World Cup 2011 February 24, 2011

Ambition demands an extra bowler

Pakistan, like all the major teams, have three banana skins to avoid to ensure qualification and they neatly sidestepped the first one
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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Irfan on February 28, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    Looking at the current line up, I find it real hard to tinker with, however I do see your point and agree with it. Presently the batsmen in their particular slots are set and playing well so one should always be wary to ponder shuffle at this juncture. For example, Aussies are using a very well thought out strategy where three genuine quicks are added to maul the opposition with one specialist spinner along with all round options. In their particular case the 7/4 split works because of stability of the top batting order. Historically that's not been the case with Pak. It makes sense to add extra security to it but I do question some inclusions such as Kamran with less clear roles. His brother could keep wickets freeing a slot which could mean inclusion of a specialist bowler. Wahab have edge over the younger Juanid due to batting. I wouldn't though do away with shoaib just yet as I have a feeling that he has a part to play in the games up ahead.

  • Okamd on February 28, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    I think drop Kamran and add a bowler, umar can keep wickets. Play Spinner or pacer depending on wicket , opposition & conditions.

  • ZIP UR MOUTH on February 27, 2011, 22:15 GMT

    PLZZ GAG AFRIDI, afridi was alwaz chirpy,but a captain needs to speak his teamates or show bad gestures only when necassary, umar gul, d only spearhead of pak bowling{y saeed ajmal another match winner is ignored yet} umar guls off days is cuz of afridi eating his brain out while bowling everybody knows if ur captain shouts curse u on ground when u do something wrong,how much it effects ur game afridi himself is a brainless bowler,as he finishis his over in less then 60 seconds,but d fast bowlers needs to think analysis d situation,which bowl to bowl next,motivate urself, but not a short lecture by afridi after every ball,even wasim akaram agrees with me

  • insaan on February 27, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    so far so good we r on winning track and insahalla tht momentum will carry on but i think ajmal should replace rehman in match against canada and wahab for shoaib to give him a rest

  • sajjad Malik Khattak on February 27, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    Great to see team PAKISTAN back in form with great team work except one person M. Hafeez who looks out of form and need be replaced by Saeed Ajmal who is a genuin bowler rather than Part time bowler like Hafeez,We request to team management to please try Saeed Ajmal and Junaid khan who may be better player than one currently playing. BEST OF LUCK Team PAKISTANS

  • mohidin gundroo on February 27, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    Major concerns about fielding and ability to finish both in batting and bowling.With a bit of luck SL could have won.Razak is wasted at 8, bring him at 3 or 6,Afridi to open, a little cautious start, dont aim too high in first 15 overs-save wickets.Put shazad, 2 Akmals at 678 to finish.At present 678 are not delivering. Need bowlers capable of taking wickets. Defencive tactics will back fire in all major matches.Still time to bring in changes in next couple of games.Prepare for QF aganst England.Bring in Ajmal for Rehman, he is an attacking bowler.With out Afridis magic touch the team will stuggle to control run flow.Try junaid, hard on him but then why was he selected for such a big event if there were doubts about his ability to cope with such big occasion.Gul has been disappointing. What happend to his Yokers?Bring in spinners early in attack, Hafiz is proving an asset.It seems the best we can hope is Semi and no more,Based of what we have seen so for, it will be unrealistic to ex

  • Aftab on February 27, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    As much as you have a point, so does Afridi. The team selection until SL match was to avoid a first round exit. From now on, let's expect attacking approach. Saeed Ajmal should really wait for Rehman to make a booboo of himself.

  • waterbuffalo on February 27, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    I hope all you Pakistanis who criticized the team , the selection and the players are feeling proud of yourselves. We just beat Sri Lanka at home? So Akhtar is finished is he? So Umar should keep wickets? Keep coming up with your hilarious comments, just shows what experts you are... we needed every single run of the 277, and we needed batsmen to do it. Gul, Rehman and Akhtar did not bat. That is exactly what should happen. Then the bowlers did what they usually do fight hard and surprise us. Stop criticizing Pakistan for once in your life. And realize that Waqar and Afridi and Misbah are all smarter than you.

  • Asif Javed on February 26, 2011, 20:00 GMT

    Razzak is being wasted. He should bat higher up before Younus. If he gets going that's great if not you lose nothing.

  • Asif Javed on February 26, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    I wonder why Abdul Razzak-the Diomond- is being wasted. why not Waqar younis might spread him at No 5 so that he might smash straight sixes. I think Misbah should bet with aggressiveness after 40 overs.

  • Asif Javed on February 26, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    Why the hell Pakistan team is not getting any advantage of Abdul Razzaq as a batsman . I don,t know why Misbah used to play very slow after 40 overs. Why Misbah don,t think that after 40 overs , his duty comes to an ends and the time for Afridi and Razzaq explosion comes, and he should , even I think , sacrifice his wicket for the sake of Pakistan. So that Pakistan might murder other teams by Razzzaq and Afridi vantage in last 10 overs.Why pakistan team has forgotten that Razzak can smash with maximum effort with straight sixes in last ten overs? Does any body agree to me?Plz can some one send my message to Waqar Younis..I will be pray him forever...

  • Muhammad Saidul Haque on February 26, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    Assalamulaikum Kamran vhai, how could Afridi watch the lighting dream to get having this world cup'2011 ? Playing something like baby fielding in the play ground at the crucial moment ! Actually, what kind of proper disciplined bowling to bowl in the accurate line length area and field like....... really rubbish of 3rd class category--- is it ideal training to teach the Pak bowlers & other players by Waqar Younis ??!! What comes next in the remaining important matches ?! All the Pakistani supporters would definitely look forward for a Black cloud nightmare to say farewell & good bye from this world cup tournament.

  • Bilal on February 26, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    Pakistan is playing with 05 basman 02 allrounder, wicket keeper which is also a reliable batsman so paksitan have batting till no 08 so spaace for specialist bowler are only 03. Which van effect bowling, so pakistan will go minimum 04 genuine bowler, Because sacrify 01 bowler to strengthen batting may be helpfull to winning matches but this is very difficult with this approach to win tournaments and tournament like World Cup can only win with brave approach and beleive themself that 06 or 07 batsman can make decent scores.

    In my opnion Abdul Razzaq will batting in upper order specially agaisnt teams which have good spinner because he can handle fast bowler better than spinner, if Razzaq is usefull for batting power play then way not will be use full in bowling and compulsory power play.

  • Harsh Thakor on February 26, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    With their remarkable match-winning batting talent like Abdur Razzak,Shahid Afridi,Younus Khan and Kamran Akmal in addition to the firepower of Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul Pakistan may well land a historic troumph in this World Cup.No team is better at overcoming adversity or ressurecting themselves from the dead.I would still rank Pakistan as one of the favourites,considering their recent performances conquering New Zealand and giving strong English and South African teams a run for their money,(losing both series by only a 3-2 margin.)inspite of facing such torrid times.

  • salman on February 26, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    they should make umer akmal the keeper, he is definately not worse than kamran. replace kamran with wahab, and keep the rest of the team intact. perhaps junaid instead of shoaib at this stage of the tournament can also make sense, to try out, since we should know his mettle before the knockout phase. i it doesnt shoaib can be relied on in the knockout phase. the worst will be if shoaib is played all matches in this round and junaid none, and then shoaib injures himself for the knockout.

  • Changaiz on February 26, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    I agree with the idea of playing another pace bowler but remember Wahab don't like to bowl with new ball so than no point picking him. Junaid can be tried but against lesser sides. Razzaq shud be used properly in batting line. Don't

  • Shiraz Rizvi on February 26, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    GOod to see the spirit among the cricket fans around the world. I think Pakistan can compete against any team. The scare remain that will they play up to their potential becuase this side have alot of upside and youngster. As far as an extra bowler is concern I dont mind that but that means the top order have to play and stay to provide strong pillar for the others so we can put a decent total on the board and gave our bowling a chance. I belive we can win against SL but work ethic and discipline bowling and batting will play a vital role against every team we play against. Good Luck Pakistan and I will be watcing!

  • chickken tikka on February 26, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    whatever we do, I don't think we are going past qtrs, because we will be playing aginst India, SA or Eng. any case we will loose. so enjoy all the matches till qtrs.

  • Syed on February 26, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Mr Abbasi, we don't have to change anything. but please, change your a generation old photo.

  • Farhan on February 26, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Do you have any original suggestions? If anyone has to be dropped it should be Kamran Akmal, with Umar taking the gloves. Umar Akmal has become a once-in-5-matches player, so he must do something else to prove his worth. Just like Afridi improved his bowling, Umar Akmal should improve his keeping and become our part-time keeper of choice. He can't be worse than his brother.

  • asrar ahmad on February 26, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    pakistan needs an agressive pace bowler up front along with shoaib.Razzaq is first or second chang bowler.but he is stiil a hard hitting batter needs to be promoted up the order

  • G.S. on February 26, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Most of the teams playing in this world cup have batsmen till no. 8 position. We cant afford to play with less batsman due to our vulnerability of sudden failures in the batting lineup. Moreover we have been playing ODIs with 6 specialist batsmen for the last 2 years and changing the strategy at the last minute in the world cup is not wise. Furthermore, the author of this article should also give the same advice to all the other top playing nations who also only go with 3 specialist bowlers followed by all rounders and part time bowlers.

  • Tariq K Sami on February 26, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is a lousy fielder and is not worth any thing as a batsman. Play with 3 pace bowlers. Give the new guy Junaid a chance. Drop Shoaib. He is not a good fielder or batsman. His pace is not good any more. Lacks penetration. Has no brains. Cannot improvise. Razzak should bat higher up before Younus. If he gets going that's great if not you lose nothing. Hafeez and Shahzad should play their natural game. Scoring 1 run in 19 balls if not acceptable. I have a feeling that last time they were told to just stay at the crease for at least 10 overs with the new ball. That would explain their bizzare behavior.

  • Hamza on February 26, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    If pak really wants to drop a batsmen then i would suggest it to be hafeez and let kamran open with shehzad so u can fit another bowler which can be either ajmal/wahab/junaid. But NEVER think about droping razzak cuz he is a potential match winner and a better player overall compared to the other players. I also dont like the idea that pak keeps three big hitters till the end to go bang bang bang but that doesnt always work. I would suggest to spread these hitters along the batting line up so we can pace up the innings a bit in the middle overs as well!!! i would suggest the following line up: 1)Ahmad Shehzad 2)Kamran 3)umar akmal 4)younis 5)razzak 6)Misbah 7)Afridi 8)Wahab riaz 9)abdur rehman 10)Umar gul 11)Shoiab Akhtar

  • Mansoor Ahmed Zia on February 26, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    well, yes one of the opener, should go out but more important part will be, who will be playing one down, if Younis then no from my side because, in this way we will not be offering justice to umar Akmal. Abdul Razzaq or Umar Akmal for the one down slot will be better than opting for Younis because, if one of these two gets going, it will be hard to stop them. secondly to set the tone on higher note, we have to split Younis and Misbah. Abdul Razzaq should be coming on sixth or fifth atleast. and inplace of one of two openner, against one extra spinner should be brought in and for Asian Teams, one paceman, most probably pick Wahab Riaz for an extra bowler....

  • Peshawar on February 26, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    Well Done Every one ............ PCB should let the team selection on you people Because you people have played cricket the whole of your life and PCB knows nothing.....HAHAHA...... Please encourage the team dont say he is not performing and he is performing . pray for pak team dont make there future planes...........

  • Toqeer on February 26, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    If Abdul Razaq is waste at number 8, simply replace him Wahab Riaz.

    Wahab Riaz can replace Abdul-Razaq or Shaoib akhtar.

    In sub continent we need Afridi, Hafeez and Abdur Rehman/Ajmal in our tank.

    Australia is the only team going with 4 pacers(3 main, 1 all-rounder), and this is only becoz they have no alternate choice. not a single spinner in australia squad can won macth for ricky so he has to adopt this idea.

    All other teams has same combination as ours. only difference is, we are not confident on our pace bowlers, Shoaib( at one time we are saying he is the quickest, can do this and that, but from long time we are waiting for this and that.. Abdul Razaq bowling figures in recent times better then Shoaib)

    Think before a change, this is world-cup now, experiments going to be prohibited as the tournament progresses!

  • Nadeem Ahmad on February 26, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    As a former opening batsman for Pakistan Universities, a Cricket team should not be stuffed with batsmen. In the final analysis we want a good opening stand from our openers and some good tidy bowling in the middle ivers.

  • Toqeer on February 26, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Current team combination is perfect, yes we can replace shoaib with wahab and abdur-rehman with saeed ajmal, other then this we cant afford any change, adding an extra bowler is total waste, becoz hafeez is doing good job with ball and abdur-razaq also doing good with initial five overs. why then need a replacement? we are feeling lack of front line bowling options only becoz shoaib and abdur-razaq both not took any inital wickets in last match, even shoaib record is worst then abdur-razaq in recent matches.

    My opinion replace: shoaib with wahab (only if shoaib not able to took wickets in next two matches) Abdur-rehman with Ajmal (and we need it soon as Ajmal need to get some confident before quart-finals)

  • tarek on February 26, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Remember this World Cup is not a five day test. One player can put the match out of reach of the opponent. Recall Gilchrist in the final WC last time against SL. Sehwag can do the same if he gets going and cover for the lack of teeth in the Indian bowling attack. Afridi and Razzak can put the match away for Pakistan. One of them needs to bat up the order not number 7 and/or 8 !!

  • tarek on February 26, 2011, 3:17 GMT

    Enough said by the zealous supporters. Give the professional Coach a chance to tweak his team for the opponent of the day. It may make sense to utilize Razzak more effectively as he is obviously underutilized. Bench Hafeez who makes his first 100 in 67 ODI appearance. Is this professional opener or some joke. Yes add Ajmal but as whose expense? Good Luck Pakistan against SL.

  • MrCritiC on February 26, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    As long as Afridi is captain, he will never drop Hafeez.... das it!! let them play with the existing line up and see after match vs Srilanka how things unfold.Its good to find their mistakes and winning combination sooner than later in 2nd round.

  • Asim on February 26, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    Hafeez should be dropped from starting line up he shouldn't be there in first place should be imran nazir pakistans 2 major mistakes have been leaving moyo and malik out but never mind. I don't understand why people always say misbah is a slow plater I agree with younis khan but if you look at misbahs stats he scores at a run a ball mostly orstrike rate of minimum 80 he can defend and blast when conditions allow my eleven 1) a shehzad 2) afridi 3) akmal 4) younis khan or misbah 5) Umar akmal 6) younis khan or misbah 7) razzaq 8) Umar gul 9) shoaib akhtar 10) saeed ajmal 11) humans khan

  • adil khan on February 26, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    i think they should drop kamran akmal , and make umer akmal as keep n hafiz n ahmed shezad as an opener nn bring 1 bowler in

  • Salim Adam on February 26, 2011, 0:27 GMT

    Inshallah Pakistan will win the WORLD CUP,no matter what you guys think the cup belong to Pakistan.

  • Raja Ehsan Ur-Rehman Khan Chattar Of Mirpur AK (temporary address in USA) on February 26, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    Jitnay moun utni batain. Whom to play and whom to drop? Waqar and Intikhab Alam know better than all of you talking heads. When they will wake up in the morning and see the pitch and forecast they would put the best suitable XI in. There are so many match winners in current Shaheens that it does not really matter if one or two fail. Tarbooz churi pay giray ya churi tarbooz par (melon falls on a knife or knife on a melon) result is always the same. And Pakistan team right now is a Samurai's Sword. Final is going to be b/w Pakistan and anybody else.

  • abbas on February 25, 2011, 23:22 GMT

    Bringing in an extra bowler would be a great option for Pak. We need an extra bowler like Junaid.. Bowling has always been our main strength..Wouldn't bet my money on the batting lineup.. Go w a extra seamer.. TAKE A RISK!!

  • Hussain on February 25, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    My team: Young, Eager to Prove a Point and Talented. Explosive Openers, Solid Middle Order, 2 All Rounders, 1 Genuine Spinner, 3 Quicks.

    Kamran Akmal Shehzad Younis Misbah Umar Akmal Razzak Afridi Rehman Wahab Umar Gul Junaid

  • Saud on February 25, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    my team HAFEEZ KAMRAN YOUNUS MISBAH ASAD UMAR AFRIDI RAZZAQ AJMAL JUNAID or WAHAB AKHTAR

  • realistic on February 25, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    I think Waqar Younis, Shahid Afridi and other selectors are professional cricketers and they know better than most of you guys suggesting the team. Because most of you probably are not professional cricketers. So let our Shahid Afridi, Waqar younis and other seniors to decide what team to be deployed againt sri Lanka and rest of the matches. Plus we should hope good performace from our cricketers and pray for their success and Pakistan's Win, InshAllah.

  • Kamran on February 25, 2011, 22:28 GMT

    I agree, Pakistan needs one extra bowler against all test playing teams. Wahab Riaz should also be included by droping one opener(Hafeez). I LIKE Junaid Khan. He looks like a complete bowler and in my opinion it is time to give him a chance in place of Shoaib who has old legs with more pounds. The only way Pakistan win against these(Srilanka, Australia, India, England, South Africa) teams is to bowl them out with in 250 runs.

  • abdullah on February 25, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    I'm willing to bet million dollars if razzaq can perform with the bat in this wrldcup against any team except England..Problem with razzaq is tht he cant face spin and all teams have quality spinners in them..Razzaq has also struggled recently against fast bwlers of 145km/hr plus speed so that leaves him a weak link for pak as he is not going to do anythng on Insian pitches for us where most probable we will be playing in quarters

  • Salman on February 25, 2011, 22:00 GMT

    Razzak is a horrible fielder, a useless bowler who will be hammered by quality oppositions. As far as his batting he will produce one blinder against medium pacers every 15 matches or so. In the World Cup you play knock out after the first round. He has to go with either a specialist bowler or a batsman.

  • Osman on February 25, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    The best thing Pakistan can do is to put runs on the board...and for that I agree with the selection process. If they play with one less batsman in subcontinent conditions the difference could be an early exit from World Cup. Since even with this attack Pakistan has quality bowlers. I do agree that Shoaib Akhter is a lost cause and should not be played against good teams since his pace with no seem or swing means easy pickings. Abdul Razzaq however gives a lot of flexibility to the team since he could be sent up the order conditions permitting. About his Bowling I do think He should bowl between 20th and 35th overs, since the ball is older and would not come on to bat and with little swing that he has may make him a wicket taking yet at the same time very economical option. I would like Pakistan to play Wahab Riaz insted of Shoaib Akhter and for Shoaib's legacy's sake He would rather wanna be part of World Cup wining squad than loosing a match while playing in it.

  • Shahzad on February 25, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    I would keep Younis Khan as a covering batsman for no 7 or 8 for normal conditions and could be moved up if wickets start wobeling. This way Abudur Razaq should move at ahead of Afridi. The time Younis takes to set up and then getting out, if same time is given to A.Razaq for setting he will compensate all just in two overs. I think Kamran's suggestion is great except keeping younis Khan with in top 6 batsmen

  • Ilyas Ali Chaudhry on February 25, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    The Final XI for Srilanka vs Pakistan is:

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

  • ABP on February 25, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    That's exactly what I think. Razzaq batting so down is kind of defensive approach as you don't trust your batting line. Get rid of Hafeez as we all know, he can cross fifty once in 15 matches and he's not a brave cricketers as we Pakis are. Remove Hafeez and bring in Wahab will do the job.

    Thats why I still see Australia as world champion. They have best balanced team. India missing bowling fire power thats why they are 3rd in my list after my Pakistan :)..

    Only Gul, Rehman and Afridi are 10 overs bowlers. Why you need to share 20 overs between Shoaib, Hafeez and Razzaq. Get another specialist bowler and share 10 overs between 5th and 6th bowler.

  • SL-Fan on February 25, 2011, 21:29 GMT

    I think they have enough firepower in their bowling. Tomorrow SL will have to work hard for the runs.

  • Imran Quraishi on February 25, 2011, 21:23 GMT

    I don't understand what the hell is Shoaib doing in our team. His walk resembles the walk of a duck. Actually my dad walks better than him. His walk has become the talk of the town and he has become a laughing stock in the cricket community. In the match against Srilanka he needs to bowl with full throttle and at maximum pace. However, how the hell is he gonna run to bowl when he can't even walk decently.We should immediately replace him with Mr Wahab Riaz and bring in Saeed Ajmal in place of Abdul Rehman. If we do this we are sure to win the match against Srilanka otherwise I don't see any hope of winning with the present bowling attack. I am sure majority of the guys would agree with me.

  • Bari on February 25, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    I think, they should play Wahab Riaz and drop Ahmed Shazad. It will give more choice in fast bowling department and batting will still have potential to make a good total. I think to exclude Abdul Razzaq to accomadate Wahab would not right. Regards,

  • Fasih Mehmood on February 25, 2011, 20:51 GMT

    of the openers either hafeez/Shahzad sud b replaced wid a specialist bowler Riaz abdul Wahab,by this way Pakistan would have variety in seam bowling.abdul Razzak sud play at No.3, I don't think to use him at no.8 is a wise decision especially in sub continent at batsman friendly pitches.Saeed Ajmal sud be given preference over Abdul Rahman as he is the wicket taking bowler.Bowling always considered as the most dangerous so it needs to keep the strength.Pakistan have won the matches mostly on the performance of bowlers.

  • Fasih Mehmood on February 25, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    1 of the openers either hafeez/Shahzad sud b replaced wid a specialist bowler Riaz abdul Wahab,by this way Pakistan would have variety in seam bowling.abdul Razzak sud play at No.3, I don't think to use him at no.8 is a wise decision especially in sub continent at batsman friendly pitches.Saeed Ajmal sud be given preference over Abdul Rahman as he is the wicket taking bowler.Bowling always considered as the most dangerous so it needs to keep the strength.Pakistan have won the matches mostly on the performance of bowlers.

  • Assad on February 25, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    Our opening combination has just failed in one game. Give them some at least 3 matches before you decide to destroy the confidence of another young talent. Teams should not tinker with opening slots unless absolutely critical. For now if someone is to be dropped it should be Younis for Wahab and Abdur Rehman for Ajmal.

  • Rashid on February 25, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    One freaking reason why we have Wahab Riaz

  • MA on February 25, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    I agree with dropping one batsman (Hafeez) for an extra bowler but dont agree with adding another pace bowler - on these wickets the most successful approach is to reduce the pace, not increase it. I think we should instead bring an extra spinner (Ajmal) instead of the batsman. I know we have Hafeez who can bowl spin but Ajmal is a wicket taking bowler who I think should be tried with the new ball as a wicket taking option as none of our other bowlers are that great with the new ball. Wahab can replace Akhtar if Akhtar does not perform in the next few games but our bowling attack should be: Akhtar/Riaz, Gul, Ajmal, Afridi and Rehman with Razzaq as a sixth bowling option if needed. Thoughts everyone?

  • hassan on February 25, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    drop razzaq and bring in wahab.not because razzaq isn't a quality player but because we need a fast bowler who can open the attack with akhtar. razzaq doesn't have the pace to open the attack and gul has problems with the new ball so wahab is the obvious choice. And even though you cant compare his batting to razzaq's,wahab can score some quick runs.

    Don't drop hafeez as he provides an extra spin option.

    Also,bring in saeed ajmal for abdur rehman against srilanka because of his experience and he and afridi along with hafeez could easily counter murali and mendes.

    My starting 11: ahmed shahzad hafeez younis(kamran to keep the score board ticking if we lose an early wicket) kamran akmal misbah umar akmal afridi abdur rehman/saeed ajmal(ajmal vs srilanka due to experience) wahab gul akhtar

    this way we have recognized batsmen till no. 7,which should to be enough on such pitches.

  • Naveed Khan on February 25, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    I agree with Kamran, Afridi is not performing in the middle overs he needs to come in on the powerplay..

    1. Shahzad

    2. Afridi

    3. Younis - he can come in at the fall of a wicket which will be inside the first 10 overs as we have 2 blasters at the crease.

    4. Misbah - he comes in with Younis to provide a solid middle order and prepare a platform for the batsman at the other end to come and launch an assault

    5. U Akmal - 6 K Akmal - the brothers are best placed in these positions, neither of them is one dimensional and both have the ability to build an innings if we are slightly down - or blast away to boost the run rate.

    7. Razzaq - this guy should not be dropped he is a good insurance policy if needed with the ball he can reverse the old ball (should not open) and also can launch a dangerous counter attack if required.

    We need 4 bowlers - on these wickets - they are not bowler friendly. Wahab - Gul - Shoaib - Ajmal (he is more attacking and a wicket taker.

  • Sami Syed on February 25, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    Okay... Shoaib Akhter... will prove everyone wrong!!! I think in the Pakistani camp ... he is the only person who 1) knows his fate after the WC and 2) and the only person who has something to prove! This is the last stand, end of the road for Shoaib Akhter and I think he would be the most motivated to bring home the trophy!!!

    As far as extra bowler is concerned, not needed!!! The pitches will prove that all "major" teams will likely bat 50 overs whether they win or lose. And the teams which will lose are the one who have less batsman to score or can't keep up with the run-rate. Hence, Razzaq and the deep line-up is needed. On the case of run-rate.. the only way 'major teams' will get all-out is if they are chasing and way below the run-rate in which case they'll try to play rash and dash shots... taking risks and giving wickets away.

    FORMULA-Play many bastman. Bat first to put huge total up. Have containing bowlers. And with required run-rate high.. wickets will come! SAMI

  • Sheru on February 25, 2011, 19:28 GMT

    Well waqar and afridi has lost there mind completely, they are just talking on sense. Why give chance to wahab here should be the batting order

    when bat first

    Shahzad kamran Younis Asad Misbah Razzaq Afridi Gul Akhtar ajmal Junaid

    Believe me or no umer akmal wont last long, he doesnt have a temperament to stay on crease for more then 7 overs. his 71 againt weak team has not impressed me, I would still pik asad over him. But afridi and waqar are both losers.

  • Adeel Nasir Mir on February 25, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    I think Razaq should be promoted in the batting order at number six and yes wahab should be included in the side instead of any opener and may be for tomorrow match hafeez should be drooped .

  • Adeel Nasir Mir on February 25, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    I think Razaq should be promoted in the batting order at number six and yes wahab should be included in the side instead of any opener and may be for tomorrow match hafeez should be drooped .

  • T.Afzal on February 25, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Could not agree with you more. We can definitely use another bowler. I am not sure how M. Hafeez continues to keep his place in the team. He can't bat and he can't bowl. He has failed repeatedly to keep his place in the side. The selectors (dumb/dumber) keep bringing him back for some reason. That is not actually true, we know the reason, they are clueless. N. Jamshed or some other young opener should have been chosen in his place. Hope, W. Younis/S. Afridi wake up and benches Hafeez. Anybody else will be an improvement. Just think how good the bowling attack will be with the addition of either W. Raiz or J. Khan.

  • Nadeem Khan on February 25, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    More on Razzaq: If all of ICL teams, his English counties, his domestic Lahore teams are willing to promote him to opener or one down to take full advantage of his power hitting, why not the national team. I am sure, he is still an unleashed talent which is yet to be decrypted by the world cricket.

    On his bowling: In subcontinent conditions, one needs a medium pacer who bowls straight and can reverse. Abdul is IDEAL for this.

  • Nadeem Khan on February 25, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    More on Razzaq: If all of ICL teams, his English counties, his domestic Lahore teams are willing to promote him to opener or one down to take full advantage of his power hitting, why not the national team. I am sure, he is still an unleashed talent which is yet to be decrypted by the world cricket.

    On his bowling: In subcontinent conditions, one needs a medium pacer who bowls straight and can reverse. Abdul is IDEAL for this.

  • asif_rana on February 25, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    I cannot help laughing at the article and at most of the comments. How can you replace a batsman for a bowler, when you scored 317 with the help of 46 extras and that too against a minnow? ( and dont forget Misbah and Umar Akmal both were given chances, otherwise we would have scores much less), On sub continent wickets, a parttimer like Hafeez would give 50-55 runs in 10 overs and specialist one will give 40-45. I think team balance is right but need to replace rehman with ajmal. the spinner ofcourse should be more attacking

  • jawwad khan on February 25, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    i think pakistan should play a team which was up against Kenya. Hafeez, Inshallah will regain form with brilliant tone and every thing will be in place. Shoeb can not be dropped as on his day he can be lethal weapon for the opposition. One could see his coming back to rhythm with giving away only 10 runs in 5 overs agains Kenya. Replacing Wahab with Hafeez is a gamble. Pakistan already has a balance attack and there is no need to play aruound the last match combination. Make duaa for them for thier unity and patience.

  • ilyas on February 25, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    We should focus on our traditional strengths - pace bowlers and aggresive batting. Very few sides win games just using spin alone (excluding Murali at his peak and Warne of course). The sides that have traditionally been succesful at all forms of the game have relied on high quality pace bowling backed up by spin. Playing three spinners is a waste of time. Play three quicks - does not matter which three as long as Gul is one of them - allied with Razzak, afridi and one of Hafeez and ajmal. Its little point trying to have 8 or 9 batsman as if you first seven cannot make a score then you are in trouble anyway. Sides with quality fast bowlers will beat sides packed with spinners irrespective of where the game is being played.

  • Suleman Piracha on February 25, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Razzaq needs to be moved up in the batting order and we have seen what happens if he is moved up. I agree with Nadeem he is a very good all rounder. Pakistan has to watch Shoaib Akhtar's fitness.

  • Gohar on February 25, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    I think Pakistan should drop Shahzad for this match and use Wahab, we need 4 seamers against Srilanka or any specialist side.

  • reverse swing on February 25, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    It should be a pace-heavy attack and not a spin heavy one, especially against subcontinent sides at their home. You can't try a trick they themselves are good at. Also, reverse swing is Pakistan's edge over all teams. The non-subcontinental teams are handicapped because they haven't learnt cricket on roads, and the other subcontinental teams have never been remarkable for their pace bowling. We should use our best weapon, and one few can emulate us in. Whats more, Australia have shown that we don't need spinners to succeed here.

  • Ahmed Karim on February 25, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Last thing we want is a problem with our opening slot in this worldcup which finally seems to be settled down with these 2 openers..world cup is just one match older for pakistan now...Pakistan should go with the same team and see what happens...we have zimbabwe and canada to experiment

  • Nabil on February 25, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    PART TWO OF A COMMENT - NOW JOINED TOGETHER IN ONE COMMENT

    remainig. he is a calm customer who loves challenge and most of the time wins, come on guys before replacing him check his record against best teams in the world. We all know that in big matches the only bowlers who can win for pak is either shoaib or gul. So, I would suggest to play them in every possible match but not let me bowl all 10 overs in such case they will have their momentum going and sepcially for shoaib he will gain his confidence back and will be fit on the other hand and be prepaired to launch in big clushes, bowling 100mph is not easy….:)

  • Nabil on February 25, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    Replacing Akhtar with Wahab will be risky in Pak vs Sri match but including wahab in the line up could be a good option coz with the current pakistani team the only think they are lacking is experience and with replacing akhtar with wahab …….. now the question is who will step out for wahab, I would say it has to be Shehzad coz pakistan team already have enough fire power in their lower middle order batting line up (umar,afridi, razaq, rehman, wahab) start with kamran, hafeez followed by the two rukhs specially against murli and mendis( yonus, misbah). The reason for replacing shehzad instead of hafeez will provide the team an extra bowler. and never even think of replacing razaq who is, the only flexible batsman in pakistan team.pressure for razaq is fun but for the rest of pakistani team is panic, he will not perfurme well against kenya, canada or…coz he doesn’t care and he knows everyone else will perfurm good but he will be the key against, aus, sa,sri, eng,nz,ind, he is a calm customer who loves challenge and most of the time wins, come on guys before replacing him check his record against best teams in the world. We all know that in big matches the only bowlers who can win for pak is either shoaib or gul. So, I would suggest to play them in every possible match but not let me bowl all 10 overs in such case they will have their momentum going and sepcially for shoaib he will gain his confidence back and will be fit on the other hand and be prepaired to launch in big clushes, bowling 100mph is not easy….:)

  • Rizwan on February 25, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Dear Kamran, I see the side fine other than that Saeed Ajmal shud play instead of Rahman, cuz Rahman is more of a containment bowler & Ajmal picks wickets, we need sum1 to pick wkts, other than that the team seems fine, we must remember in the sub continent esp the latter stages when all matches are in India, its more of a batting competition, the team who bats out the other wins, its simple & i believe that our WC campaign will highly depend on how our all rounders Haffez, Afridi & Razaq perform, if they perform as true all rounders then there is no stopping !!!

  • Zahoor on February 25, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    We shoud not finalize bowling combination based on a win against a minow(Kenya). We need an additional bowler particularly when Akhthr fitness is doubtfull and can cost you any important match. Junaid Khan should play probably inplace of Hafeez.

  • Mohammad Ishtiaq on February 25, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Pakistan Need jumaid khan We want pakistan ton win from india

  • Muhammaod Amin on February 25, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    I agree with Mr. Rafae team formation except that Abdul Rehman is good bowling form and taking wickets as well. Righly said that Razzaq is wasted at no 8. Razzaq batting position should depend on the situation rather than fixing his position at no.3.

  • azhar hameed on February 25, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    I believe pakistan must experiment by replacing Shoaib akhtar with wahab riaz in one of the matches with minnows. I say this simply on the basis that wahab is surely a better fielder and perhaps a better batsman then shoaib. In any case shahid can be spared of the ignominy of hiding shoaib in the field once he is through with his spells.

  • Shafiq on February 25, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    My winning Team

    Ahmed Shezad Kamran Akmal Younis Khan Abdul Razzaq/Umer Akmal (Depending on Match situation) Misbah ul Haq Umer AKmal/Abdul Razzaq Shahid Afridi Wahab Riaz Umer Gul Saeed Ajmal/Abdul Rehman (Depending on Opposition) Shoaib Akhtar/Junaid Khan (Depending on Shoaib Actor's Fitness)

  • dr salman on February 25, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    btw...did u ppl see how australian seamers destroyed the nz batting line up?? does call for replacing one batsman with a bowler !!

  • Raafae on February 25, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    I somewhat agree with the writer. Pakistan does need more firepower. I would make 2 changes in the team that played Kenya:

    Hafeez K.Akmal Razzaq (Replacing Shehzad. No. 3 is a better position for him as he is wasted anyways at No. 8) Younis Misbah U.Akmal Afridi Wahab Gul Ajmal (Replacing Rehman. Ajmal is an attacking spinner) Akhtar

  • Mustafa Moiz on February 25, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    Razzaq did not bowl badly in the last match, or the last series, or the series before that. Then why is he always being talked of as a liability. In this article, Kamran Abbasi does not seem satisfied with any of the options and depicts Pakistan as possessing a banana bowling attack. I think that, from the World Cup squad selected, this is the best bowling attack, and that out of Shoaib, Razzaq, Gul, Wahab and Junaid Khan, the best possible bowling lineup was selected for the previous match. Wahab Riaz is being talked up more than he actually is, he is a good death-overs bowler (his main skill), but then again so are all the other bowlers included. Junaid Khan is new, untested and has not shown himself to be of such quality as to replace any of the other bowlers.

  • mk49 on February 25, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    I am banking on Pakistan to get to the final - and lose a nail-biter to India in the final :) Go Pak!

  • runner on February 25, 2011, 1:25 GMT

    What Pakistan needs is to emulate India and send in runners for at least two batsman, like Shewag did against Bangladesh and Tendulkar is hoping to do against England (very convenient scans on the knees to build up the case). A runner is worth at least 40 runs in this format and then they have room in the team for an extra bowler, do this before the ICC bans runners in one day cricket...

  • waterbuffalo on February 25, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    I see your point, but making the batting weaker by taking out a batsman will only create more pressure for bowlers to defend a lower total. I am sure Pakistan can defend 280, but can they defend 240, 250? The bowling will take care of itself, we have done reasonably well in the last 20 ODI's why should we make changes at the last minute? If Hafeez doesn't score he can take one or two wckts. Shehzad can score, and we bat all the way to Gul. Razzaq has to play because he can hit 100 of 70 balls, you don't drop a match winner. And if we are chasing, surely we want as many batsmen in the team as possible. If Slanka scores 280/290 how are we going to chase with one less batsman?

  • Mangit on February 25, 2011, 0:09 GMT

    Let Wahab replace Akhtar. It will give you left-right bowling option and a better bat. You need to pace the innings. Here is a possibility: Shahzad Afridi Hafiz Younis Umar Akmal Kamran Razzaq Misbah Wahab Gul Ajmal Bring younis down if you get some good partnerships up in the order. Take Misbah up after Umar if you have early losses. If you play Rahman instead of Ajmal then you have two 20+ batsmen in Wahab and Rahman, which can allow you to play Shoaib instead of Hafeez

  • Salma on February 25, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    Nice article though I won't agree. Razzaq has performed better than other bowlers when it comes to new bowl. He has taken a wicket or two in most of the matches in NZ. He has been bowling at a decent pace of 135 and had a better line and length. I will like to replace Shoib with Wahab. Shoaib has been mostly a costly customer and rarely took more than one wicket in last 5 matches. Inclusion of Wahab will give us an option to bowl left arm fast. Gul, Wahab, Ajmal, Afridi, Razaq, Hafiz is a good enough attack only if our batsmen can accelerate a bit earlier. Our strategy to leave it for big hitters in the last 10 overs will backfire sooner or later. We need our big hitters to spread over in the batting line up. We need Razaq at 3 and Umar Akmal at 5. We can also try with Afridi opening and Shahzad at 3 while bringing Kamran down the order.

  • Shahid on February 24, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    Replace an opner with a fast bowler? Both elements of this question are tricky ones. Which of the opners will you take out. Will it be Shahzad who is in form or will it be Hafeez who is a better bowler than a batsman. If you really need another fast bowler then why not Kamran Akmal sits out and let Umar keep the wickets. But my choice won't be another fast bowler. I will rather have both the spinners at my disposal and then I surely can afford it without Hafeez in the playing 11. Match against SL is a tricky one too as they have a very good attack. We are used to batting collapses in SL so we probably should wait for this experiment for the next match.

  • ali zafar on February 24, 2011, 23:07 GMT

    whatever you do whichever combination you play with,Pakistan is not going to win this cup anyways,quarterfinal is final game for Pakistan.

  • Nadeem Khan on February 24, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    If one thinks over last 15 years about the fundamental problem with PAKISTAN CRICKET, it always lacked confidence in batting (even at the times of great Inzi, Saeed, Ijaz, Yousaf). Pakistan top 4 or 5 should always believe that there is an enough backup after them. Otherwise they will implode. Bowling has never been a problem. On these flat tracks, Shoaib, Afridi, Gul, Rehman/Junaid/Ajmal/Wahab, Hafeez are good enough options.

  • Imran Khan Lodhi on February 24, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    I genuinely believe that Pakistan have the right ingredients to do really well at the World Cup.We are batting heavy but i think we need to look at Hafeez as a batting all rounder rather than a specialis opener which you can get away with in the sub continent due to the nature of the wickets. Ahmed Shehzad and Kamarn Akmal can provide the fire power reqired at the top of the order and the lower middle order has some of the most explosive hitters in world cricket today such as Umar Akmal, Afridi and Razzaq. Misbah can also hit big once he is in but i like the holding role he is dong providing the foundation to attack with occupying time at the crease and picking up the ones and two's during the middle overs.Pakistan need him or Younis Khan to bat till the 42nd, 43rd over to fully enable the transition between accumilating and exploding. The bowling is slightly week but thats the price one has to pay in order to score big totals and i think it is one worth paying!

  • Capt. Jawed on February 24, 2011, 22:15 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, Yep, we’ve enuf time to experiment/tinker (with final eleven/format).

    Batting - Your wise suggestion that “Umar Akmal must follow Younis Khan”, is spot-on ! Move will ensure momentum is sustained till ball-change (34th over) thereby providing perfect plateform for Misbah, Afridi & Razzak to go ballistic towards the backend.

    Bowling – W/o Aamir & Asif, Bowling is depleted. As sub-continent heats up, Heat + Humidity is telling, and Shoaib + Gul should be “sparingly” used (to conserve their energy during crunch stage i.e. Q’Finals onwards). Wahab Riaz & others should be tried during pool/group matches.

    *Due low and/or uneven bounce, Lankan pitches are not conducive for batting – hence the need/choice for extra batsman is correct. *Agree with you on “INDIAN PITCHES”, choosing too many batsmen might turn out to be the biggest banana skin !!!

    Jawed, Karachi

  • Ammy on February 24, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    Pakistan are surely going in with an extra batsman. The question now is that who amongst these two all rounders should be rested: Mohammad Hafeez or Abdul Razzaq? The answer may depend on the playing conditions. For me, Ahmad Shehzad has looked more like a long inning batsman with the kind of control and intent he has shown so far. hafeez on the other hand never looks completely in even though he manages to scrape off a score of 20 to 30 every match. Thats whats been the success factor for most teams in this worldcup so far. A solid and aggressive opener.

  • dr salman on February 24, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    replace a batsman with a bowler i agree...but bring in a spinner or seamer is a debate...still i believe we shd include one more frontline bowler in place of a batsman !

  • kamran amir awan on February 24, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    i think we have to be a bit patient with razzaq.....also we need to be clear about the role of spinners in our team as i tend to agree with the idea that spinners are going to play a vital role in this world cup....we should be open to the idea of a spinner opening the bowling like s.africa,zimbabwe and maybe some others too later on....hafeez can be tried in that role....and this may reduce pressure on razzaq.....razzaq is actually our fifth or sixth bowler in terms of priority and if we look at other teams,their fifth or sixth bowler does not necessarily possess razzaq,s ability and specially his experiance....afridi needs to believe more in razzaq and he should be a bit more forthcoming at how to use him...both in batting and bowling.....mostly pakistan has won matches when we have a strong middle and later order batting ....so reducing a batsman in my view is becoming a bit over confidant about our batting which has never been our strong point....

  • Bilal on February 24, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    Very good article. Pakistan were VERY defensive in their line up. I'd drop Shehzad/Hafeez (prob Hafeez) and play Junaid Khan. We've only won cups through all out attack in our bowling. We need to do what we do best, pick a youngster and drop him into the deep end and see what happens. It could be that he may get hammered, but there's only one way to find out.

    Rehman/Ajmal is also antoher issue. Ajmal is more of a wicket taker and should be playing. Rehman can hold a bat...but if we end up counting on him, chances are...the match is long gone anyway by then.

  • Adnan Alavi on February 24, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    I agree Wahab should be swapped with Hafeez He has failed in all the matches since scoring that one off century.

  • Mudassar Rana on February 24, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    We are just so used to our bowlers rescuing frail batting that its hard for us to accept that our batting line up is performing! Unfortunately circumstances mean that we are without 2 of the worlds best bowlers. The only real space for improvement is that abdurrahman can be dropped for either wahab or junaid. The latter looks a good prospect and maybe worth utilising. Dropping rehman wouldnt make much difference to the spinning department as we still have afridi and hafeez.

    Sri lanka is an over-rated team if we play to our potential we should win at a canter.

    Even now there is no team on earth that has the men that can win them matches on their own, like Akhtar, Afridi, and Razzaq.

  • Gulab on February 24, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    I dont agree too. Our main focus should be on batting and we can go with less bowler. By the way we have five specialist bowlers that are Razzak, Gul, Shoaib , Afridi and Rehman. Hafeez is a backup. The only thing will be Shoaib fitness and tempo if he is fit he should be there otherwise then Wahab is a better choice. On the other hand to reduce our batting is not a wise thing as we all know that in sub-continent the batting stregnth is important as wickets are very slow.

  • fhs on February 24, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    Agreed - Pak must add a bowler in the side. It is weak. Must deploy Ajmal and Riaz in all games. Replace Karman Akmal with Sajeed Ajmal and Akhtar with Riaz. Ajmal must be in the side as long as he bowls over the wicket -- with the flighted deliveries. He has been ineffective ever since he started bowling form round the wicket -- with pushy deliveries.

  • Inty on February 24, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    Not necessarily Mr Abbassi. Remember 1992? Ijaz Ahmed of all people was a frontline bowler. This tournament will be won by the spinners!

  • Usman on February 24, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    I think this is wise suggestion, Wahan is handy bat as well down the order so can still produce some runs if needed. However, looking at the recent series, it is clearly evident pakistan bowling attack lacks a bite at the start. We cant offer this opportunity to solid teams to get away in starting overs.

  • Nadeem Khan on February 24, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    I wonder why Abdul Razzaq is always put under pressure after just one bad game. He did so well since England ODIs. If you compare him with Afridi, he is as good as Afridi whether in bowling or in batting. In NZ ODIs, he was able to bowl ten overs in almost each match, taking vital wickets.

  • hungry lion on February 24, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    The surfaces in New Zealand managed to replicate South Asian conditions.are u serious??????no wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.btw real test will be in round 2.

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  • hungry lion on February 24, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    The surfaces in New Zealand managed to replicate South Asian conditions.are u serious??????no wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.btw real test will be in round 2.

  • Nadeem Khan on February 24, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    I wonder why Abdul Razzaq is always put under pressure after just one bad game. He did so well since England ODIs. If you compare him with Afridi, he is as good as Afridi whether in bowling or in batting. In NZ ODIs, he was able to bowl ten overs in almost each match, taking vital wickets.

  • Usman on February 24, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    I think this is wise suggestion, Wahan is handy bat as well down the order so can still produce some runs if needed. However, looking at the recent series, it is clearly evident pakistan bowling attack lacks a bite at the start. We cant offer this opportunity to solid teams to get away in starting overs.

  • Inty on February 24, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    Not necessarily Mr Abbassi. Remember 1992? Ijaz Ahmed of all people was a frontline bowler. This tournament will be won by the spinners!

  • fhs on February 24, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    Agreed - Pak must add a bowler in the side. It is weak. Must deploy Ajmal and Riaz in all games. Replace Karman Akmal with Sajeed Ajmal and Akhtar with Riaz. Ajmal must be in the side as long as he bowls over the wicket -- with the flighted deliveries. He has been ineffective ever since he started bowling form round the wicket -- with pushy deliveries.

  • Gulab on February 24, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    I dont agree too. Our main focus should be on batting and we can go with less bowler. By the way we have five specialist bowlers that are Razzak, Gul, Shoaib , Afridi and Rehman. Hafeez is a backup. The only thing will be Shoaib fitness and tempo if he is fit he should be there otherwise then Wahab is a better choice. On the other hand to reduce our batting is not a wise thing as we all know that in sub-continent the batting stregnth is important as wickets are very slow.

  • Mudassar Rana on February 24, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    We are just so used to our bowlers rescuing frail batting that its hard for us to accept that our batting line up is performing! Unfortunately circumstances mean that we are without 2 of the worlds best bowlers. The only real space for improvement is that abdurrahman can be dropped for either wahab or junaid. The latter looks a good prospect and maybe worth utilising. Dropping rehman wouldnt make much difference to the spinning department as we still have afridi and hafeez.

    Sri lanka is an over-rated team if we play to our potential we should win at a canter.

    Even now there is no team on earth that has the men that can win them matches on their own, like Akhtar, Afridi, and Razzaq.

  • Adnan Alavi on February 24, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    I agree Wahab should be swapped with Hafeez He has failed in all the matches since scoring that one off century.

  • Bilal on February 24, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    Very good article. Pakistan were VERY defensive in their line up. I'd drop Shehzad/Hafeez (prob Hafeez) and play Junaid Khan. We've only won cups through all out attack in our bowling. We need to do what we do best, pick a youngster and drop him into the deep end and see what happens. It could be that he may get hammered, but there's only one way to find out.

    Rehman/Ajmal is also antoher issue. Ajmal is more of a wicket taker and should be playing. Rehman can hold a bat...but if we end up counting on him, chances are...the match is long gone anyway by then.

  • kamran amir awan on February 24, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    i think we have to be a bit patient with razzaq.....also we need to be clear about the role of spinners in our team as i tend to agree with the idea that spinners are going to play a vital role in this world cup....we should be open to the idea of a spinner opening the bowling like s.africa,zimbabwe and maybe some others too later on....hafeez can be tried in that role....and this may reduce pressure on razzaq.....razzaq is actually our fifth or sixth bowler in terms of priority and if we look at other teams,their fifth or sixth bowler does not necessarily possess razzaq,s ability and specially his experiance....afridi needs to believe more in razzaq and he should be a bit more forthcoming at how to use him...both in batting and bowling.....mostly pakistan has won matches when we have a strong middle and later order batting ....so reducing a batsman in my view is becoming a bit over confidant about our batting which has never been our strong point....