KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made several questionable choices as a specialised camp for spinners started yesterday at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore under the supervision of former leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who previously served as the spin bowling consultant for the national team.
Those who have been named include Pakistan’s ace Test spinner Yasir Shah; promising trio of left-arm spinners Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Asghar; established all-rounder Imad Wasim as well as youngsters Karamat Ali, Hayatullah, Salman Fayyaz and Shadab Khan.
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The biggest eyebrow raisers, though, were not the plethora of exclusions but the additions of Ahmad Shafiq and Arsal Sheikh. Shafiq’s action is highly suspect, even by the PCB’s own assessment, and he needs to fix his action before focusing on improving himself, while Arsal — son of governing board member Shakil Sheikh — was one of the biggest disappointments in this year’s U19 World Cup, where he took just one wicket.
Arsal’s inclusion in the U19 World Cup squad had also been questioned as there were far better performers than him in the months leading up to the mega event.
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Yet, despite the previous surprise inclusion and the underwhelming performance, Arsal has been shoehorned in with the country’s best young spinners.
The likes of Kashif Bhatti, Imran Khalid, Azam Hussain, Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Ahmad Khan, Junaid Ilyas and Usman Qadir were all overlooked, despite impressing in the domestic circuit in the recent past.
Talented leg-spinner Usama Mir, who turned out for the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League, has gone for Umrah but confirmed that he will join the camp as soon as he returns.
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“All these bowlers will be imparted technical, tactical and physical training skills during this camp and lectures from cricket icons will also be arranged,” read a PCB press release. “The performance of these bowlers will be monitored during the upcoming Pentangular Domestic Tournament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2016.
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