Pakistan’s team is being re-known for all the excitement it brings to the game of cricket. That comes from the fact that surprises are the forte of Pakistan cricket structure.
So much so, that we ended up giving a 40-year-old his debut match just two series before the World T20, and now we are on the verge of giving a chance to a player who just completed his five year ban amidst a spot fixing scandal.
We must give credit to the selection committee as Rafatullah Mohamed from Peshawar was included on the back-to-back impressive performances in the Domestic T20 tournament, and Muhammad Amir is being considered for the national team on the back of a really impressive return to competitive cricket.
For what we witnessed in the past, earning Pakistan’s cap has been too easy in recent times.
We used to hear that you have to score hundreds and thousands of first class runs and play more than just a couple of seasons to be selected for the national team, before becoming prominent in the eyes of the selectors, but this trend has changed with the arrival of T20. We once claimed that youngsters are not given enough chances, now it feels that the chances are rapidly distributed among players.
The likes of Awais Zia, Mukhtar Ahmed, Saad Nasim, Bilal Asif, Nauman Anwar, Rafatullah, Imran Khan Jr and Shakeel Ansar all fall under the category of players who wouldn’t have lasted 10 matches. It’s evident that most of these players may not be able to survive in the international arena with the kind of qualities they possess. But, ironically the selection committee lacked the eye of picking international players. They missed the fact that players such as Ahmed, Zia and Rafatullah wouldn’t easily adjust to the international arena as they weren’t included in the national team at the best time, for instance; it’s ‘too late’ in the case of Rafatullah.
Then there’s Imran Khan, he would find it hard to outfox the opposition, since he only bowls either a slow ball or a yorker length, and thus becomes extremely predictable.
On the other hand, there is hype surrounding the potential return of Amir to the national side, assuming that he would be great for the team.
Having said that, the Pakistan head coach once said that he would like to see Amir playing at least two seasons before being included in the team, and the selection committee said that he will have to prove himself before being considered again. But within a month’s time, after back-to-back good performances, everyone has now agreed on ‘principle’ that he should be included in the team in the near future, even though some players are likely to resist this move.
But amidst all this hype, excitement and controversy, there is a serious need of a reality check for the Pakistan cricket system. Yes, Amir was and still is, an exceptional talent, but here we are talking about how faulty the cricket system is in this country.
On the look of events, we are over the moon as we have quality bowlers back in the ranks, but on the other hand, it’s absolutely sad to see that the cricket system in this country could not find a replacement of a boy who hardly played for 14 months, and was only 18 when he was suspended.
There was a time when it was hard to select the best five bowlers for your team, as there were many options to choose from, but today it is completely the other way around.
If the past three years were not enough, where we literally had to pray that West Indies doesn’t play an ODI so we can qualify for the Champions Trophy in 2017, the episode of rushing Amir back in the mix of things should be alarming enough for all parties concerned, because obviously, in these past five years, we could not find a replacement bowler.