DateLine: 12th April 2010
When Mohsin Khan became Pakistanís third Chief Selector in less than a year, his first challenging task was to form a squad for the reigning champions in the upcoming 2010 T20 World Cup. With the controversies and suspensions that followed it made his task all the harder. However speaking exclusively to PakPassion.net he was quietly confident that the selectors had chosen "the best squad under the consequences" and that Pakistan "would do very well in the T20 World Cup".
Mohsin Khan having also served previously as a board regional director under Nasim Ashraf, spoke about the difficulty in selecting the squad. "Selecting the T20 World Cup Squad was not easy after the disciplinary action taken by the board. We obviously had to select the squad without certain players who were not available." The suspensions and fines were as a result of the disastrous tour of Australia in which Pakistan failed to win a solitary game in any format.
A captain is generally one of the first picked in any touring squad or major tournament, but the uncertainty over the disciplinary action on players meant Mohsin had to go against convention. "I asked the PCB chairman if we were to wait until the captain was announced but I was informed that we should go ahead and select the squad before the captain was announced" he stated. Hence "the captain and coach had no input in the T20 World Cup squad."
Mohsin who himself was an accomplished opener for Pakistan with 7 test centuries including a memorable double century at Lords, spoke of the need of having a specialised opener in the squad such as Salman Butt. "Butt was selected because I feel that even in T20 cricket a team needs a proper and solid opener. You have to build an innings and not to start smashing the ball right from the start." On the other hand, the selection committee decided that Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat had "one too many failures with the bat and it was time for a change." However Mohsin added that the door still remains open for them and others who have missed out. "No players are out of our plans for good, if they perform well they will be considered for selection in future."
Misbah Ul Haq who used the 2007 T20 World Cup to relaunch his then diminishing career is one such player making yet another comeback. Mohsin remarked that Misbah was selected as they "were looking for a solid middle order player, someone to hold the innings together." Misbah has continued to perform well in domestic cricket and the selectors are hopeful he can bring that form onto the international stage.
When queried as to whom from the current crop of young Pakistani cricketers have impressed him most, Mohsin preferred not to name names. "It would be wrong for me to single out individuals, but I feel that we have a bright future with some very promising youngsters." In the recent past, youngsters have found it hard to break into the first team with the preference on seniority, however Mohsin was hoping to change that. "I want to give youngsters a chance and these youngsters will be given their opportunities in the near future, starting from the tour of England. My selection committee have already shown that we have faith in our youngsters, by selecting Hammad Azam for the Twenty/20 World Cup". While many critics will feel the selectors hand are now being forced to select youth after the bans handed out to senior players such as Younis and Yousuf, Mohsin was quick to revoke. "Itís not just because we have 'lost' some senior players due to punishments, I want to mix the team up with youngsters and established players. I'd like to see four or five youngsters in the team. My policy will be to give youth a proper chance."
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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