Selection blunders by the PCB

Against all odds, the master of comebacks has now been selected for the Zimbabwe tour.

Faisal Nadeem August 11, 2013
The writer is an electrical engineer with a Master's degree in Information Technology

After having read the famous quote, “A man in love is incomplete until he is married. Then he’s finished,” I realised how untrue this was in the case of Mr Imran Farhat. No one could finish him ever since he got married and once again, our superhero is back! Imran Farhat has successfully made another comeback into the Pakistani cricket team.

Since his “phenomenal” heroics at the Champions Trophy that enabled Pakistan to take an early exit to enjoy a much-needed breather before important future tours, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) realised the workload that Farhat was under and decided to give him ‘due rest’ for the West Indies series.

Against all odds, the master of comebacks has now been selected for the Zimbabwe tour.

His recent domestic performance is in front of my eyes; I am stunned to see that he scored 16, 7, 14, 5, 5, 65 runs in his last six domestic matches. I must acknowledge that those 65 runs were enough to prove his capabilities and to bring him back to the team against an ‘important’ opposition like Zimbabwe.

Dear selectors: have you really selected Faisal Iqbal and Wahab Riaz, too? Is there any criterion or merit for such decisions? Apart from Iqbal’s modest average of 26.76 in 26 Test matches, his last few domestic innings read 25, 22, 48, 4, 4, 42. Aged 31, he is not a youngster anymore, either. For how much longer will he get chances?

Two relatively younger batsmen, Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam, average 48.94 and 55.96 in domestic cricket, respectively. If you won’t play them against Zimbabwe, then where and when will you try them? Similarly, Usman Salahuddin (averaging over 30), Haris Sohail (averaging over 51) have been overlooked for the Test team selection, for no apparent reason. If Farhat can get 40 Test matches over a decade with a modest average of just 30, why can’t Fawad Alam get one, after averaging over 40 in only three Test matches?

In the bowling department, the PCB selectors opted for Rahat Ali and Ehsan Adil, instead of consistent performers like Sadaf Hussain and Asad Ali. Ali couldn’t impress the selectors after his performance in the ODI series in the West Indies, but his first class bowling statistics (355 wickets at an average of 22.87) are far better than the other two. He certainly deserves more opportunities.

There are some other notable omissions, too. For instance, the young aspiring wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan has also been dropped after the West Indies tour, without even being tried. He averages about 44.32 in first class cricket and his being snubbed for the Zimbabwe tour is mind-boggling. How can a cricketer prove himself without even being tried?

Similarly, Hammad Azam was dropped after only two chances in the Twenty20 series against the West Indies, which is unfair to a young player like him. Pakistan desperately needs an all-rounder and if Azam is not good enough, then Abdul Razzaq could have been considered. The World Twenty20 is around the corner and we need at least one good all-rounder to compete against the other international teams.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2013.

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Anticorruption | 10 years ago | Reply

Very well argued. There are many young players who deserve a chance and the series against Zimbabwe was in fact an opportunity to try some of them.

That said, I am not sure how much one can rely on domestic scores. Imran Khan argues that the standard of our domestic cricket is so low that it is not a good predictor of performance at the international level. This may explain why we have had many players who used to regularly score a lot of runs in domestic cricket, often more than those in the national team, but were unable to do well at the international level. Here is a related discussion:

bob | 10 years ago | Reply

Imran Farhat does not cut it for the Pakistan A team. Fawad Alam definately deserves it but this time PCB should put him in Test & ODI, not T20 to see how it goes. T20 is not his natural temperament, I realise he can play domestic T20 but so can Misbah and he is the antidote of T20 in the Pakistan A team.

Pace lineup Ehsan Adil/Junaid Khan/Umar Gul (until Amir comes back)

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