Home > Features > Interviews >

Exclusion of Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal justified: Mushtaq Mohammad

Exclusion of Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal justified: Mushtaq Mohammad

Mushtaq Mohammad. Photo Courtesy: PakPassion.

By Amir Husain

After a protracted deliberation process, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee announced its list of 15 players for the upcoming Champions Trophy in England. The selectors opted for a mixture of youth and experience, led by 39-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq. But much to the surprise of many, Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal were excluded from the final squad, triggering a debates amongst fans and experts. The decision to axe the once talismanic figure of Shahid Afridi was the big point of contention, with discussions continuing late into the night between PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Speaking exclusively with PakPassion.net, former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammed discussed the specifics behind the decision to ignore Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal as well the strengths of the squad chosen.

“Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal are excellent players and have expressed their ability on the international stage many times in the past, but in my opinion their exclusion from the Champions Trophy is completely justified. They have been given enough chances, but failed to make those chances count. Besides, there is significant competition for places in the Pakistan team,” Mushtaq opined.

Afridi has struggled to make an impact in one-day cricket over the last 12 months, having taken 15 wickets from 16 ODIs at an average of 43 in 2012, and no wickets from the five matches in which he has participated in the current calendar year, leaking 210 runs in the process. This is in comparison to a fruitful 2011 in which he picked up 45 wickets at 21.

Mushtaq feels Afridi’s lack of ability to strike with the ball is a consequence of his age: “Afridi is getting old and there comes a time when you have to bring in younger players. Age catches up with everybody, which may well be the case with Afridi.”

Mushtaq emphasised the importance of Saeed Ajmal, the experienced off-spinner, to the side: “The Pakistani bowling attack is strong, but primarily founded on the skill of Saeed Ajmal. He is ranked No 1 in the world in ODIs and for good reason. He offers a significant degree of control as well as being a prime wicket-taking option.”

Mushtaq was coach of the side that reached the final of the 1999 World Cup and is therefore no stranger to managing a side in a big tournament. He feels the final squad chosen for this summer’s Champions Trophy was not the right one. “The average age of the Pakistan team is 29. This is an ageing team. The likes of Misbah and some other older players should be making way for younger players. The only exception is Shoaib Malik as he brings a lot of good skills to the team. I feel that the PCB should know that the ICC Champions Trophy is not an important tournament. They should have sent a team full of young players, with a youthful feel, but instead they are sending a team full of ageing cricketers. It really makes no sense to me,” said Mushtaq.

Pakistan’s first game of the Champions Trophy will be on Friday 7 June against the West Indies at The Oval.

(Amir Husain is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Shaun Udal on India vs England 3rd Test

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Indian cricketers in County Championship: Career Statistics

Denesh Ramdin: Didn’t expect Sunil Narine to bowl Super Over maiden

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara — India’s most dependable partnership in recent times

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 3 at Southampton: MS Dhoni completes 31st half-century; India reach 323/8 at stumps

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Draw the most likely result, feels Sunil Gavaskar

Stuart Broad: To go into the company of Wasim, Waqar and Walsh, Ambrose is a huge honour

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: No fracture for Ian Bell after being hit on thumb

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Disappointed in the manner I got out, admits Ajinkya Rahane

BCCI’s changes age-limit to 23 for CK Nayudu Trophy

Moeen Ali – the part-timer keeps pegging India back with crucial wickets

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s sloppy batting and other highlights of play on Day 3

India’s poor shot selection gives England advantage on Day 3 of 3rd Test at Southampton

‘Yuvraj, Ganguly, Zaheer and Indian team to come together in support of my charitable cause’

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Draw the most likely result, feels Sunil Gavaskar

Revealed: Salman Khan’s guest list for Eid party includes Karan Johar, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan!

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Stuart Broad: To go into the company of Wasim, Waqar and Walsh, Ambrose is a huge honour

FDI in telecom jumps manifold to $1.5 billion in April-May

What does Sharmila Tagore like about would be son-in-law Kunal Khemu?

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display given a speed boost, prices slashed across the range

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here