As we are a few months away from entering a new decade, I’ve been thinking about all the great Test matches that have occurred over the past ten years.
As much as Pakistan has a broad spectrum of talented fast bowlers to choose from, the selectors have a severe headache.
Their stocks were soaring upwards, but this crop of quicks have hardly lived up to the reputations they enjoy. Fast bowling is one department where Pakistan has always had a stronghold, remaining on par with other pace attacks around the world.
The upcoming World Cup tournament bears little resemblance to Pakistan’s only successful campaign in 1992.
Before Imran Khan’s men lifted the trophy, Pakistan had laid waste to Sri Lanka comprehensively. Prior to that, they also captured the then-coveted Wills Trophy title by beating their arch-rivals India in the final.
Not that the team was in red-hot form, but it was the pace duo of Wasim Akram and Aaqib Javed that kept their opposition on their toes. Imran Khan’s all-round skills and shrewd captaincy along with Javed Miandad’s ability to hold the innings together had them clinging on to hope.
The Pakistan team of the old and the new have always had one thing in common: their propensity to come back from the crypt and run through the oppositions.
After a horror showing over the past few months, this looks like their only chance in remaining competitive at the mega event.
Pakistan’s pace armoury has struggled in recent months. Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf – these are proven match-winners with ruthless speeds and deadly swing. But the four-pronged pace attack lacked inspiration in 2019. Pakistan’s lacklustre fielding has aggravated the problem.
Therefore, the selectors swung the axe and turned their focus back to the experienced duo of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, selecting the experienced pair in their World Cup squad.
While the former’s inclusion didn’t spark any debate, it was Amir’s that left the nation stunned. Amir’s story of remarkable rise was the talk of the town, nine years after falling off the wagon when he was charged with spot-fixing.
England will forever remain a pivotal place for Amir. It is the country that sparked his downfall, and after a few years out of the game, this is where he bounced back to lead the nation to an unforgettable triumph in the 2017 Champions Trophy.
It couldn’t be more evident that the 27-year old deserved a shot at his resurrection at the 2019 World Cup.
Wahab Riaz – who played his last one-day international when his side got hammered by Virat Kohli’s men in Birmingham in 2017 – will be another man making his comeback.
All eyes will be on him to recuperate at least half the magic or half the hostility that he displayed against Shane Watson in Adelaide at the previous World Cup.
Whether or not the relatively experienced duo brings smiles to fans’ faces remains to be seen.
However, for Pakistan to have a real chance at the tournament, they require more than one department of their squad to find their top gear.