Pakistan news June 27, 2013

PCB focus on youth for upcoming tours


After Pakistan's early exit from the Champions Trophy, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to extend the selection pool of players and shift focus towards youngsters ahead of picking a squad for the upcoming tours of West Indies and Zimbabwe. Ten cricketers, including Shahid Afridi, underwent fitness tests conducted by a panel of doctors and coaches at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

The change in leadership of the PCB, in the form of Najam Sethi for the suspended Zaka Ashraf, has seen a changed persona of the board. The new interim chairman publicly dismissed the culture of "sifarish" [unmerited recommendation] and ordered selection strictly on merit to produce immediate results. He asked the selection committee and coaches to take more responsibility from now on.

The selections for the West Indies tour were nearly settled before the selection panel was given an additional five days by the board chairman, to justify each selection before sending it for approval. The panel, led by Iqbal Qasim, thereafter formed an extensive pool to be tested. The intentions are clear as selectors have been given a free hand to replace the older players with youngsters. They may now think beyond the likes of Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal, who fared poorly in the Champions Trophy.

Haris Sohail, who suffered an ankle injury earlier this year, and Raza Hasan, who had major surgery on his spine, are back in contention, along with Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad. Umar was also seen with the wicketkeeping gloves along with coach Dav Whatmore, which means he may be selected as the wicketkeeper in the squad. Mohammad Irfan and Nasir Jamshed, automatic selections over the last eight months, were also asked to undertake fitness tests. Top-order batsmen Sohaib Maqsood from Multan, Sharjeel Khan from Hyderabad, left-arm spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Abdur Rehman, and legspinner Usman Qadir, all featured in a three-hour fitness test.

Pakistan suffered three straight defeats in the Champions Trophy with their batting being their major woe. They failed to cross 200 - bowled out for 170 against West Indies, 167 against South Africa and 165 in a rain-affected match against India to get eliminated from the group stage. Only captain Misbah-ul-Haq hit two half-centuries, while the other senior batsmen Mohammad Hafeez, Farhat, Malik and Kamran performed poorly.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • salman on July 1, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    @somethingdifferent: LOL. bouncy conditions u say. glad u brought that up. he averages 39 against Australia in Australia, including a 63 at Perth.

    he averages 38 against England in England.

    he averages 31 against South Africa, although that was in the UAE but in a series where most of your accomplished batsmen struggled.

    i'm damn sure he doesn't look within 10,000 miles of a tendulkar or a yousuf when he bats, but like i said, he gets the job done.

    bro, we don't have the luxury of a mike hussey or a hashim amla knocking on the selectors' door from our domestic circuit, this is the available bunch we have. if u're going to bring back u.akmal and a.shahzad (which i'm NOT disagreeing to in any way), then fawad alam also, most definitely, deserves a chance.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    I don't think its ever about the influx of youth in the team, its more of a mental block in batting. I mean, ok.. youth factor is the need of the hour for Pak team but the problems in Pak batting are more deep rooted than just merely switching players on and off for different tours. I think Inzamams inclusion as a batting coach is a very good decision. I think players need coaching not with respect to their batting technique but just be brave enough to counter different situations with a clear intent which was missing from Paks batting in Champions trophy- they just didnt know what to do. Unfortunately, younger Pak batsmen don't have a really good batsman in the team to learn from.. which is why inclusion of Inzamam is a critical decision and will pay well if they remain consistent and not ditch him after the series! Pak need to be aggressive from the beginning; they play well when they are dictating terms and not the other way round!

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    Viv Richard and Abdul Razzaq are my favorite players.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2013, 22:36 GMT

    feel sorry for pakistan. the selection has always horrible its good that the failers were exposed against the whole world. Now please no more Imran Farhat,Shoib malik,Kamran akmal,mohammed haffez,yunus khan,Umer gul,Shahid afridi,wahab riaz,.get rid of them forever.plz give ANWAR ALI some chances he can be the best slrounder after Razzak.why selection hate RAZZAK?missba is not a captain material he cannot bring new blood in pak cricket get rid of him as a captain and play him at 4 as a batsman.pak needs a bowling captain.hope to see Shazad,sarjeel,Harris sohel,umer akmel,Fawad alamSuperstar ANWAR ALI, Raza hassanAsad ali,Shoeib maksood in the playing 11 for pakistan.need to look forword at the future.umrr akmal should akways play at no 3.RZZAK u were the true sportsman vry innocent. no fights, no politics,no crowd puller,no fixing,no showoffs.hats off Razzak hope to see u but i know i wont be.hope anwar ali can do what u did for pak cricket.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    my xi is 1.nasir 2.ahmed shahzad3.hafeez 4.misbah 5.umar akmal 6.haris sohail 7.sohaib maqsood8.wahab9.ajmal 10.junaid11.irfan umar should keep wickets.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    My Team for One day with Reasons. 1. Hafeez(VC): has potential, but needs to correct technique against swinging ball. 2. Jamshed: Has Potential, Future Prospect. Needs Grooming and experience. 3. Umar A: Future Prospect. Needs to bat up the order. Needs guidance but massive potential. Wicket keeping option. 4. Misbah(C): Stable batsmen. Solidify's middle Order, Needs aggressive mindset and outside the box thinking. 5. Asad: Technically correct, needs experience. Can solidify middle order 6. Razzak: Great Pakistani All rounder and Game changer. Till a genuine all rounder is not found we need him. 7.Afridi: Superstar power. Crowd Puller. Game Changer. 8.Rizwan: Exciting Talent. Can bat a bit. Proper Wicket keeper. 9. Ajmal: Best spinner in the world. A fighter. A match winner. 10. Junaid: Great Talent and match winner. Needs more speed though. 11. Irfan: Accurate,tall and deadly on any wicket.

    A mix of 3 All rounders, 4 batsmen, 3 bowlers and 1 proper keeper.

  • ESPN on June 29, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    I would say there will be no swlection on merit!!!! Pakistan need a tough chairman who knows about cricket like majid khan, Najam sethi has nothing to do with cricket and he is more a political person then a cricketer, The appiintement of najam sethi will give pak cricket more darkness!!! If they really want to do something to save the cricket they must change the selection commitee while bringing in abdul Qadir and aamir sohail, Change the coaches and bring in tom moody if u want foreign coach , and bring waqar as a bowling coach, This things will bring some changes to pak, If pcb selection is on merit then bring new wicket keeper even he give us just 20 odd runs i do not mind but he will save a lot behind the wicket!!! Please do something to save the cricket in pak.... We do not want to be the next zimbabwe!!!! Thanks !!!

  • Naseeruddin on June 28, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    This is 100% right ... Pakistan cricket will never improve if the sons of Ex-player are always there for team selection ... We just don't able to forget Farhat ....and Now USMAN QADIR ... who just played 8 list A matches and his record is the worst of the WORST !!!!!! .... God helps Pakistan cricket ...We should pick Usman Salahuddin and many other unknown names .....

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    Umar Akmal as a wicket-keeper batsman, come-on man u got to be kidding... U have a very limited batting talent coming through the domestic and u are telling me that the best of that limited resource has not a place in the team just as a batsman. Isn't it better for pakistan to develop U Akmal into a good #3 or #4 batsman and let him concentrate on batting alone and bring in someone like M Rezwan (or some other batsman who can keep wickets from domestic) as a wicket-keeper batsman.

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Its a wake up call for PCB! they need to inject young blood in the team! How long will they take the old players in the team which dont even perform! our average age is 31! and look at the other team average age! its high time for pcb to get rid of malik,farhat,and akmal! And for how many times our team selection will based on politics than based on merit! Politics is doing no good to our cricket and you can check it from our drastic performance in CL13! start televising domestic seasons so players get attracted by it! Plan tours to countries like aus,eng,wi so our players get familiar to those types of pitches! Invest more in domestic season!Where are all the top scorers who perform good in domestic season but we never see their faces! Our country wants a glossy hair coloured to be our captain! can judge our mentality