Ramiz Raja, the former Pakistan opener gave his opinion that Pakistan’s cricket seems to be directionless, as they are still unable to decide whether they want to give preference to young cricketers or select experienced ones in the squad. He reasoned that while Pakistan have selected Babar Azam their captain in the T20I format, they are still persisting with a couple of aged players in their team in the likes of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez.
Ramiz Raja made these observations while responding to queries from Sawera Pasha on the YouTube show Cric Cast. Ramiz Raja was asked for his opinions about England and Australia planning differently than Pakistan ahead for the forthcoming World T20Is to be held in India in 2021 and Australia in 2022.
Ramiz Raja Says Pakistan Do Not Have A Long Term Plan And Are Impatient
He responded that the Pakistan team needs to learn from them and try out various possible combinations in all departments before the T20I World Cup.
“I feel teams are fine-tuning their combination and Pakistan needs to learn.”
The 58-year-old observed that while England and Australia are still experimenting with their squads bringing fresh players and resting seniors, Pakistan seem to be very impatient on the other hand and want to find the winning combination immediately.
“England and Australia are still in the experimental stage, even though they are well-established sides. But Pakistan is trying as though they want the combination now itself. They want to make an established unit now itself and just start winning,” Ramiz Raja said.
England has rested Ben Stokes, Jason Roy and Joe Root and included the likes of Dawid Malan or Tom Banton while Australia has recalled experienced Steven Smith and included Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis in the line-up in T20Is. While Australia and England are placed at 1 and 2 in T20I, Pakistan are placed at 4th spot. Pakistan are languishing at 6th or 7th spot in ODIs and Tests though.
Ramiz Raja: Selectors Have To Be Ruthless And Select Youngsters Following The Example of Imran Khan In 1992 World Cup
Ramiz Raja observed that selectors have to be ruthless and follow the example of current president Imran Khan who dropped most of the seniors excluding Javed Miandad and picked up a young squad that won 1992 World Cup.
“I think to get the direction, we need to be ruthless. I remember when Imran Khan had become the leader, he had a net of experienced players surrounding him.He got rid of all of them and just kept Javed Miandad and built a young team,” Ramiz Raja added.
He clarified by stating that the ruthlessness is required in team selection, with the focus on grooming youngsters.
“You need to be ruthless first of all in the selection and you should have a proper direction.”
Ramiz Raja added that there should not be any favouritism or biases in team selection, with performance being the only criteria for selection in the national team.
“Selection should be only performance-based. I feel at times we think only about the present in just trying to win and don’t focus on the future.”
Ramiz Raja lamented the lack of clarity of thought, with the young Babar Azam as the captain but Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik still in the playing XI.
“So, I am not understanding what direction we are trying to take.”
Ramiz Raja acknowledged that Mohammad Hafeez has performed exceptionally well but maintained that pressure would build on him in the long run. He added that Pakistan have not groomed anyone to take his place.
“I agree Hafeez had an outstanding period and if he serves Pakistan like this then no one would have any problem,” Ramiz Raja concluded.
Mohammad Hafeez had an outstanding T20 series against England, scoring 155 runs in just the two innings he played. Shoaib Malik, on the contrary, could only contribute 14 runs in the solitary knock he played on the tour.