DateLine: 6th April 2010
Former Pakistan captain and National Cricket Academy Director Aamir Sohail voiced his concerns to PakPassion.net about the lack of experience of the Pakistan middle order, ahead of the Twenty/20 World Cup.
With the tournament only a few weeks away Sohail stated that with Shoaib Malik and Younus Khan not in the squad, the lack of experience in the heart of the Pakistani middle order is a concern.
"The bulk of the Pakistan squad is still the same as last year's tournament, but there is no doubt they will miss the experience of Shoaib Malik and Younus Khan. The inexperienced middle order could be a problem"
Younus Khan was expected to be missing from the squad due to his retirement from Twenty/20 cricket straight after Pakistan lifted the trophy at Lords last year. However Malik's absence was unexpected, and came about after the Pakistan Cricket Board punished seven players following an investigation into the disastrous and controversial tour of Australia.
Sohail who represented Pakistan on more than 200 occasions feels that with Younus and Malik absent, the importance of Shahid Afridi's role in the batting order becomes even more important. "Shahid needs to assess the situation in each match, look at the status of each match and what the wicket is doing. Yes he batted at number three in the semi final and final during the last Twenty/20 World Cup and was very successful, but this time around he needs to position himself in the batting order according to the match situation. He should give himself a floating role in the batting order".
Sohail also feels that the Pakistan's quick bowlers need to step up their game in what he feels could be a difficult tournament for fast bowlers. "The matches are going to be day matches in hot conditions, so I would expect that the ball will not seam or swing much. The Pakistani quicks will need to be at the top of their game, as in recent times it's usually been the spinners who have performed consistently".
Pakistan, who despite the recent controversies go into the Twenty/20 World Cup finals amongst the favourites, but Sohail feels that defending the trophy will be a tough ask. "This time around Pakistan need to start on a positive note and ensure there is absolutely no complacency. They cannot afford to slip up at all. They have a tough group with Australia and Bangaldesh and if you make one mistake in a group like this, you could find yourself out of the tournament. Opponents will have analysed the Pakistan team and will be thoroughly prepared".
The Pakistan squad are currently taking part in a training camp in Lahore and start their Twenty/20 World Cup against Bangladesh on 1st May in St Lucia.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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