Inzamam-ul-Haq and the company were questioned about the exclusion of Mohammad Amir from the preliminary World Cup team with Shoaib Malik, even though the former Pakistani captain in England had poor track record, the selectors did a pretty good job as far as other selections matter.
It was made known on Thursday that the team will be captained by Sarfraz Ahmed – This gives Pakistan many opportunities to consider. Planning ahead of the World Cup is probably the best from Pakistan’s point of view. They are the only competitor who has the luxury of achieving a global 50-over extravaganza by facing tournament hosts England in a full series of five ODIs.
Three of them – Trent Bridge, Headingley and Bristol – would be utilised for four of the nine World Cup games for Pakistan, which will open two games against the West Indies and England in Trent Bridge, from five places in the series from 8 to 19 May.
This agreement would inevitably allow Pakistan to make changes to 17 players named after a bilateral series against England. Thus, Amir and Asif Ali, who are not currently participating in the World Cup, certainly have plenty of opportunity to present their demands for a global event.
For Amir, this is a make-or-break moment in his start-stop career. After the left-arm paceman was 27 on April 13, he left his birthday present in the form of the World Cup selection, but dismal statistics post-ICC Champions Trophy — just five wickets in 101 overs at 92.60 — persuaded the selectors to look at candidates who, at least on paper, offer far better wicket-taking options.
The dilemma Amir now faces is that he can only revive himself if he finds a form that was a lasting reminder of Champions Trophy final against India. Of all the teams, as he shot in an inspired new ball in The Oval on sunny afternoon, he calmly blew away Rohit Sharm, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan to make an incredible 180-run victory for his country.
Amirov’s entire ODI career, which ended abruptly for six years for being involved in a malicious sinister spot-fixing plot the place during the Lord’s Test against England in August 2010, does not sound pleasing. In 50 games he claimed only 60 wickets at 32.85 with a strike rate of 41.2 and an economy of 4.78.
His statistics on English soil make more depressing reading — nine wickets in eight ODIs at 38.33 with a 46.7 strike rate and an economy of 4.91. These figures include the 3-16 spell Amir delivered in the Champions Trophy title-decider.
There is no doubt that Amir will feel the burden of expectations from his fans and if he does not come back with a dramatic return form – his desire to finally debut at the World Cup seems grim.
At the other end of the ladder, Malik also feels the heat, having been lucky enough to take part in the World Cup. At age 37, he may be one of Pakistan’s strongest cricketers, but his numbers in recent years – a long international career that began in October 1999 – are enough for critics fighting for his blood.
For a long time Malik has rarely been a permanent judge at national level. The most striking aspect is that it is the case in the Lone World Cup campaign, and also in 2007, when Inzamam led Pakistan to a humiliating first exit in the West Indies, where they also experienced a traumatic experience seeing their head coach Bob Woolmer die on the night when Pakistan unintentionally lost to Ireland in Kingston.
During his career, Malik was neglected in 2003, 2011 and 2015 for World Cup, reasons best known by the respective selectors.. The fact that he is now going to a mega event after twelve years of glowing emptiness is based solely on compassionate principles and not as a middle-ranking striker.
He is with 282 ODI appearances and 7,481 under his belts by far the most experienced member of the UK-bound team. Malik is practically sailing in the same boat as Amir, who is also struggling. Inzamam and three members of the National Selection Committee – Tauseef Ahmed, Wajahatullah Wasti and Wasim Haider – seem to value feelings more than anything else as they fit in with the former captain of Pakistan.
Like Amir, Malik’s overall record of ODI in England is as miserable as it can be – a total of 300 runs in 23 innings of 24 days. His average of 13.63 and a single hit of over 50-plus knock (77), when he and Sarfraz formed a great partnership during the England tour in 2016 make his choice undoubtedly cruel.