New Zealand has leveled the Test and T20 series in UAE and in ODI series, it is still managing it at equal terms. We can wish and hope that Pakistan win remaining three matches of the series but it seems a bit difficult.
When the men in green will start their campaign in the World Cup, right from the group stage they will face many batsmen like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhonidangerous, Hashim Amla, Quinton De Kock etc and bowlers like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Ravichandran Ashwin etc, who are more dangerous than then Kiwis. The case would further get challenging when hopefully Pakistan will qualify for knockout stage.
Focusing on former skipper Shahid Afridi, a question arises that whether the aging player could bat well against more bounce Down Under and if he is considered as only a bowler, then Pakistan would be needing more pacers than spinners. Therefore, his bowling although handy, need to be complemented by his batting and only as an all-rounder, he can have credentials to be a part of World Cup squad.
With an impressive 61-run inning in the first ODI against New Zealand. He played responsibly then but in the very next match, he once more loudly showed his element of inconsistency and irresponsibleness. He might have done better had he played a bit cautiously.
If he bats the same way in Australia and New Zealand, then a bowler would only need to make use of bounce, which they would found plenty there, and provoke him to play a shot straight up in the sky and be caught sometimes near the boundary and sometimes near the pitch!
However, Afridi’s experience counts, and more importantly lack of replacements. With Saeed Ajmal likely to miss the event because of suspension, and Mohammad Hafeez most likely to be unable to bowl, Afridi does have his place in the squad.
But Afridi, having a big fan follow, who fondly call him ‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Lala’, must play responsibly as he could turn out to be a match winner on his day but it would be great to see if he do it more often.