According to Javed Miandad Former Pakistan captain and world class batsman Shahid Afridi must open instead of Sarfraz Ahmed during the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand. Opening with Sarfraz Ahmed will harm Pakistan a lot he feels.
Pakistan selectors having picked up two specialist openers in Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad, they have been doing reasonably well in the recent past. The statement of Miandad comes in as baffling. If one looks at the overall batting performance, the problem for Pakistan has been their especially in chasing big score because of initial momentum. They lost the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand in UAE in recent months because of this limitation.
Shahid Afraid is a hurricane batsman and can take the advantage of first 10 power-play over’s blasting the bowlers and making the further scoring for the batsman coming later much easier. This may be the key reason for the Miandad to suggest that Afridi must open for them in the World Cup.
Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez will not be bowling due to suspensions as a result of illegal/faulty action. Ajmal has been the trump card for Pakistan in all three formats over the years. Hafeez an off-spinner of added value has been suspended by ICC from bowling and will go to the World Cup as an opening batsman only.
According to reports, Umar Gul is also not fit for the World Cup. Therefore Pakistan’s bowling has suffered a major setback and the batsmen have to compensate by setting big targets or chasing big scores. Pakistan selectors have packed the side with five pace bowlers. They picked up young Haris Sohail who is a left-hand bat and bowls left arm spin which may be effective.
Haris Sohail did exceptionally well in the One-day International series against New Zealand on low and slow wickets of UAE. The selectors have also done a mistake of picking Yasir Shah on the performance in test matches. Miandad said he would pick either Hazan Raza or Babar in the side and Shoaib Malik. He feels that a spin bowler like experienced Shoaib Malik, would have been a better asset. The bench strength of the Pakistan team is not good enough for the World cup 2015.
The fast bowling attack lacks depth comprises of, Junaid Khan who is returning after an injury, Ehsan Adil and Wahab Riaz, all the three are yet to prove that they are match winners. Pakistan’s recent performances in One day International against Australia and New Zealand has not been great because shortcomings in batting and bowling. It’s time that they show their talent to the World.
Misbah who is retiring from One-day Internationals after this tournament hopes to do what Pakistan did in 1992 by winning the world cup. The top order of Pakistan team in 1992 was experienced as compared to what it is for the world cup 2015. The experienced player like Umar Akmal has not done enough with the bat in recent matches and Shoaib Masqood is coming after injury lay off. Therefore the suggestion of opening with Shahid Afridi makes more sense.
The Pakistan team must play well as a unit. The pitches in Australia will help the pacers and their bowlers will do better however their winning chance depends upon the performance of the batsmen.