Aamer Sohail slams selectors for ignoring consistent finishers

The former chairman of Pakistan's selection committee called out the management for not helping the players mould their game according to contemporary teams and the demands of the sport.

aamer sohail

Former Pakistan cricketer Aamer Sohail did not mince words as he expressed disappointment in the selection committee's strategy in picking the country's squad for the World Cup. (File photo)   -  Getty Images

Former Pakistan opener Aamer Sohail came down heavily on the Inzamam-ul-Haq-led selection committee for picking sloggers instead of consistent finishers in the national team for the World Cup.

“The main concern for me is that our players are not playing as per demands of contemporary cricket where teams are reaching close to 350 without taking too many risks and playing percentage strokes,” said Sohail, a member of Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup winning team.

“Our problem is that this selection committee which has been around for a while now still can’t figure out how Pakistan can score 300 plus and what we need to do that,” he said.

“The unfortunate part is that in Pakistan we look for sloggers. We think sloggers will finish the game. That is not right we need to select and than develop players who can play percentage cricket and finish the job at least seven out of 10 innings,” he observed.

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Sohail, who has lead Pakistan in six Tests and 22 ODIs, lamented about the shoddy coordination between players, selectors and the management.

He noted the spike in 300+ scores in ODIs in England and how that’s helped teams like India, England and New Zealand to do well in the format.

The 52-year-old, who has appeared in 47 tests and 156 ODIs, pointed out that most teams now have two or three players capable of reaching strike rates of over 100.

He added that what worried him was that there were some batsmen in the Pakistan team whose strike rate was at best run-a-ball or less.

“In contemporary cricket if you are looking to make 300 to 325 and you have two or three players in your line-up who get fifties or hundreds on more balls than that is a problem,” said the former chairman of Pakistan's selection committee.

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Sohail also felt that with cricket changing its nature and character, it was important for a team to fully exploit the first 10 over power play and the one in the middle of the innings.

He noted that when Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup, the demands of the sport were different from what they were in 1999 (when Pakistan reached the final) or in 2003.

“In the last World Cup the bar was raised as far as scoring runs is concerned. Some teams totally changed their approach. We have a good bowling line-up, respectable spinners but in a single league format you need to get big totals more regularly,” he said.

“I am hoping that in English conditions in June and July, there could be more dry pitches and that could help the bowlers.”

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Sohail also felt that Babar Azam should be tried at number four and disagreed with the idea of having captain Sarfaraz Ahmed bat at number three or four.

“Sarfaraz is ideally suited for six or seven and he has got runs at that position so why disturb him from his comfort zone?” said the former captain.

Sohail also implored the selectors to consider opener Ahmed Shehzad and uncapped number three batsman Ahsan Ali for the World Cup.

“I have seen Ahsan bat and his percentage of boundaries is very high. He is a very calculated player and has percentage shots. I see lot of spark in him and he somehow appeals to me,” he said.

“We should take him to England and try him out in the one-day series and side matches and if he does well he should be given his chance in the World Cup,” said Sohail.