Hope – The only selection criteria left in Pakistan Cricket?

Adhering to the traditions, Pakistan Cricket Board made a subtle amendment to the original T20 World Cup squad as Usman Qadir made way for Fakhar Zaman in the original squad. Though the change was based on an injury that Usman Qadir picked in the fourth T20I against England. However, replacing a leg spinner with a batsman only made sense in the broader scheme of affairs where the selection committee is somehow trying to affix the timid middle order.

Few half-baked, some out of touch, while others with hardly any performance to mention at the international stage. The aforementioned groups constitute approximately half of the Pakistani squad for the T20 World Cup which is about to get underway in Australia. A rather questionable selection strategy?

The thought process behind team selection?

Pakistan cricket team is widely renowned for its mercurial nature for ages. Of late, the selection committee with its surprising decisions has been peculiar as well. Gambling upon a couple of spots with rather unusual names is perfectly acceptable all around. However, PCB is willing to take a step further with quite a few astonishing entries in the World Cup squad.

Although inadequate resources can be the contributing factor. But with certain backup options especially in the case of middle and late middle-order, ‘Hope’ is the only term that can logically attempt to define such selection tactics. In other words, a hypothesis is that the included players will turn the heat up on the given day and will eventually perform on the bigger stage.

Also Read: Middle Order or the lack of trust in the Middle Order, the bigger issue for Pakistan in T20Is?

Statistical Overview of Underperformers in Pakistan Cricket Team:

Shan Masood: Shan Masood made his T20I debut last month on the back of decent performances in the Domestic T20 competition. He has now played 12 international T20 games on the trot with hardly any impactful performance to his name. Currently, averaging 24.44 with a strike rate of 125 in the 10 innings he has got the opportunity to bat. 

Haider Ali: Although played a crucial quickfire cameo in his last T20I inning but before that, it has been a deafening silence as far as performances are concerned. Haider has maintained a below-par average of 19.88 in a sizable sum of 31 international outings.

Khushdil Shah: Khushdil Shah has represented Pakistan in 24 T20I matches. He is yet to capitalize on the endless chain of opportunities he has got to prove his worth, having an average of 20.60 and a strike rate of 110.

“In the Kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. A quote that unfortunately does explain the current scenario of the Pakistan Cricket team in the T20 format where players like Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed & Asif Ali despite putting in feeble performances lately are the available way out of chaos.

All and all, the Pakistani team will enter the World Cup with an extremely flimsy middle order. The promotion of Shadab Khan & Muhammad Nawaz in the batting ranks is nothing but an open admission of that very fact from the management’s side. Indeed, some lessons to learn for the stakeholders of Pakistan Cricket moving forward. 

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