Mohsin Khan (left) believes that Pakistan have a sensible leader in Misbah-ul-Haq and it would have been ideal to field youngsters and rest some of the senior players for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe © Getty Images
By Amir Husain
Mohsin Khan wrote his name in the record books as the first Pakistani to score a double hundred at Lord’s on August 13, 1982. The former opener later distinguished himself as Head Coach for the Pakistan team. Under his tutelage, Pakistan won three consecutive series — against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and a 3-0 whitewash over England in the UAE.
Mohsin spoke exclusively to PakPassion.net about issues regarding selection of Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe among other things. Pakistan kick-off their tour of Zimbabwe on August 23 with the first of the two T20Is, followed by three ODIs and two Tests.
Excerpts from an interview with Mohsin:
Opportunity to blood youngsters missed
The selectors should have taken the bold step to drop or rest some of the senior players for this tour and accommodate more youngsters. A futuristic and a brave approach were needed in selecting for the tour of Zimbabwe tour. Players like Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal should have been rested. It’s ironical that when the team needed experience for the Champions Trophy, the likes of Afridi and Younis were not picked. There was actually a strong case to leave them out for the Zimbabwean tour. It’s baffling to see them picked to play against a weaker opposition.
The question is:- Are we trying to register victories against weaker oppositions, or are we afraid of losing to Zimbabwe? When you decide to provide chances to new players, then you don’t worry about winning or losing. This is similar to what Australia is doing during the Ashes and what India have done during their recent tour of Zimbabwe.
Another reason for resting senior players is that under the sensible guidance of Misbah-ul-Haq, this tour would have been very beneficial for young and/or inexperienced cricketers and in turn for Pakistan cricket as we don’t get these opportunities so often.
Without taking names, in my view, an inexperienced off or leg-spinner should have been tried for this tour. In addition, Mohammad Irfan should have been selected to play one Test match on this tour so as to keep him in practice for the Test series against South Africa. Even Ahmad Jamal from Abbotabad, who bowled one of the fastest deliveries in the Wasim Akram pace bowler’s camp, should have been given chance. He could have played with the safety net of Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz or Irfan to prove his mettle.
Positives in the Pakistan team for Zimbabwe
I am very happy to see Khurram Manzoor and Faisal Iqbal. Sohaib Maqsood is a very good choice for the T20 squad, although it has to be said that he should have also been included for the ODI [One-Day International] team as well, along with Zulfiqar Babar. Another commendable choice is that of Anwar Ali and I hope he will be asked to play a few games and not taken as a passenger!
The importance of a genuine wicket-keeper
I am also heartened to see that Pakistan are travelling with a genuine wicket-keeper, which is something I have been stressing upon all along. Both Adnan Akmal (for Test matches) and Sarfraz Ahmed are there for the team to use with proper guidance, although Adnan should also have been considered for ODIs as well. As we are well aware, Umar Akmal is not available for the tour and Sarfraz Ahmed will take his responsibilities. I believe this is a blessing in disguise for Pakistan.
Umar Akmal’s future role as a wicket-keeper
Although he has been declared unfit for the tour of Zimbabwe, it also has to be said that Umar Akmal has shown signs of improvement as wicket-keeper. However, this does not mean that you misuse him as he is more useful as a batsman in the lower middle-order and an outstanding fielder as well. So apart from his batting, he can also add tremendous value to the Pakistan team as a fielder, which is a known area of weakness for our team.
Khurram Manzoor should be given ample chances to play in both Tests
With the absence of Imran Farhat for regrettable personal reasons, the management must allow Khurram Manzoor a chance in both Test matches to justify the reason for his recall to the international arena. Manzoor last played for Pakistan in 2009 and if we are giving him a chance on this tour, then we need to provide ample opportunities for him to make his mark.
The recent spate of apologies by the ‘spot-fixing’ trio
I have to confess that I am very disappointed. The question to be asked is: Who is guiding these players to make these statements that after fighting and losing their case at the ICC and CAS levels in the most disgraceful manner to apologise profusely as if they were always guilty? Whoever has guided them does not know the meaning of self-respect or does not respect the nation.
(Amir Husain is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net)