Pakistan - Unpredictable Team With An Unsettled Side
Pakistan will definitely be one of those X-factor teams heading into the tournament since they possess a solid team on paper. However, whether they can perform on the pitch and lead their side to World Cup glory is a whole different matter. Many of the Pakistan players constantly talk about emulating the 1992 World Cup when Imran Khan and Wasim Akram helped Pakistan triumph and stand tall over all the other nations. But, for the current squad that dream is far away from becoming reality.
After enjoying a lot of success when they played Australia in October-November, there was a lot of talk about Pakistan perhaps being major contenders for the World Cup, But, that talk has slowly started to die down after Pakistan were beaten 3-2 in their ODI series against New Zealand in December. To make matters worse, Pakistan recently faced New Zealand once again in a two-match ODI series, but failed to impress anyone as they were comprehensively beaten in both matches.
One of the major problems Pakistan faces heading into the World Cup is the fact that they will be without the services of spinner Saeed Ajmal, who got his action cleared recently, but not in the World Cup squad, and left-arm pace bowler Junaid Khan, who failed a fitness test after injuring his thigh while bowling in the nets at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on 15th January. In addition to Ajmal and Junaid, Mohammad Hafeez, who was included in the 15-man squad, will not be able to bowl either since his action was also found to be illegal. Since many of their lethal bowlers have been banned from bowling of sidelined with injuries, Pakistan will now have to rely on part-timers like Haris Sohail to bowl at least seven overs and take wickets as well.
The one interesting thing about Pakistan's World Cup squad is the inclusion of pace bowler Sohail Khan. While Khan was selected over a bunch of other candidates, it is very strange that Pakistan did not let him gain some much-needed match experience during the recently concluded two-match ODI series against New Zealand. Since Pakistan allowed Khan to watch the match from the sidelines, he will be effectively be entering the World Cup without having played an ODI since September 2011 and then there will be Rahat Ali who was drafted into the squad recently having played just one ODI.
15th February – India v Pakistan in Adelaide
21st February – Pakistan v West Indies in Christchurch
1st March – Pakistan v Zimbabwe in Brisbane
4th March – Pakistan v United Arab Emirates in Napier
7th March – Pakistan v South Africa in Auckland
15th March – Pakistan v Ireland in Adelaide
Recent Form (last 10 ODI matches)
(recent) L, L, L, L, W, L, W, L, L, L
February 3, 2015 - Lost to New Zealand by 119 runs (Napier)
January 31, 2015 - Lost to New Zealand by seven wickets (Wellington)
December 19, 2014 - Lost to New Zealand by 68 runs (Abu Dhabi)
December 17, 2014 - Lost to New Zealand by seven runs (Abu Dhabi)
December 14, 2014 - Beat New Zealand by 147 runs (Sharjah)
December 12, 2014 - Lost to New Zealand by four wickets (Sharjah)
December 8, 2014 - Beat New Zealand by three wickets (Dubai)
October 12, 2014 - Lost to Australia by one run (Abu Dhabi)
October 10, 2014 - Lost to Australia by five wickets (Dubai)
October 7, 2014 - Lost to Australia by 93 runs (Sharjah)
In World Cups, Pakistan have a W/L ratio of 1.384 having won 36 out of the 64 games.
Pakistan have never won a game against their arch-rivals India in the World Cup history.
Shahid Afridi is the only Pakistan bowler in the current squad to feature in top 50 wicket takers in World Cup history. He ranks 23 with 28 wickets from 20 games.
Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz
Player To Watch:
Younis Khan - Given that this could very well be his last World Cup, Khan will look to make the most of all the chances he gets. Khan has been in brilliant form as of late and will definitely look to carry his red-hot form with the bat into the World Cup so that he can give his side a good chance of having a successful campaign. In addition to all this, Khan is also a veteran player, which means that he will know what to expect from the pitches and conditions in Australia and New Zealand.
© Cricket World 2015