DateLine: 28th June 2010
Here's the latest hard hitting blog entry from former Pakistan pace ace Mohammad Zahid. Zahid's views are as always from the heart and without prejudice and favouritism.
I looked at the test squad announced by the PCB on Sunday and my immediate reaction was that if this lot win one test match out of the six they are due to play, they will have done well.
I never believe in negativity and my whole career has been based on a positive attitude, despite the many setbacks I have suffered over the years. However it was difficult to be positive when I looked through the names that were listed. Just what were the selectors or whoever picked the squad thinking when they announced that list of names for the six tests this summer.
I think Pakistan fans need to start praying now in the hope that they and the team are not totally embarassed during the three month tour of England,because it's going to be a long and painful summer ahead.
Looking through the list of names in more detail, the squad is full of players who are not at the top of their game or in great form. The bowling admittedly is not too bad, although I think a lot will depend on Aamer and Asif in England. Gul is a good backup, but he has not done as well as he should have in the 5 day version of the game. It's time for Umar Gul to raise his game in test cricket.
The spin department is shaky too with Saeed Ajmal who is unproven in test cricket and Danish Kaneria who has flattered to deceive over the years. Kaneria has not bowled consistently well in test cricket, more often than not he will bowl a good delivery and follow it up with a loose one resulting in easy runs for the opposition. He should by now have realised that sometimes building pressure on the opposition batsmen will result in mistake from them.
I have no problems with Kamran as the first choice keeper, but he is another who really needs to lift his game, raise his standards and its about time he stopped making mistakes. At this level of cricket, he should not be making the sort of mistakes he does. There is absolutely no excuse for an international wicketkeeper to be dropping the type of catches he does. I believe this series is a pivotal one for Kamran.
Coming to the batting, I think this is Pakistan's weakest suit. Azhar Ali is leg spinner turned batsman. It wasn't that long ago when I was facing him and he was batting at number nine. He's worked hard to improve his batting, but I wonder if he has the ability to make it at international cricket. Yasir Hameed had a great start to his international career but he never quite fulfilled that early promise and I believe that he has been selected for England due to the lack of experience in the squad.
Imran Farhat is yet another average player who has been given chance after chance without any sort of consistency or improvement. The weakness in the batting is largely down to an inability to stay at the crease, occupy the crease for long periods, a lack of patience. Instead what I expect will be a few nice strokes and then a "get out" shot due to an impatient attitude from the Pakistan batsmen. The opposition bowlers will no doubt base their tactics on this lack of patience and the temperament of the Pakistani batsmen.
If the Pakistani batsmen can provide their bowlers with the runs to work with, then a lot depends on Umar Akmal. I think Umar could be the star for Pakistan on the tour of England, but given the squad that has been chosen I feel that there is far too much pressure on Umar Akmal to score the bulk of the runs.
Of the men missing, I would love to have seen Yousuf and Younus' names in the squad. I can't understand why the situation with Younus could not have been resolved and why those involved in this could not have sat around a table and made sure that one of the country's finest test batsman was rightly included.
I think Fawad Alam was rightly excluded from the test squad. I know whenever I read PakPassion that he has a huge following but in my opinion he is not a test player yet. Perhaps in future when he tightens up his game he may become a regular in the test team, but I don't think he is ready yet.
Whilst I think the selectors have made a few glaring errors in their choices, I would however like to congratulate them on dropping Faisal Iqbal, who has been given more chances than enough and has proved that he can't cut it at the highest level of cricket.
I'll watch the cricket with interest, but I fear it will be a painful period in the history of Pakistan cricket.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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