The Newsroom previews the teams of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Today, Pakistan.
Pool B: India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, UAE, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Unpredictable! No one knows how many times this word has been used to describe Pakistan. This team is never short of talent. They invented reverse swing, the arm ball, the doosra or teesra … you name it, they introduced it. There is only one thing they lack: consistency. They’ll comprehensively beat the world’s strongest team then, two days later, succumb to a minnow. Whatever the conditions, they can play brilliantly – or abysmally.
Team story: Bowling is Pakistan’s greatest strength. It has the tallest player in the World Cup, Mohammad Irfan, whose height helps him generate natural bounce and swing. Wahab Riaz brings some genuine pace and Shahid Afridi, having already announced his retirement, will want to finish his career on a high note. A notable absentee is Saeed Ajmal, who is serving a ban for using an illegal bowling action.
The batting is not as impressive, on paper. Both Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed have shown patchy form so the team will be relying on Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq to score plenty of runs.
Player to watch: The inclusion of Younis Khan, a once great cricketer now struggling to perform in ODIs, as opener has attracted scathing criticism from armchair selectors – but they have the backing of Javed Miandad. He may bring some stability to the inexperienced line-up, but needs to lead from the front. Another batting failure by him will destroy morale.
Prediction: Anyone’s guess, really. This team defies prediction. – Md Zahin