Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My World Cup XI for Pakistan

Pakistan has played their 4 group matches and are at number 2 in Points Table with Kiwis leading the table. Though Pakistan have almost qualified for the the Quarter-final, but their squad selection has been pretty ordinary. I’ve selected my own Pakistan team; a pretty good one which can defeat any biggie in the World Cup.

These two are struggling with the bat in World Cup © Getty Images
My first opener is Ahmed Shehzad because of his aggressive attitude which is required by all most all openers in One-Day game. Above all, he is a young dashing opener from the city of Lahore. He recently scored his maiden ODI century against Kiwis at their home turf, but unfortunately induced the collapse in World Cup group match.

He will be joined by Muhammad Hafeez because he is only other regular opener in Pakistan side. Kamran Akmal can’t play here. So, just go with Muhammad Hafeez. He can get you off to a good start. Not only, he commence the innings, but can bowl as well; a pretty good option for an all-rounder.

At number 3, you need a competent batsman who can rotate strike consistently with his team-mate at the other end. None other than Younis Khan comes at at one-down. He is one of the finest batsman in current Pakistan squad at number 3, who can disturb any opponents by his consistency no end.

At number 4 comes one of my favourite batsman, Misbah-ul-Haq. He is one of the unflappable batsman, I've seen in Pakistan side since I joined The Cricket World in West Indies tour of Pakistan in 2006/07. He has got the technique to keep the the man at scoreboard busy by rotating strike no end. Two in one package, who can bat long without losing his enormous wicket.

Umer Akmal comes at number five slot because he is suitable for all conditions, whether It's a crunch time against big team or playing against minnow, he enjoys his game. His go at the every ball shows that he doesn't lack bottle. He just needs to avoid hook shots on spinners.

I first gave this slot to Kamran Akmal, but his feckless performance with that bat and gloves against New Zealand dropped him to 8. Then, I thought of Afridi at number 6, but Abdul Razzaq's thunderous 109 against South Africa last year in UAE earned him this slot. His gutsy 109; the innings which convinced me that he can halt the collapse of team. So, one must keep him at number 6 to keep batting line vehement.

The skipper Shahid Afridi gets number 7 because he is playing as a bowler rather than as batsman. He has proven his form, too, though not in batting but in bowling by taking 15 wickets in the tournament so far and is leading the top-wicket takers list. He can help the team in crunch times by his batting too through his violent batting style.

The only culprit left in Pakistan team © AFP
After that comes butter-finger keeper, Kamran Akmal; elder brother of Umer Akmal and ne'er-do-well guy. A player who is more like a kamikaze pilot than player these days; seems to be indulge in hara-kiri while batting. So, he will slot in at six. I hate him, but he is in my playing XI for the team is without any specialist wicket-keeper; not like him.

Umer Gul is my only choice to share new ball with Akhtar. A guy full of beans whose yorkers don't respect the batsman facing the music, a man experienced in rattling the wood-work behind batsman. He can play a vital role in the first 10 overs of the innings.

Shoaib Akhtar known as the Rawalpindi Express is the obvious choice to lead pace attack for my Pakistan playing XI. He holds the record of bowling world's fastest ball at 161.3 km/h. A full throttle guy who deceives the batsman capriciously. He, alongwith Umer Gul can win us the World Cup in absence of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

Saeed Ajmal will join the skipper in spin department, because of his variation in every delivery he bowls. His main weapon is 'doosra' which he uses to chafe his opponent team batsmen.

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