It would be nice to be deemed favorite but in the modern game, it seems like NO team is tagged favorite for the cricket world cup 2019. In cricketing history, only West Indies and Australia have shown the talent and skills to be tagged as favorites for any major tournament. They had everything that was needed to be a great team but now cricket, as we know, has changed. Now batsmen take more risks with unconventional strokes and quality bowlers like Malcolm Marshall do not exist either. It means the definition of a good bowler does not mean pure pace but indeed, something different.
Many greats have different views as to what they believe is the best 11 would be. However, the ideal way to go about in one-day cricket is to have five batsmen, a wicketkeeper who can bat and a batting all-rounder at no 7. If there is another batting all-rounder in that mix it is even better. The No 8 must be a bowling all-rounder and one of the three remaining bowlers should also be able to bat a bit.
In simple words, modern batsmen have crushed the need of fierce-some fast bowling attacks because bowlers go for restrictions. Teams now fancy chasing 300 plus runs with their lengthy batting lineups with all-rounders. Pakistan cricket to needs to adopt this ideology.
Having said that Pakistan seems to possess the right kind of players, young energetic talent is ready to dominate at the world stage with a mix of senior players. At the moment, there are only 2 senior players in the side but that’s all we need. Pakistan’s top 7 batsmen serve this parameter with Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Harris Sohail, Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, and Faheem Ashraf to bat at 9 looks like all set to counter any situation.
Choosing the bowling attack can be tricky though it is almost certain that Hassan Ali will get that no 10 spot with Shaheen Shah Afridi to fill the last position with 3 spinners Haris, Hafeez and Malik.
Pakistan bowlers will need suitable conditions too. In a seamers’ friendly environment Sarfaraz might opt to play another seamer probably in place of Imam-ul-Haq may and let Hafeez open the innings but then who will do the power hitting at no 6? Over the last few months, our main cricketers either played T20 cricket or have been rested. We can raise questions about fatigue and ignore the fact that an in-form player wants to play more to stay in touch. If I was Babar Azam or Shadab or Fakhar, I would not have rested them.
The only concern or confusion lies in the power hitting abilities of our late middle order which is depending too much on Shadab and Faheem Ashraf, who against a good bowling attack struggle. That’s where someone like Asif Ali or Umar Akmal could have been very handy (thank you ego). Considering how clean they strike the white ball but another question arises, do we really need a power hitter? Or are we happy with solid batting options to propel the team to 280-300 runs and then look towards bowlers.
Pakistan has to play 11 games before the World Cup and can selectors be brave to call Asif Ali or Umar Akmal (keep in mind the uncertainty surrounding Shadab), Pakistan will have all blanks filled before the World Cup starts and will have the firepower to shine in England.