COVID-19 abruptly ended PSL 5 (or the fifth edition of Pakistan Super League) this week. Hence, it is obvious that the entire scenario has left the Pakistani selectors confused who were most definitely looking forward to the remaining games to answer some pertinent questions before the ICC World T20 that is scheduled later in the year.
Misbah-ul-Haq and company are on the lookout for an opener in good form to partner T20 skipper Babar Azam up the order. Now Sharjeel Khan, Fakhar Zaman and Haider Ali showed reasonable performances during the tournament. A couple of more games could have resulted in one of them throwing a knockout punch and hence, making the selectors’ job easy.
Anyway, that hasn’t happened and the selection committee will now have little choice but to go with their gut feeling.
Karachi Kings played Pakistan’s first-choice wicket-keeper Mohd. Rizwan in two games only. The decision then pretty much explains that the 27 year old’s style of play is not compatible with the format and therefore, Pakistan needs replacement for him in the T20s.
Available resources include former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and the 38 year old Kamran Akmal as well as the young Azam Khan. While all three of them started off PSL 5 in grand style; none could really carry the form towards the later stages of the tournament.
Hence, Pakistani selectors have very little choice in this regard but to reach a compromise of sorts when they announce the T20 squad next.
Fast Bowling Combination
While Shaheen Shah Afridi is an automatic choice across formats; Pakistan requires reliable pacers to back him up particularly in the limited over versions of the game.
Mohd. Hasnain picked up wickets and bowled with decent pace during the tournament. However, he was pretty expensive as well. Same was the case with Dilbar Hussain.
Mohd. Amir bowled well in patches but he was never consistent enough. Naseem Shah bowled pretty well for most part but his young age and the vulnerability that comes with it is a definite concern. Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz on the other hand looked completely out of sorts.
In short, COVID-19 abruptly ended PSL 5 while leaving the Pakistani selectors with quite a few dilemmas to deal with and only time will tell if they are able to make the right decision when international cricket resumes next.