KARACHI: As Pakistan continue to suffer in the ODI format, former chief selector and Test wicketkeeper Wasim Bari has asked for an overhaul in the approach to the 50-over game plan.
Speaking to The Express Tribune in the aftermath of Pakistan’s four-wicket defeat at Lord’s that leaves them trailing hosts England 2-0 in the five-match series, Bari minced no words in expressing his reservations on the team’s formula in the format.
“The selectors picked a squad without a proper strategy or game plan in place,” said Bari. “Pakistan lack good openers and the middle and lower-order batsmen don’t have the ability to consistently clear the ropes. Which ODI team in the world can win with such an approach?”
Pakistan batsmen have hit only two sixes in the first two games, and the Men in Green have lacked power hitters during the death overs of the innings for some time now. In the first two games, the visitors collected a mere 61 and 64 runs respectively in the last 10 overs of the opening two games, with Imad Wasim’s strike at Lord’s being the only maximum in those overs.
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Bari felt the squad was chosen without keeping the strength of the English team in mind, especially considering their remarkable improvement since a first-round defeat in last year’s World Cup.
“England are a completely revolutionised team in the ODI and T20 formats; after a dismal World Cup, they changed the way they played cricket and their fearless approach has provided them instant rewards,” he added. “Pakistan, on the other hand, looked confused and have lacked stability in their rebuilding process since their exit from the premier tournament.”
The 68-year-old also felt that a change in captaincy might be on the cards since incumbent skipper Azhar Ali has failed to lead the team from the front and has looked timid at times in his field placements.
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‘Why replace an opener with a bowler?’
Bari questioned the decision to bring in fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan in place of injured batsman Mohammad Hafeez, stating that it once again highlights that those in charge have failed to do their homework.
“It’s a startling decision; how can a fast-bowler replace an opener?” he asked, before himself taking a gander at the reasoning behind it. “I feel that the stakeholders perhaps think that the bowling department is a major worry compared to the batting and hence have tried to replenish the stocks with the induction of Irfan. Our bowlers have also struggled to make an impact on the English batsmen, who look a class apart.”
The former Pakistan Cricket Board official hopes the team will go through a proper restructuring phase once the England series is over and called for replacements for some of the senior players whose failures have stalled the team’s progress.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2016.
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