It has become difficult to describe Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad lately. They are back in the 20-man list of probables who will be tested before the final squad for Sri Lanka limited-overs series is announced. One of them might sneak into the final 15 or the final 16, maybe both, or maybe none.
But if they or any one of them does, the question will be that what will Misbahul Haq, the most powerful man in the Pakistan Cricket Board right now, say to defend the selection?
How will he defend the selection of such wasteful batsmen, who promised a lot but never delivered consistently, and on whom the PCB has wasted valuable resources and even more valuable time?
Will Misbah say that they still have ‘potential’, while they have been recalled time and again into the national fray and were never able to prove even once that they are worth the headache?
Misbah, the man who had a taintless career as a cricketer first and then as the skipper of the Pakistan team, will have to justify why he called these two or even any one of them back into the national team when all we hear is that upcoming and budding talent will be given preference.
Naming them even in the 20-man probables list is criminal in the sense that hundreds of cricketers who have given performances in the domestic circuit and that too consistently have been neglected year after year. While others wait to become even the waterboys with the national team, the duo is time and again tried just so that they might miraculously change Pakistan’s fortunes one day.
Misbah, the day he decided to accept the dual responsibility of the head coach and the chief selector, brought trouble for himself. Half of the people were against him saying he has been given too much power, and the remaining others believed that he will be held responsible for anything and everything that goes wrong with Pakistan cricket.
And today, as Misbah reintroduced the menace of Umar and Shehzad not into the national team, but as close to it as possible, it has become clear that the skipper, who brought so many laurels for Pakistan during his reign, is preparing to shoot himself in the foot.
Misbah may be learning on the job of how to go about things, he may be new to the idea of coaching a team rather than captaining it, his eyes might not have been set on looking through a player to know his strengths and weaknesses as a selector, but this decision was a no-brainer.
If, somehow, any one of the players make it to the final squad, and if, somehow, they or any one of them is able to perform as promised always, then Misbah will be applauded and credited for playing his part perfectly.
However, history says Umar and Shehzad are lost causes. They never deserved a second chance; instead, they are being given a gazillionth chance to prove themselves and they will disappoint once again.
So, it is history versus Misbah’s decision now. Sit back and enjoy!