Pakistan has a glorifying past in the shortest format of the game. Pakistan played two World T20 finals; they lost one against the arch rivals India in 2007 where Misbah Ul Haq played a bizarre ramp shot when Pakistan needed just six runs off four deliveries. However, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in the final of World T20 2009 to put their hands on the big trophy. Pakistan has eliminated from the tournament before semi finals just once in the five editions of the World T20 played till now.
No doubt that the Green Shirts have an impressive track record in mega T20 events. They have been struggling in almost every match in the limited over format irrespective of the opponent. Pakistan cricket has probably hit the all time low. In such a testing time, what should Pakistani fans expect from their men this time? After the disastrous Asia Cup campaign, Pakistani fans are absolutely shattered and cross with their team. So, lets talk about some positive.
It is an open secret that Pakistan’s batting line is their weak link for ages; they don’t have quality batters in their lineup. The truth has been even more brutally exposed in the recent Asia Cup, where Pakistan’s top order failed miserably. However, those wickets were bowling friendly, that made Pakistani poor batting lineup look even uglier. But, the batting friendly wickets in India can become a blessing for Pakistan. The reason for that is, if Pakistan’s vulnerable batting lineup gets to score around 150 runs or more in their quota of 20 overs, they have power pack bowling lineup that can defend such a score probably 7 times out of 10 in any conditions.
Pakistan batting has got the potential to fire. You must have seen the glimpses of Pakistan’s capability with the bat in the dead rubber contest of Asia Cup, i.e. Pakistan against Sri Lanka, which they won by 6 wickets. Players like Ahmed Shahzad, Umar Akmal and Sarfaraz Ahmed can rip off any bowling lineup any day if they keep their heads cool and play deliveries according to the merit. They have got the aggression and the ability. On the other hand, Shoaib Malik is a kind of batsman that gives Pakistan batting the much needed calmness. He is a cool costumer and adaptable to different situations, he can accelerate the innings if needed or can rotate strike when the team is under pressure. However, Sarfaraz and Umar Akmal need to bat up the order.
With Mohammad Amir back in the team, he has molded Pakistan bowling lineup as probably the best in the world. If you see the statistics of Mohammad Amir in the Asia Cup, they won’t justify the quality of pace bowling he has exhibited during the tournament. He, in true meanings, announced his comeback in the international cricket with a sensational spell against India, removing Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in his first over. He was instrumental in taking Pakistan to a victory in the 2009 edition of World T20 as well. Indian wickets would assist spinners, but still, he along with Irfan and Wahab Riaz can be lethal on any pitch of the world.
Pakistan would have loved to have Saeed Ajmal on the Indian pitches; he was a genuine wicket taker with an inspiring economy rate. Shahid Afridi can come handy with his unorthodox leggies, he is the highest wicket taker in the history of T20 internationals. Afridi is extremely unreliable with the bat, but, Pakistan can bet on him with the ball for sure. A slow left arm is always useful. With the find of PSL, Mohammad Nawaz in the side, he would give the much needed variety to Pakistan’s bowling. He has proven in the PSL that he can be extremely effective with the new ball as well as in the middle overs. Although, he had a couple of bad outings in the Asia Cup, doesn’t mean he lost the spark he showed in the PSL.
It will be a new day, a new game in new conditions in the World T20. If Pakistan is able to learn from their mistakes and get rid of the baggage of heart wrenching memories, then Afirid & Co. can put up a better show in the World T20. Pakistan has always been unpredictable; this is their beauty, their strength and their identity. Although, there is a bleak hope in the upcoming world event, but surely, you cannot write off Pakistan team straightaway.