Pakistan announced its 15 member squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup on Monday. The squad announced by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) included Babar Azam (c), Mohd Rizwan, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohd Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Azam Khan, Imad Wasim, Mohd Nawaz, Mohd Wasim, Shahdab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohd Hasnain, Shaheen Afridi and Fakhar Zaman, Usman Qadir, Shahnawaz Dhani in reserve.
Ever since the announcement, people have been criticizing that many key T20 players of Pakistan have been dropped including Muhammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Sharjeel Khan. At the same time, selection of certain players have been pointed out as an act of favoritism since they have been selected despite their poor performance specially Asif Ali and Azam Khan.
According to reports, the captain of Pakistan Cricket team Babar Azam, is also unhappy with the squad announced by PCB as he was not taken into confidence before the official announcement of the players was made. It has been revealed that Babar is specifically unhappy with the selection of Azam Khan and Sohaib Maqsood.
Ramiz thought Babar’s choices — openers Sharjeel Khan and Fakhar Zaman, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and leg-spinner Usman Qadir — were not good enough to be in Pakistan roster for the mega event and hence replaced them with middle-order batsmen Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah, Azam Khan and Sohaib Maqsood.
There have also been rumors that the resignation of Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis was also because of conflicts with Wasim Khan (the chief selector) and Ramiz Raja.
Problems and controversies are increasing in PCB as the World Cup is approaching which is a very bad sign for Pakistan as the entire nation is looking forward to see Pakistan play powerful cricket in the mega-event but under the current circumstances, it seems like it will remain a dream.
Former test cricketer Jalaluddin
Former test cricketer Jalaluddin has expressed similar emotions regarding the squad selected for the World Cup. He added that the player’s selection seems not based on their performance, but rather on personal liking.
According to him, “only a miracle” can help Pakistan win the World Cup with this squad. “The selectors don’t know who to choose for which type of conditions and which format. The selection has been conducted on the basis of personal liking and those who have failed before have once again been selected,” he said.
“Ramiz hasn’t been appointed PCB chairman yet so he could not have asked them to resign, so why did the two most responsible figures of Pakistan resign? A few days ago they were talking about the future planning of Pakistan cricket and especially the preparation for the T20 World Cup, and now they have resigned. Ramiz Raja should not accept Misbah and Waqar’s resignations and instead, should make them stay on till the world cup. They can’t run away like this.” He further added.
Amongst the selected members, the most criticized is middle order batsmen Asif Ali. The hashtag #99.09 is trending top on Twitter as the player has been selected regardless of his poor performance with a strike rate of 99.09. In comparison, people have been questioning why batsmen like Sharjeel Khan were dropped.
Chief selector Wasim Khan has also come under the radar of criticism for his poor decisions.
Hello Mr Dhakkan Wasim @MuhammadWasim77 what is your criteria?
Asif Ali's last 13 T20I scores:
Highest Score – 29
Total Runs – 109
Strike-rate – 99.09
Average – 9.08
— Sir Ahmed Khokhar (@EyeMKhokhar) September 7, 2021
Pakistanis are also demanding PCB to redo the squad selection.
Can we sign a petition to request PCB to have a look on WC squad once again?
Strike-rate – 99.09
— Ashan not Ahsan (@_simpli_shani) September 7, 2021
World Cup is not some random series for trial and error of selection. Every team brings their best men forward for the mega event, however such reckless decisions are not only harming the motivation and spirit of hardworking players, but is also harming the future of Pakistan cricket.
One good aspect of this scenario is that the same squad selected will play against New Zealand before the main event where the individual performances, as well as the overall performance of the team, can be judged better. Changes for the World Cup squad can be made till 10th October and hopefully before the start of the World Cup Pakistan will emerge as a team that is powerful and balanced in all aspects without any bias or favoritism.