Dwindle in pace or selector’s disliking, Reason for decline of Junaid Khan

The decline of Junaid khan has become a serious debate in the recent past. The Pakistan seamer has had a brief yet relatively successful career. The left-arm seam bowler was a regular spigot in the national set-up till June 2015 until a series of injuries and some controversial selections underlined his struggle to make a comeback. Having made his debut back in 2011, the Swabi-born fast bowler has represented Pakistan in all three formats of the game. 

The 32-year-old has represented Pakistan in 22 Tests, 76 ODIs, and nine T20Is, scalpings 180 plus wickets. He was part of Pakistan’s triumphant 2017 Champions Trophy campaign, graduating with figures of 6-1-20-1 in the final against India. The veteran last played for the men in green in May-June 2019 before the 50-over World Cup, for which he was not elected.

World cup and not getting selected, Two words have much to do with the decline of Junaid Khan

Junaid khan has quite an Interesting association with not getting selected for world cups. Having made his debut in 2011, he was selected as a backup for the world cup 2011 and eventually got in as Sohail Tanvir was ruled out of the squad. Left-arm quick bowler was unable to play even a single game in that world cup as Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz were mainline bowlers. 

He had a very successful reputation for Pakistan as a bowler from 2011 till 2015 but then WorldCup arrived. Pakistan fast bowler was ruled out of the World Cup due to sustaining an Injury, despite undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, he was believed to not fully recovered. After that, he made a return to International cricket but was only confined to ODIs this time till the 2019 world cup. Khan was the Second highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in a successful 2017 champion trophy campaign. He and Hassan Ali were too good to take wickets in middle overs.

Last appearance before the 2019 world cup and the end of his career 

The real decline of Junaid khan started when the squad for the 2019 world cup was announced. He was first added to the squad but Pakistan was set to play some matches with Australia as a preparation for the world cup and 32 years old was not looking in his rhythm in those matches and the management dropped him and Faheem Ashraf and added Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir as their replacement.

 His controversial photo went viral where he was squeezing his mouth with tape and portraying that he had something to say but could not mumble it. “I don’t want to say anything. Truth is bitter,” he had written as a caption with his photo on Twitter. That photo could have created much chaos if Amir was unable to perform in that world cup but whether it was good luck for Amir or something else, he finished as the top wicket-taker for Pakistan, and Wahab also showed a good all-around performance, and his exclusion never became a hot skirmish during that world cup.

Also read:Does Mohammad Abbas deserve a comeback or is it over for him

The bowler was Declined; he did not toil to cope with it  

Junaid khan, after the 2019 world cup, has not played any domestic season of the Quaid e Azam Trophy. He was part of  Squads for the 2021-22 Domestic Season but only for the t20s. He performed better but did not give any performance of that calibre that he could be considered for PSL or another International event. He has not even played in the Pakistan cup, which is 50 overs, as his leading portion of International cricket was as a one-day player. 

The decline of Junaid Khan in PSL

In Asia and preferably Pakistan and India, players are selected for ODIs based on their performance in their respective leagues. The swab-born fast bowler had a promising PSL season of 2020 till the semi-final against Lahore Qalandars, in which he was treated bitterly in death overs by David Wiese. He has not been nominated for any PSL team since then, as two seasons of PSL have passed after that.

There seems no feasible chance for a left-arm quick bowler at the moment as a lot of youngsters have been labouring harder than him to be in the international team of Pakistan. But Junaid will be eternally recalled for his champion trophy heroics, making the ball talk against the world-class batter Kohli in his backyard and many other match-winning innings, especially in South Africa and West Indies.

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