World Cup 2019 is just a few months away, and while rest of the top teams are in final stages of finalizing their squad for the mega tournaments, it seems like Pakistan team still don’t know their best players who will feature in the tournament. There was also confusion regarding the captain and Sarfaraz Ahmed’s position came in danger after he was given 4 match ban for his racial comments. Finally, a few days ago PCB confirmed that Sarfaraz Ahmed will lead the team in the World Cup.
On Thursday a meeting of PCB board of Governers was held in a bid to look at the matters of PSL and World Cup. Many players are currently under the radar of coach Mickey Arthur and Chief Selector Inzamam Ul Haq. Now Coach Arthur has announced that the performances given in the PSL T20 league will be also considered. They will also play ODI series against Australia and England before the announcement of the team for the World Cup. Arthur said in Lahore after returning from South Africa that he and Cheif Selector is on the same page regarding World Cup squad.
“Inzamam ul Haq and I have been on the same page for a long while here. I think we’ve got probably 19 players for 15 positions.”
Mickey Arthur on considering Pakistan SuperLeague performances said:
PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about.
Arthur further said the team will be finalized after playing against Australia and England:
We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England, obviously we will be taking 15 there.
Is T20 the right criteria for selection of World Cup Squad?
There is no doubt Pakistan Super League has produced some exciting players who have represented Pakistan in all 3 formats internationally. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Hussain Talat are the few names who have shown great individual performances in the PSL and have earned an international cap. And most of them have performed for Pakistan especially Fakhar Zaman and Hasan Ali were the star performers in Champions Trophy 2017.
But the question arises that can players be solely selected based on a few T20 performances for the mega event of World Cup? The 50-over World Cup is a prestigious trophy for which teams plan for years and they just don’t pick up players for squad based on few individual performances given in franchise cricket.
We are not criticizing the talent of the players but T20 is different ball game while the 50-over format is a different one. We have seen in Pakistan’s recent series against South Africa where most of the players struggled in the longer format of the game. Fakhar Zaman, in particular, struggled throughout the series in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is. Teams are always selected based on domestic performances and we are sure those who have performed in Quaid-e-Azam Cup One Day 2018/19 will not be in those 19 players about which coach Arthur was talking.
Salman Butt, Khushdil Shah, Rameez Raja Jr. were the top 3 runs scorers in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy averaging above 50. Pakistan A also played against England Lions in UAE recently where Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Mohammad Saad were the top scorers averaging above the 50s and 60s. But apart from Mohammad Rizwan’s selection (that too after the ban on Sarfaraz) in ODI and T20s against South Africa, no one was even considered.
Pakistan’s Recent Form in ODI
Pakistan lost ODI series against South Africa but they put on a fight and credit should be given where due. But their overall form since Champions Trophy 2017 is not impressive. They have won just 15 of their 27 completed matches since then. They have only won against weaker sides like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. They were whitewashed by New Zealand year ago and won matches only against Hong Kong and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup in September, and drew the three-match series 1-1 against New Zealand in the UAE in November.
A lot of homework has to be done if Pakistan wants to perform at a higher level in the World Cup. With the tag of unpredictable, do you think Pakistan can repeat the Champions Trophy 2017 performance and win the tournament? Let us know in the comments.
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Pic Credits: ESPN Cricinfo