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Babar could make an impact at WT20 - Hafeez

Umar Farooq

February 19, 2014

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

Zulfiqar Babar picked up three wickets on debut, West Indies v Pakistan, 1st T20I, St Vincent, July 27, 2013
Zulfiqar Babar will join Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal in Pakistan's spin attack for the World T20 © WICB Media
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Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar could be Pakistan's surprise package at the World T20, much like Raza Hasan was in the previous edition of the tournament, according to Mohammad Hafeez. While ruing the absence of left-arm seamer Mohammad Irfan, Hafeez, the T20 captain, insisted that the combination selected was "world-class", and named Babar and opening batsman Sharjeel Khan as players to watch out for.

Irfan, who last played against South Africa in the UAE, has since been on rest to recover from a hip injury, which he once again aggravated last week during a domestic T20 match in Rawalpindi. Had he remained fit, he was an automatic selection.

"We can still make an impact, and this impact could be in the shape of Zulfiqar Babar," Hafeez said. "Sharjeel Khan is another, and his explosive attitude could benefit the team. Irfan will be missed because his first two overs could have been lethal, but it's an opportunity for others to come and make an impact.

"If you see we have a very good combination for the conditions, if you look at World Twenty20. We have world-class spinners in Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Zulfiqar Babar, and along with this experience, we have youth in the form of [Mohammad] Talha and Bilawal Bhatti. Irfan is an impact bowler, there's no doubt about it, but unfortunately he couldn't recover."

The World T20 will be Hafeez's second as Pakistan captain. In 2012 he led the side into the semi-finals, where they lost to Sri Lanka by 16 runs. In the last two years, Hafeez has been pushing for a younger team, but both of his World T20 squads have included a couple of older names. Imran Nazir and Abdul Razzaq were picked in 2012; this time, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal have been recalled.

Hafeez justified their selection. "Yes, I have always encouraged youngsters but unfortunately the players we have relied on haven't performed in the recent past," he said. "The selectors thought it's a big event and you need experience so I think that's why they included Kamran Akmal and I wish him all the luck."

Pakistan are currently preparing for the Asia Cup, with three training sessions every day at the Gaddafi Stadium and the National Cricket Academy. Hafeez, the vice captain of the ODI team, said being defending champions has given the players a lot of confidence.

"You can't say we are the hot favourites for the event but we are taking the confidence that we are defending champions," he said. "You can't take anyone easy; you have to play good cricket to get good results. India is a good team. When we went there we beat them last year; we always try to bring good results against them and this time too we will try to bring good results."

Reacting to coach Moin Khan's remarks about the fear of failure in the team, Hafeez said it came with insecurity. "It comes when you feel insecure but when the management ensures that you will get maximum opportunity you obviously give your best and express yourself [without any fear]."

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 6:32 GMT)

advice for pak batting: making 180-200 per game easily divide game into two: 1-10 and 11-20 1-10: openers should not be looking bondires to every ball. bc every team's best bowlers start with new ball. and it is the main point where pak batters goes for boundries and doent take wickets intake.. just rotae the strike and have an occasional boudry,, as u can se,, 101110 140011, but if u goes like this, 400400, you will be 90-5 after 10 overs,, so be cool and calm.. so try to have 70-75 runs in 1st ten, 2nd ten: if you go bang bang bang, wickets will fall, try to play like this 122141 there is no risk in that and u will easily have 11-12 runs an 11-15overs, and in last 5 overs go boom boom with sixers,, and doesnt mind falling wicket. 161462, 16-20 in last 5 overs, the main thing in batting is that ball which doesnt deserve boundary, we should not try to send it, and try to take 1, so simple, total of 70-80+50-60+60-70=180-210 (best of luck)

Posted by nishlan3 on (February 21, 2014, 5:32 GMT)

I think this may be the Last world T20 for Shahid Afridi So send him as a opener then u will defiantly find a huge total :

Shehzad, Afrid, K Akmal, Malik, Hafeez, U Akmal, Bhatti, Babar, Gul, Ajma, Junaid According to their Prof om you can change with Sharjeel.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 23:59 GMT)

Imran Nazir should be in the squad. . . .

Posted by Desihungama on (February 20, 2014, 22:28 GMT)

@Stark62 - Spot On! Irfan was absolutely unnecessarily played in matches when the Management should have been looking toward grooming the likes of Anwar, Bhatti and whoever else is a prospect.

Posted by Stark62 on (February 20, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

He is speaking, as if the whole year is jam packed!!

Truth be told, everyone knew Irfan was going to break down and the fact, that he was played in dead rubbers and meaningless games, didn't help his body, so blame the captain(s), coaches and the management, not "rotation policy needed" excuse.

Also, who is going to be rotated in? Wahab, Sami, Cheema?

Posted by afy147 on (February 20, 2014, 13:51 GMT)

Sharjeel, Shehzad, Hafeez, U Akmal, Maqsood, K Akmal, Afridi, Bhatti, Gul, Ajmal, Junaid. This team would have good balance i've only included K Akmal as it would free Umar Akmal to play as a batsman with no keeping pressure and therefore help balance the team.

Posted by JohnSnider on (February 20, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

Akmal brothers should not play because there is something unknown they have caused lots of matches slip out of hand from winning position. Saqlain Hyder what is his story he was the lone fighter against England and decent wicketkeeper. After that he was thrown out of Pak cricket.One or two from U19 must be introduced in Asia cup or I think it is crime not to pick up the best performer from U19. Sami Aslam and Imamul Haq could be solid. The one I liked was Imran Nazir but he should bat at 7 and to be told Go boy world is yours, do your thing like Afridi and turn the game around. Hafeez must play at number 5 not as opener. Misbah should beat 6 and Afridi at 8. Do as I say or you would suffer. Mohsin Khan should always be part of management or motivator.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 11:17 GMT)

Big event like asia cup, its a big opportunity for sherjeel khan to show his talent by making his 1st century against INDIA. By giving the opportunity to Zulfafqar babar is a possitive step, by giving the chance to Kamran Akmal is a awkword step by Selectors. Anyway we should pray for team to defend asia cup and Win T20 WC For Pakistan. GOOD LUCK TEAM PAKISTAN

Posted by JohnSnider on (February 20, 2014, 11:11 GMT)

Moin Khan Fear of failure is absolutely no option, only option should be given to Pakistan that they have to win . And to win they have to do also best fielding and dont give any extras, bad fielding and extars are the main difference in winning and losing. As far twenty overs go, 20 over is very short game and almost all teams have same level batting and bowling. However in Asia cup Pakistan has superior bowling unit, for Pakistan fielding and saving runs would wins the matches. Pakistan has weakness in fielding while India and Sri Lanka both have great fielding unit. Pakistan should also practice in small covered l hall, one fifth the size of a stadium and see how quick are the fielders and develop .techniques of saving runs and at the same time deliberate and cunning misfield technique to cause batsmen to think they can take extra run and get them run out.. Let them fight among themselves to demoralize each other. There should 3 run outs at least and two stumps in T201

Posted by sark on (February 20, 2014, 9:27 GMT)

FOR GODS SAKE.. you are bringing in a 36 year old spinner... he has passed his prime... what has happened to the selection committee.. oh lord please forgive their sins they have committed in the name of cricket.

Posted by M.Faheem on (February 20, 2014, 8:10 GMT)

Zulfiqar Babar debuted last year at the age of 34. Wasn't that so late?

In last few years, there are so many examples of bowlers debuting very late for Pakistan: Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Abdur Rauf, Tanvir Ahmed, M.Irfan, Aizaz Cheema etc.

It was not the trend in past. Wasim, Waqar, Aqib, Saqlain all debuted before 20. So why has this trend created? Why selecters are getting too slow in identifying the talent? The prime age is usually over in 30's for fast bowlers.

Posted by ShahidAzizMughal on (February 20, 2014, 7:48 GMT)

if Pakistani batsmen make a positive approach and go for the kill in each and every match then i think they can make a better impact but i am scared if batsmen got any fear in their mind they will fail.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

By adding Afridi, Ajmal and now Babar we can restrict any team to under 140 but can we chase these 140 runa with the kind of batting we have?still a big mystery to me....kamran akaml is in poor form.he just score 25 runs in 3 t20 at least from AKMAL i am not expecting too high...

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

Hafeez thinks kamran is old and himself to be young. Why the heck will we play 5 spinners is beyond me. I think 3 is more then enough. Ajmal Hafeez Malik(I know he doesnt bowl much) afridi baber??? I mean come on...

As for someone who posted hafeez to open. I think hafeez is a decent player and should bat at no 6 while giving umar the chance at no 3. I dont think hafeez is a complete batsmen and should be used like afridi instead. Maybe if openers fail we can have kamran as a dedicated opener.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 6:36 GMT)

pakistan will win the wc

Posted by OverDcovers on (February 20, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

History shows whenever Akmal Brother play PAK does not win due to their shady characters transformed into bad performances at critical junctures. Hafeez sliding to #3 was understandable against Steyn but his persistence on not opening is stupidity!. Moreover, our PCB should have the courage to appoint someone young with confirmed slot in the team such as Ahmed Shehzad OR Sohaib Maqsood as Captain and let Hafeez play only as a player. Afterall Sangakara & Jaywerdene who are living modern day Cricketing Greats are happy to play an perform as players under much juniors like Mathews & Chandimal respectively so why persist with Misbah (41) and Hafeez who is a shady/patchy performer? If Younis who won us T20 WC is not welcome in ODIz despite knowing the WC 2015 is in AUS then why have these two (Misbah-Hafeez) as Captains? PAK needs futuristic approach where there should be no role for politicians like Moin, Rashid Latif and Basit Ali to include their Departmental players!!!!!

Posted by ShahidAzizMughal on (February 20, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

I think team selection is ok but lots of criticism over malik and kamran selection which is not wrong but now they got selected and we should support them and hope for the better performance by malik and kamran this time. Asia cup is just at the corner so Misbah should focus on the batting line up becoz he has not done well with the bating line up in the past so this time in asia cup he has to take bold decision and give umar akmal a fare chance at No.4 and sohaib at No.06.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

hafeez is now looking to win the T20 cup that good think if he include leg spinner in squads . but already one leg spinner is in the squad afridi and is the best for t20s

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 20, 2014, 3:33 GMT)

Yeh right Babar will be big difference along with afridi and ajmal Pakistan has best spinning attack for t20

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 23:47 GMT)

can someone explain to me why irfan was playing domestic matches if there was a chance of aggravating his injury?? that was such a mistake! there will be a HUGE void to fill now

Posted by Saadcricketlover on (February 19, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

First of all Kamran akmal can't be called experience since he fails at international level and he seldomnly performs domestic so it's senseless to select such a terrible player with terrible average even in domestic so uncapped mohammed rizwan would've been a much better choice. I somewhat agree with shoaib maliks selection. Another thing that bothers me is that Raza Hasan performed so brilliantly in domestic t20 cup so did Babar but Raza Hasan Is so young and the future replacement of all these old spinners.

Posted by remnant on (February 19, 2014, 20:59 GMT)

Bookie favorite - Kamran Akmal is also included! Wow who's getting bumped off this time in the dressing room. ;-)

Posted by Avidcricketlover on (February 19, 2014, 17:15 GMT)

where is Raza Hasan ?? he was the best left arm spinner in limited versions.

Posted by ABKhanISB on (February 19, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

Why do we need shoib malik even after 100s of failed performances ??

Posted by Kapeel on (February 19, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

Pak starting XI for Asia Cup should be : 1) Shehzad 2) Hafeezl 3) Fawad 4) Misbah 5) Maqsood 6) U.Akmal 7) Afridi 8) Bhatti 9) Ajmal 10) Gul/ Talha 11) Junaid For T20): 1) Shehzad 2) Sharjeel 3) Hafeez 4) Malik/ K.Akmal 5) Maqsood 6) U.Akmal 7) Afridi 8) Bhatti 9) Ajmal 10) Babar/Junaid 11) Gul

Posted by ICCexpert.... on (February 19, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

Total injustice with Hammad Azam, Hasan Raza and Harris Sohail. They will never get chance till PARCHI player like Kamran, Malik and Sohail Tanver are in the team.

Posted by macsahil on (February 19, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

gonna miss irfan n talha of no comparison to him....

Posted by SaudFaruqi on (February 19, 2014, 13:46 GMT)

Why take excess baggage in the form of Kamran Akmal & Shoaib Malik? Imran Nazir has been in decent form.

Posted by android_user on (February 19, 2014, 13:46 GMT)

irfan will surely be missed. i dont think baber will get much chance in playing 11.

selection of malik and kamran will make managements task more difficult in picking playing11. to me 2 akmals not possible. drop umar if you want kamran. and if kamran playing as opener then sharjeel will have to sit out. same is the case with malik. who will you drop? pak should play a medium pace all rounder ad 3 rd seamer.

Posted by RaoFarhanPervaiz on (February 19, 2014, 12:19 GMT)

My selection will be like Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez Sohaib Maqsood,Umer Akmal,Shoaib Malik/Zulifqar, Shahid Afridi Saeed Ajmal,Bilawal Bhatti,Junaid Khan,Umer Gul

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

Pakistan has to win this tournament for pride and dignity. Good luck team Pakistan!!!

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 12:06 GMT)

Why would you allow M. Irfan to take part in the domestic competition, especially right before such big tournaments!! He needs to be safeguarded to ensure, he can play for Pakistan as long as possible. Lastly, to see Kamran back in the squad is bit sad. He had his chances so pls move on. Good luck to Pakistan.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2014, 12:01 GMT)

I simply do not understand why is he banking on Zulfiqar Babar if they have got Afridi and Ajmal to steal the show?

And what is the use of Kamran Akmal if captain has full confidence in Sharjeel? They cannot obviously drop Sohaib Maqsood for Kamran Akmal can't they?

Posted by Farooq3 on (February 19, 2014, 11:49 GMT)

Pakistan - being the lone ranger against the B3 - has a point to prove! A tournament victory would be sweet!

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