The right time for death or glory
I'm fascinated to see how Pakistan perform in the ICC World Twenty20. For many years Pakistan's batsmen have been treating Test and One-day cricket like a twenty-over thrash, exhibiting their various versions of death or glory. Pakistan will perform incredibly well or laughably badly, probably they will manage both extremes in the same match.
Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir have always been basket cases, their madcap assaults inspiring an amused following that includes this blogger. The other batsmen in the squad are also prone to a rush of blood to the head. Even Pakistan's deserving Test Player of the Year, the mysteriously absent Mohammad Yousuf, is well known for batting like a lunatic in Test cricket--until he acquired a remarkable serenity last year.
Hence, for this tournament I'd pick all the erratics: Nazir, Salman Butt, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal, probably in that batting order. My bowlers would be Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, and Yasir Arafat, whose batting counts strongly in his favour.
That leaves one place to juggle between Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Anjum, and Abdur Rehman probably in that pecking order and depending on conditions. We are all virtually clueless about Sohail Tanvir.
Pakistan are an attacking team with a refreshingly positive coach. Geoff Lawson says his team can win. Perhaps so. They have as much or as little chance of winning the tournament as a group of five or six possibles who sit below mighty Australia.
But Pakistan fans will be hoping that these miserable last twelve months, beginning with Inzamam's striking revolt and ending with Shoaib Akhtar's revolting strike, will give way to some cricket to cheer even though it might not end in a ICC World Twenty20 triumph.
Small mercies will suffice at the moment, and you can't get much smaller than Scotland.
(You will be allowed to post your XIs on this occasion)
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here