The cupboard for openers is bare for Pakistan and there is need for an alternate approach


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  1. #1
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    The cupboard for openers is bare for Pakistan and there is need for an alternate approach

    If we look at red ball or white ball we don't have solid openers.
    In tests we have players that are barely capable of surviving good pace attacks on home grounds let alone foreign conditions.
    In odi we do not have set openers. Currently Imam seems to have one slot but while being consistent he hasn't yet shown the ability to take advantage of a 10 over powerplay and his main release shot is jumping down the track to hit or slice the ball in the air.
    Fakhar has been quite inconsistent in recent times and even in domestic wasn't able to regain form.
    In t20 only Babar has one slot confirmed but we need a dashing opener to go along with him which Mohammad Wasim acknowledged but strangely didn't provide any openers in the squad for this purpose. He could have tried Sharjeel or Zeeshan Malik.

    Bottomline, we don't have any solid options.

    Given that we need to come up with makeshift options. Below is what I think could be tried for short term and potentially long term of things seem to work:

    Tests:
    1. One slot must be taken by Azhar Ali, he has opened and was successful in the past. With current openers he has essentially be opening anyway coming in within first few over over last several series.
    2. See if we can try a domestic number 3 type player that has good technique. Options could be Hussain Talat, Saud Shakeel, Abdullah Shafiq. Meanwhile have the other openers work with Mohammad Yusuf to sort out technical issues. This can include Shan, Imam, Abid, Imran, Omair bin Yusuf,Haider.
    One other benefit of this is even if the makeshift opener doesn't do too much better than current opener (i am talking about number 2 one not Azhar Ali) we are freeing up 2 slots in middle order to bring in players that we know are scoring and given them chance. Those slots could be taken by Kamran Ghulam and Saud Shakeel/Hussain Talat.
    Thus overall it would strengthen batting.

    Odi, I will leave this for now. I think solving our test and t20 opening is bigger issue and once those are solved we may find a good solution for odi opening from one of those formats.

    T20.
    1. Babar is solid no need to change
    2. Haider at 3 is fine no need to change
    3. For second opener we can try makeshift player. For example Faheem Ashraf who has improved his batting a lot recently and can hit good blows. Other makeshift options could be Azam Khan or Sohaib Maqsood. Both are good timers and can take advantage of power play. At least much better than Rizwan can. Since they are not in current squad I would consider opening with Faheem or Asif Ali.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I think you need to go back and look at Fakhar's stats in the Domestic T20 Cup and the PSL. He was the leading run-scorer in the Domestic T20 Cup and one of the leading run-scorers in PSL. He is also one of the few openers we have had (along with Imam) who has actually succeeded on the international level in the last decade. He should be in the squad.

    However it is shocking to me how a guy like Zeeshan Malik misses out in T20s while the hit or miss human beach ball Sharjeel is actually being considered as a serious option.

    In tests, we are in a bind. But that said, I think the current openers deserve the long rope. If we keep chopping and changing and don't give guys extended runs to prove themselves then pretty soon we'll run through the entire system.
    Last edited by RedwoodOriginal; 1st February 2021 at 09:13.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedwoodOriginal View Post
    I think you need to go back and look at Fakhar's stats in the Domestic T20 Cup and the PSL. He was the leading run-scorer in the Domestic T20 Cup and one of the leading run-scorers in PSL. He is also one of the few openers we have had (along with Imam) who has actually succeeded on the international level in the last decade. He should be in the squad.

    However it is shocking to me how a guy like Zeeshan Malik misses out in T20s while the hit or miss human beach ball Sharjeel is actually being considered as a serious option.

    In tests, we are in a bind. But that said, I think the current openers deserve the long rope. If we keep chopping and changing and don't give guys extended runs to prove themselves then pretty soon we'll run through the entire system.
    There are many good openers in domestic cricket.

  4. #4
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    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.
    Last edited by Liverpool_Faizan; 1st February 2021 at 09:28.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liverpool_Faizan View Post
    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.
    Saeed Anwar and Azhar Ali

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  7. #6
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    I'd convert Usman Salahuddin into a test opener. It's not an ideal solution by any means, but his defensive technique should allow him to survive in international cricket. I can't see any compelling alternatives at the moment.

  8. #7
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    Give Abdullah and others sufficient first class experience ...and don't robbed them....plz...
    They will evolve also Haider Saheen Naseem all
    need 2 yrs first class atleast....

    Play Saud Salahuddin Zia Haq Ehsan Adil and Tabish/Abbas

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liverpool_Faizan View Post
    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.


    Have some Sehwag in your life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liverpool_Faizan View Post
    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.
    Saeed Anwar was truly world-class.

    He was averaging 47 in Tests right up to his last year in Test cricket (that's when his form dropped big time). Not only that but he also averaged 40+ in Australia, England, New Zealand, and India.

    This was at a time when some of the sport's finest bowlers were bowling against him.


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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liverpool_Faizan View Post
    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.
    Saeed Anwar was overrated in ODIs but he was brilliant in Tests.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Saeed Anwar was overrated in ODIs but he was brilliant in Tests.
    Come on bro, the guy was rated in odis too, May have flopped in some crucial matches but I rate him highly in Odis too

  13. #12
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    A lot of people may disagree with me but I think the Sharjeel ban was a big loss. The guy was getting set in the team at the time and was the destructive opener we needed, he was actually working on his weaknesses unlike Fakhar and improved his offside game etc. Iíve never seen a Pakistani batsman play the short ball like he does.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nado_ View Post
    Come on bro, the guy was rated in odis too, May have flopped in some crucial matches but I rate him highly in Odis too
    He is a deaf king among blind men. The other ODI openers from Pakistan have been so average that Saeed stands head and shoulders above them.

    This guy was paired with dross like Aamer Sohail, Afridi, Rameez and Wasti in the 90ís, and at the end of his career, with Taufeeq. That is how poor the other options were.

    He was a very good ODI opener but he is overrated by our fans because of the iconic 194 and the fact that he dominated India at a time where their bowling attack was at its lowest ebb.

    However, if you take a closer look at his career, he was a walking wicket in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. A bit of swing and seam at decent pace and he would either nick it to the slips or get his leg-stump uprooted after walking across the stumps.

    He was a much better opener in Tests than he was in ODIs, his temperament and shot selection were so much better, which is reflected in his consistency as well.

    Nonetheless, a joy to watch in flow. The most aesthetically pleasing batsman of his generation along with Mark Waugh and slightly ahead of Azharuddin and Aravinda, his timing was out of this world. Unfortunately, he wasnít gritty enough in ODIs.

    He had more natural ability than Ganguly but Ganguly proved himself to be a better ODI opener than him.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    He is a deaf king among blind men. The other ODI openers from Pakistan have been so average that Saeed stands head and shoulders above them.

    This guy was paired with dross like Aamer Sohail, Afridi, Rameez and Wasti in the 90ís, and at the end of his career, with Taufeeq. That is how poor the other options were.

    He was a very good ODI opener but he is overrated by our fans because of the iconic 194 and the fact that he dominated India at a time where their bowling attack was at its lowest ebb.

    However, if you take a closer look at his career, he was a walking wicket in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. A bit of swing and seam at decent pace and he would either nick it to the slips or get his leg-stump uprooted after walking across the stumps.

    He was a much better opener in Tests than he was in ODIs, his temperament and shot selection were so much better, which is reflected in his consistency as well.

    Nonetheless, a joy to watch in flow. The most aesthetically pleasing batsman of his generation along with Mark Waugh and slightly ahead of Azharuddin and Aravinda, his timing was out of this world. Unfortunately, he wasnít gritty enough in ODIs.

    He had more natural ability than Ganguly but Ganguly proved himself to be a better ODI opener than him.
    You make some fair points, and it is true a lot of us take a more likening to him in ODIís because he was so pleasing on the eyes And due to beatings he gave India in the bilaterals and of course the record breaker which stood for so many years.
    Last edited by Nado_; 1st February 2021 at 16:16.

  16. #15
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    Fakhar Zaman and Sharjeel Khan should open.

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    There's a way we can work around the dilemma of opening batsmen in Pakistan.

    Firstly, it's about time that Abid Ali is dropped from the squad, and Imran Butt needs to perform. If he doesn't, bring in Haider Ali or Abdullah Shafique, whichever one seems like a better option. Azhar Ali has to open the innings for us now, there's no other option remaining. He has one or two years left in him, and we need to make sure that he provides us with stability at the top of the order whilst the likes of Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, and others are slowly integrated into the side.

    The test openers we should keep around the team are: Azhar Ali, Imran Butt, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali

    For ODI cricket, openers can be middle order batsmen even because there is not gonna be a whole lot of swing either way. Imam-ul-Haq is a must for ODI Cricket, though I'd like to see him spend time at NHPC to work on strike rotation to improve his strike rate. Fakhar has been amazing for us in ODI cricket, so he should be persisted with. Haider Ali should also be targeting that opening slot, and for the time being, should occupy #5 for the team. Haris Sohail could also potentially open in ODI Cricket, but his fitness is a major concern.

    For T20I, you can have one opener be a complete hack and still get the job done, so might as well have Haider open with Babar.

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    We should give Saud a go as opener. He has a compact technique and wouldnít be a bad option if Azhar stays at 3. Or even if Azhar moves up, Saud can play as opener and Kamran at 3.

    1. Azhar Ali
    2. Saud Shakeel
    3. Kamran Ghulam
    4. Babar Azam (c)
    5. Fawad Alam
    6. Mohamamad Rizwan (wk)
    7. Faheem Ashraf
    8. Hassan Ali
    9. Yasir Shah
    10. Nauman Ali
    11. Shaheen Afridi

    I do think Imran Butt should get an extended run of 5 games now that heís debuted.

  19. #18
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    The team is not going to change for at least the next test match so we would have to watch Abid Ali strutting out again.

  20. #19
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    Misbah:

    "We are trying to sort out the openers issue. Sometimes these things happen. After the England tour our openers struggled in New Zealand especially in the Test series after doing well in the home series. That’s why we had to make some changes and we are looking to give others consistent chances so we can form a settled opening partnership. We are looking forward and hoping for the best that our openers perform well in home conditions. We are looking to give the openers confidence, so let’s see."


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    Wasted Sami Aslam.


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    Quote Originally Posted by RedwoodOriginal View Post
    I think you need to go back and look at Fakhar's stats in the Domestic T20 Cup and the PSL. He was the leading run-scorer in the Domestic T20 Cup and one of the leading run-scorers in PSL. He is also one of the few openers we have had (along with Imam) who has actually succeeded on the international level in the last decade. He should be in the squad.

    However it is shocking to me how a guy like Zeeshan Malik misses out in T20s while the hit or miss human beach ball Sharjeel is actually being considered as a serious option.

    In tests, we are in a bind. But that said, I think the current openers deserve the long rope. If we keep chopping and changing and don't give guys extended runs to prove themselves then pretty soon we'll run through the entire system.
    Good overall post. I am surprised with how Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq have been completely discarded after better international performances than every limited overs Pakistani opener in the last ten years.

    In tests, I agree, it is a serious problem. Sami Aslam's talent and resolve has likely been wasted and no one else seems that positive at the moment.

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nado_ View Post
    A lot of people may disagree with me but I think the Sharjeel ban was a big loss. The guy was getting set in the team at the time and was the destructive opener we needed, he was actually working on his weaknesses unlike Fakhar and improved his offside game etc. I’ve never seen a Pakistani batsman play the short ball like he does.
    I agree, have been a bit of a fan of Sharjeel since I saw him destroy some very good pace bowlers in the PSL. Far superior to Fakhar in my opinion, he can pick up a length much quicker and isn't as easy to dupe into playing across the line.

    That said, he's more suited to limited over games, we still need test openers, and I don't think either Abid or Imran look like they will be able to cope with bounce and pace.


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  24. #23
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    Cupboard bare?

    I'd say there is no cupboard, it's been taken apart.



  25. #24
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    Its time some solid number 3s were chosen Theres no point going round in circles picking inadequate openers The cupboard is bare

    Look for players in domestics that play in the number 3 position who have good stats and give them an opportunity

    Theres only a difference of one ball between batting as openers and at number 3


    If pakistan cricket is to move forward they need to stop going back

  26. #25
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    I don't think we see enough experimenting when it comes to ODI/T20 openers. It relatively less challenging to open in those formats.

    Rizwan could be a great fit for ODI/T20 opener, he's wasted down the order anyway.

    Also think Pakistan can experiment more, especially in T20s, the way they did with Afridi in the 90's. A Danish Aziz, Aamer Yamin, Shadab, or someone like that opening could be a worthwhile experiment
    Last edited by coy0607; 1st February 2021 at 23:09.

  27. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by coy0607 View Post
    I don't think we see enough experimenting when it comes to ODI/T20 openers. It relatively less challenging to open in those formats.

    Rizwan could be a great fit for ODI/T20 opener, he's wasted down the order anyway.

    Also think Pakistan can experiment more, especially in T20s, the way they did with Afridi in the 90's. A Danish Aziz, Aamer Yamin, Shadab, or someone like that opening could be a worthwhile experiment
    I like the idea of Rizwan as odi opener, though longer term i would like Azam to develop keeping skills and take on odi/t20 keeper batsman role.
    However, I am not convinced Rizwan is the right person for t20 opener slot with Babar. With Babar we need a more attacking player to be able to benefit from power play. So we need to try Faheem, Asif, etc (from current squad) if we aren't bringing back Sharjeel or going to try Zeeshan Malik it seems.

  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liverpool_Faizan View Post
    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.
    Lol Saeed Anwar was as world class as they come, Iím born in 88 as well and Anwar is imprinted on my memory.

  29. #28
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    I know he's not everyone's cup-of-tea but I would persist with Imran Butt for a couple of matches. (In Tests)

  30. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liverpool_Faizan View Post
    Pakistan has never produced a world class test opener since I've been alive (1988). That's saying something.
    Like a lot of people have correctly pointed out, Saeed Anwar was amongst the best openers ever up until the late 90's. Big fail for missing him

    Aamer Sohail is another, not world class, but he was amongst the best openers in his era. Otherwise yeah, Pakistan haven't had any half-decent openers since the late 90's

    Shehzad showed the most potential, but deteriorated very quickly.

  31. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbolt14 View Post
    We should give Saud a go as opener. He has a compact technique and wouldn’t be a bad option if Azhar stays at 3. Or even if Azhar moves up, Saud can play as opener and Kamran at 3.

    1. Azhar Ali
    2. Saud Shakeel
    3. Kamran Ghulam
    4. Babar Azam (c)
    5. Fawad Alam
    6. Mohamamad Rizwan (wk)
    7. Faheem Ashraf
    8. Hassan Ali
    9. Yasir Shah
    10. Nauman Ali
    11. Shaheen Afridi

    I do think Imran Butt should get an extended run of 5 games now that he’s debuted.
    Saud is not a natural opener and shouldn't be given that spot as he's either a no.3 or 4 player.

    Imran Butt deserves a proper run and kicking him out after one test failure is unjustified and illogical.

    Azhar is a no. 3 batsman and should remain as such, he should not be opened with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Rishwat View Post
    I agree, have been a bit of a fan of Sharjeel since I saw him destroy some very good pace bowlers in the PSL. Far superior to Fakhar in my opinion, he can pick up a length much quicker and isn't as easy to dupe into playing across the line.

    That said, he's more suited to limited over games, we still need test openers, and I don't think either Abid or Imran look like they will be able to cope with bounce and pace.
    In terms of test openers, I think there was an expectation that at least one of Sami Aslam or Imam ul Haq could have cemented their position,They were big up coming potentials like Babar Azam
    Why havenít they pushed on? Is it ultimately their own doing? Or did the system fail, did the coaches at the top level fail to develop them to the next level ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mastimasti View Post
    Good overall post. I am surprised with how Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq have been completely discarded after better international performances than every limited overs Pakistani opener in the last ten years.

    In tests, I agree, it is a serious problem. Sami Aslam's talent and resolve has likely been wasted and no one else seems that positive at the moment.
    I think they are still the openers in ODIs but dropping Fakhar from T20s is not right when he has literally done everything you need to do to earn a spot in T20 side i.e. performing in both Domestic T20 and PSL.

    I think Sami Aslam has only himself to blame. He was very young and could have very easily gotten another look-in with Wasim coming on as chief-selector. But he was too impatient and entitled especially for a guy with such mediocre test cricket numbers. When you have guys like Fawad who spend their entire careers doing everything, not getting selected and still not blaming anyone; this kind of behavior becomes even more unacceptable.

  34. #33
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    The cupboard isn't bare. There are solutions in both international and domestic cricket. The problem lies in the fact that we likely don't understand what an opener looks like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coy0607 View Post
    Like a lot of people have correctly pointed out, Saeed Anwar was amongst the best openers ever up until the late 90's. Big fail for missing him

    Aamer Sohail is another, not world class, but he was amongst the best openers in his era. Otherwise yeah, Pakistan haven't had any half-decent openers since the late 90's

    Shehzad showed the most potential, but deteriorated very quickly.
    Salman Butt is also another that came from age group domestic cricket. Was not a great but still very effective in Asia. I believe we put too much focus on hypotheticals like whether any given opener will succeed in SENA. If some domestic guy is a home bully then he should be good enough as I donít see SENA openers doing very well in SC as well.

  36. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by wajid View Post
    Salman Butt is also another that came from age group domestic cricket. Was not a great but still very effective in Asia. I believe we put too much focus on hypotheticals like whether any given opener will succeed in SENA. If some domestic guy is a home bully then he should be good enough as I donít see SENA openers doing very well in SC as well.
    Il have to disagree with that , we need to rely on our opener for all series especially the tournaments. If someone a home bully and can put in decent performance overseas then fair enough otherwise thereís no point.

  37. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoaibbtt View Post
    Saud is not a natural opener and shouldn't be given that spot as he's either a no.3 or 4 player.

    Imran Butt deserves a proper run and kicking him out after one test failure is unjustified and illogical.

    Azhar is a no. 3 batsman and should remain as such, he should not be opened with.
    So we carry on going round in circles Your missing the point We have tried domestic openers for 20 years theyve all been avge to poor Not one of them has has had great domestic fc stats and this has refelcted in their intnl stats too

    Hafeez Butt Abid all have had avge fc records

    Its time we did what other countries like india have done Rather than picking mediocre domestic openers use the high scoring mid order batters as openers
    Like i said in another post theres only one balls difference between opening and the number 3 position

    Theres no reason why a saud and azhar cant open They should be use to facing the new ball at 3

    If your good enough you can make any position your own If your not good enough in fc cricket you ll never be a test level as we are seeing with our openers
    Last edited by Zaz; 2nd February 2021 at 04:31.


    If pakistan cricket is to move forward they need to stop going back

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    Quote Originally Posted by mon858 View Post
    If we look at red ball or white ball we don't have solid openers.
    In tests we have players that are barely capable of surviving good pace attacks on home grounds let alone foreign conditions.
    In odi we do not have set openers. Currently Imam seems to have one slot but while being consistent he hasn't yet shown the ability to take advantage of a 10 over powerplay and his main release shot is jumping down the track to hit or slice the ball in the air.
    Fakhar has been quite inconsistent in recent times and even in domestic wasn't able to regain form.
    In t20 only Babar has one slot confirmed but we need a dashing opener to go along with him which Mohammad Wasim acknowledged but strangely didn't provide any openers in the squad for this purpose. He could have tried Sharjeel or Zeeshan Malik.

    Bottomline, we don't have any solid options.

    Given that we need to come up with makeshift options. Below is what I think could be tried for short term and potentially long term of things seem to work:

    Tests:
    1. One slot must be taken by Azhar Ali, he has opened and was successful in the past. With current openers he has essentially be opening anyway coming in within first few over over last several series.
    2. See if we can try a domestic number 3 type player that has good technique. Options could be Hussain Talat, Saud Shakeel, Abdullah Shafiq. Meanwhile have the other openers work with Mohammad Yusuf to sort out technical issues. This can include Shan, Imam, Abid, Imran, Omair bin Yusuf,Haider.
    One other benefit of this is even if the makeshift opener doesn't do too much better than current opener (i am talking about number 2 one not Azhar Ali) we are freeing up 2 slots in middle order to bring in players that we know are scoring and given them chance. Those slots could be taken by Kamran Ghulam and Saud Shakeel/Hussain Talat.
    Thus overall it would strengthen batting.

    Odi, I will leave this for now. I think solving our test and t20 opening is bigger issue and once those are solved we may find a good solution for odi opening from one of those formats.

    T20.
    1. Babar is solid no need to change
    2. Haider at 3 is fine no need to change
    3. For second opener we can try makeshift player. For example Faheem Ashraf who has improved his batting a lot recently and can hit good blows. Other makeshift options could be Azam Khan or Sohaib Maqsood. Both are good timers and can take advantage of power play. At least much better than Rizwan can. Since they are not in current squad I would consider opening with Faheem or Asif Ali.

    Thoughts?
    Hafeez was wrongly played as an opener, his current success has lot do with him playing in the middle order. Opening requires a specialist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nado_ View Post
    Il have to disagree with that , we need to rely on our opener for all series especially the tournaments. If someone a home bully and can put in decent performance overseas then fair enough otherwise thereís no point.
    Agreed. But my point is that a home bully is more likely to produce half decent performances overseas as compared with hypothetically technical SENA friendly players. Also, someone performing in SENA but failing at home is a much bigger liability than the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedwoodOriginal View Post
    I think they are still the openers in ODIs but dropping Fakhar from T20s is not right when he has literally done everything you need to do to earn a spot in T20 side i.e. performing in both Domestic T20 and PSL.

    I think Sami Aslam has only himself to blame. He was very young and could have very easily gotten another look-in with Wasim coming on as chief-selector. But he was too impatient and entitled especially for a guy with such mediocre test cricket numbers. When you have guys like Fawad who spend their entire careers doing everything, not getting selected and still not blaming anyone; this kind of behavior becomes even more unacceptable.
    Emmm, there hasn't been ODI cricket for a while, so you may be correct. Fakhar at the very least should still be in T20s though. I can understand Imam not being there as Babar has opened in the past in that format.

    Ah yes, is Sami talking about moving somewhere else? I vaguely heard something some time ago.

  41. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeymurBlake View Post
    I know he's not everyone's cup-of-tea but I would persist with Imran Butt for a couple of matches. (In Tests)
    i would give him atleast 4 tests to prove himself before he is dropped

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    am suprised that no one has recommended Zeeshan malik for t20s

    Usman Salahuddin can be moulded into a opener he has a tight technique for tests

  43. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mon858 View Post
    If we look at red ball or white ball we don't have solid openers.
    In tests we have players that are barely capable of surviving good pace attacks on home grounds let alone foreign conditions.
    In odi we do not have set openers. Currently Imam seems to have one slot but while being consistent he hasn't yet shown the ability to take advantage of a 10 over powerplay and his main release shot is jumping down the track to hit or slice the ball in the air.
    Fakhar has been quite inconsistent in recent times and even in domestic wasn't able to regain form.
    In t20 only Babar has one slot confirmed but we need a dashing opener to go along with him which Mohammad Wasim acknowledged but strangely didn't provide any openers in the squad for this purpose. He could have tried Sharjeel or Zeeshan Malik.

    Bottomline, we don't have any solid options.

    Given that we need to come up with makeshift options. Below is what I think could be tried for short term and potentially long term of things seem to work:

    Tests:
    1. One slot must be taken by Azhar Ali, he has opened and was successful in the past. With current openers he has essentially be opening anyway coming in within first few over over last several series.
    2. See if we can try a domestic number 3 type player that has good technique. Options could be Hussain Talat, Saud Shakeel, Abdullah Shafiq. Meanwhile have the other openers work with Mohammad Yusuf to sort out technical issues. This can include Shan, Imam, Abid, Imran, Omair bin Yusuf,Haider.
    One other benefit of this is even if the makeshift opener doesn't do too much better than current opener (i am talking about number 2 one not Azhar Ali) we are freeing up 2 slots in middle order to bring in players that we know are scoring and given them chance. Those slots could be taken by Kamran Ghulam and Saud Shakeel/Hussain Talat.
    Thus overall it would strengthen batting.

    Odi, I will leave this for now. I think solving our test and t20 opening is bigger issue and once those are solved we may find a good solution for odi opening from one of those formats.

    T20.
    1. Babar is solid no need to change
    2. Haider at 3 is fine no need to change
    3. For second opener we can try makeshift player. For example Faheem Ashraf who has improved his batting a lot recently and can hit good blows. Other makeshift options could be Azam Khan or Sohaib Maqsood. Both are good timers and can take advantage of power play. At least much better than Rizwan can. Since they are not in current squad I would consider opening with Faheem or Asif Ali.

    Thoughts?
    zeeshan malik should be given a go in just the t20 format

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    I am massive Fakhar fan. He averages 45 in one day cricket and Iím sure he still the opener for that format .

    However he is averaging 12 in his last 10-12 t20 matches for Pakistan so itís good he is dropped .

    He failed in the Zimbabwe series after the domestic t20 tournament and did not fly to New Zealand due to Covid .

    I think he needs a very good psl to get his form back and to get back into the reckoning .

  45. #44
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    Makeshift openers is the only way to go. Fakhar and Farhan are the best openers in the domestic and Fakhar has been lost in the last 2 years while Farhan's game is only suited for weak domestic cricket like ours. He has failed in all his t20is and his boom or bust game isn't going to fetch him any runs in international cricket either. He makes Fakhar look like Hayden.

    Plus with people wanting to make Haider Ali into an opener, I think he is much more comfortable at no.3 and no.4 than against the new ball. And whatever you say about Abdullah Shafiq, he isn't going to get any runs in international cricket atleast before he plays atleast 2 seasons of domestic cricket. FC and LA included. Don't really care much about t20 stats. Anyone can score runs in national t20. Sohaib Maqsood was batting like Ponting there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnyRabbit View Post
    Makeshift openers is the only way to go. Fakhar and Farhan are the best openers in the domestic and Fakhar has been lost in the last 2 years while Farhan's game is only suited for weak domestic cricket like ours. He has failed in all his t20is and his boom or bust game isn't going to fetch him any runs in international cricket either. He makes Fakhar look like Hayden.

    Plus with people wanting to make Haider Ali into an opener, I think he is much more comfortable at no.3 and no.4 than against the new ball. And whatever you say about Abdullah Shafiq, he isn't going to get any runs in international cricket atleast before he plays atleast 2 seasons of domestic cricket. FC and LA included. Don't really care much about t20 stats. Anyone can score runs in national t20. Sohaib Maqsood was batting like Ponting there.
    Untrue and very poor analysis

  47. #46
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    So the openers failed again.

    What can be the solution. Can Saud Shakeel open? Or should Azhar Ali move to opening slot again.

  48. #47
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    Just bring Sharjeel back. Allow this fitness nonsense. He is better then these useless openers we have. Wasting our time and investment on average players. Sharjeel not a world beater but better then what we have.

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    I think it's a good time to give a debut to Abdullah Shafique as a test opener. Our next three opponents are not the strongest so it will give him to ease in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobashir View Post
    I think it's a good time to give a debut to Abdullah Shafique as a test opener. Our next three opponents are not the strongest so it will give him to ease in.
    Nah, he's played just 1 FC game and that's disrespectful to the guys who have had 950+ run seasons like Saud & Kamran. Open with Azhar and get Saud in at 3

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    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  52. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKhan12 View Post
    Just bring Sharjeel back. Allow this fitness nonsense. He is better then these useless openers we have. Wasting our time and investment on average players. Sharjeel not a world beater but better then what we have.
    He actually relishes fast bowling which you would think should be a pre-requisite for an opener.


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  53. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post

    Horrid stat What are the nca coaches doing?

    We dont have one half decent opener in the country


    If pakistan cricket is to move forward they need to stop going back

  54. #53
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    I interviewed Usman Salahuddin and told him that if he wants to play for Pakistan, he needs to start opening in the QeA Trophy.

    The ball is in his court, but it certainly got him thinking.



  55. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I interviewed Usman Salahuddin and told him that if he wants to play for Pakistan, he needs to start opening in the QeA Trophy.

    The ball is in his court, but it certainly got him thinking.
    Any batsman who rates himself should be shouting from the rooftop his availability to open, regardless of their normal batting position. Even the TTFs like the Akmal bros. and Umar Amin should be putting their hands up. If I was a batsman watching these openers treat fast bowlers like they are chucking hand grenades, I'd be saying get out of the way and let me show you how to smack these motherhuggers.


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  56. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Rishwat View Post
    Any batsman who rates himself should be shouting from the rooftop his availability to open, regardless of their normal batting position. Even the TTFs like the Akmal bros. and Umar Amin should be putting their hands up. If I was a batsman watching these openers treat fast bowlers like they are chucking hand grenades, I'd be saying get out of the way and let me show you how to smack these motherhuggers.
    So true.

    Usman was saying that he has been batting at number 3 this season and going in quite early in the innings often. So I said to him, why not go even further and open.



  57. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cpt. Rishwat View Post
    Any batsman who rates himself should be shouting from the rooftop his availability to open, regardless of their normal batting position. Even the TTFs like the Akmal bros. and Umar Amin should be putting their hands up. If I was a batsman watching these openers treat fast bowlers like they are chucking hand grenades, I'd be saying get out of the way and let me show you how to smack these motherhuggers.
    100% agreed. Even a half decent opener who can average 35+ against good teams can make a permanent spot in the team. But it seems no one has the confidence/capability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    So true.

    Usman was saying that he has been batting at number 3 this season and going in quite early in the innings often. So I said to him, why not go even further and open.
    There are two batting spots up for grabs and a dearth of opening talent in Pakistan. For me Sharjeel has shown he has no fear of fast bowling, but he has the fixer stigma, so I would look at any batsman regardless of position who I know can play fast bowlers. I mentioned a couple already, I am sure there will be others. I have never seen Usman so can't comment, but I would honestly rather see Umar Akmal walking out to open than any of those who have been given the job in NZ or in this series.


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  59. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    So true.

    Usman was saying that he has been batting at number 3 this season and going in quite early in the innings often. So I said to him, why not go even further and open.
    In fairness to Usman, that is more than enough and he should be getting the call soon regardless of him officially opening.

    Most No.3s worth their salt are capable of opening/going out before the end of the first 10 overs. If he maintained a good average at No.3 when pitches were greener and the ball used was different, he should get the call as there is every chance he would have been an ďopenerĒ anyway.

    The FTP for PAK with SRL/BAN/WIN away and SENA at home is the best opportunity he/others will get to cash in.

    Fawad seems to be holding his side of the bargain so far and putting his exclusion so far into context. Whether or not he can sustain this will be seen but no better opportunity than the one he has for the better part of the next 2 years.

    If Fawad can do it, why can Usman/others not show application?

    The thing he seemed to be missing for Usman in ENG in 2018 was body language. Fawad, despite his comical stance, seems to have resolute and unyielding faith in his own game (for good or bad). Time for Usman to show the same.

  60. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I interviewed Usman Salahuddin and told him that if he wants to play for Pakistan, he needs to start opening in the QeA Trophy.

    The ball is in his court, but it certainly got him thinking.

    Opening are the only spots where there is no competition and the cupboard is absolutely bare

    Like some have said if this was me id be shouting from the rooftops saying pick me im willing to open

    The likes of salahudding ghulam shakeel etc all should be opening domestically if they want to play for pakistan sooner rather than later


    If pakistan cricket is to move forward they need to stop going back

  61. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yk313 View Post
    In fairness to Usman, that is more than enough and he should be getting the call soon regardless of him officially opening.

    Most No.3s worth their salt are capable of opening/going out before the end of the first 10 overs. If he maintained a good average at No.3 when pitches were greener and the ball used was different, he should get the call as there is every chance he would have been an “opener” anyway.

    The FTP for PAK with SRL/BAN/WIN away and SENA at home is the best opportunity he/others will get to cash in.

    Fawad seems to be holding his side of the bargain so far and putting his exclusion so far into context. Whether or not he can sustain this will be seen but no better opportunity than the one he has for the better part of the next 2 years.

    If Fawad can do it, why can Usman/others not show application?

    The thing he seemed to be missing for Usman in ENG in 2018 was body language. Fawad, despite his comical stance, seems to have resolute and unyielding faith in his own game (for good or bad). Time for Usman to show the same.
    The thing is though and this was discussed too.

    Mohammad Wasim has said players will be picked in international cricket based on their role in domestic cricket. So if you are batting at 3 in QeA Trophy, then you will not be considered as an opener.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The thing is though and this was discussed too.

    Mohammad Wasim has said players will be picked in international cricket based on their role in domestic cricket. So if you are batting at 3 in QeA Trophy, then you will not be considered as an opener.
    sadly our season is over, otherwise i am 100% sure we would have much better numbers than the ones you posted in the tweet if we had an opening combo of Usman + Azhar, or anyone + Azhar, with Saud at number 3.

    my fear is these weak openers will feast against Zim/Ban and then persist to play against future teams with any decent pace attack and get exposed again.

    my only open is that since there will be long break for test openers who aren't selected barring one or two past ones for PSL, they should send them to NCA to work with Mohammad Yusuf and see if they can sort out weaknesses. I would ideally include the following to be sent to NCA:
    Omair bin Yusuf
    Haider Ali
    Usman Sallahudin (to test viability as opener)
    Abid Ali (just because they are likely to be retained and had scored in the past so might as well try to address weakness)
    Imran Butt (again only couple matches, should try to address weaknesses, and see if he can perform better next season)
    Imam ul Haq (still young needs to address any weaknesses)
    Shan Masood (had been doing decently in comeback until last few series has lost it)

    hopefully among above we can at least develop 1 decent opener for tests and pair up with Azhar Ali till his retirement and then have second opener, till then we can at least add a good middle order batsman like Saud or Kamran while we know openers are good for nothing by freeing up Azhar's spot in middle order.

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    forgot to add Abdullah Shafiq to above list. include him as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The thing is though and this was discussed too.

    Mohammad Wasim has said players will be picked in international cricket based on their role in domestic cricket. So if you are batting at 3 in QeA Trophy, then you will not be considered as an opener.
    That sounds a tad myopic. Surely, there should be some dynamism in approach.

    No real need to make No.6 from domestics open the batting in INTLs or go a al AUS have Wade like openers.

    But a No.3 is someone who more or less opens anyway. And given where we are in the season/cycle, itíd be imprudent to wait until the commencement of the next cycle.

    Then again, Wasim picked the likes of Haris Rauf and Shafique as part of this squad so no clue what vantage point he is operating from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The thing is though and this was discussed too.

    Mohammad Wasim has said players will be picked in international cricket based on their role in domestic cricket. So if you are batting at 3 in QeA Trophy, then you will not be considered as an opener.
    Did he say the bit about number 3 explicitly? I think Wasim was talking about formats when he said this (T20 players wonít be selected for Tests and vice versa). I might have missed something though.

  66. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbolt14 View Post
    Did he say the bit about number 3 explicitly? I think Wasim was talking about formats when he said this (T20 players won’t be selected for Tests and vice versa). I might have missed something though.
    Formats yes and also there was a quote regarding roles/positions in domestic/international.



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    Look, Pakistan just need to think outside the box a little.

    I would make a couple of points:

    1. Promote a middle-order batsman
    Saeed Anwar debuted in international cricket as a Number 3, in ODIs in Australia . Ian Chappell recognised in him the same characteristics he had seen 25 years earlier in Les Favell, and he told Imran Khan that he needed to be returned to being an opening batsman, and by the end of that 1989-90 series in Australia he was opening.

    This principle remains valid. Currently Pakistan is not selecting Saud Shakeel and Rohail Nazir in spite of stellar recent middle-order performances. They should be considered as alternate openers.

    2. Skip a generation, and go for youth.
    When the cupboard looks bare, the simplest solution is to go down to younger players.

    Why not consider someone like Abdullah Shafique? He won't develop playing domestic cricket on low-bouncing tracks against a Kookaburra ball - he will go backwards. So pick him in every home and away international squad so that he is batting regularly against Shaheen, Rauf and Hasnain in the nets.

    3. Bring back Sami Aslam!
    Sami Aslam left for a guaranteed income of US$100,000 per year.

    But he is the most technically sound opener under the age of 30 - his limited career was more to do with how he handled pressure as a 21 year old in Australia.

    It's not ok to leave the ball in his court and say "if he really wants to play for his country he will come back".

    That is just a recipe for picking inferior batsmen, and losing!

    4. Just pick Sharjeel Khan!
    I am well aware of his unfitness and his loose technique.

    But he was the best opener in the domestic season a couple of months ago. Just pick him already!

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    I wonít be averse to experiment with Shafiq as a stop gap opener.

    I miss him. The Test team doesnít feel the same without him. Very reliable catcher in the slips as well.

    He canít do worse than the current openers. If he can average around 35-40 and produce one big innings per series against the top sides, it is more than sufficient.

    We are not producing world beating openers any time soon.

  69. #68
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    Give Imam a full season of FC cricket before selecting him.

    Azhar
    Shafiq
    Babar (c)
    Fawad
    Shakeel
    Rizwan (wk)
    Faheem
    Hassan
    Yasir
    Nauman
    Shaheen

    This team will not score less runs than the current team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    I wonít be averse to experiment with Shafiq as a stop gap opener.

    I miss him. The Test team doesnít feel the same without him. Very reliable catcher in the slips as well.

    He canít do worse than the current openers. If he can average around 35-40 and produce one big innings per series against the top sides, it is more than sufficient.

    We are not producing world beating openers any time soon.
    Definitely agree with the slips part. I get uncomfortable every time I see Yasir standing in the slips. As far as Shafiq as an opener, if it gets him to reign in those soft shots he plays so often, then maybe it could work.

  71. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by shady View Post
    Definitely agree with the slips part. I get uncomfortable every time I see Yasir standing in the slips. As far as Shafiq as an opener, if it gets him to reign in those soft shots he plays so often, then maybe it could work.
    Shafiq has more the sufficient experience against the new ball considering he batted at 6 and faced the second new ball frequently.

    He cannot do worse than Butt and Abid. He is a better batsman than both.

  72. #71
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    The elephant in the room is - Salman Butt is probably a better Test opener than all of the recent openers that have been tried.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    The elephant in the room is - Salman Butt is probably a better Test opener than all of the recent openers that have been tried.
    is a 36 year old butt a viable option?

  74. #73
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    I am not a regular follower of Pakistan cricket. There was a young and clutch opener named Sami Aslam. Why is he no longer talked about? Don't think he got enough chances.
    Last edited by Duckworth Lewis; 5th February 2021 at 23:46.

  75. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Shafiq has more the sufficient experience against the new ball considering he batted at 6 and faced the second new ball frequently.

    He cannot do worse than Butt and Abid. He is a better batsman than both.
    Heís definitely a better batsmen than both but facing the second new ball is different to facing the first new ball. That said, Iím not against the idea, I just donít see anyone in management who would be willing to think outside the box like that.

  76. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckworth Lewis View Post
    I am not a regular follower of Pakistan cricket. There was a young and clutch opener named Sami Aslam. Why is he no longer talked about? Don't think he got enough chances.
    He was neglected because of Masood. He certainly deserved more chances. A far better prospect than Masood.

  77. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckworth Lewis View Post
    I am not a regular follower of Pakistan cricket. There was a young and clutch opener named Sami Aslam. Why is he no longer talked about? Don't think he got enough chances.
    He flopped on dead UAE pitches against Sri Lanka in 2017 and in the side matches on the tour of England in 2018.

    Also has a rotten attitude, falling out with his domestic coach, before finally running off to America this season instead of fighting for a recall playing domestic cricket.

    That's the truth, unless you want to believe Mamoon's twisted narrative.

  78. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    He flopped on dead UAE pitches against Sri Lanka in 2017 and in the side matches on the tour of England in 2018.

    Also has a rotten attitude, falling out with his domestic coach, before finally running off to America this season instead of fighting for a recall playing domestic cricket.

    That's the truth, unless you want to believe Mamoon's twisted narrative.
    Was also caught cheating on his diet plans laid out by Mickey Arthur.

    Also fell out with not one but two domestic coaches, the first time over captaincy calls at Southern Punjab and the second one over being made captain of the second XI t20 which he thought was beneath him (meanwhile others showed their skill and got promoted to the first XI two weeks later).

    Also notable that he refused to communicate with Faisal Iqbal about his plans and after a string of bad scores early in the domestic season, packed up and left without warning for the US leaving Balochistan to struggle at the bottom of the table without its main batsman.

    Also, Rashid Latif reached out to him and expressed concern, that he was looking out for him. Sami shrugged him off and told him the rumors were all lies. Disappeared two days later.

    Itís pretty clear that Sami really just wanted a better life in the US with a top class $100k a year salary - I donít blame him and might have made the same decision if I was in his shoes. But this ziadti narrative is absolute ********.

  79. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Formats yes and also there was a quote regarding roles/positions in domestic/international.
    SA made Dean Elgar the opener when Elgar had batted at no.3 for the majority of his domestic career.
    Eng tried Nick Compton in the opener's role before resorting to giving Joe Root the opening berth.
    Same for Tom Blundell.

    Why can't Pak do it when there is not a single fc opener making a case for himself.

  80. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnyRabbit View Post
    SA made Dean Elgar the opener when Elgar had batted at no.3 for the majority of his domestic career.
    Eng tried Nick Compton in the opener's role before resorting to giving Joe Root the opening berth.
    Same for Tom Blundell.

    Why can't Pak do it when there is not a single fc opener making a case for himself.
    I absolutely agree, but this is where Usman Salahuddin is coming from. He's batted at 3 this season but has been told that to open for Pakistan he will have to open in the QeA Trophy.



  81. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbolt14 View Post
    Was also caught cheating on his diet plans laid out by Mickey Arthur.

    Also fell out with not one but two domestic coaches, the first time over captaincy calls at Southern Punjab and the second one over being made captain of the second XI t20 which he thought was beneath him (meanwhile others showed their skill and got promoted to the first XI two weeks later).

    Also notable that he refused to communicate with Faisal Iqbal about his plans and after a string of bad scores early in the domestic season, packed up and left without warning for the US leaving Balochistan to struggle at the bottom of the table without its main batsman.

    Also, Rashid Latif reached out to him and expressed concern, that he was looking out for him. Sami shrugged him off and told him the rumors were all lies. Disappeared two days later.

    It’s pretty clear that Sami really just wanted a better life in the US with a top class $100k a year salary - I don’t blame him and might have made the same decision if I was in his shoes. But this ziadti narrative is absolute ********.
    Nothing bad in going abroad in search of a better life.
    70% of people in other professions (doctors,engineers,accountants etc) do that as well.
    Majority of the people bad calling Aslam a traitor would have probably done the same or would leave Pak as well in future.

    Don't get why we are making Usman a hero for staying in Pakistan. It's good that he wants to fight for a spot in national team, but there shouldn't be an element of favor in that decision. (now that I have decided to stay in Pak, give me a chance in international cricket)

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