KARACHI: Despite proving himself as a capable cricketer, Misbahul Haq’s recent poor form is likely to lead to his axing from the team for the Asia Cup as well as the tour of England that starts next month.
According to sources, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken notice of Misbah’s performance in the World Twenty20, where he could only manage a miserable aggregate of 68 in six matches, and has decided to axe him. The final decision, however, rests with the selection committee who will be meeting with the PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt on either May 22 or 24 to name both squads. The team management has labelled Misbah as a ‘scared cricketer’ and one who has failed to perform when it was most required, especially in the absence of senior cricketers.
Sources cited recent examples from the World Twenty20 when Misbah scored a six off a freehit but played out a maiden over, with rocketing askingrate, as he feared an early dismissal. Meanwhile, Lahore batsman Azhar Ali, Karachi’s Asad Shafiq - the leading run-scorer in the Quad-i-Azam domestic trophy - and 19 year-old left-arm spinner Raza Hasan are being considered for the tours following captain Shahid Afridi’s plea for young blood to be injected in the squad.
The management, according to PCB sources, has also asked for fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar and former captain Younus Khan to be recalled to the national side. While Younus has filed an appeal against the indefinite ban placed on him by the PCB, Akhtar has been out of reckoning and a plea to send him to the West Indies in place of the injured Umer Gul was also overlooked by the chairman. Akhtar last played for Pakistan over a year ago in the UAE during a One-day International (ODI) series against Australia.
The fast-bowler recently made his domestic comeback in the Pentangular Cup held in Karachi. Abdul Razzaq, meanwhile, is expected to announce his unavailability for the Tests series taking place in England together with Afridi who looks certain to be named captain of the ODI squad for the Asia Cup and the tour of England as well. Pakistan will be playing five ODIs against the hosts.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 20th, 2010.