T20 order: Crazy, inconsistent but spot on!
Introducing our current playing XI (not in order), Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal.
People may criticise Pakistan for being way too inconsistent, but it’s about time we embraced our moments of madness. Here’s what our top, middle, lower and bowling orders are, my critique and what I think could work better for us.
Pakistan has four openers in the playing XI which could be a blessing in disguise. Losing early wickets is our habit so it wouldn’t hurt to have Nasir Jamshed coming in at number three or Kamran Akmal for that matter.
Imran Nazir is yet to fire but he does have the ability to change the game in a matter of 10-15 balls. Especially against weaker bowling attacks he would be our greatest asset. Fearless aggression is what we need. However, if we were to drop him we would be able to bring in Asad Shafiq in the middle order. So, we may not reach 180 but we wouldn’t be all out for under 100 either.
Personally, I would send Afridi to open with Hafeez. This may sound crazy, but the fact is Afridi has done well domestically, when he opened for Hampshire. Afridi is unreliable at the end as it is and he usually gets out caught on the boundary which makes him opening even more sensible since the field will be inside the circle.
If Afridi was to open you would have Malik, Umar Akmal and Razzaq left during the slog overs; who have proven to be more reliable than Afridi recently.
Our current middle order has the perfect mix of aggression and stability. For all the Malik haters out there let’s not forget he is one of the most experienced players in the squad and did well in the 2007 and 2009 editions of the world cup.
People tend to forget that while Afridi was playing the most important innings of his life during the final, he had Malik by his side rotating strike and allowing Afridi to play freely. Those 24 runs are never spoken about, had Malik gotten out at that point the complexion of the game would have been very different.
The ideal middle order, meaning numbers four, five and six, should be Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal.
Umar Akmal hasn’t gotten enough time in the middle but we know he is a big game player like he showed us in the semi-final against Australia. With his green lipstick on, he is bound to play a match winning innings.
Lower order and bowling:
This is where things get tricky.
Do we play Sohail Tanvir who is barely a bowler after the new ball becomes slightly old or play Sami who is unfortunately not very trustworthy even after 11 years of playing international cricket?
Personally, alongside Umar Gul, I would play Yasir Arafat. Not only is he consistent and bowls at decent pace he would provide depth to the batting which we clearly need. After all, there must be a reason why he gets selected for almost every world cup squad of ours.
Saeed Ajmal is an automatic selection and it would really be pointless to say more since my words wouldn’t do his sorcery justice.
Go team green!
Read more by Taimur here.
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The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.