akmal) going into WC... Hafeez (avg: 19), Imran Nazir (avg: 25 odd) Kamran Akmal (28 odd). THIS SUCKS!!!! Wasim Bari should be sacked IMMEDIATELY and if he isn't sacked then the person who should be sacking him should be sacked!!! this is ridiculous!

    Salman Butt (the next saeed anwar!) is home... ur best opener is sitting home... I ask u one thing please tell me one inning you remember that Mohammad Hafeez played that won the match for Pakistan...??? anything? 50 matches as an opener and an average of 19...

    Salman Butt??? do u remember is century at Sydney against warney and mcgrath??? how about his odi century again'st india in diwali special???

    how soon we forget... guy had 1 bad series and he is sitting home and we got morons like Hafeez and Nazir going to represent us at the WC... no hope!

  • Abu Bakar on February 23, 2007, 18:21 GMT

    Pakistan's opening dillema is one that needs a long term change but the fact is that time is something Pakistan does not have. So in my opinion here's what Pakistan should try Imran Nazir with Shoaib Malik. Even though it sounds like a weird combination, it is one with many benifits including the fact that playing malik as an opener allows thewindow for an extra bowler. Also this selection is justified by Shoaib's earlier performances as an opener and his recent form with the bat and even if this combination fails, Mohd hafeez is always there.

  • Arif on February 23, 2007, 18:17 GMT

    If you are going with Hafez and Nazir then surely one out of three all rounders(Afridi,Malik and Razaq) will miss out. I would rather go with Yonus and Nazir working on the fact that Yonus will be in anyway in 2nd or 3rd over if not 1st.

  • Abdullah Faiz on February 23, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    Imran Nazir is very unstable but can win you a match on the day plus he is the best fielder Pak have. Hafeez is stable and also one of the better fielders in the team. Plus he provides a potential option with his off spinners. In short both are utility cricketers tailor made for one dayers, whereas Hameed and Butt? Nah. I would try them in Test cricket

  • chudhary on February 23, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Yasir has been very unlucky, but someone had to go to make way for Imran Nazir.

    Why not have a 3rd opener ? --- then either Rana or Razzaq had to go :)

  • shahid khan on February 23, 2007, 18:00 GMT

    come on lads... you can bring this one home.. a bit of application and this team can do wonders.. theres no doubt

  • Jawad on February 23, 2007, 17:55 GMT

    i think younis khan should open with imran nazir and nxt in should be mohammad yousaf because i think we should send in our best in business first ......

  • Nabeel on February 23, 2007, 17:54 GMT

    Well this has been always the problem of getting on with good pair of openers.Why dont Pakistani team just stick with players like yasir hameed.This guy is a elegant player with good economy and i prefer hafeez but not Nazir because this guy has been out of form for quite a lot time and we public dont wanna see our team failing again as they did in the previous world cup.We guys were dissapointed and we dont want that again.This is the only game our country is good at and i think they should excel in this game.

  • © Pakistan on February 23, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    I am surprised that Imran Khan has stopped pointing his figers to his forehead and singings songs of Younis Khan ''The best batsman at number 3 position''

  • Mohsin on February 23, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    Sorry Kamran bhai, if according to you this is what happens, it means Shoaib malik will not be picked.

    I'm afraid this is completely incorrect and it will not happen. Every sport coach has unfortunately their favourites, whether its Buchanan who has favourites in the likes of damien martyn (who despite a poor domestic return still made it back to the australia cricket team after his poor ashes), fletcher (giles and jones) or even in football where it comes to Eriksson and David Beckham

    Bob is no different, and Shahid afridi and Shoaib malik are both firm favourites of his and they will not be dropped. I am sure Afridi was not dropped in recent series againt the Windies, but was just "rested"

    hence I think Malik will open with Nazir. Malik was originally out of form, but after the S.Africa series he seems back in good nick and Woolmer will have him open. Hafeez will miss out. malik was easily our best batsman in south africa, and has a good record batting at 3,so theres no reason why he cant also opening

    And I'm afraid none of the explosive all rounders will get dropped either. Its what makes Pakistans team potentially so explosive, and besides Razzak along with Afridi is also a firm favourite of the Inzi-Woolmer Partnership

    So in short, I'm afraid Kamran bhai I dont agree with your opinion of hafeez and nazir, and more importantly I dont think the selectors will either.

  • Zaraf on February 23, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    I can't believe we are still talking about players who have disappointed more often than I can remember. I am talking about names such as Akmal, Nazir, Hafeez, Butt, Hameed etc. These guys have been with the team for a long while now and if anything they should have shown that they have what it takes. I guess its too late now and it will take a precious world cup tournament to get rid of all of them once and for all. I am willing to pay this price for a different future for Pakistan cricket.

  • Harish on February 23, 2007, 17:20 GMT

    Hi, Kamran...M a big fan of ur columns. This one is good too. I believe for any opening partnership to succeed, they should be given chances. This is true for anything in life. Pakistan, Like India, Do not have the patience to stick with a pair for sometime. Chopping is wat makes us look so bad...and there is no solution in sight.

  • Javed Iqbal on February 23, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    Well one can wish for 'middlle order batsman, transformed into an opener' Look at Gilchrist, Chanderpaul, Ganguly/Tandulkar/Dravid/Sehwag, AB DE Villiers, They are all capable of being the best middle order batsman but they open for their country and produce. I think Younis Khan must take the responsibility of an opener and he has showed in the recent past that he can be a run-a-ball player. 'BUT' lets try it in the warm-ups and games against minnows. otherwise we should not put much pressure on current choice of openers Nazir and Hafeez to walk on the green with confidence and frame of mind. Other choice is Yasir Hameed (If get lucky to be on the plane to Jamaica) and Salman Butt for Right/Left hand combination. I am quite optimistic that will will not have too bad a show from openers this time around as before South Africa series, our openers showed patches of consistant performances especially when Salman butt was on song. Lets hope for the best and Allah will take care of the rest.

  • Qasim Hussain on February 23, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    I remember thinking back in 2004 when PCB was trying out new operners after Saeed Anwar retired that it was sad to see the legendary and my favourite cricketer "Saeed Anwar" retire but still thought it was good for Pakistan cricket as by the time next world cup arrives, we will have a good established opening pair.

    The sad fact of the whole matter is that it is not as if Pakistan cricket never came across any genuine talent for the opening slot, Pakistan found Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir, Salman Butt and the tried Taufeeq Umar. They all had talent to be decent, if not great openers.

    Imran Nazir: A rare find, capable of explosive shots and electrifying fielding. At 23-24 years of age, he can could have become the solution to the problem if PCB had consisted with him, nutured him, guided him, trusted him with the responsibility. After 3 years, here we have him again, exactly in the same place where he left years before......

    Yasir Hameed: I guess the most consistant of them all with a healthy average of around 39 did little wrong to loose his place on the first place. I don't even think that I have to explain his inclusion in the team.

    Salman Butt: He prooved that he can play against the best in the world when he scored that century in Australia. He is young and probably will be in and out of the team for some time.

    Taufeeq Umar: Scored consequtive centuries against the South Africans and prooved that he can play against quality pace bowlers and yet like Salman Butt, was gotten rid of because of a few bad performances.

    In the end, it is PCB fault for not consisting with these players, not giving them enough oppertunities and waisting their time with the likes of Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal and M. Hafeez.

    If Hafeez plays in the world cup 11, there is no balance in the team. He take up a slot and gets out cheaply by playing 21 deliveries and scoring 1 run.

    I do not care who opens because from the look of things, Shoaib Akhtar and M. Asif will most likely not be in the playing 11. Without them, we won't be able to get past the second round because Umar Gul will not be able to do it all by himself.

    Even when we had the great legends like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were playing, Pakistan won the matches when they both played. Without Wasim, Waqar lost most of the matches played and without Waqar, Wasim fared only a little better.

    Good Luck to Pakistan and I hope this time around, PCB learns from its mistakes.

  • nomi on February 23, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    SALMAN BUTT CANT PLAY SWING

    has everybody forgot about how he got out 3 times in the 3 opening overs in 3 matches in PAKISTAN!!

    YAIR HAMEED CANT.....PLAY AN ODI

    posts up respectable scores but very slow like 41 of 100 balls in an ODI.

    nazir and hafeez are the best choice

  • Mohsin Qureshi on February 23, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    I believe that the best possible opening pair Pakistan has is out of: 1) Imran Nazir and Mohammed Hafeez 2) Kamran Akmal and Imran Nazir

    And if Kamran opens Hafeez should be lower down the order and vice-versa (if Hafeez opens then obviously Kamran will have to be lower down the order).

  • aasim on February 23, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    It is no point cribbing about the team or openers we have for the world cup. We have what we have and we need to make the most of it. I would think Shoaib Malik should open with nazir for a variety of reasons. Shoaib looked very steady in South Africa and he has been tried and tested at the number 3 slot (which invariably was like an operner's slot due to our operners' early dismisals). However Hafeez cannot be left out of the side (unless kaneria is played) because of the slow low West Indian pitches. We need another spinner along with afridi and shoaib malik. No matter what combination we go with, hafeez has atleast the first 2 games to prove himself as Afridi will miss out. Bottom line..shoaib malik should open with nazir to give us some sort of stability and then hafeez can come in at 6,7 or 8 (more as a hitter than a responsibility role) depending on the situation.

  • Imran Shah on February 23, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    Wishful thinking Kamran!!! It is said that Pakistan has the most raw talent available....Well, just like crude oil can't be used to fuel automobiles, raw cricketers cannot be counted on to deliver time and again...We need to think long term..BUt this is not the time..For now as you sya persist with what you have...I wonder (and I pray) that this weakness can be turned into strength for althoug I am rational, I love cricket and love exceeds rationality by a distance

  • Spurs on February 23, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    Imran Khan has gone wrong on a number of occasions when he backed Zahid Fazal, Sami etc and now Yasir Hameed and salman butt.. we have no openers at all and thts final.. the disappointing play and selection of shots by all the batsmen in South Africa have shown their credentials (which are none to ssy).. Inzamam should start batting at the last position after sending the bowlers to play as we have seen his cowardly approach to his own batting order and his captaincy in general.. younis (more or less) played as an opener anyways in SA series and did well.. why dont we have Younis & Malik as openers, Yousuf as one down (most important position in any match), Inzi second down (for god sake dont waste ur talent coming down the order). what Inzi is doing is lame captaincy of letting the same opening problem happening again and again and putting more pressure on him and good batsmen.. Razzaq what can i say about him, most senseless crickter of the pak team.. never plays to occasion.. he is like robot with the captain feeding in his mind.. they say to him to play slowly and he will make 2 runs in 90 balls and get out.. wo gr8 work chump.. no thinking players in our camp... 4 years wasted from the previous world cup and team in disarray.. paper tigers i must say.. no world cup glory this time.. loads of credit to Mr Imran Khan who won it for us in 1992..

  • Pinstripe on February 23, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Yeah, well, why not Younis and Yousuf anyway? They otherwise come on in the 3rd and 4th over respectively anyway... and one can play all the allrounders then... Inzy at 3, and Afridi, Razzaq, Malik and Hafeez can all play, and Akmal next. And one can even think of using Hafeez as a semi-Mahanama circa '96... to hold it together if all is crumbling. And that's the only way Kaneria will get a game.

  • Muhammed Imran on February 23, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Assa lamualaikum ... Yasir and Salman are good openers but consistency is the key to success, in my view Yaser Hameed and Imran Nazir would be the best....

  • anees on February 23, 2007, 17:00 GMT

    inzi will never let become sort their weaknesses while he is captain, and bob aint got the guts to stand up to inzi and sort things out, while inzi is captain you can expect the same negative attitiude and batting order shuffling to suit his fat belly and bad back in every match. there was a time in 2004 that inzi used to lead from the front and he had succes hitting 2 centuries vs india and also hitting many 50's in the vb series. sadly that inzi is no more and now all we have is a overweight negative captain who thinks about himself more than the team and languishes down the order. as much as i want him to get 10,000 test runs and 12,000 odi runs if he continues to be like this i would prefer he retires instead of bringing more shame upon himself. he should quit while people still respet him

  • nasir on February 23, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    No matter how we analyze,reanalyze or deanalyze it, this outfit aint gonna make it. Its not a cynical remark its the truth plain and simple. Lesser talent with more spine does stand a fighting chance however Woolmer with his harebrained schemes and Inzy with his culture of hyperreligousity does not. As Oscar Wilde once said, 'the darkest hour is just before it goes completely dark.'

  • Ghalib Taimur on February 23, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    Imran Nazir coz of his hitting instincts and he will provide attacking option upfront and Salman Butt who is at this point the closest thing to Saeed Anwar..

  • Inam on February 23, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    I saw Imran Nazir batting in the last one-dayer in South Africa. His wild yahoo shots would look better in a tape-ball tournament rather than opening for Pakistan. I think Abdul Qadir was correct when he mentioned on TV the other night that both Imran Nazir and Afridi have the same problem - they are both nuts. Hafeez has consistently underperformed even if he gives the team a bowling option. Plus somehow all our openers favour the onside flick and often get leg before. This holds true for Yasir Hameed as well. Hmmm - there is no simple solution to this issue. I guess we will have a merry go round of openers and will feel great when they last past the fifth over.

  • Jack Murphy on February 23, 2007, 16:48 GMT

    Okay ..all this stuff about openers .try Butt /Hamid or Farhat /Hafeez ..is just futile and pathetic. All the four above have been consistently inconsistent and unpredictable. It is unfortunate but there is no silver lining among all four of the contenders. It actually points to the selection process at the under 15/19 levels , where systematically merit is ignored and crap like the above is infused as genuine talent ..and you know once a loser always a loser ..that is the case with the above four. In all honesty , Imran Khan was responsible for some of the biggest selection screwups . Some of the finest batsmen produced in Pakistan had their career shortened by the Khan nepotism. Imran's suggestions can as such be ignored.

  • Fahad Khan on February 23, 2007, 16:46 GMT

    Keeping in mind the overall composition and balance of the team, I will go with Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal to open the innings. If Imran fails in early 2-3 matches, we can give Hafeez a few match, but opening with Akmal is important so that we can play three all rounders in the lower order.

  • Shahid, USA on February 23, 2007, 16:37 GMT

    I am SICK of seeing gutless, spineless, talentless so called openers giving chances again and again and again...Yasir Hameed exclusion is gonna haunt Pakistan bigtime in the middle of the tournament when their Hafeez's and Akmal's start falling like a sand wall...again!

  • Saad on February 23, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    If Saeed Awnar shaves his beard, acquires a taste for booze, becomes a pimp, embraces the moderate enlightenement ideology, i.e. hands over his countrymen for a paltry few thousand dollars, participates in the bombing of his fellow citizens, lines up on tarmac at Chaklala Airbase to prostrate whenever an American janitor visits Pakistan, becomes an outspoken anti-islamic bigot, and renounces whatever religious awakening he may have had, the patron in chief of PCB, might just be tempted to bring him back as an opener....

  • Sohaib on February 23, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    Younis Khan plays almost opener anyways. But playing him opener means you lose the strength of the middle order. Pakistan should have stuck with Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed. Inzamam likes all-rounders, which is why Hafeez always tends to get looked at favorably. Imran Nazir is yet to prove himself, but the team management is hoping that he keeps to the form he has - this must be a curse! If Younis opens, Shoaib Malik should play one-down...

  • Muntaha Wali on February 23, 2007, 16:31 GMT

    I agree that the problem Pakistan has with the opening combination is not new and it's something that could be "the factor" in determining the outcome of the World Cup. It's a shame that Pakistan has failed consistantly to come with with the combination that could be a force to support the middle order. Salman Butt, during his time (before having problems against India and Pathan), was seen as the next Saeed Anwer. He really had the potential to go next level. His combination with Shoaib Malik was somewhat comfortable for the like of "big three" (younis, inzi, yousuf) to come and carry on. I also feel bad for Yasir Hameed. In my opinion he's one player whose really been overlooked. He's scored consistanly, whenever he's got the chance. He's had bad luck also during the South Africa tour as pitches weren't the best to bat on.

    I also fail to understand the reasoning behind having Malik play down the order. If Pakistan is having such problems with finding the right combination, he's someone who has had reasonable success as an opener. If he's to open with Imran Nazir, that would still strengthen the lower order for the likes of Razzaq, Afridi, and Kamran to come and hit and do what they're doing.

    Malik is also strong defensively and when required can launch some big one's. His combination with Imran Nazir can provide both stablity to some extent, and defense from one end. I think Kamran and Nazir should not open together. This is due to the fact that both are very aggressive and immature to bat at 1 and 2. They can shine against minnors like Ireland but will be stand up to big teams such as South Africa and Australia ?

    Hafeez on the other hand has had way too many chances and his ability to throw his wicket after getting a start is a worrying factor. I think Pakistan has picked him up to play it safe. His off-spin bowling option is the only thing in my mind that had to his advantage in edging out Yasir Hameed.

    My Conclusion to this would be open Shoaib Malik with either Kamran Akmal or Imran Nazir. Having a Nazir-Hafeez combination would also limit Pakistan from playing 3 seamers and a specialist spinner, which in my mind could be a big factor in the West Indian pitches.

  • Adnan on February 23, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    Yes i think what imran is saying makes sense, we should have gone in with Salman and Yasir instead of the Nazir and Hafeez, Both do not have the temperament to make big scores, hafeez despite many opertunities has not delivered and always throws his wicket, Nazir is another Afridi and cannot be depended upon. Salman is a very good player with a slight problem that should have been addresses by now if we had a better manager and can make big scores,three 100's by this man and two while chasing big scores is an example, yasir is a very solid player and could have been the reserve wicketkeeper in this team if we needed to drop Akmal. This i beleive is the only mistake in the selection of the team for the WC.let us hope for pakistan's sake that the selected pair can come good and make useful contributions to lessen the burden on the middle order. We are hoping against hope.

  • Osman Ali Khairi on February 23, 2007, 16:27 GMT

    I'm sorry Kamran. I personally think Imran Nazir has all the shots in the book to be an effective match winner at the top of the order. What’s infuriating and unfathomable though, is your unflinching support for Afridi. I know that Imran Nazir has a major problem with his shot selection. But if he had only been given the number of chances at the international level as Afridi the underperforming enigma has, he would have developed into a very good opening batsman! Sadly, our selectors never persevered with Imran for an extended period of time. As for Imran Farhat, the less said the better. Hafeez nevertheless, I believe has been a 'touch' unlucky! I mean he regularly gets out in the 20s and the 30s to decent balls. He usually starts off well! Caresses a few through the covers, flicks a few off his pads. And just when you think, hmm Hafeez looks settled, boom! Out he goes… But by the law of averages, I'm sure he will do well in the upcoming tournament, especially when you consider the flat tracks that he shall be playing on. Lastly, Hameed...well yes, from the looks of his 4 pervious ODIs (spanning over a couple of years), I don't know what he has done to not get selected. In retrospect though, I would pick Imran Nazir over Hameed any day. Match winners Kamran. Isn't that what you always talk about?

  • st on February 23, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    In pakistani team so much debate is going on about who,ll play as an opener salman butt,imran farhet , yasir hameed, imran nazir, there is so little diffrence in thier class that we can talk hour on who should be in team, the real dilema is is that grass root of pakistan cricket bad start their cricket from tape ball cricket and they have so many flaws in their technicque that they will keep struggling untill god almighty will give us a natural telant autimaticaly. but i,m sure this talk is a never ending talk about openers we should just shut up and keep our fingers croosed and pray may allah succed our team

  • Sarah, Toronto, Canada on February 23, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    I think openers should be able to give a fast and brisk start in an ODI..like Gilchrist (Aus), Smith (SA), Gayle (WI)..but our recent openers look like they have legs made of noodles...the only person I see is Afridi who can do maximum damage in early overs as he is a slogger..but PCB and Coach/Captain are soo dumb to realise that...WTF!

  • waseem on February 23, 2007, 16:22 GMT

    imran khan was right when he said yasser hameed and salman butt should be tried as an opening pair obviously the right left combination is an asset as well as its clearly easy to see that both players are better strokeplayers then any other opener pakistan have tried hafeez is probably better on wickets with movement and as for imran farhat he is not a natural hitter of the ball on the flat west indian batting pitches salman but and yasser hameed along with imran nazir should have been given their chance,,if pakistan fail in the world cup and if their openers fail bobby woolmer and clever old inzi should be prepared for some ritual self flaggellation,,,

  • Faraz, California USA on February 23, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    don't even start on salman butt...Pathan made a fool out him in the last series...but why would Yasir Hameed is excluded...who is running this moron selection? I guess the way world cup team is picked is by picking the worst players with the best source of a minister behind him in Pakistan Cricket....no wonder Pakistan team and PCB is becoming a laughing stock all over the world !

  • khurram on February 23, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    I am agree with you that it is realy an awful situation that PAKISTAN cannot establish a solid opening pair in almost a decade since the departure of Aamir Sohail. First we cannot find a partener for great SAEED ANWAR we have not made a serious effort it was not that difficult or impossible thing to find one opener from whole country. Now its realy a dilemma that who should open in all important WORLD CUP. I think we have to take some bold initiatives particularly by our senior players I would like that YOUNIS KHAN puts his hands up to open and the most demanding one for great INZAMAM to move himself to NO 3 position.

  • Shiraz from Houston, USA on February 23, 2007, 16:08 GMT

    Yaseer Hamid should have been picked for world cup with Imran Nazir...what I wanna know...WHO'S PAWWA IS BEHIND PICKING MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ? AND WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU NOT OPEN WITH AFRIDI IN THE BOWLING RESTRICTIONS?

    FEELS LIKE MONKEYS ARE RUNNING CRICKET IN PAKISTAN !

  • Khurram Malik (NEWYORK) on February 23, 2007, 16:06 GMT

    When i read Javed Miandad story about "its too late for pep talk". Saeed Anwar comes in mind why he's not invited. Stylish left hander gave lot reason to Pakistan to be proud team. PCB official sitting in their office just filling up their pockets and enjoying the life style provided by gov. They should let cricketer who knows about cricket run Pakistan Cricket Board. For me all these top official including Nasim Asharaf nothing but garbage. Chairman saved his seat by publicizing Shoiab and Asif. It so wrong to say Pakistan has not yet find opening pair. Salman Butt was grooming and need moral support from his captain and coach was completely ignored. He proved himself once again showing in domestic season that he is capable batsman. Salman Butt is super star because if he can score his first century against india. He is more than affective player. For example Roa iftakar what player he is come sit back and enjoy his fragile bowling action. Getting rid of Waqar Younis another problem for fast bowlers. What the hell Mustaq Ahmed knows about fast bowling? There are so many stories we can discuss but only solution to everything is that people in Pakistan need to stand up to fire these top official of PCB. Just imagine if Imran Khan running this PCB.

  • Usman Majeed from RWP on February 23, 2007, 16:03 GMT

    Well on Openers, I will definitely say that Yasir Hameed was the man that should have been in there, i mean what else is required of him especially looking at his recent ODI record. The perfect pair should have been Yasir Hameed with Mohammad Hafeez. Since there is no yasir, i will opt for Hafeez-Malik combination. Espacially the performances of Shoaib Malik in the recently concluded series.

  • Talal Hasan on February 23, 2007, 16:03 GMT

    The opening pairing has been the perennial problem for Pakistan. I disagree with Kamran about Mohammed Hafeez being involved. He avearges 18. He keeps getting out caught behind or slip which shows he doesn't the swinging ball very well.

    I think we have to go for the two specialists in butt and nazir. On slow and low wickets these boys should be able to adapt to the conditions.

    We have tried akmal and afridi but they are better utilised at 6/7. So Butt and nazir would be my choice

  • nakib ahmed on February 23, 2007, 16:02 GMT

    I believe inzamam made a huge mistake by not experimenting with the batting order in the series before the world cup....he could have shifted many of his middle order batsmen to the top slot....I also believe that the selectors could also have given Salman Butt a chance before the world cup as well.Iam outraged with the decison of the pakistani selectors to withdraw Yasir Hameed from the world cup squad when he had proven himself worthy of a ticket to the carribean.Well,with the current line-up,I believe that Pakistan should open with Hafeez and Nazir in their first match against the West Indies and Akmal and Nazir ind the second against Ireland.

  • A Razzak on February 23, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    I think that salman butt and yasir hameed were thre right choice but for some stupid reason they were not selected.

    looking at pakistans world cup squad i wud put mohammad hafeez and younis khan as the opening pair or maybe shoaib malik.the reason i wud put younis khan as the opener iz because he cums in after 5 overs anyway.as the no.3 i wud have Abdul Razzaq because he did well in that position in the last WC and he iz a class player. i hope pakistan win the world cup inshaallah they will win the world cup

  • Omair Ali on February 23, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    I feel that Imran Khan is correct in saying Butt and Hameed should be in the squad, but in place of whom? Butt for Hafeez! that leaves hameed.. sorry mate.. hard luck. you should definately be in the test squad though! the rest who are in the squad, 'play with all you got.. spirit and determination. but mainly bottle! succeed and do your nation proud.you stil have one of Imran's cornered tiger's from 1992, in the form of Inzamam ul haq. c'mon big fella deliver for us and its the perfect farewell. reminiscient to imran himself minus the charisma and add a few extra pounds, but he's still a legend!

  • aziz ahmed on February 23, 2007, 15:54 GMT

    The best player to open in the ODI. Pakistan in the past has tried Majid Khan with Zaheer Abbas their best bat at no. 3 spot. India has experimented with Tandulker with success. Both Yasser Hamid and Salman Butt have been tried in the past. So why not experiment with Younus Khan and Shoaib Mailk as openers so you can have a few allrounders in the middle.

  • Rameez Hanif on February 23, 2007, 15:50 GMT

    To start wih i don't think that taking Nazir and Haffez is a good idea. Hafeez has an average of 19 in 45 matches and a Stirke Rate of just 57. Yes he can bowl some overs but when u r taking only 2 specialist openers to the world cup then the batting skills should be the criteria for the selection. Imran Nazir was not in plan for the last 2-3 years and suddenly on the basis of one knock he is in the team. The two openers should have been from Salman Butt, Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed.

  • Farooq on February 23, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    From the squad announced for the world cup i personally feel that Younis Khan who has probably been Pakistan's most reliable performer along with Mohammed Yousuf should go and open the innings along with Imran Nazir. Younis is virtually opening every game as he has to walk out to bat in the first few overs of almost every innings. His technique is best suited to face the new ball. Because he is an extremely fit individual he can give a stand from one end. He his excellent between the wickets, always keeps the score board ticking over and produce those big boundries when needed. His experience can also help Imran nazir and he can be his natrual self knowing that someone sensible is at the other end. Shoaib malik can take Younis's place at three as he has an excellent record at that number and he is a very similar player to younis. And since neither inzi or yousuf or too keen to bat at three. I think i amke sense. the rest is upto BOB and Inzi

  • Chanuka Jayaweera on February 23, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    I Pakistan does not open with Afridi it will be the worst decision one could make. All you need is Afridi to stay in the crease till the end of the first compulsory powerplay and Pakistan will be merryly on their way to the World Cup Final. The ideal partner for Afridi will be Imran Nazir,

  • Furhad Yaqubian on February 23, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    Agree, Yasir Hameed has had a raw deal by not being selected for the World Cup as he could even bat lower down the order. Am not sure about Salman Buttt as his record is not too good either. I would have opted for Imran Farhat instead of Hafeez as Imran Farhat is a fighter - despite his weakness outside the off stump because of his ability to put a price on his wicket. The likes of Imran Nazir and Afridi have about one chance in five of coming good and therefore the odds of them succeeding are not good. Imran Nazir, Afridi and Razzak are all in the same mould and a great risk to the team if the three of them do not come good in a match.

    A left right opening combination would have been the best option as it tends to throw the bowlers off. A pity there was no serious thought process given to the selection of the team. With Rana Naveed in the team, Pakistan's chances are very slim and this is not even taking the fitness factor into considertion. With Pakistan having the WORST captain of the top eight test playing nations, the chances of doing well are almost negligent.

    Still, strange things can happen if God answers Inzi's prayers as he sure has put a lot of effort into it - instead of batting practice and fitness. This is the first World Cup I can remember Pakistan going into - with virtually NO chance at all. However, this is a game of glorious uncertainties as exemplified by India winning the World Cup in the eighties.

    Furhad Yaqubian Toronto, Canada

  • Ahsan Karim on February 23, 2007, 15:27 GMT

    It has to be said that arguably Pakistan's two best openers have been left out of the 15 man squad as pointed out by Imran Khan. However I disagree on your opinion that Hafeez should partner Nazir. I think Younis would make for a great opener and could be the perfect foil for an aggressive Imran Nazir. We saw slight glimpses of the partnership in South Africa, but on West Indian pitches it would be nice to have Nazir smashing at one end while Younis scampers singles and cracks the odd boundary while maintaining his wicket. The problem I found with Hafeez was that he played to unnaturally. He would get bogged down in a defensive frame of mind. (as was demonstrated by an over in which he left the first 5 balls of the innings only to edge one off Pollock on the final ball of the over) The combination that should have been (Butt and Hameed) may have been hard done by the selectors, but surely Inzy and Bob must try the Younis Nazir combination atleast in the warm up matches.

  • Muhammed Imran on February 23, 2007, 15:21 GMT

    Assa lamualaikum ... Yasir and Salman are good openers but consistency is the key to success, in my view Yaser Hameed and Imran Nazir would be the best....

  • Irfan Mayani on February 23, 2007, 15:08 GMT

    Well, I think now there is no need to cry about why yasir or salman but were not given chances. What we need is to make the most of the openers we have in the squad. I don't see any problem with Imran and Hafeez opening together or even Imran with Afridi ( if the wickets are more subcontinent style) but What is required is that both the openers should know what their role is. And their role should be designed according to their skills and abilities. You can't expect Nazir or Afridi to be sent in to see off the new ball , They need to be exactly told that their role is to put pressure on the opposition rite from the word go . And at the same time you have to tell Hafeez or Akmal that if Imran or Afridi is going great at the other end then there is no need for them to play their famous pull shots. Over all its just how pakis plan their innings. I would say that these days you cant just sit back and wait for the loose ball. Its aggressive cricket, people like Smith, Divvellers, Gilchrist, Gayle, Jaysuria and Ganguly will be opening the innings for others. We need to have the same attacking strategy but at the same time shot selections have to be improved. The openers need to be aggressive but they don't need to slog.

  • Wasiq on February 23, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    So the question still remains God knows for how long? What is the best combination that Pakistan has at its disposal? I guess nobody knows as it remains a mystery. A PCB created mystery that is. The incompetent cricket body on the planet has made it worst over the last few years and still has no clue. They have changed openers like a mother changing Huggy Diapers for a baby.

    I have been reading a lot of views of the Pakistani fans and cricket fans in general, who all have their own ideas of what the best combination should be out of 5 or 6 players that Pakistan tried in recent times. Unfortunately most of them seem as confused as the PCB over this dilemma. There isn’t one decent consensus on the best combination available. A lot of this should also be blamed on the players themselves as they never grabbed their chances fully due to inconsistent performances and at times were unlucky not to be given enough chances by the incompetent selectors. So everybody has their own favorites.

    I personally feel it’s a bigger problem than finding the good openers at the moment. I really believe and certainly agree with Imran Khan who has been saying this for decades that the domestic cricket structure is futile and needs completer overhaul in order to produce quality and technically sound batsmen and bowlers. The lack of proper infrastructure combined with dead wickets that these guys grow up playing on are to be blamed for the issues that we face today. Unless PCB can tackle these issues I have no hope of us finding the quality players for Pakistan in future.

    I think out of the given lot, I would pick the following guys based on their averages, their temperament and their technique, who I think if given enough chances, might come good for Pakistan. 1). Yasir Hameed 2). Salman Butt 3). Mohammed Hafeez

    All three have one weakness in common and that’s chasing a delivery outside the off stump!

  • Imran on February 23, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    Hello kamran, To me this is common sense to send younis khan as an opener, there is no question about it in my mind. He comes to the wicket under 5 overs anyway so why not send him as a opener? he certainly not a dasher but who cares aslong as he can stay on the wicket at leats first 10 overs. Its been happening, whenever our openers score, our middle order respond. There is no rocket science to it and inzi and bob should make their mind right now and stick to it.

  • mohammed on February 23, 2007, 15:01 GMT

    It doesn't matter who plays they will be rubbish. Both technically and tempermentally they will be poor. We have produced one decent opener in the 26 years since i have been watching that was Saeed Anwar. What has really astounded me is there serios lack of cricketing intelligence. Take any opener we have and one thing they all have in common is that they are thick. Contrast this to the australian players or players from SA and you see the difference in class and brains.

  • Usman Farooq on February 23, 2007, 14:59 GMT

    Yasir Hameeds only problem is that he has a slow strike rate. But he is a opener so it is ok as long as he can stick around and keep his wicket. It is better then to have Nazir or Hafeez who will start swinging the bat early on and get out in the 20's or 30's. Salman Butt was axed from the team a year ago after a small slump after a great year...why wasn't he given another shot as he does have talent. All in all...picking Nazir shows the team management being desperate. They are now just praying that Nazir somehow does well. Maybe there next move will be to axe Younis or Yousaf and bring back Taufeeq Umer haha.

  • Zain on February 23, 2007, 14:56 GMT

    There has been plenty of bru-ha-ha about our opening troubles...I just wonder...what ever happened to the effective, Butt/Hamid combination? Both understood eachothers game, scored at a fair tick, filled the righty/lefty role....and despite Yasir's susceptbility to the ball outside off and moving away......did a pretty consistent job for us......That was as close to Ramiz/Aamer as you can get.......Sigh...Anyway.....Off to the world cup!

  • Navid Ahmed on February 23, 2007, 14:53 GMT

    Hi Kamran, I am a die hard fan of Pakistani cricket and have followed them since i started watching cricket, apart from Amir Sohail and Saeed Anwar Pakistan have never been able to produce an opening pair because they are not patient enough, it doesnt take 10 years to develop an opening pair. For this World Cup, Pakistan should open with Mohammed Hafeez and Imran Nazir and stick to them during the whole tournament, they need to give them confidence and may be someone needs to speak to them and explain their role to them, Nazir in my my eyes is probably the best opener w have at the moment, opening with Afridi or Akmal is just waste of time, keep them in the lower order for quick scoring in the final overs. I hope Pakistan do well in the World Cup and bring it back to Pakistan, I wish them all the best and may Allah give them strength.

  • Qasim Raza on February 23, 2007, 14:46 GMT

    When saeed anwar used to open, inzaman used to come one down sometimes. And inzi does avg quite well in the 3 slot. He also played a couple innings opening and he did pretty good. So whats wrong now. When anwar's gone, Inzi should actually be in the number 3 position, or better yet, even open!. I think inzi's age has taken its tole. When people get older, their hunger increases. Yousef probably even told inzi to come at 3, but inzi as usual would reply 'Mera liee khana kon khai ga? tera bap??? (who will eat food for me you damn fool). Apparently he likes watching something while eating, and what better than to watch his inexperianced batsmen made fool of themselves by the opposition bowlers. And enough with the taliban for god sakes. I know cricket is not a beauty contest, but an idol should look his best because many people look up to them. Now half our team looks like those planet of the apes guys.

  • Talal Khawaja on February 23, 2007, 14:46 GMT

    Inzi should learn something from his '92 captain and that is learning how to take a RESPONSIBILITY .Now that he knows that he does not have any openers so he should just make Hafeez and Younis open and like all the captain he should move his lazy Butt up to #3 and let Yousaf stay where he is at #4, and i'm sure rest of the line him and Bob can work out . BUT TO WIN THIS WORLDCUP INZI GOTTA MOVE UP . INZAMAN IF U CAN HEAR ME OUT , DUDE PLZ MOVE UP FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THE PAKISTANI WHO WANTS HIM TO WIN THE WORLD CUP JUST LIKE HE DID FOR US IN '92.

  • Masaood Yunus on February 23, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    The road to Jamaica is indeed rough and especially for the openers. I think Pakistan under estimated Yasir Hameed and he should have been given a chance in One Days. We can only wish that Pakistani openers come out of their "low on confidence syndrome" and start playing like opening batsmen. For long we have chased the out swingers and pulled to early and paid the price whether a left hand or right. The stage is all set and its times to impress with your skills and just not be a show man at the pitch anymore. Younis Khan opening with either Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal or Hafeez might be a good strategy as having a senior, experienced player at the one end will keep others in check at the other end. A combination of Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik might do wonders too. Why not try this combination in the first 2 warmup games ? hmm .. too many confusing options.

  • Aqil on February 23, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    Very big problem for pakistan but I think Imran had the best option. Hafeez does not score consistent enough (every third innings is a duck) because of his faults in technique. Imran Nazir plays well and will do well on WI pitches but he cant control his aggression and tries to crosshit full deliveries. Pakistan should go with Afridi who had a great trip last time over there and he can give the theam a good postive start. So Imran Nazir and Afridi are my selection.

  • Billa007 on February 23, 2007, 14:30 GMT

    I like the idea of Younis opening. Gives more strength in the middle order that way. Pakistan’s most successful strategy in history has been to save wickets and then hit towards the end. Maybe Younis can provide some stability in the beginning.

  • salman siddiqui on February 23, 2007, 14:29 GMT

    I totally agree. Yasir Hameed would have been an ideal choice with a string of good scores under his belt in the last 4-5 ODI's that he's played, with a good solid technique (much better than both Hafeez and Imran Nazir), he would've been an asset in the Caribbean. I don’t see the point of including both Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the same side. Both are equal in every respect, but Malik has a clear cut edge with his much better consistency and temperament. Plus we already have a dasher in Imran, it would’ve been better to include Hameed (instead of Hafeez), who has a better technique and temperament.

  • Jauhar on February 23, 2007, 14:29 GMT

    Sweet kamran & friends!

    No disagreement at all that we had weak support from openers. In my understanding the issue is not just openers. It’s more associated with Emotional Intelligence. We had poor game plan. In some cases, when it was better, we had poor execution. In case of it’s failure, we probably did not have effective alternative plans. Our dilemma is poor leadership. Inzi & Woolmer both are big names but definitely, somebody is responsible for nervous reflection in stressed conditions during matches. Our biggest issue is poor mental health, we can’t take pressure. We always look flat. No resistance at all. No life. No strive. Success in any competitive environment demands leadership, vision/ direction, management, self belief, faith, motivation, team focus & hard work. Body language is always a key message to opponents. Fielding is the key. Look coherent to dominate.

    To resolve this opening issue, in my perception, best option is Younus khan joining Imran Nazir. If you look at his arrival at the crease, it’s in most of the cases like an opener, very early in the innings. So a big player should join officially the opening squad. Our both opener, in most of the cases seem to play same type of game. No anchor role at one end at one time. Both try to play fast. One opener should be cool minded & staying.

    Inzi has poor time with the bat. He being a captain should lead from the front. He must come at top the order, I mean one down. Then fit a junior player at two down. Muhammad yousaf should be repositioned at No. 5. In case of top order failure, he being consistent can be relied on.

    Inzi at tha back, in the middle, makes relax feeling for players before him & he now a days does nothing in most of the cases, especially when we have stress. I don’t mean by any way that he is not a big player. He had been a great legend but unfortunately since long not very consistent. To be successful, we don’t need bigger names; we need fighters, effective players with results. Utilize Afridi better.

    Have game plan. Utilize the available resource effectively. Induce! We can do it belief in the team & see the magic.

    Good Luck Pakistan. Hope to see you at least in Semis.

    Jauhar

  • sanjeevi on February 23, 2007, 14:27 GMT

    i love yasir hameed opening with hafeez

  • Farhan Ali Baig on February 23, 2007, 14:23 GMT

    Well I agree with you comments Mr. Kamran. The dillema of Pakistan finding the right pair of openers has always and always plagued us. I do however feel despite Yasir Hameed missing out, the opening pair we are taking (Imran Nazir & Mohammed Hafeez) is possibly the best we have at the moment. Enough chances have been given to likes of Salman Butt/Imran Farhat and thy have time and time failed to impress and seal their position. Imran Nazir, i have been following for sometime and he lacked International match practise but he has all the abilities (esp on the West Indian wickets) to take the bowlers apart. In Hafeez and Nazir we not only have (resonably) reliable openers but also energetic fielders (Hafeez also as a bowler). So best of luck to Pakistan and each and every player for the worldcup...

  • zain qureshi on February 23, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    i hope for evryones sake your right...as for the salmab butt -yasir hammed pair now that you mention it one cant halp but thing y it wasnt tried....it seems to be a very logical answer to pakistans opening problem....one that certainly warrents a try.

  • Yasir on February 23, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    In my view Opener should always have a good natural foot work. Hafeez has habit of committing himself to front foot and Nazir commits to backfoot. Kamran Akmal has a better foot work and looking at some of his test innings under difficult conditions he looked like a good choice but in one days he always looks to be try to overdo the job. He should also modify his cut shot a little to be over the field like Sehwag. Shoaib Malik can be another option for West Indies surfaces only, He is not particularly good at back foot but I think he enjoys slow bounce and has a strong head. In my view Malik-Akmal or Malik-Nazir pair is worth giving a shot in WI conditions but captain has to give Akmal or Nazir some doze to make sure that they get out only on good deliveries. Afridi should never be considered an opener, he should only be used in slog overs with no pressure of keeping his wicket so that he can hit freely.

  • Armughan on February 23, 2007, 14:17 GMT

    I agree with you that Muhammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir should open. If these two can deleiver and especially Imran Nazir can hold his nerve, it can be one big joy ride for Pakistan. Those who have seen Hafeez in 20/20 Domestic Competition would know that he can be as dangerous as any one in the team. Pakistanis just need to hold it together and make sure that they don't panic. Occasional tactical change can be accepted but stability will be the key factor. Lets all hope for the best!

  • shab on February 23, 2007, 14:12 GMT

    Th ebest openers i see are imran nazir and salman butt. Nazir has natural talent and can score very quickly and turn the game around in a few overs. What pakistan need to do is stick with a pair for a while so the players can bond and get a chemistry going between them which will help their batting.

  • Suhail Siddiqi on February 23, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    It's sad to see that Pakistan have been unable to establish a decent opening pair. Every other team in the WC (with the exception of maybe England) has a good opening pair to rely on. And now with a very fragile looking bowling attack, Pakistan really needs their top order batting to fire consistently. Also, it's really sad to see a promising player such as Yasir Hameed has been left out, and Imran Nazir has been given a chance on the basis of one good performance. Neverthless, I agree with you Kamran, that the West Indian wickets may just suit the Pakistanis. (Inshallah)

  • rizwan bajwa on February 23, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    i am baffled by the decision to keep salman butt and yasir hameed out of the squad.... why in the world aren't these players opening.... i agree with mr. Abbasi on this. i think Inzi, Younis and Yousuf will be once again asked to shoulder the burden of pakistani scoring. if they don't click we are in for an embarrassment.

    the second major issue which i think much more attention needs to be given to are the bowling woes. with the prospect of shoaib and asif increasingly looking bleak, and the fact that the others are bound to get injured within a couple of games into the cup....who will be bowl for pakistan???

    anybody! help!!!

  • Abdul Kadir Hussain on February 23, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    Have to agree with Imran, Butt and Hameed were probably the way to go. But now that we have these guys, and given that Afridi is unavailable for the first couple of games, you have no choice but to go for r and Hafeez atleast in the Warmups and the first round. If they don't succeed (and we still find ourselves in the 2nd round) I think Kamran's suggestion of opening with Younis, with Malik at 3 and Akmal at 6 with Afridi at 7 would be fine.

    The bigger question is, will we have the courage to play one less allrounder (Razzak maybe) and play 4 specialist bowlers. Asif, Gul, Rao and Kaneria. In my view that would be the way to go.

  • Mohammed Ahmed on February 23, 2007, 13:59 GMT

    The opening dilemma is the achilles heal of Pakistan cricket. For the most part, if Pakistan get a good opening stand, they end up putting a solid total on the board (case in point is the third ODI in the recent South Africa ODI series). I agree with Imran Khan that Hameed and Salmaan are the best available. Look at Hameed's record in his last few ODI's, and look at Salmaan's talent and temperment (he is the only opener who has succeeded on Australian wickets in his first series there). Imran Nazir probably has the most talent of all of the opener candidates but does not have the technique or temperment to be consistent. Hafeez has been tried and tested and lacks the consistentency. Given the present squad though, my vote is to try Malik and one of Nazir/Hafeez as the openers. Its too late to promote Younis as opener during the world cup as that has never been tried before. Pakistan missed golden opportunities in the lead up to the world cup to experiment and find the right combination with the openers, but they stuck with Hafeez and Farhat for too long and did not give enough time to gauge Hameed, Nazir, or Butt.

  • ahsan khan on February 23, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    I have a theory Kamran. Do you think we have this dilemma in the opening slot because if we dont then who would praise yousuf, younus and inzamam. If we had good opening pair do you really think we would really talk that much about the Trio.

  • Umer on February 23, 2007, 13:57 GMT

    Pakistan has absolutley no chance of winning the cup. I don't care which opening tandem they use. They have no hope! Pakistan has always won games or when they won games, is solely on raw talent, without viable pace attack which use to be their strength.. They have no hope. They never been proficient or discipline team on and off the field. So to say opener could've made any difference is abolutley ridiculous. Not pissed off but my personal assessment.

    Umer Wash DC

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 23, 2007, 13:55 GMT

    KAMRAN ABBASSI reckons that Imran Nazir and Hafeez should open the innings. I would suggest that Shoaib Malik be tried in place of Hafeez, because Malik has the ability to control his innings whereas, Hafeez doesn't. If Malik bats for longer period of time he also has the ability to explode later and he is very effective. With Shahid Afridi they should be flexible i.e., when they need to improve the run rate he should come up the order and accelerate the innings or else he bats at number 6. If Imran Nazir is not in the team for some reason then Afridi should open the innings. BUT Inzi MUST play at number 3 in every single match. Since we are discussing the opening conundrum this is all I would like to say on this thread.

  • nasir on February 23, 2007, 13:51 GMT

    West Indian wickets will be lower and slower than SA. They should suit Pakistan. I think Pakistan should adopt an attacking strategy and open with Afridi and Nazir. Going by their stats they each click 20% of the time. If one of them gets going Pakistan can post a decent total. I beleive the first 15 overs will be crucial as the ball will come on which thse two will enjoy.

    Unfortunately for me Hafeez is not really an opener. He has yet to play a decent memorable knock and I do not see him dominating quality bowlers like Pollock, Bond, Mcgrath, Zaheer or Vaas, those he will have to face on the road to the semi-finals. I do not expect Afridi or Nazir to dominate them but they stand a better chance of getting quick runs on the board.

    Pakistan must get 10 overs out of Afridi and at least 5 from hafeez to justify their inclusion.

    Malik should play at three, where he has been most successful and should bowl at least 5 overs. That would leave just 35 overs to be bowlerd by the three or four specialists and/or Hafeez.

  • Shahid on February 23, 2007, 13:50 GMT

    Kamran, i would say that instead of Younis Khan it has to be inzamam if Pakistan are to solve the opening problem. Lately Inzi hasnt been performing well and also he is our best player of pace bowling so why not have the captain open the inning. I remember when he opened in couple of innings against australia in 96-97 and he was successful. He is our best player and should be utilised on top of the order. I wont suggest Younis to open the innings because he takes sometime to get going which can create some pressure if he is out. Of course you cant expect him to make a 50 or 100 everytime he goes out. Thanks Shahid.

  • olmert on February 23, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Not taking yasir hameed to the WC was a BIG mistake. His last four ODI scores have been 40 plus! what more is required , i fail to understand. But one thing is for sure, Bob W will leave after the WC no matter what the result is. What has Bob done for Pakistan cricket that other coaches have not??? Perfect example, SA tour, the batsmen failed as they always do on such pitches with earlier coaches..so what was Bob's input one may ask? back to the openers debate...with the current squad...i would like to see Afridi and Nazir open. Hafeez is useless and should be dropped down or out of the playing eleven as a matter of fact.

  • haroon on February 23, 2007, 13:44 GMT

    well guys i think pakistan should open with yasir hammed and imran nazir. i beleive that yasir hammed is a solid player who can get a solid start. when pakistan beat SA in one of the one dayers imran nazir gave pakistan a blistering start and should take great credit. he seems to be a very strong player and can damage the opisistion.

    if pakistan want 2 chose somonelse maybae they should pick mr kamran Abassi for his great strokeplay and poor journelism.

  • Imran on February 23, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Spot on Kamran. We've spent half a decade finding new openers but still we've failed miserably. And i think thats the biggest failure of Woolmer-Inzi regime.

    I can sniff a strong smell of HOPE from your blog. And PRAY and HOPE is all we can do at the moment!

  • Umer Farooq on February 23, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    We do face the opener dilemma, but we also need to hedge for the likely outcome that we will lose at least one of our openers early (in the first ten overs).

    Imran Khan has consistenly vouched for Inzamam to bat at No. 3. I agree completely.

    The job of a No. 3 batsman is to prevent a crisis, not cause further woes for the team. Inzi is the man for the job. The two Y's should play at No. 4 and No. 5.

  • khansahab on February 23, 2007, 13:27 GMT

    Mr Abbasi, Thank God you have chosen a more contentious and interesting topic than dope test problems! Surely this one will garner more comments from the fans. There is a difference between knowing something in theory and knowing something in practice. Pakistan have not really toured West Indies that much to be familiar with the conditions there. Hence, the assertion that Pakistan will adapt nicely to the conditions in WI owing to the tropical nature of the pitch, is a refutable one. Jogging my memory back, I recall Pakistan even found themselves at odds with Indian pitches recently! The reason I mention the nature of the pitches is because if the pitches are similar to that of Pakistan, than surely a right/left hand combination would work more than the partnership of Hafeez and Nazir. Salman Butt and Mohammad Hafeez would have been a more suitable pair, for this WC only though. I dare not mention Yasir Hameed because he has failed as an opener. So have Hafeez and Butt, but Pakistan’s current concern seems only to play mindless explosive hitters who have a 25% chance of success only. Hence Butt and Hafeez fit the description adequately. Let us forget Imran Farhat. The reason why Hafeez is chosen over Nazir is because the latter has not played enough ODI cricket recently and everything else being equal, Hafeez has been a more skilled batsman. Nazir needs to revamp his batting knowledge before he can start performing admirably; Hafeez, having been a regular member of the squad recently, will clearly have been instructed as to where his weaknesses lie and how to correct them. I have been a staunch advocate for Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Yousuf to open for Pakistan is both ODI’s and Tests. Akmal has to bat somewhere in the order, if he scores then it’s a bonus, if he doesn’t, it was expected. A consistent player must be played in Akmal’s usual position lower down the order (i.e. players unlike Razzaq/Afridi). It’s time to dispense with the dream of the “specialist Pakistani opener”. That Nazir and Hafeez are part of Pakistan’s WC squad is a travesty.

  • Muhammad Umair Yasir on February 23, 2007, 13:27 GMT

    As far as WORLDCUP and opening problem is concerned, we must keep in mind that World Cup is not going to be held in South Africa, Australia or England. We will have totally different pitches in West Indies. So we must see opening problems in that perspective. So, based on the situation we can choose from Imran Nazir, Afridi, Hafeez and Kamran Akmal. It will not be a big problem for any of these players. I am sure that these wickets are ideal for these players. Imran gave one good start in South Africa and we all know the rest.

    We just need to give them some confidence. I think they are as good as any other opening batsman (At least on the wickets in West Indies).

    While talking about long term planning, YES, We have a problem with our opening pairs. We need opening players who can perform any where in the World, regardless of the type of wickets.

    But I have no real worries about our batting in the World Cup 2007. But I am not sure about bowling.

  • Neral on February 23, 2007, 13:26 GMT

    Openers should be Afridi & Akmal, if they both get it right, the match would be finished within 20 overs

  • Muhammad Ali Sajjad on February 23, 2007, 13:26 GMT

    Pakistan can try as many opening combinations as it likes, if they actually score any runs it will be like a bonus for pakistan.In the end, weather yousaf,younus and inzi have scored runs or not will make the difference. Dont expect openers to score, and i seriously doubt they will (score). Good Luck to Pakistan against all hope!

  • Ali on February 23, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    This is a never ending debate Kamran... Names / faces will change but the volatile temperament is the same. Let's just hope whoever opens the innings can keep their heads and put a price on their wickets. Please, don't sacrifice YK as opener now - neither Yousuf nor Inzi will take No. 3 spot - and the other option (Hameed) is not there...

  • Nasser on February 23, 2007, 13:23 GMT

    I admire your optimism Kamran. I do not believe that the Hafeez/Nazir combo will succeed in the Super 8s. We will likely see Malik and/or Akmal as one of the openers before it is too long. I do agree with you that the opening problem is going to end up being the achilles heel of the Pakistan team because they need to put up good totals for their bowlers especially if Shoaib and Asif are out. I believe Younis with Nazir or Hafeez is the best option.

  • Nasar Farooq, Leicester.UK on February 23, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    The time for experimenting is over.Pakistan have made their choices and now its time to stick to their guns, show faith in those picked and give them as much encouragement as possible.Ability is not their problem-but lack of confidence and temperament certianly is, especially with their openers.the openers must know where there off stump is and show good judgement in playing and leaving the ball in the 'corridor of uncertainty', especially during the first ten overs.If in doubt, consult geoffery Boycott! Good Luck Pakistan..............certainly going to need some.........if they are to win the cup.

  • Farrukh Aziz on February 23, 2007, 13:05 GMT

    Hasn't Hafeez been given enough chance and his average fails to rise above 20? I admire his fielding and getting crucial overs in bowling but still he doesn't seem to be the answer. Nazir is a better bet though I'd still have Hameed and Butt as the openers just loike Imran said. I donno what Hameed has done wrong to be out of the squad. Butt should be given more chances too.

    Peronally I don't think Pakistan will go much further than Super 8's this time around. Make no mistake I wish they would win it (that one superb victory against SA raised hopes) but that doesn't look like a realistic option as of now ....

  • Imran akhtar on February 23, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    I believe for the world cup, since the wickets are more like home, and not with much bounce, Nazir and Hafeez can do a decent job for Pakistan, though this doesnot look likea long term solution, for the team needs openers with the best technique, and certainly Imrna Nazir doesnot seem to possess that nor does he seem to possess the temprament. hafeez though loooks to have improved his technique since he has come back. I think our batting will do good in those comditions ,however it is the bowling combnination that would be the main area of concern, with the injuries to our main strike bowlers, it is the main area of concern.

  • tahir saeed on February 23, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    pakistan have very serious problem in opening and our tradition says we perhaps never had any geniune oppener,saeed anwar,majid,rameez all were middle order batsman,but wise and brave imran send them as oppener and time proved they were sucessful,what u need in an oppener ,a solid technique,temprament,average close to 40.if we see our expected oppening pair for this word cup ,we dont ve any oppener who can play long innings or his average is close to even 30,i think inzamm should take this challenege,he should open the innings with hafeez or nazir,we have plenty of talent to cover his late no 6 position.this is the only solution to resolve pakistan oppening problem.

  • Shafaat on February 23, 2007, 12:56 GMT

    Both the openers (Imran Nazir and Hafeez) wont be playing together in the big matches, since Shoaib Malik needs to be accomodated in the midlle order so one of the opener needs to be sacrificed. To support the opener either Younis,Kamran or Shoaib Malik might move up. I think the management will give a chance to both the openers in the first five games before the 'Super 8's'starts and than one which performs better in those five games will get a chance to play in the Super 8's. There is one more possibility that Younis might don the wicket keeping gloves and both openers play since Younis wont do much worse than what Kamran is doing in the wicket keeping role

  • Ashfaq Shah on February 23, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    Even in 92 world cup, Imran tried Zahid Fazal againt India and S.Africa as a stopgate opener. Younis i remember has been tried once but failed. Another case of middle order becoming an opener is Saeed Anwar, and boy what a decision it turned out to be.

  • sameer on February 23, 2007, 12:46 GMT

    Pakistan gave Kamran Akmal no rest even when he wasnt perfoming well with the gloves and he now is starting to get better. Pakistan should have stuck with the same pair of Salman Butt and yasir Hammed and even if they werent performing they should have been helped by the pcb and the coaches and get better. But not having trusted their openers and kept swapping and changing the opners themeselves would have lost trust in themeslves and the coaches aswell as the board. An example is Taufic Umer. He only played 1 or 2 tests in England and was sent back home. This also happened to Salman Butt.

  • Naveed Bajwa on February 23, 2007, 12:38 GMT

    In My opinion Imran Nazir should be given go ahead and should be told that you are the opener for the complete Worldcup. In first two games we don't have shahid afridi(thanks to malcom speed) so obvious choice is Hafeez and 2 games are and should be enough for hafeez to prove himself . But again like so many inning he had played, he looks so solid for 25-30 runs and then loss his wicket which I think is a psychological problem rather than skills. What are you doing BOB?

  • vikas on February 23, 2007, 12:19 GMT

    Rarely do we see an unbroken string of great players replacing one another. You have gaps in between and for this position Pakistan seems to be going through a big gap. Partly because the people at the helm of affairs have not bothered to look in the right direction.

    However, a makeshift pair alone will not make the Pakistan challenge a genuine one. Too many Band Aids are required to hold this ship from disintegrating. We have just finished the Shoaib- Asif-drug-issue postmortem (or should I call it the premortem). There is the issue of bowling at large (with or without the two gentlemen), the captain's capability, wicket keeping, suicidal tendencies, infighting, bans (potential and imposed), ........

    Having said that I also beleive that if the team unites for a cause then it can still WIN the cup. The skill is there, the ability is also there but the spark is missing. Inzi and gang need to just provide the spark and things will fall into place.

  • Nasser Siddiqui on February 23, 2007, 12:17 GMT

    Not a bad article although I believe what Imran Khan says is sort of right. I dont understand the reason why Salman Butt was dropped and forgotten about. Sure he had a bit of flaw playing outside off stump in which aussies worked him over, but he still had talent. My suggestion to overcome this opener problem is simple, play your best batter at the top and who is the best batter? Mohammad Yousef! He is simply wasted where he bats now. Yousef can be the ideal batsman where he can bat or try to bat the whole innings. Im sure he has the technique to handle the conditions, especially in WestIndies at the start.

    I dont think GUL is a one day bowler and may be subject to some batterings given his relative inexperience. It is important that the team can bat deep to get 300+ scores.

  • USMAN HASSAN on February 23, 2007, 12:16 GMT

    Even if the recommended pair proves to be a 'strength', thanking to the flat west indian pitches, they may have to meet the same fate after some time which Imran Nazir has already met, when he was praised by Waseem Akram in India in 1999 because of his performance in two tournaments in the sub-continent involving only sub-continental teams.

  • Aqeel Lone on February 23, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    The argument that the pitches in the West Indies will be like the ones on the Sub-continent is a pointless one we need technically correct batters at the top of the order, I am amazed that Bob Woolmer has not been able to nurture 2 guys (YASIR HAMEED and SALMAN BUTT should have been the obvious choices for ODIs and the TESTs)to do this important job. Now that they are not there i hope Kamran Akaml and Imran Nazir are given the opportunity to give us some good starts. Shoaib Malik should be sent 1 down if they lose a wicket in the first few overs, as he has proved that he can hold one end up when the going gets tough.

  • Amar on February 23, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    Before the South Africa series, I was tempted to suggest Shoaib Malik to open. However, through the SA tour, it seems as though when everyone else was crumbling, he was the only one to actually stick around. I would have him batting at 6.

    I think Pakistan should try Hafeez and Nazir for the warm up games, and if they don't work, then I'd really be in favour of sending Mohammed Yousuf as opener, and not Younis Khan. He practically comes out to open as it is anyway, and I think his defensive ability gives him the edge over Khan, who in a couple of games in SA was ultra-defensive without scoring. Yousuf on the other hand uses the powerplays more sensibly in my opinion.

  • Shahab Shahid Randhawa on February 23, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    Pakistan should try Younis Khan as opener,because he always comes inside first 5 or 7 overs.So,there is not much difference for hi, being opener or one-down.At no.3 comes Shoaib Malik followed by Yousuf,Inzi,Kamran,Razzaq,Afrdi. That remains 3 positions.One should go to Kaneria and other two to fast bowlers.That is the ideal eleven of Pakistan for me.The other opener along with Younis can be either Hafeez or Imran Nazir depending on form.

  • mujtaba on February 23, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    i agree with kamran that it should be nazir and hafeez to open.the most important thing is to get a good solid openening stand of 50 or 60 in 10 overs or so.this will lead to the middle order expressing themselves freely and undoubtedly help with late hitting being easier for afridi and co. if we can get get decent scores on the board.it wil be that bit easier to defend,be it without akhtar and asif.this is the only way i can see pakistan making a good fist of a undoubtedly hard campaign.may god help them in understanding what it means to play for your country.fight all the way to the bitter end.pakistan zindabd!

  • Faisal Akhter - Toronto on February 23, 2007, 11:56 GMT

    Kamran,

    The biggest problem with the opening department is the mis-management of every single PCB administration since 2000. When Sohail was kicked out of the team, Pakistan NEVER felt the pinch because the greatest Pakistan opener of all time, Saeed Anwar, more than covered for the lack of support at the other end. When Saeed was around, Miandad and Co would sometimes send Wasti into open with him, then Elahi, Afridi, Taufiq Umar, Imran Nazir, etc - almost everyone was given plenty of chances but at that point, we really did not care who partnered Saeed, because Saeed himself was an icon who carried the other opener with him.

    However, when Sohail became chief selector, he went about settling old scores and dropped Saeed Anwar after the World cup for NO reason. Saeed was easily the most succesful Pakistan bastsman in the 2003 world cup, despite being out of the game for so long, yet instead of being rewarded for his guts and determination, Sohail proved he was settling old jealousies and dropped Saeed. Saeed, promptly retired, and went about his life quietly, because he was always a decent fellow. However, Sohail robbed Pakistan of the services of Saeed Anwar, because not only could Saeed have played for another 2-3 years easily, but he could also have helped us build another opener with him. It's no secret that Imran Farhat and Salman Butt openly state that they look upto Saeed and have learned a lot just watching him play. But imagine how much more they could have learned batting with him, thanks to Sohail and Tauqir Zia that never happened.

    Since then guys like Wasti,Taufiq,Hafeez,Farhat,Hameed,Butt,Nazir etc have all been tried and failed to show the consistency or that they can learn from their mistakes. Imran Khan keeps talking about his fellow pathan Yasir Hameed - however Yasir has been tried numerous times and he always throws his wicket away, if you look at how he got out in South Africa, he was out getting caught in the slips chasing balls that were on 4th or 5th off-stump. And this guy has been played for 6 years now. Why should we play Yasir Hameed when he like Imran Farhat and Mohd Hafeez, has shown he has not learned anything from his mistakes?

    I think Salman Butt is the only opener in this crop who will not only be a quality world class opener but also a future pakistan captain. It was a mistake not taking him to the WC. Hafeez is just a bits and pieces player, he throws his wicket away, and barely gets past 20-25 runs. At least Imran Nazir has more natural talent than Hafeez, so if Nazir gets going - his talent will help him get big scores. Hafeez doesent have the talent or the temperament. What Pakistan really need to do for the WC is let Nazir open with Shoaib Malik. Nazir can play the pinch hitter role, and Shoaib Malik can try batting right through. Malik already has a few 100s to his name opening or batting at number 3, so he is quite capable of getting big ones, and he's 10 times more talented and capable than Hafeez. AFTER the WC however, Pakistan MUST bring back Salman Butt and make him open in tests and ODIS, and as far as his partner goes - I think it`s time we find a new player - someone from the A team or the under 19 team. We cannot keep trying Taufiq,Hameed,Hafeez and Farhat because all of them have been given ample chances and have proved they are simply not good enough. Also, we need to get Saeed Anwar to help us find some good openers. He's a champion opener, and we use his services asap.

  • Awais M on February 23, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    Well!! Nothing can b done now but to support Imran and Hafeez. They both can surely play but they need some confidence. Pakistan have always been struggling 2 find openers but i agree with Kamran Sahab tht these two might click on caribbean tracks. I dont feel tht Younis Khan can open though he hasnt been properly tested as an opener. So guyz Keep ur fingers crossed!!

  • Faisal Riaz on February 23, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    it should have been hameed opening wid nazir, but lets hope who ever opens does a good job coz we know that they are good players they jus need to prove it to themselved that they are, i also think shahid afridi should open wid imran nazir in the past they have been involved very good partnerships, if pak openers can get 50 runs in the first 10 overs and dont lose a wicket i cant see pak losing the game from there

  • Qaiser Mustafa Shahbaz on February 23, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    I think Nazir and hafeez are good choice keep afridi and kamran up dont bring them down. The should be death sloggers. up in the order they will just do in a single match and for the rest of the tournment the middle order will be covering up their blunders so please regular openers

  • Shokaib on February 23, 2007, 11:44 GMT

    Yes man i was thinking of inzi if his team is not doing gd job at start of innings why doesnt he open the batting with imran nazir like sa graeme smith always gives gd start inzamam bohath pagal hai yaar

  • Yassar on February 23, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    Pakistan’s lack of having a decent opening pair today is down to partially a poor domestic structure and poor selection decisions over the years.

    If we start with the latter, Pakistan in Saeed Anwar had a brilliant opener who was a reliable and proven performer all over the world and not just in sub-continental conditions. After the disaster of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa in typical PCB style the management had a massive clear out of players which culminated in various retirements.

    Saeed Anwar unfortunately was one of those who was ignored and ignored and ignored further at which point he decided to retire. The utter brainless mis-handling of such a situation led to Pakistan losing a fabulous, proven player who still had much to offer but more importantly Pakistan lost a player who occupied a slot in which they had no half-decent replacement so much so that they are still struggling today with this!

    I am very much in favour of giving youngsters a chance if they can prove themselves…if they are good enough then they are old enough, at the same time this approach needs to be applied at the other end. If a player is good enough then he is young enough. If the player has still something to offer as Saeed Anwar quite clearly did, then they should not be discarded so brainlessly as he was.

    Saeed Anwar’s retainment and presence not only would have helped groom a potential replacement but also would have helped with the transitional period that every team has to go through when players retire. Pakistan instead has always adopted with all out and all in policy which never works. The Australians are the best example of the phasing in and out policy, none of their teams have mass exoduses instead they are planned and phased to benefit the team.

    The other reason Pakistan struggle with a decent opening batsman and batsman in general is due to the poor domestic infrastructure and system. Our batsman are too used to playing on lifeless pitches against un-competitive teams. Their techniques and mental approach is as a result flawed which leads to failures at the top level in international cricket…which in turn leads to the selectors chopping and changing and find themselves with unsettled openers.

    This problem unfortunately will continue with Pakistani cricket unless the above situations are addressed properly.

  • Bash Khan on February 23, 2007, 11:28 GMT

    Its too late to discuss now, Inshallah if imran nazir clicks, then the rest of the line up will be unstoppable

  • Muhammad Yousaf on February 23, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    Pakistani team is facing this problem since Probably 4 or 5 years.They couldn't establish their opening pair yet.I think that Imran Nazir is good as an opener,because he is a good attacking player but Hafeez doesn't look quite good.Yasir Hameed is much better player and opener than Hafeez and even better than Imran Nazir,but as we know Pakistani selectors always spoil the careers of good players.Anyway,hopes are still alive and Pakistan is still able to win this tournamen.Inshallah Pakistan will win this tournament even with these opening and bowling problems. Regards Muhammad Yousaf,Lahore,Pakistan.

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  • Muhammad Yousaf on February 23, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    Pakistani team is facing this problem since Probably 4 or 5 years.They couldn't establish their opening pair yet.I think that Imran Nazir is good as an opener,because he is a good attacking player but Hafeez doesn't look quite good.Yasir Hameed is much better player and opener than Hafeez and even better than Imran Nazir,but as we know Pakistani selectors always spoil the careers of good players.Anyway,hopes are still alive and Pakistan is still able to win this tournamen.Inshallah Pakistan will win this tournament even with these opening and bowling problems. Regards Muhammad Yousaf,Lahore,Pakistan.

  • Bash Khan on February 23, 2007, 11:28 GMT

    Its too late to discuss now, Inshallah if imran nazir clicks, then the rest of the line up will be unstoppable

  • Yassar on February 23, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    Pakistan’s lack of having a decent opening pair today is down to partially a poor domestic structure and poor selection decisions over the years.

    If we start with the latter, Pakistan in Saeed Anwar had a brilliant opener who was a reliable and proven performer all over the world and not just in sub-continental conditions. After the disaster of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa in typical PCB style the management had a massive clear out of players which culminated in various retirements.

    Saeed Anwar unfortunately was one of those who was ignored and ignored and ignored further at which point he decided to retire. The utter brainless mis-handling of such a situation led to Pakistan losing a fabulous, proven player who still had much to offer but more importantly Pakistan lost a player who occupied a slot in which they had no half-decent replacement so much so that they are still struggling today with this!

    I am very much in favour of giving youngsters a chance if they can prove themselves…if they are good enough then they are old enough, at the same time this approach needs to be applied at the other end. If a player is good enough then he is young enough. If the player has still something to offer as Saeed Anwar quite clearly did, then they should not be discarded so brainlessly as he was.

    Saeed Anwar’s retainment and presence not only would have helped groom a potential replacement but also would have helped with the transitional period that every team has to go through when players retire. Pakistan instead has always adopted with all out and all in policy which never works. The Australians are the best example of the phasing in and out policy, none of their teams have mass exoduses instead they are planned and phased to benefit the team.

    The other reason Pakistan struggle with a decent opening batsman and batsman in general is due to the poor domestic infrastructure and system. Our batsman are too used to playing on lifeless pitches against un-competitive teams. Their techniques and mental approach is as a result flawed which leads to failures at the top level in international cricket…which in turn leads to the selectors chopping and changing and find themselves with unsettled openers.

    This problem unfortunately will continue with Pakistani cricket unless the above situations are addressed properly.

  • Shokaib on February 23, 2007, 11:44 GMT

    Yes man i was thinking of inzi if his team is not doing gd job at start of innings why doesnt he open the batting with imran nazir like sa graeme smith always gives gd start inzamam bohath pagal hai yaar

  • Qaiser Mustafa Shahbaz on February 23, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    I think Nazir and hafeez are good choice keep afridi and kamran up dont bring them down. The should be death sloggers. up in the order they will just do in a single match and for the rest of the tournment the middle order will be covering up their blunders so please regular openers

  • Faisal Riaz on February 23, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    it should have been hameed opening wid nazir, but lets hope who ever opens does a good job coz we know that they are good players they jus need to prove it to themselved that they are, i also think shahid afridi should open wid imran nazir in the past they have been involved very good partnerships, if pak openers can get 50 runs in the first 10 overs and dont lose a wicket i cant see pak losing the game from there

  • Awais M on February 23, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    Well!! Nothing can b done now but to support Imran and Hafeez. They both can surely play but they need some confidence. Pakistan have always been struggling 2 find openers but i agree with Kamran Sahab tht these two might click on caribbean tracks. I dont feel tht Younis Khan can open though he hasnt been properly tested as an opener. So guyz Keep ur fingers crossed!!

  • Faisal Akhter - Toronto on February 23, 2007, 11:56 GMT

    Kamran,

    The biggest problem with the opening department is the mis-management of every single PCB administration since 2000. When Sohail was kicked out of the team, Pakistan NEVER felt the pinch because the greatest Pakistan opener of all time, Saeed Anwar, more than covered for the lack of support at the other end. When Saeed was around, Miandad and Co would sometimes send Wasti into open with him, then Elahi, Afridi, Taufiq Umar, Imran Nazir, etc - almost everyone was given plenty of chances but at that point, we really did not care who partnered Saeed, because Saeed himself was an icon who carried the other opener with him.

    However, when Sohail became chief selector, he went about settling old scores and dropped Saeed Anwar after the World cup for NO reason. Saeed was easily the most succesful Pakistan bastsman in the 2003 world cup, despite being out of the game for so long, yet instead of being rewarded for his guts and determination, Sohail proved he was settling old jealousies and dropped Saeed. Saeed, promptly retired, and went about his life quietly, because he was always a decent fellow. However, Sohail robbed Pakistan of the services of Saeed Anwar, because not only could Saeed have played for another 2-3 years easily, but he could also have helped us build another opener with him. It's no secret that Imran Farhat and Salman Butt openly state that they look upto Saeed and have learned a lot just watching him play. But imagine how much more they could have learned batting with him, thanks to Sohail and Tauqir Zia that never happened.

    Since then guys like Wasti,Taufiq,Hafeez,Farhat,Hameed,Butt,Nazir etc have all been tried and failed to show the consistency or that they can learn from their mistakes. Imran Khan keeps talking about his fellow pathan Yasir Hameed - however Yasir has been tried numerous times and he always throws his wicket away, if you look at how he got out in South Africa, he was out getting caught in the slips chasing balls that were on 4th or 5th off-stump. And this guy has been played for 6 years now. Why should we play Yasir Hameed when he like Imran Farhat and Mohd Hafeez, has shown he has not learned anything from his mistakes?

    I think Salman Butt is the only opener in this crop who will not only be a quality world class opener but also a future pakistan captain. It was a mistake not taking him to the WC. Hafeez is just a bits and pieces player, he throws his wicket away, and barely gets past 20-25 runs. At least Imran Nazir has more natural talent than Hafeez, so if Nazir gets going - his talent will help him get big scores. Hafeez doesent have the talent or the temperament. What Pakistan really need to do for the WC is let Nazir open with Shoaib Malik. Nazir can play the pinch hitter role, and Shoaib Malik can try batting right through. Malik already has a few 100s to his name opening or batting at number 3, so he is quite capable of getting big ones, and he's 10 times more talented and capable than Hafeez. AFTER the WC however, Pakistan MUST bring back Salman Butt and make him open in tests and ODIS, and as far as his partner goes - I think it`s time we find a new player - someone from the A team or the under 19 team. We cannot keep trying Taufiq,Hameed,Hafeez and Farhat because all of them have been given ample chances and have proved they are simply not good enough. Also, we need to get Saeed Anwar to help us find some good openers. He's a champion opener, and we use his services asap.

  • mujtaba on February 23, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    i agree with kamran that it should be nazir and hafeez to open.the most important thing is to get a good solid openening stand of 50 or 60 in 10 overs or so.this will lead to the middle order expressing themselves freely and undoubtedly help with late hitting being easier for afridi and co. if we can get get decent scores on the board.it wil be that bit easier to defend,be it without akhtar and asif.this is the only way i can see pakistan making a good fist of a undoubtedly hard campaign.may god help them in understanding what it means to play for your country.fight all the way to the bitter end.pakistan zindabd!

  • Shahab Shahid Randhawa on February 23, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    Pakistan should try Younis Khan as opener,because he always comes inside first 5 or 7 overs.So,there is not much difference for hi, being opener or one-down.At no.3 comes Shoaib Malik followed by Yousuf,Inzi,Kamran,Razzaq,Afrdi. That remains 3 positions.One should go to Kaneria and other two to fast bowlers.That is the ideal eleven of Pakistan for me.The other opener along with Younis can be either Hafeez or Imran Nazir depending on form.