Team Pakistan for ICC World Cup 2011
Expected the unexpected-that is precisely what defines Pakistan cricket. Where the team at times comes crashing down courtesy of some horrendous losses, it also surprises with some terrific comebacks and some of the most marvelous all-round performances.
In fact, this unit is renowned for sparking some surprises out of the blue when too much pressure seems to mince them. On their day, Pakistan can thrash any team in the world and overcome the odds with ease and grace. Over the years, most cricket ‘gurus’ tend to write off Pakistan but the team has almost always put on a good show and made its presence felt; be it the ability of the team to falter against minnows or its happy knack of destroying the strongest of teams. Pakistan’s fairy tale run, which lead up to the World Cup triumph, in 1992 geed up the whole nation and inspired young talent among the ranks of Pakistanis who were to become the future of Pakistan cricket.
Pakistan’s performance in the mega events so far has been a mix bag and the team has come very close to winning at times but there were also times when it was wiped out in the early stages of the cup. This time round the team will be up against some of the best teams in the world. Although Pakistan has been hurt by the absence of some important players like Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, the team still has what it takes to give the opposition some tough time on the field. With the likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez in the top order coupled with some experience in the middle order courtesy Younis Khan and Misbah ul Haq, Pakistan are sure to find some good starts unless they adopt a self-destruction policy.
When it comes to demolishing the opposition with some blistering hits, the captain, Shahid ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi and Abdul ‘Razzler’ Razzaq firmly rest in the lower order. Speaking of Pakistan’s bowling line up, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul are the main binding force and add a lot of experience to their bowling. Those who rally around the two include left-arm pacer, Wahab Riaz and spin sensations, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal. Spin would be a decisive factor on the sub-continental pitches; therefore, the induction of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman would really give Pakistan an edge over some of the other sides in the world. Moreover, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi also prove handy with the ball in their hand, stopping runs at times and pitching in with a few wickets to keep the opposition thinking. Pakistan’s fielding is not always something to speak of but when they are on song, they can really impress with their agility and catching maestros. Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez are among the quickest on-field players who are capable of saving 10-15 runs for their team all of which counts in the outcome o a match. Youngsters like Umar Akmal, Asad Shafique and Ahmed Shehzad also add a lot to the team.
All in all, with their captain announced and following a series win in New Zealand, Pakistan are now an established unit who will come hard at the opposition and try to live up to their ‘cornered tigers’ legacy. Pakistan’s chances in this world cup will largely depend on the amount of reverse swing that Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar and Wahab Riaz manage to put on the ball.
Pakistan 15-man Squad:
Misbah ul Haq