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February 24, 2011

World Cup 2011

Ambition demands an extra bowler

Kamran Abbasi
Pakistan players along with coach Waqar Younis look on during practice, Lahore, December 14, 2010
Pakistan's bowling attack could use more firepower  © AFP
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Pakistan, like all the major teams, have three banana skins to avoid to ensure qualification and they neatly sidestepped the first one. In their last two one-day series Pakistan have rallied well and developed a consistency about their cricket, which was continued at the cavernous Hambantota stadium.

The surfaces in the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand managed to replicate South Asian conditions, a factor that has helped ensure that Pakistan's players are decently prepared. Familiar conditions help mask the vulnerabilities in Pakistan's batting order, allowing the bowlers to make a decisive impact. And it is on that point that Pakistan face something of a dilemma.

The current selection, with batting in depth, is a healthy insurance policy for disaster against a minor nation but less suited to winning the trophy. The extra batsman is probably unnecessary. As the tournament progresses, the better teams will eye up an opening attack of Shoaib Akhtar (past his best) and Abdul Razzaq (short of pace) and lick their lips for a twenty-over run spree. Shahid Afridi might then turn to Mohammad Hafeez but the reaction in the opposition will be further salivation.

Luckily, the tournament format allows plenty of opportunity for tinkering provided those banana skins are stepped over. Bringing in Wahab Riaz in place of a batsman, probably one of the openers, would be the obvious option, with Kamran Akmal pushed up to open. In that scenario, moving up Umar Akmal to split Younis Khan and Misbah-ul Haq might offer more dash up front and maintain some solidity later on.

Pakistan have options. They are playing in conditions that suit them. They are playing with unity and the air of wronged men seeking vengeance. The team selection will soon reveal the extent of their ambitions, and an extra bowler would be a statement of intent.

For Pakistan's aspirations of causing an upset, choosing too many batsmen might turn out to be the biggest banana skin of all.

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

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Keywords: World Cup

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Posted by Niaz H. Jafri on (March 5, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

Agreed but my picked up side would be the following with some minor changes:

1. Mohammad Hafeez 2. Kamran Akmal 3. Younus Khan 4. Misbah Ul Haque 5. Umar Akmal 6. Abdul Razzaque 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Umar Gul 9. Wahab Riaz/Junaid Khan 10.Shoaib Akhtar 11.Saeed Ajmal/Abdur Rehman

I would support U. Akmal @ 5, Razzaue @ 6 & Afridi @ 7 so that both Akmal & Razzaque can have some time in the middle & Afridi plays his natural game & also because of the fact that Razzaque is a better batsman than Afridi is & requires time to launch the required attack. Razzaque is being wasted in this tournament thus far. His ideal role should be the number 6 batsman & the stock bowler to help the main bowlers.

The inclusion of 1 extra bowler is emphasized both by Imran Khan & Wasim Akram in place of Shahzad, who hasn't had a good tournament as yet. You need specialist bowlers against good sides. Junaid against N Z might as well prove to be the surprise package!

Posted by Manan Aslam on (March 4, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

I think we sjould better use Razaq. He is one of the top allrounder. Australlian have Shane Watson and They are opening the him. We all know that Razaq can hit the ball very hard and in in irst and Seconde PP he can thrash the ball. And Kamran can also hit the ball out of ground. We can send him at no. 6 in PP3.

MY Playing 11

1- Abdul Razzaq 2- Ahmed Shehzad 3- Younis khan 4- Umar Akmal 5- Misbah Ul Haq 6- Kamran Akmal 7- Shahid Afridi 8- Abdul Rehman / Saeed Ajmal / Mohammad Hafeez 9- Junaid Khan / Wahab Riaz 10- Umer Gul 11- Shoaib Akhtar

Posted by waterbuffalo on (March 4, 2011, 0:20 GMT)

So much for having an extra bowler, Pakistan's batsmen could only manage 180 against Canada. True the pitch was atrocious, stopping on the batsmen, but what if it had been a stronger team bowling on that pitch? Like NZ, or say SA? Even Canada can bowl us out with 7 overs to spare, basically, the Pakistan batting lineup is Misbah and YK, that is all we have, the other guys are useless, we are a two man team, so eight bats or 7 bats makes absolutely no difference. Fortunately Afridi got another 5-er to save Pakistan from humiliation and derision.

Posted by moazam on (March 3, 2011, 20:52 GMT)

i think ahmad shehzad must not be the part of world cup squad any longer and we can add asad shafiq in replacement.

Posted by umayr on (March 2, 2011, 21:19 GMT)

The squad is balanced. Shoaib Akhtar has bowled very well in the Sri Lanka Match what's the point of replacing him he is getting his fitiness and Rhyme. Gul and Akhtar are very experinced to. If pakistan finsh first in ther group they face a weak either West indies, Banladesh or Ireland. And it won't be easy so put your strongest squad, really dont change the squad the players now each other well. Wahab is back up just if shoaib akhtar is not bowling well or finess problem. Pakistan batting has not been good but for once i think it is very balanced. Abdul Razzak bats at 8th the man only faces less than a over so how cany hit runs. He needs One over to get in and after that smash some runs. Australia go too many bowler Lee, Tait and Johnston thats too many fast bowlers.On other hand pakistan have Akhtar, Gul, Razzak, Afridi,Rehman and Haffez only to keep it tight.

Posted by fkhan on (March 2, 2011, 15:45 GMT)

All above arguments are for sake of arguments the only one change they need is to replace Abdulrzzak (already past his best as he perfoms in 1 out of 10) with Riaz wahab

Posted by Ali on (March 2, 2011, 11:02 GMT)

with the current line up, the top three player are fast scoring dudes.. the next 2 are inning builder who can afforrd to play at an average of 5 per over and the next one Umar Akmal ispromising dasing fast scring player and followed by him are 2 nuclear bombs -- if exploded no one will survive.... it is the best line up... there is no need for shuffle..... the only reason ppl are asking to ad another bowler is cause razzak is coming at no. 8 and is not getting enough balls to play... i see it as a positive thing not as a negative point.. AND yeah who says we are playing with 3 main bowlers ----- hello pls check Afrid's figure since 2008.. he is one of the leading wicket takers.... GUL, shoab, rehman, afridi are our strike bowlers and then we have razzak and hafeez as our option bowlers...

Posted by waterbuffalo on (March 2, 2011, 6:59 GMT)

@faisal. I forsee hopefully, a Pakistan v England QF, but I tend to think you are right, it will be Pakistan v India, well we have a terrible record against India in the World Cup, I hope this time, we can break that record, after all, we are due for a win against them.

Posted by muhammad sakhawat hossain on (March 1, 2011, 19:42 GMT)

i think the team management and also afridi not use razzak effectivly. We have seen that, in Newzealand razzak bowlled well but afridi never wanted to complete his (razzak) 10 overs.In recent time pakistan win at least 4 games with the brilliant performance of him. Are forgotten the innings against south africa? And what afridi done in batting better than razzak. but his posotion still ahead of him. so everybody should concern about this matter. As a supporter of cricket i really want a team spirit.

Posted by faisal wahab on (March 1, 2011, 16:36 GMT)

I forsee a Quarter final clash between Pakistan & India on 25th March at Mirpur. The other teams who will clash in Qtr Finals will be Aus vs B'desh, SL vs Eng and SA vs NZ. 25th March 2011 will be a memorable day as was 25th March 1992 when Imran Khan (tiger) team won the Cup at Melbourne. Junaid Khan will be playing that match and his dream of bowling to great Sachin will be fullfilled. The match played against Sri Lanka has set the tone for great things to come. Eventually they now know what they want out of this tournament. Fielding is still a very bad area of our team, but i hope that when they enter the Quarter Finals, there fielding will be upto the required standards. Kamran Akmal should concentrate on his glove work properly otherwise i believe this would be his last world cup. Good luck to team Pakistan in the Quarter Finals.

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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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