Omair Alavi|Sports|December 15, 2019
The ingenuity of our head coach-cum-chief selector is beyond imagination
He dropped Mohammad Abbas, Pakistan’s most successful pacer in the 15-member squad, when he was all set to wreak havoc in Australia; he didn’t select Imran Khan for a day-night Test match despite his taking five wickets in an innings in a day-night side match; he put Imam ul Haq in a Test match where everyone else knew he would fail. It was only when he dropped leg-spinner Yasir Shah (that too after scoring a courageous century Down Under) in Pakistani conditions to go with an all-pace attack that the fans realised that Pakistan has a Coach and Chief Selector who thinks Out of the Box. Sometimes so out of the box that he seems a superhuman.
What is Misbah going to do in the second and final Test against Sri Lanka in Karachi? How does his mind work and what kind of surprises can he pull out from his hat that would test the patience of Cricket fans and followers? Let’s find out:
1- Drop Asad Shafiq for scoring more runs than others in the team
Misbah Logic: Asad may have a dozen centuries to his name in Tests, but he doesn’t win many matches, because his teammates don’t score runs like him.
Therefore, it would be better if Asad is dropped in favour of someone who is more synced with other batsmen in the side so Pakistan can finally have a winning chance. After all, if Asad does the bulk of the scoring, it means he doesn’t give chances to others to score runs.
2- Open the bowling with a non-regular bowler to surprise the opposition
Misbah Logic: The opposition would be expecting either Mohammad Abbas or Shaheen Shah Afridi to open the bowling for Pakistan. Why not ask Shan Masood to share the new ball with Mohammad Rizwan and give Mickey Arthur something to think about. After all, if Abbas and Afridi couldn’t take a wicket in the opening session of the Pindi Test, they are also not going to take a wicket in the first session at the National Stadium!
3- Promote Yasir Shah in the order for his improved batting
Misbah Logic: If Yasir can score a century in Adelaide, he can do the same at the National Stadium. He should be selected as a middle-order batsman who can score runs as well as bowl a few overs here and there. The aim is to put runs on the board, not to take wickets as the other team can declare the innings while batting, not while bowling.
4- Make fielders share wicket-keeping duties to shock Mickey Arthur and his men
Misbah Logic: No team in the world would expect the opposition to rest their wicket-keeper ahead of a Test match. That’s why if Pakistan drops Rizwan and makes fielders share his load behind the wickets, it would not only surprise Mickey Arthur and his men but would also give Pakistan a chance to field an extra pacer. After all, the temporary keepers can take (and drop) as many catches as Rizwan can!
5- Drop Azhar Ali and include a batsman who can actually score runs
Misbah Logic: We have to insert Imam in the side somehow, so let’s drop the Captain as he is not scoring runs and include the nephew of my predecessor. After all, it doesn’t matter whether he scores runs or not, as long as we share the same surname. I have heard he has a beautiful smile and is quite popular with the female fans of the game.
Author’s Note: Actually, many would partially agree to the last point; they would be glad if the person who replaces the Captain shares the surname with former Test Captain Intikhab Alam, than the current Coach!