|Event:||Pakistan in England 2010|
DateLine: 22nd August 2010
In his short tenure as Pakistan's Chief Selector, Mohsin Khan has had to make some tough decisions and been kept relatively busy especially with Pakistan’s current hectic playing schedule.
PakPassion recently caught up with Mohsin Khan to discuss selection for the upcoming one day series in England with an eye to building a side for next year’s World Cup.
While the current tour of England has been at times a rather tumultuous tour for Pakistan, Mohsin was not stepping back from the challenge and was disappointed with comments attributed to him in the press recently. “I want to clarify that I never said that I would resign if Pakistan lost 4-0 to England in the test series,” he said. “The responsibility for the success and failure of the current squad, like any other squad is shared between the selectors, coach, captain and team management on tour. The responsibility is shared and does not fall on one individual.”
Mohsin Khan will be arriving in England before the Lord’s Test match where his primary responsibility will be to select the squad for the England one day series with the coach, captain and team management. As expected the biggest challenge will be in selecting the batsmen and while Mohsin was unimpressed by how the top order had generally handled themselves so far on tour, he fell short of laying full blame on the batting. “I expected better from our batsmen, but what proved more painful to the team were the dropped catches and those dropped catches have added extra pressure on the batsmen.”
Dropped catches have certainly hurt Pakistan with 37 catches dropped so far in the five completed test matches, with an astonishing 14 catches dropped alone in the Birmingham Test match. “Ijaz Ahmed is working hard with the players, but fielding is a personal thing and players need to start focussing on their fielding a lot more. They need to work harder on their fielding, they need to spend more time on their fielding in practice.”
While often the reason for Pakistan’s notorious poor fielding is blamed on a lack of good outfields at home, Mohsin disagrees with this notion. “Pakistan has always produced good fielders and outfields in Pakistan cannot be blamed for the poor standard. Players such as Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, Haroon Rashid and Ijaz Ahmed himself were excellent fielders and were brought up playing on dry and dusty outfields.” Jonty Rhodes has long been renowned as the cricketer to have revolutionised cricket’s fielding standards and Mohsin was keen to remark on the observations he remembers of Jonty when he toured Pakistan. “When Jonty came to Pakistan the South Africans would spend 3-4 hours in fielding sessions. Jonty would then spend another hour practising his fielding, even though he was already the world’s best fielder.”
With fielding proving to be an increasingly crucial skill of any cricketer in today’s game, Mohsin is aware of the importance of choosing good fielder in his squads. “In future, fielding standard of players will be given a lot more importance when selecting squads,” he added.
In regards to the upcoming one day series against England starting 10th September, Mohsin was keen on looking for the right combinations to form the backbone for Pakistan’s challenge at next year’s World Cup in the subcontinent. “The planning for the World Cup is well underway, with three important one day series against England, South Africa and New Zealand coming up. They are an opportunity for young and old to cement their places in the World Cup squad.” Mohsin has definitely shown confidence in the younger generation of Pakistani cricketers and that trend seems likely to continue as he added that “Youngsters will be given a chance. We want a number of fit, young players in the one day side and special focus will be on good fielders.”
Although in the just concluded Test match at The Oval, Mohammad Yousuf showed that age is clearly not a barrier and that there is no replacement for class. The ease with which he played after over six months away from international cricket showed that he can still form an integral part of the playing squad and Mohsin was impressed with the veteran's form and contribution. “I feel Yousuf still has two to three years of international cricket left in him and Pakistan needs to utilise that,” Mohsin claimed.
Mohsin felt that Yousuf, who over a span of 12 years in ODI averages an impressive 42, “could play an important role in the one day team. His role could be a key one, like Ponting, Jayawardene and Dravid have played for their respective countries.” Mohsin clearly wants to see Yousuf take charge and come up the order and bat the majority of the innings. “50 over cricket is not just about having an attacking top 6 in your lineup. You need players who can bat 30-40 overs and provide the backbone for the batting lineup and for the other players to play around. Yousuf can play this role for Pakistan in one day cricket.”
With Pakistan languishing at a lowly 7th position on the ICC ODI cricket rankings, Pakistani fans will be hopeful that Mohsin Khan and his team can help restore some pride and form a winning formula for World Cup 2011.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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