BY KAUKAB AZHAR
Head coach-cum-Chief Selector Misbah-ul-Haq announced the 35-member squad for the New Zealand tour and there were some surprising selection calls.
Here’s a look at five players who were unfortunate not to be part of the squad.
Pakistan’s bowling department might look lethal on paper but it has failed to deliver consistent performances away from home. Shaheen and Naseem are inexperienced at this level and there have been suggestions made by experts that the two cannot play together at the moment.
In such a scenario, Tabish Khan would have been an ideal choice because of his experience. He is a consistent performer and at least deserved a spot in a 35-member contingent.
Pakistan has selected five spinners in the squad out of which only Yasir Shah is a test specialist. Nauman Ali is the leading wicket-taker of the QAE trophy with 25 wickets in 3 matches. Kashif Bhatti was another contender, who traveled to Australia and England without getting a game. It would have been nice to have either of the two instead of Zafar Gauhar, who is unlikely to get a T20I game ahead of Imad, Shadab, and Usman Qadir.
No one knows how does Faheem Ashraf gets picked after so many failures. Faheem has done nothing with the bat to convince the fans that he is even worthy of being considered an all-rounder.
Hammad Azam could have been a better option. Although he does lack pace he could have played the role, Colin Grandhomme plays for New Zealand. Hammad is currently the second-highest scorer of the QAE trophy with a century and three fifties in 5 innings.
Junaid Khan’s omission from the squad is nothing new, he has already suffered many heartbreaks but not even being a member of a 35-member squad would hurt even more. The 30-year old brings a lot of experience and skill to the bowling line-up.
It would have been justified if only youngsters were considered for warming the bench but with the likes of Sohail Khan in the squad, age was certainly not the criteria.
The 25-year old played a majestic inning in his last first-class game, scoring 174 on the last day pitch. Saud showed the class and temperament required to succeed in the longer format. With Asad Shafiq dropped from the squad, Pakistan must look forward and find his suitable replacement. Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafique are stroke players and more suited to the limited-overs format.