ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Canada v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, Group A, Colombo

Pakistan mull changes ahead of Canada game

Osman Samiuddin in Colombo

March 2, 2011

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

Pakistan are striving to strike a balance between experimentation and momentum, always a tricky proposition, ahead of their group game against Canada at the R Premadasa on Thursday. Pakistan are currently unbeaten at the top of Group A, and have fielded unchanged line-ups in their first two games against Kenya and Sri Lanka.

Under normal circumstances they would be loath to change a winning XI, but an injury and an opportunity to rest senior players in what is still a long road ahead, is likely to see them make changes in personnel, if not strategy. Abdur Rehman is out with an adductor muscle injury, so Saeed Ajmal has a strong chance to make his World Cup debut.

Pakistan will also consider whether or not to rest Shoaib Akhtar; the management are keen to handle the 35-year-old fast bowler with care and he played a starring role in a full ten-over performance against Sri Lanka.

Wahab Riaz would be a more than able replacement, but as a former fast bowler, Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, knows that rest is not always the best way to go.


Shoaib Akhtar bowls during Pakistan's training session as Waqar Younis looks on, Colombo, February 28, 2011
Pakistan might choose to rest Shoaib Akhtar for their game against Canada © AFP
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"We haven't decided on the team yet," Waqar said. "We are thinking about it [of resting Shoaib] but then again, at this age or time, sometimes rest is not good, because you want to get that rhythm and momentum going. You don't want to take too long a rest because it is too hot and you need to be used to that. So I'm not sure at the moment."

The magnitude of the event also means that Pakistan want to keep their best XI playing in every game for the sake of momentum and togetherness. "To an extent it is true but then this is a big tournament and you don't want to take a risk, you want to have you best team available to play every match so that you don't lose momentum," Waqar said. "There are a couple of niggles, like Misbah's [ul-Haq] hamstring, but he is okay. Rehman has a problem, but the tournament is such that we want to play our team every match.

"I don't think there is any easy match or one that can be taken lightly. We played well against Sri Lanka, but it's still early days. There are bigger teams ahead. It's good that we won against Sri Lanka, but tomorrow's another game and we need to come out and keep the momentum going."

Pakistan have only played Canada once in an ODI, an eight-wicket win at the 1979 World Cup, so this is unchartered territory for both teams. They met at a Twenty20 quadrangular tournament in Toronto in August 2008 but that is it. "We played against them last year in Canada [2008] and we have seen a little bit of them," Waqar said. "We have seen the videos, so we are going to see the game before we play them tomorrow but we are fully prepared for every single game."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 49 
Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

In my opinion on number Three Umer Akmal or Abdul Razzak should to bat (According to situation) instead of Kamran Akmal.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 8:16 GMT)

I think we should test junaid Khan in today's match...

Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 8:16 GMT)

In my opinion on number three Abdul Razaq or Umer Akmal (according to situation) should to bat instead of Kamran Akmal.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2011, 8:07 GMT)

Hello Sir,

Are you interested in Selling "Pakistan Cricket" Fanpage? If you are let me know.

i will wait for your reply. Thank you. Have a Nice Day.

Posted by FehmeedAnwar on (March 3, 2011, 5:33 GMT)

Pakistan be brave and give a try with young cricketers ...they will be just fine.. if u don't want to try now then when? ... don't worry too much about Canada... they are not Ireland..hahhahah

Posted by ejsiddiqui on (March 3, 2011, 4:57 GMT)

This is the best time to test our bench strength, what if someone gets injured before Quarter Final or Semi Final? Let Junaid and Ajmal get feel of worldcup so that they could be helpful if required.

Remember, we don't have a new ball bowler except Shoaib. Both Umar and Wahab are old ball bowlers.

Also we are playing with an extra batsmen which may heart our bowling department and balance of the team.

So, it is the best time to test our optimum balance against strong teams.

Posted by aamed33 on (March 3, 2011, 2:36 GMT)

Why doesn't Pakistan follow the example set by Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka,  who are arguably the three of the best one day teams at the moment, and play four  fast/seam bowlers. They are fortunate to have two batsmen who can bowl spin anyway, in Hafeez and Afridi; and this will give them so many more bowling options. We don't need three spinners to bowl thirty odd overs, which normally yeald two to four wickets. If the four speedsters were to bowl 30 to 35 overs in each match, I'm sure they would roll over the opposition for a lot fewer runs than the combinatin is doing at the moment. The Aussies done it against England, beating them 6-1, and they are doing the same in the sub-continent, as are SA and SL. India just don't have enough quality quickies, while Pakistan always have had, but unlike the W Indians we've never ever utilised them to their full potential. Play to your strength, Pakistan, give it a try - you might find youself winning a lot more !

Posted by shaz101 on (March 3, 2011, 0:28 GMT)

we should aim to giv ethe opener and the middle order more exposure to the cadadian game because they have had no such exposure in batting in match condition. Razzaq should be given time in the middle because he has faced only 10 balls in total if not less so he needs to be give time in the midde to prepare him for the bigger games like Australia and NZ. But in saying this they should play their best team that can knock canda on the head, otherwise England just suffered deservely lost against Ireland and we don't want to be victim on another scanndle by osing to Canada. Just a precaution but we should be fine.

Posted by xash on (March 2, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

well this is the right time to get along with new talent like Junaid Khan, Asad Shafiq and Saeed Ajmal.

One game rest for Shoaib Akhter will not affect that much to his performance and rhythm.

Posted by aamed33 on (March 2, 2011, 23:19 GMT)

Why doesn't Pakistan follow the example set by Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka, who are arguably the three of the best one day teams at the moment, and play four fast/seam bowlers. They are fortunate to have two batsmen who can bowl spin anyway, in Hafeez and Afridi, and this will give them so many more bowling options. We don't need three spinners to bowl 30 odd overs, which normally yeald two to four wickets. If the four speedster were to bowl 30 to 35 overs in each match, I'm sure they would roll over the opposition for a lot fewer runs than the combinatin is doing at the moment. The Aussies done it against England, beating them 6-1, and they are doing the same in the sub-continent, as are SA and SL. India just don't have enough quality quickies, so they play just two quicks. But Pakistan do have, and have always had, lots of talented quicks, but unlike the W Indians we've never ever utilised them to their potential. Give it a try Pakistan, you might win a lot more matches.

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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