Why can’t things be kept nice and simple in our national cricket team. Maximizing the available talent is the only way to give other more prepared and well-balanced teams in the World Cup 2015 a fight.
When will we get this simple fact in our minds that playing more than five batsmen in a 50 Overs game is not only a defensive ploy but also indicates to other teams that our top order is vulnerable.
Usually the No.6 spot is taken by an all-rounder and by an all rounder I mean a Razzak, an Azhar Mehmood at the least if not an Imran Khan or a Wasim Akram. Someone who has the ability to win you games with bat or ball or both, not Bilawal Bhattis and Anwar Alis who fall way behind on the standards set by their predecessors.
According to my experience as a cricketer and then as a spectator, the only successful formula for a team to post daunting totals for the opposition on a consistent basis is for their top four batsmen to be consistent run getters.
Putting pressure on the lower order match after match could make a team spectacular at times but certainly not a consistent or great match winning unit. I agree to what greats say that if 5 batsmen can’t do it neither can 7.
Now-a-days with the revised fielding restrictions the space for part time bowlers is getting tighter and tighter. Playing an extra batsman more times than not is likely to backfire because if a team is not able to score those extra 50 odd runs which they are looking for with the addition of the extra batsman that comes in at the expense of a specialist bowler, then the team will end up looking down the barrel.
Reserving my comment on the squad selection for after the World Cup, I am amused that our current team playing an ODI series in New Zealand is unable to use all the talent available, even though one would have to be a bit sympathetic with all the injury concerns.
Going in with 5 specialist bowlers and in Pakistan’s case that would be 3 quickies and 2 spinners (instead of 4 specialist bowlers out of which one can hardly be considered an al rounder) we could enhance our chances of defending totals which are short of what is expected.
Even if selectors have decided to avoid a variety of any sort by preferring another leg spinner when Shahid Afridi is already in the team, I would at least like to see him play. Most certainly Yasir Shah should be given preference over an unfit or underperforming fast bowler hence brushing aside the preempt notion that fast bowlers are the only ones who can have an impact in Australian/Kiwi conditions.
Another selection which was beyond me in the 1st ODI against New Zealand was Bilawal Bhatti’s inclusion in the team and not Wahab Riaz’s in spite of the fact that the latter is part of the World Cup squad. And I put forward this concern in the wake of the media manager’s statement earlier that everyone in the squad is fit to play.
I’m not worried about the results until the first match of the mega event because unfortunately we have been unable to build an ODI team in the four years since the end of the last World Cup in India, so why expect it to be done anytime sooner than the morning of the first match against India on February 15, 2015.But surely fans of the green shirts would like to see the utilization of all available options to maximize the chances of what seems at the moment a distant dream of lifting another World Cup.