Writing this coloumn with pains and pleasure both. Pains because poor selection, neptism on behalf of chief coach Misbahul Haq, and Waqar Yunus, Pakistan suffered successive defeat in three consecutive away series—against England, Australia and Newzealand, where a 0-2 white wash was heart breaking, incredible shock to cricket lovers in Pakistan.
A seasoned player like Asad Shafiq, with 80 Test matches, was omitted from the squad for unexplained reasons. Haider Ali, and ifitkhar ahmad were taken,, former one after an absence of 11 long years. Even a cursory glance at their records would put Misbah and Waqar Yunus to shame.
Asad Shafiq, veteran and seasoned campaigner socred 4660 runs in Test career, with 12 centuries, and numerous 50s. He often been a sheet anchor, kept one end sealed, reminiscent of greats of yesteryears like Mushtaq Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Inzimamul Haq, Javed Miandad. Although he could not reach the level of either of them but did his best. Pakistan team today is without a sheet anchor to stabilize innings.
Novices like Haider Ali, Abid Ali, and Iftikhar Ahmad were preferred. A look at their statistics would narrate the whole story..Abid Ali played just 8 Tests , collected 536 runs altogether, and mere 234 in 6 Odis. Less said the better it would be about Haider Ali figured in 20 Odis, paltry sum of 42 was all that he could manage while at being crease, and pittance like 176 runs in 7 T20s. Yet they were given Test caps.
Iftikhar Ahmad, figures are still pathetic with just 48 runs in 3 Tests and 114 in 7 Odis, plus 188 in T20s. Can they be called cricketers by any standard.? They must be related to Misbah who even ignored their ages.
The result was too well known to be accounted here. MIsbahul Haq, himself often bringing pressure on dressing room because of his defensive approach, was both chief selector, and chief coach first time, two major assignments combined together in an individual. He has now been removed in disgrace from Chief selector’s post but although reports circulating about new chief coach to be picked, he still shamelessly hangs to office,Now Waseem Ahmad has taken over as chief selector. He picked 7 new players. Good thinking. If we hav to lose with novices, it is better to lose with newcomers. They will atleast have dressing room feel, and may struggle to cement their places in national eleven for Test and Odis. Pakistan is planning to ask for T-20s World Cricket Cup, and also will host next year Asia Cup. Whether India is allowed to visit Pakistan, for their BJP government and its RSS Hitlerite thinkers are permanent enemies of Pakistan. But Pakistan should not bother if Indian team is prevented by their government from being in Pakistan, We must carry on with Asia cup, and keep trying new players for building a side which in future can give up some hope of salvaging our prestige at international level.
The 6th edition of PSL is round the corner and like before it will surely throw up some key players who could be future assets for the country. The Test against South Africa starts in Karachi Tuesday at National Stadium. Fans are likely to be allowed to cher up their heroes, with SOPs like Newzealand. Hopefully Babar Azam, leading the side for the first time in Test match, will guide his players to be fighers, which matters most. Where there is wilo, there is hope.