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

"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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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)

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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.

Posted by Shake_n_Bake on (March 2, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

I agree totally with what adnan Hussain has said, I have been waiting for Afridi to be dropped lower down the order. We can't still call him a batting all-rounder, when was the last time he scored a decent score with some consistency? Razzaq was playing higher up in the English county last year and is a more than capable with batting sensibly. He plays to the gaps and builds his innings, unlike afridi who go's arial on every delivery.

Posted by Saad.alam on (March 2, 2011, 22:41 GMT)

@Amir Hameed - You have exactly written what my opinion is. It sounds like a best combination going forward. Abdul Razzaq can bat better than Kamran Akmal and by dropping Kamran akmal it gives us a chance to play Wahab Riaz. I strongly believe that giving 5-6 overs to Hafeez is not good. He can not perform. The team with better fast bowling will win. At the moment it's only Pak (by including Wahab Riaz), Australia and to some extent South Africa who have good fast bowlers.

Posted by USAPakCricFollower on (March 2, 2011, 21:44 GMT)

Razzak has a good bowling average in the last several ODIs and yet is rarely allowed to complete 10 overs, while other bowlers who are more expensive complete their 10. He should be given more bowling and move up in batting order, definitely before Afridi.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 21:33 GMT)

I cnt understand y cnt v get ridoff Ahmed S, he's nt doing anything... v can play either wahab riaz or ajmal while keeping the team as well...

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 21:26 GMT)

Every match is important so I request Team Pakistan to take wise decision after the toss whether to bat first or not. The weather forcast for tomorrow is not good and we should keep remember the last world cup where we loose the match against Ireland and one of the reason for that tragedy was rainy weather. We batted first and made very low score against them and then lost the game. I wish best of the luck for our Team and Pray that we should lift this world cup. Adnan Anwar

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 20:34 GMT)

Abdul Razzak is not being used properly. He should be send to bat at no.4, 5 or 6 at the most. After no. 6 its not justified to send him. Further he is the best first change bowler, he should not open the bowling attack.

Posted by IrfaNtariq on (March 2, 2011, 20:30 GMT)

I think Pakistan should play Saeed Ajmal,Wahab Riaz and Asad Shafiq in the match against kenya!!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 19:39 GMT)

Pakistan must take this game as usual and donot make much experiments, they can go with Ajmal, and give chance to Wahab Riaz . The both players are capable of good show, but in this game change the batting order and give Abdul razzak a go and Afridi a go ahead of other players if and only if they bat first.......

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 19:35 GMT)

My team for tomorrow's game would be: 1. Shehzad 2. Hafeez 3. Kamran 4. Younis 5. Umar 6. Razzaq 7. Afridi 8. Riaz 9. Gul 10. Junaid 11. Ajmal If chasing a total of less than 150, move Razzaq to #3 to get some practice as we need him for crunch games!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 19:14 GMT)

I totally agree with AamirHameed. They should drop Kamran in favour of a specialist and have Umar keep the wickets.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 17:36 GMT)

I agree with What Waqar said but in the same time you should give the match pract to Wahab Riaz. Gul should play because he is not performing well. So just needs to take some wicket he will be back on his track. I personally feel we are not using Razaq properly he should come before Afradi or even U-Akmal against Canada. Even he is not completing his over or either doing batting so he should come little bit up.

Posted by asadkum on (March 2, 2011, 15:44 GMT)

Mohammad Asad from USA ................................................... I do agree with Waqar ...............Please do not take any match lightly ......... Yeah, keep momentum !!!!!!!!!!!! All the best.

Posted by AamirHameed on (March 2, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

Pakistan should consider dropping Kamran Akmal, who is terrible with gloves. Giving this responsibility to his brother and bring in Wahab Riaz, who is another excellent all rounder and will strengthen the much needed pace bowling. Abdul Razzaq should replace Kamran at no.3.

Posted by has77 on (March 2, 2011, 15:01 GMT)

Bat Razzaq at 3!!! Swap him with Kamran...He did it in 1999

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 14:38 GMT)


Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

I feel the current strategy deployed by Pakistani team in the middle order is real excellent. it is reminiscent of the 1992 world cup when the two all time greats produced by Pakistan- Imran Khan & Javed Miandad, took the nation to Glory, by defying all the opposition teams particularly in the semifinal and the final. If Misbah and Younus continue to perform in a similar manner, and I pray to the Almighty that they do, there is no reason why Pakistan Cricket Team should not come out with flying colours and bring home the World Cup once again.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 14:11 GMT)

Must Play Junaid khan , S.Ajmal , Wahab Riaz & Asad Shafiq ..... !! Want to see young Guns playing against Canada !

Posted by kzia on (March 2, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

I agree with Waqar that sometime rest breaks your rythm and momentum but at the sametime it gives you chance to look at your bench strength. I strongly believe that they should give chance to ajmal and wahab at the expense of Shoaib and Rehman. Umar Gul should play every match as he needs some rythm in his bowling which he is lacking at the moment. I also think they should bring Razaq in the middle order to give him some batting practise before big matches start. I am very happy with Pakistani team as they are real hero and no Traitor in the team. They should play with unity and show the world that we are still the Best, although no International cricket in the country and also we got rid of some traitors who were best in the business but dishonest people. Pakistan Zindabad. Inshallah you will Win World Cup. I am waiting for that Big Day......

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

better Pakistan should rest Shoiab Akhtar A/Rahman and Misbah-ul Haq and give chance to Ajmal, and new tallented fast bowler khan, they should not take the game easy one, if win the toss they should bat first and put a high score, and improve their average run rate which will be benificial for the coming up matches which are very tough one against N.Land Australia

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

plz razzak on oppner possision aganst canadA plz

Posted by arid.1852 on (March 2, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

I think Pakistan should rest Umar Gul and go with Saeed Ajmal instead of Umar Gul and Asad Shafiq instead of anyone.

Posted by sherri_81 on (March 2, 2011, 13:41 GMT)

In my view the team should be: Kamran Akmal, Mohd Hafeez, Abdul Razzaq, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and Saeed Ajmal.

I am confident that the above have enough flare and depth to overcome Canada and if they fail then the selection committee should be sacked for selecting a squad which cannot beat a minnow, Pakistan must give everyone a game before next phase of the tournament begins in case of injuries. On Shoaib, although he bowled well and Waqar's comments do make sense but in my view he should not play this game due to his fitness issues - he is an old horse give him a break.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

Rest Shoaib and play Junaid Khan (the 2nd Aamir). Replace Misbah with Asad. Why bring them if they are not suppose to get any opportunity. Also, they will be prepared IF any of PAK main player is injured later in knock-out stage. Unless PAK team wants the replacement players with ZERO experience to panic on field. Is that too difficult to see... All the best to PAK (cornered tigers) team and all Asian teams.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

A bit confusing!! whatever they do, they should win all games!!

Posted by SamAsh07 on (March 2, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

Oh c'mon leave Wahab Riaz, he should only be a replacement for Umar Gul, while Saeed Ajmal for Abdur Rehman, if you really want Shoaib Akhtar to rest, then please give Junaid Khan a chance....many Pakistani fans are waiting to see him in action and debuting him against a weak team is a GOOD idea...

Posted by Mighty_Khan on (March 2, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

Pakistan should rest Shoaib, Misbah, Abdul Rehman and Umar Gul and give chance to Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz against Canada. Rest of the team should play unchanged. Although Shoiab still needs some match practice to get his full form.

Posted by rockon16 on (March 2, 2011, 13:10 GMT)

Pakistan need to choose the team wisely & make sure they rest the players properly.

pakistan zindabad !!!!!!!!!!!!! pakistan world cup jeetay ga !

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 13:09 GMT)

Imran Nazir would have increased the chances of Pakistan to take the WC

Mohsin Srinagar Kashmir

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

Pakistan should rest shoib & Gul and chance to play wahab riaz & junaid khan to check their match fitness. Razzaq should give broader role, he should come ahead of Afridi aur sometime at one down postion like 99 world cup.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

i think its better to rest shoaib ..and give wahab riaz the chance ..coz if someone gets ijured in the later stages than we wont have the luxury of easy games

Posted by Stark62 on (March 2, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

Misbah and Rehman should definitely be unavailable for the Can game but rest both Shoaib and Gul with Riaz and J. Khan coming in.

Those two would be more then capable of taking 10 wkts between them!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 12:48 GMT)

Wish Pakistan a huge victory driving the net runrate higher up to be at the top in the poll..

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

Its better to rest Shoaib and even Misbah, and obviously Rehman is already injured. So let's play Wahab, Asad shafique and Ajmal. Obviously they are not that bad, cuz tournament is pretty long and its very hard weather in Srilanka

Posted by giki67 on (March 2, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

That's the spirit. Keep it up and you will be at your best once again.

Posted by Riz-Khan on (March 2, 2011, 12:31 GMT)

I agree on the waqar opnion that 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 him. But waqar check out other bowlers which you had in team if some one injured unfortunately then what will you do,give chance to Ajmal and Wahab in next match against Canada

Posted by Salman86 on (March 2, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

Well they should give a chance to Junaid Khan instead of Umar Gul for tomorrow's match.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 12:21 GMT)

Good decision rest the key players

Posted by   on (March 2, 2011, 12:20 GMT)

Good decision key players need to be rested

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (March 2, 2011, 12:19 GMT)

Doesn't matter who they play in this game. I think rest Misbah and Rehman, keep Shoaib but just get him to bowl 5 or 6 overs, work out his muscles a bit. For future games though, we need to drop a batsman and bring in another specialist bowler. It will be critical in this tournament. Even without a specialist bastman (in my opinion Ahmed Shehzad, he's good but not needed at the moment), we still have enough batting power to go the 50 overs. Actually, probably at a higher rate since we'll get Afridi and Razzaq to see more of the pitch while batting. What we need is really quality bowling and variety against the stronger teams. SL, SA, IND, AUS, ENG have solid batsmen who are consistent and we will need to trouble them with an extra bowler, ideally paceman like Wahab Riaz.

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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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