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National team’s selection syndrome

The inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been a success although it ...

National team’s selection syndrome

The inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been a success although it would have been better if Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had opted to host the event on home soil, ignoring commercial targets.

But something is better than nothing and maybe the commercial goals were the driving force behind the successful holding of the inaugural event, which had been postponed many times in the past.

Held in Dubai and Sharjah, the first edition of PSL provided some high-level, competitive cricket for many Pakistan players ahead of the Asia Cup and World T20.

Skipper Shahid Afridi and vice captain Sarfraz Ahmed must have learnt about weaknesses and strengths of their teammates.

It has also helped Pakistan selectors realise that they had overlooked players who should have been a part of the national squad.

Mohammad Nawaz catapulted himself into the national squad after performing impressively in the PSL. The left-arm spinner will hopefully be playing his first international match against India in Asia Cup!

Left-arm pacer Rumman Raees was also initially picked for the two big events but he was ruled out due to an injury sustained during PSL.

Pacer Mohammad Sami was picked in place of Raees while Sharjeel Khan replaced injured Babar Azam after their impressive showings in PSL.

Hard hitting experienced batsman Khalid Latif has replaced Iftihkar Ahmed.  Should Latif have been included in the squad? Ahmed has been shown the door without any proper reason.

While helping in rejuvenating Pakistan’s cricket, PSL has also put a big question mark on the selectors’ performance.

The team has strengthened with the inclusion of Sharjeel, Nawaz, Sami and Latif for World T20 Championship but had PSL not happened then most probably these four players wouldn’t have made the cut for the big event. It is apparent from these changes that the initial squad was flawed.

So, there should be a performance check. Selectors need to be ever present on the field, sniffing talent and observing domestic cricket.

The inclusion of Sami and Sharjeel in the national squad may be completely due to injuries of Rumman and Babar, but Nawaz and Latif simply earned the ticket through their performance in PSL. There’s a grey area in national selection committee’s performance and it needs to be addressed if Pakistan are to improve their showing in the international arena. Otherwise our team will always remain a work in progress even for major international assignments.

Bilal Hussain

Bilal Hussain
The author may be contacted at [email protected]

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