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Aamer Sohail mystified by lack of quality spinners in Pakistan World T20 squad

Aamer Sohail mystified by lack of quality spinners in Pakistan World T20 squad
Aamer Sohail feels there will be a lot of pressure on Shahid Afridi to deliver with the ball in the ICC World T20.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail expressed his surprise at the lack of quality spinners in the Pakistan squad which was selected for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament.

With Saeed Ajmal struggling to impress after remodelling his action and Yasir Shah suspended for three months due to a drug violation the Pakistan selectors have not picked any specialist spinner in the squad.

The selectors have backed the spin bowling all-rounders like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim and have also selected the uncapped left-arm orthodox spinner Mohammad Nawaz. 

Giving his views about the squad selection for the ICC World T20, Sohail said in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net that the burden of spin bowling in India will fall on the shoulders of the captain, Afridi.

Sohail also stated that he is not sure how Pakistan will be able to succeed on the pitches in India with only spin bowling all-rounders in their squad.

“I am mystified by the lack of quality spinners.

“In normal circumstances, the spinners in the T20I squads are selected on how successful a bowler is in terms of taking wickets and also his economy rate is taken into consideration.

“It goes without saying that when you play in India the spinners will be handy.

“But the issue here is that without regular specialist spinners and a pace heavy attack, the pressure to take wickets will inevitably fall on Shahid Afridi.

“It is true that on spinning tracks, even bowlers like me, will end up with a bag full of wickets, but what happens when the pitch has no turn?

“How well can the non-regular spinners bowl?

“That is a major concern and something one can only hope that the selectors and the captain have given serious thought to.” 

Another decision the Pakistan selectors took was to exclude Ahmed Shehzad from the squad and opted to pick uncapped batsmen like Khurram Manzoor and Babar Azam.

In the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL), Shehzad is one of the top run-scorers with 216 runs from seven games for the Quetta Gladiators.

Admitting that he was critical of Shehzad in the past, Sohail stated that he was unable to understand the logic of dropping the 24-year-old for the likes of Manzoor. 

“It is no secret that I have been very critical of Ahmed Shehzad in the past as he hasn't been making runs when it mattered but I am afraid, when it comes to him being dropped for Khurram Manzoor one has to wonder what is actually going on!

“Khurram’s selection not only demonstrates the lack of a coherent thought process by the selectors, but also raises some important questions about what the PSL is about as it appears that some really good talent is not being picked for Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 tournament.” 

Senior wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal also missed out on selection despite being the highest run-getter in the 2015-16 National One-Day Cup.

Akmal, who last played a T20 International in April 2014 scored 576 runs for the National Bank of Pakistan from eight matches with six fifties and a century at an average of 72.00.

Sohail also questioned the exclusion of Akmal when he was performing so well in domestic cricket and also raised eyebrows over the way the team management and the selectors were handling Mohammad Rizwan.

“Quite simply put, if Kamran Akmal is performing well in domestic cricket then why has he not been selected for the World T20 squad?

“Kamran Akmal should have been in Pakistan's World T20 squad.

“If you can play Mohammad Amir despite his past, then why not allow Kamran Akmal back even if there are some doubts about his commitment?

“If he is performing well on the domestic scene then at the least give an explanation as to why he's not being selected.

“If you can play Mohammad Rizwan as a batsman, then you can play Kamran Akmal as one too.

“While we are on that subject, why was Mohammad Rizwan dropped in the first place?

“If he had issues with his batting, then exactly what use are the support staff?

“Why did they not work on his weaknesses after every series?

“It appears that everyone is contributing to the destruction and the downfall of our cricket.” 

In an international career spanning from 1990 to 2000, Sohail played 47 Tests and 156 One-Day Internationals for Pakistan while amassing over 7000 runs across both the formats.

© Cricket World 2016