Without these three key bowling resources, selectors have packed the squad with five specialist fast bowlers. And that’s where I guess they have missed the trick. When you lose your experience bowlers for whatever reasons, the first thing which should spring in your mind is to look for an experienced replacement. Selectors say they did consider Shoaib Malik, but he could not make the final cut because Haris Sohail is more effective as a left-arm spinner and gives them added advantage of a left-handed batsman.
Haris impressed selectors with his bowling in the series against New Zealand on slow wickets in the United Arab Emirates. I have nothing against Haris, but can the selectors tell me what experience Haris has on bowling pitches similar to the ones we are going to get in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015? The answer is a firm 'NO.'
I agree Shoaib had been out of the national team for quite some time, but he has been playing in league cricket in Australia and has also scored prolifically in the domestic cricket matches. If selectors picked fast bowler Sohail Khan on his recent performance in Pentangular Cup, Shoaib also deserved to make, at least, one more comeback. Not only as a batsman, Shoaib could have easily filled the void of Hafeez's off-spin.
While 11 players take the field, the remaining four on the bench should be equally good to replace them in case the need arises. I'm afraid Pakistan doesn't have enough bench strength in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It doesn’t harm the team even if experienced player like Shoaib sits on the bench.
The selectors have named just two specialist openers in Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad. Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed is among their plans to get promotion as an opening batsman in case any one of the two specialists fails at the top order. This will harm Sarfraz more and it’s expecting too much from a batsman who has done wonders for Pakistan in the UAE in recent months down the order. No one else but Shahid Afridi should take the responsibility of opening the innings and take chance of blasting the bowling with the field restrictions in the first batting Powerplay.