Pakistan news February 20, 2014

Mohammad Akram proposes rotation for Pakistan bowlers


With Mohammad Irfan out of the squad after aggravating a hip injury, Pakistan's bowling coach Mohammad Akram has outlined a rotation policy for the major international contests ahead of the team. Akram, who was given a two-year contract, confirmed that Pakistan would focus on managing their bowlers' workloads to avoid injuries.

Rotation is an unfamiliar concept for Pakistan, and teams over the last one-and-a-half years have been selected largely from first-choice players. During Akram's previous stint as bowling coach, he oversaw the international debuts of Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali, but none of them has graduated to becoming a front-line bowler. Akram's influence on bowlers like Irfan and Junaid Khan has been evident, but Pakistan's bench strength is thin.

"We have decided to focus on the Under-19 level to get a group ready right from the start," Akram said. "Meanwhile we have realised the need for a rotation policy and both captains [Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez] should accept and adapt the mechanism and implement it in the long run.

"Irfan is a lethal bowler but it's not like we are overreliant on him. If you remember we won the (ODI) series in South Africa without him. So there are a lot of things we have discussed and we are thinking ahead now, and I can assure there is no sense of deprivation in the dressing room and from the captain."

Irfan's fitness has been a talking point ever since he made his debut in 2010. His longest continuous streak in international cricket came in the UAE last year, when he bowled 65.5 overs in two Tests against South Africa, 13 in a tour game against UAE, and 48 overs in five ODIs against South Africa. During this time, he became an important member of the Pakistan attack.

He was picked for the final T20 against South Africa in Dubai last year despite carrying niggles, and ended up injuring his hip. He recovered after three months of rehabilitation but aggravated his injury during a recent domestic T20 match.

"His [Irfan's] fitness wasn't compromised at all. He was played rightly and was fit enough for the match but injuries are part and parcel of the game," Akram said. "It can't be avoided by the doctors and the bowling coach. What we can do is try and manage the bowlers' workloads."

With Irfan out, Pakistan lack a strike bowler though Umar Gul, who had been out of contention for over nine months with a knee injury, is back in the side following his return for the ODIs against Sri Lanka in December.

"Umar Gul's performance since his comeback has been outstanding and we need to have a senior like him in the team," Akram said. "He just returned from an injury and his still bit wary about taking a full workload, which is natural, especially after a knee injury. We are expecting him to bowl 10 overs in the ongoing practice matches so that he can get back to full flow."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ubaid on February 25, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    @iffy 187. Absolute rubbish. Fitness and match practice go hand in hand . Are you going to sit junaid khan out in the name of rotation even if he is fit. Best available 11 should play every game. We don't play that many games period. that infact is the reason people are getting injured more often . Additionally, these are professional players. So it's unfair to ask them to vacate there spot in the name of rotation. Put yourself in junaid khan's shoes. Would you like to sit out for someone less deserving in the name of rotation. Rotation failed in Australia and went the way of Micky arther. The played the same team in all ashes tests, unchanged even after Ryan Harris was hurt.

  • irfan on February 24, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    some ridiculous comments on here, look into the context of what has been said, we are talking about long term not just 1 or 2 years, we need to groom the next generation of bowlers by giving them equal opportunities against top level sides, when junaid or gul gets injured who will step in, we need a pool of bowlers who have been tried and tested all around the world so they can step in at a days notice and perform to a top level, i do agree fitness plays a part but there is no substitute to match practice.

    secondly i say this on all Pakistan related posts.. Leave Misbah alone, he is one of our best captains since Imran,overseen some great performances in the past few years yet all he gets is abuse, who will stand in and replace him, Afridi, who has probably retired more times than he has played test matches.. think about it guys, be careful of what you wish for.

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Pakistan team does not play enough International cricket to require rotation policy. This year Pakistan will play 5 test matches, last year they played 7 that's only 12 in 2 years. Australia, India and England play this much in one year.Additionally, Pakistan are light on ODI this year as well with only Asia Cup and Australia series confirmed before the 2015 WC. IMO there is no need for rotation in Pakistan team, what we need is bowlers to focus on fitness along with cricket skills. Everybody is talking about Mohammad Irfan being hurt due to being used so much he played 4 tests and 20 ODI in 2013. Which compared to other quicks is not all that much, main problem is his fitness.

  • Dummy4 on February 22, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    It is something great as we can try different bowlers in different combinations which will prove fruitful for us. It can be divided in two groups

    1. Faster bowlers (First choice) -Umar Gul -Junaid khan -M.Irfan -Wahab Riaz -Bilawal Bhatti -Anwar Ali

    2- Faster bowlers (2nd choice) -Sohail Tanvir -M. Talha -Asad Ali -Aizaz Cheema -Ehsan Adil -M.Aamir(after a year) -Usman shinwari

    Few of them can fit in the roll of bowling allrounders as well and can be used on the batting tracks where as ALL OF THESE bowlers can be used in different combinations against different sides at different pitches because if given proper opportunity, all of these have ability to mark the international arena's success.

    Why to put all burden on first choice faster bowlers? When we can form a substantial bowling unit out of the 2nd choice bowlers alone. So they should be used in the combination and if it is implemented properly, this rotation policy will prove more beneficial

  • ubaid on February 21, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    This is a joke. Rotation policy !!! when you don't get to play that much international cricket anyways. Our next test is month's away. How about improving fitness. These bowlers are not getting injured because they are not playing enough. They are getting injured because we don't play enough cricket and then we suddenly start playing. Rotation policy is the last thing we need. The best available 11 should play. Rotation policy is just a ploy to get sifarshi players in.

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    this one is specially for selectors,, you have done tremondously well, but think about this,, in test squad fast bowlers must be, SAMI, IRFAN, WAHAB, TALHA and BHATTI,, because they are extreme fast bowlers and we need them,, talking about ODI, it would have been a beter option if u have selected sarfraz along with umar akmal.. just to boost the confidence of sarfraz,, my request to u is that if you dont play fawad alam,, no matter but now dont make him out after the tournament,, stick with him, doesnt matter wheater he plays in 11 or not,, he must be in 15,,, my suggestion are: include hammad azam instead of malik and raza hassan instead of babar and let kamran plays on 3, and hafeez bhai on 6, so the team should be,, sharjel ahmed kamran umar sohaib hafeez shahid gul sohail ajmal and zulfqar/ bhatti, and the test team should be, 1: yasir hameed 2: fawaad alam 3: azhar ali 4: younis khan 5: faisal iqbal 6: misbah ul haq 7: sarfraz 8: sami/ bhatti 9: ajmal/ 10: irfan 11: talha/ wahab

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    when this mohame aamir will return to pakistan squad?????

  • Mohammed Athar on February 21, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    They need to get two quick blowers and it is fine with the spin, however they need two all rounders like Afridi and Razzak. I think hafeez shall be removed as caption.However I believe Razzak shall be caption of the team

  • Taahir on February 21, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    Rotation policy does not work. I remember when Australia tried this without success. You have to have your best players playing at all times.

  • Ronny on February 21, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Misbah in continuation of his policy to patronize mediocre so that they keep looking up to him has damaged PAK Cricket more than benefited it by introducing club level cricketers like Rahat Ali in the past and persisting with him! PAK needs Younis and Afridi back as Captains for Tests and ODIz respectively with youngsters like Ahmed Shehzad and Sohaib Maqsood as their deputies to prepare them as future leaders! We BADLY need to do away with Misbah as a Captain, however, he can cotinue playing as a player till he lasts. Same applies to Hafeez who should be permanently thrown out of Test Cricket and restricted to ODIz and T20z! Misbah-Hafeez combo has screwed PAK Cricket enough therefore, we need agressive captains especially in lieu of WC 2015 and our future cricket, these 2 should have no role in leadership any more!

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