Beard has something to do with it!

Published: Thursday, August 16, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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By Syed Ahsan Ali[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Seasoned campaigner Yousuf's exclusion from SA-bound Pakistan team will do no good for teams's chances in the World Cup of ultra-abridged version of the sport

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Years of politics and controversies in the alleys of Pakistan cricket yielded a syndrome of fondness for conspiracy theory. Omission of two senior players Mohammad Yousuf and Abdur Razzaq from the squad for Twenty20 Championship bring the spin-doctors again into the action.

This decision of the selection panel is baffling one. The more we look at it, the farther we can see it as the nefarious design to cleanse the remnants of the religiosity from the Pakistan eleven. It may not be the whole picture, but definitely a good chunk of it.

Another person, I suspect, whose career would be most benefited by the exclusion of two middle-order batsmen is Shoaib Malik. This could have been done to cement Malik in the middle-order slot which in any case could not have happened if Yousuf and Razzaq made it to the squad. And Razzaq and Yousuf seem to be the soft targets because of former's poor fielding skills and latter's string of inconsistent performences with both bat and ball.

Meanwhile the experts feel that the Yousuf-Razzaq duo with their batting styles, knowledge, past record and vast experience to back with can be handy for a sub-continent team like Pak which is vulnerable on the seamer-friendly bouncy strips in South Africa. Both like the ball coming on to the bat which makes it easy for them to clear boundaries.

Presence of Mohammad Yousuf would have provided great support in presence of shoddy openers top of the order. I suspect whether they get that touch which is necessary to survive early blues. If they fail to see off the first few moments of the game, then whole pressure would come on Afridi and Younis to reach scores of respectability.

Selectors defends their arbitrary decisions by saying Twenty20 belongs to youth and exuberance while they pick 33-year-old Misbah-ul-haq! Thank God, they haven't picked him for U-19 Tournament. He is another victim of whims and fancies of selection panel . Misbah has already past his prime while playing in an ill-organised domestic circuitsin his prime.

Aussies should have taken a leaf out of Pak books by picking a 'youthful' squad instead of retaining the World Cup winning squad with hoard of veterans in their ranks!.

This South Africa-bound team sans Yousuf struggled a lot in practice matches held recently in Lahore camp. Batsmen failed miserably to put decent scores on board. Below par exhibitions on part of our batsmen should have prompted our selectors to pick seasoned campaigners instead of acting arbitrarily during the team selection.

This is an Islamic country where every single individual would love to live his life according to his religious beliefs. By dropping bearded players or friends of bearded players, they are turning such factors even stronger into a retaliatory force.

Whatever are the intents behind this selection or non-selection, it fails utterly on merit.

After 2007 World Cup fiasco, general public in Pak thought that now the people at the helm of this lucrative organization would learn something out of that forgettable series, but unfortunately that is not the case. May almighty help Pak cricket.


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