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)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

Dolphins vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 4: Highlights

Don Bradman plays his final innings in England

Pananmal Punjabi: A nonagenarian Test opener

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Hobart Hurricanes Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights Pakistan

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

George Bailey dismissed for 7; Kings XI Punjab 127 for 5

Virender Sehwag out leg-before; Kings XI Punjab 111 for 4

Sachin Tendulkar donates toward flood-affected people of Jammu and Kashmir

CLT20 2014: Mitchell Marsh reflects on Perth Scorchers’ win over Dolphins

Dolphins vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 4: Highlights

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Barbados Tridents CLT20 2014 Match 5: Barbados Tridents’ likely XI

Don Bradman plays his final innings in England

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Dolphins vs Perth Scorchers, Match 4, CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

World Alzheimer’s Day 2014: Book to spread awareness about dementia

Latest Cancer Research: Biosensors to detect risk of developing cancer

NGOs pursue education for all

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 7: Ashish Sharma wins the trophy!

Stand a chance to watch Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone perform Live on stage!

George Bailey dismissed for 7; Kings XI Punjab 127 for 5

Wickedleak Wammy Desire 3 tablet with 7-inch display and Android KitKat launched for Rs 5,999

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

Mayank Gandhi booked for molestation and sexual harassment: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader named in FIR

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here