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December 24, 2010

Pakistan in New Zealand 2010-11

Dark clouds over Pakistan's New Zealand tour

Kamran Abbasi
Shoaib Akhtar reacts as Martin Guptill picks up some runs, Auckland v Pakistanis, Twenty20, Auckland, December 23, 2010
Can Shoaib Akhtar discover stamina and economy?  © Getty Images
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Pakistan approach this year's tour of New Zealand with two major worries oppressing them. The spot-fixing crisis inquiry is expected to a reach preliminary conclusion in January now that Salman Butt's request to postpone the proceedings has been rejected. The result will strike like lightning in the middle of Pakistan's tour, and could trigger a further descent into chaos.

The accused players appear unlikely to quietly accept a lengthy ban or suspension. If that happens, expect the circus to move to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, especially as defence lawyers are already making noises about the ICC process and conflicts of interest.

Uncertainty over three of Pakistan's leading players in addition to the PCB's reluctance to clear Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, and Danish Kaneria for selection has left Pakistan's World Cup plans in disarray. Five of those cricketers would probably have walked straight into the World Cup squad. Their absence has an effect on Pakistan's batting but a greater one on the bowling.

Pakistan must assume the worst about Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, and use the New Zealand tour to identify the bowlers who will lead the attack in the World Cup. A South Asian World Cup makes it difficult for any pace bowler to have an impact but a high-class and confident performer is less likely to be slaughtered on batsmen-friendly wickets.

This particular World Cup has unusual poignancy for Pakistan, who were stripped of the right to co-host the tournament because of the prevailing security environment. The PCB has been licking its wounds ever since, sidelined in the great cricket game of South Asia.

Pakistan's hopes rest on Umar Gul finding a method in 50-overs cricket that proves as effective as his Twenty20 approach, and upon the bounding pace of Wahab Riaz. There is a distinct lack of quality in the support cast unless Shoaib Akhtar discovers some more stamina and better economy.

The batting is similarly troubled with the form of Umar Akmal being one of Pakistan's major worries. Umar's temperament has been a bitter disappointment for Pakistan fans, another talent on the brink of banishment to the wilderness. Pakistan's one-day batting formula, just like its bowling equivalent, is experimental and unformed.

Yet despite these quandaries Pakistan managed to push South Africa close in the United Arab Emirates, a demonstration of spirit if nothing else. New Zealand will prove to be a very different environment despite the Kiwis' recent poor form. But if Pakistan are to gather any momentum for the World Cup, they will certainly need to avoid defeat in New Zealand in both ODIs and Test cricket, as well as develop a settled team.

Either way, this will be the first time since 1983 when Pakistan supporters will approach a World Cup without considering their team as a genuine contender.

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

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Keywords: Touring

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Mahiuddin Khan on (January 13, 2011, 8:45 GMT)

I think @ request to selection board of Pakistan, Waquar Younis should go with this bellow mentioned team. Which will be

"spiritual Team of Pakistan"

1. Mohammed Hafeez/Imran Nazir (Opening) 2. Shahid Afridi (Opening) 3. Younis Khan 4. Misbah Ul Haque/Asad Shafiq 5. Mohammed Yousuf 6. Umar Akmol (WK) 7. Abdur Razzaq 8. Sayeed Ajmol 9. Umer Gul 10.Mohammed Aamir/ Shohel Tanvir. 11.Wahab Riaz/Tanvir Ahmed/Shoaib Akhter.

Then Committee will be decide who will perfect for a different match.

Posted by pak cricket fan on (January 10, 2011, 23:41 GMT)

i think Pak should go with below team if they really want to have a shot at world cup.

1.N.Jamshed 2.A.Shehzad 3.Y.Khan 4.A.Shafiq 5.Misbah (c) 6.U.Akmal(keeper) 7.A.Razzak 8.W.Riaz/S.Tanveer 9.U.Gul 10.S.Ajmal/A.Rehman 11.T.Ahmad/S Akhtar

Posted by mohammad zubair hassan on (January 9, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

weldone team pakistan for wining test match after so many months keeep it up improve your perfomance inshallah pakistan will win this test series (amin)

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 8, 2011, 20:54 GMT)

I don't know what's the big deal about Mohd Hafeez, he hardly bowls, his off spin is mediocre, and he has a low average as opener, does anyone really think Mohd Hafeez is more useful to the side than Mohd Yousuf? But yet Hafeez is opening in NZ and Yousuf is nowhere to be found.

Posted by G.RAMU on (January 4, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

pakistan team may qualify to semis.From there it depends on their team work.In my opinion team should have following players and in following order 1.M.Hafeez 2.K.akmal 3.younis khan 4.shoiab malik 5.umar akmal 6.shahid afridi 7.abdul razzaq 8.S.akthar 9.S.ajmal 10.Abdul rehmann 11.umar gul

Posted by vineet srivastava on (January 1, 2011, 13:51 GMT)

It is sad that when all teams are gearing for the world cup, Pakistan is still fighting its woes marring its preparations for the ULTIMATE FRONTIER....All said and done ,i think it is high time that PCB announce its final set of 30 players....I would rather suggest that they select the final 15/16 that they need to select/play and let these player synergies,gel with each other and know what exactly are their roles and how they go about in the tournament....If i were the selector,i would select the following 16 for the tournament (given that aamir,asif,butt are not cleared)

1.M.Hafeez 2.A.Shehzad 3.K.Akmal(wk) 4.A.Shafiq 5.Y.Khan 6.S.Malik 7.U.Akmal(can also be a keeper) 8.Misbah 9.S.Afridi(c) 10.A.Razzak 11.W.Riaz 12.U.Gul 13.S.Akhtar 14.S.Ajmal 15.T.Ahmad/S.Tanveer 16.A.Rehman

Posted by Qasim on (January 1, 2011, 1:49 GMT)

Guys, it is Pakistan Cricket, so do not expect the PAK players to be back as they all will get lenghty bans, as the World Mafia is out there with ful force, an Indian or Australian player can get away with 6-12 months, anyways we can still win the WC, do not write us off, my team is; Hafeez Malik Younis Umar Asad Misbah Afridi Razzaq Wahab Shoaib Rehman

Posted by ASIF on (December 31, 2010, 21:07 GMT)

Once again Razzaq and Afridi prooved that they r the real stars of pak cricket who always bring laurels to pak.The so called former greats like zaheer,sarfraz,amir sohail and other detractors of afridi always try to undermine afridi instead of giving proper advice and encourage him.Zaheer's comment on afridi as an angry bull should be condemned and i would like to remind zaheer abbas when he failed miserably in 1979 series in india and was batting like a scary cat & eventually dropped for the last test.Sarfraz'S statement for the sacking of afridi is sheer non sense.Vettori lost 12 consecutive matches but is still the captain.Ponting,clarke and other captains continue to lead without any hue and cry so why not Afridi.

Posted by ASIF on (December 30, 2010, 5:11 GMT)

Asak,As usual some ex-greats like zaheer abbas and other detractors of afridi have started blaming afridi eventhough he bowled brilliantly and took a very good catch and he batted decently in the 1st match.The fact of the matter is pak were given a very explosive start by afridi and hafeez in both the matches but younus,shafiq,akmal,fawad failed miserably and also omar gul supposed to be the best fast bowler in this format failed to perform.Any other captain also would have definitely given the ball to gul as usually he is unplayable in his 2nd spell but it was just a very day for gul.I still feel afridi is the best choice as captain.I think pak will definitely beat newzealand in the one dayers and will do good in the world cup.

Posted by qas on (December 29, 2010, 12:28 GMT)

I think Shoiab Aktar shouldnt play for pakistan no more give some other player a chance

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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