The first two games of the one-day series between England and Pakistan saw the hosts registering a comfortable win over the visitors. The run marathon produced at Nottingham clearly exposed all the chinks in the armor that the Pakistan side currently possesses.
The worst tragedy for the side is the appointment of captain Azhar Ali who had never been in the mix in white-ball cricket for the last five years. He had made sporadic appearances and his style always makes him an apt candidate for Test cricket.
Mohammad Hafeez seems to be a split-personality cricketer, suffering from overseas phobia but suddenly we he reaches the desert shores of UAE, he becomes a different batsman altogether. It is a big conundrum for the side that had to keep up with the inaccuracies of Hafeez’s performances for the last 12 years. He still nicks him it outside off-stump or plays tentative prods at the ball.Sharjeel Khan is one for the future but needs to curb his aggressive instinct and play to the situation to get big scores in the future. The middle-order consists of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan who make pretty 30s or 40s and never go big to trouble the opposition. The next man is possibly the best player in the side- wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmad.Sarfaraz has scored on a consistent basis and must be the captain of the side if purely judged on merit.
However, the one thing missing in the Pakistan side right now is that they are still following the old template of one-day cricket. Teams like Australia, England and India believe in rotation of strike and then picking of a regular boundary in each space of two overs.There is no quality all-rounder in the side as in the past like Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi who were able to win games in any situation. Hasan Ali and Anwar Ali provide short-term solutions and are pretty pedestrian keeping in mind the flat pitches produced these days in one-day cricket.Shoaib Malik needs to call it quits because he is not the same player he was ten years ago. The bowling unit has good resources such as Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz. These four quicks need to be played and looked after properly if Pakistan wants to change their fortunes in one-day cricket in the near future. Yasir Shah needs to be rested in this format since it has clearly not worked for him in white ball cricket. Zulfiqar Babar or some other spin options be tried alongside Imad Wasim and Mohammad Wasim.
Meanwhile, Imad has shown promise and needs to bat up the order to be a good player in one-day cricket. It is time for Pakistan to assess its current domestic structure which produces below-par surfaces that ultimately produces good cricketers but never the world-class breed of the 1990s.
England had to kneel down and accept change after World Cup 2015 to become the force they are at the current moment and Pakistan must make the same changes. Else, they could find themselves in murky waters and even lose the chance to play in the next World Cup in England.