Pakistan can salvage some pride against Bangladesh — after having already lost the ODI series 2-0 — when the teams clash on Wednesday in the dead rubber third one-dayer in Dhaka, while Bangladesh will be looking to further pile on the misery with a whitewash.
With Muhammad Hafeez allowed to bowl again, Pakistan will be hoping for a much more improved performance from their bowling unit.
Former captain Moin Khan has welcomed the development, stating that it will be a big positive for Pakistan as the team has struggled to find the right balance ever since Hafeez was banned.
“Hafeez’s clearance is a big positive,” Moin told The Express Tribune. “It’ll certainly improve the balance of the side but we need to see whether he has got the same effectiveness as before with the changes in his action.”
The 43-year-old feels that, despite all the changes made to the side, losing the series to Bangladesh represents the lowest point in Pakistan’s illustrious cricketing history. “It is the lowest point in Pakistan cricket — to lose against Bangladesh — because we were not expecting such a result,” he said. “The mindset of our team looked negative and there is no doubt that Bangladesh have improved their cricketing standard while ours has gone down.”
Moin, who was made a scapegoat after the World Cup, served Pakistan cricket as a manager, coach and chief selector in his recent stint with the Pakistan Cricket Board.
In his view, the national selection committee, led by Haroon Rasheed, should not have brought back Saeed Ajmal directly into international cricket so quickly without first giving him substantial match practice in domestic cricket.
“Ajmal shouldn’t have been given direct entry into international cricket and should’ve instead been sent with Pakistan A for the tour of Sri Lanka. If he had performed there, then he could have been drafted back into the Pakistan side,” stated Moin.
The former wicketkeeper believes the off-spinner was selected without proving his qualities after his return. “The point is that Ajmal didn’t play any competitive cricket to prove himself with the remodelled action and yet he was selected. It is a subject which should be looked upon by the board,” he said. “From what I’ve seen in the two matches, he doesn’t look as effective as before and will need time to regain his touch. However, the bigger question that then arises is what will be the cost of giving him more time?”
‘The entire country has lost’
National junior selector and former cricketer Basit Ali urged the team to hit back strongly by winning not only the third ODI but the T20 and the Test series as well.
“It is like the 200 million people of Pakistan have also ended up as losers along with the team,” said Basit. “The way Sheikh Hasina Wajid waved the Bangladeshi flag, it showed what it meant for Bangladesh. Pakistan should now take revenge by first winning the third match and then the T20 and Test series.”
Basit was also happy with Hafeez’s return and felt that it would ease Pakistan’s worries in the bowling department while he also urged the management to play Asad Shafiq in place of Fawad Alam to strengthen the batting lineup.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2015.
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