Pakistan seems to be on a roll in the one day international (ODI) and the T20 formats of the game for now. Still, to sustain the momentum there is a need to address certain areas of the game on as soon as possible basis. Here is a look at what those areas are and why they matter.
3. Settling the Batting Order
Pakistan’s ODI team that won the ICC Champions Trophy, 2017 included 4 opening batsman i.e. Azhar Ali, Muhammad Hafiz, Ahmed Shehzad and FakharZaman. With Azhar and Fakhar settled at the top and with Babar Azam having established his position at number 3 eventually, the think tank opted to play a regular opener Muhammad Hafiz at the two down position.
With Shoaib Malik being the most experienced batsman in the team there is a definite need for him to be playing at number 4. Similarly, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s style of play is such that he should be batting at number five instead of six while on the other hand since Imad Wasim is not the big hitter that Pakistan think tank consider him to be, there is a need for him to be batting at number six instead of seven.
However, if such a move is made the team management will have to drop Azhar who has been doing well recently in the ODIs and ask Muhammad Hafiz to open and add an all-rounder down the order. Retaining the same playing eleven otherwise would require redefining the role of Muhammad Hafiz down the order.
Either way despite it being a tough decision Pakistan’s think tank needs to act fast during the next series against the Sri Lankans so that the boys in green are well-settled as a batting unit before they meet a tough opponent in the next few months to come.
2. Fast Bowling All-Rounders
Fast bowling all-rounders Amir Yameen and Faheem Ashraf were part of the squad that played against the world eleven. Still, it was disappointing to note that none of them was allowed a fair chance during the series.
With next ICC world cup in England Pakistan must develop a fast bowling all-rounder before the event which is only possible if one of the two are played ahead of regular bowlers like Sohail Khan or Usman Shinwari who towards the end of the day return with figures that even an all-rounder can manage.
1. Power Hitting Down the Order
Pakistan produced power hitters like Shahid Afridi, Wasim Akram, Abdul Razzaq, Moin Khan and Azhar Mehmood down the order when the game was not as fast as it is today and now that almost every top team has a couple of big hitters batting at number seven and eight, the green shirts continue to rely on Imad Wasim who clearly does well only when he has had enough time in the middle which obviously is not possible at a later stage of an innings.
This is where Pakistan will either have to invest time and energy in all-rounders or redefine the role of one of the senior players down the order.