Dawn News

In my opinion, Sarfraz is the best glove-man for Pakistan: Moin Khan. -Photo by AFP

From being Pakistan’s ‘man for a crisis’ behind the stumps to running a multi-purpose sports academy, former Pakistan captain and wicketkeeper Moin Khan has silently travelled a long way in his career as a cricket player, expert and now, coach. Here, Pakistan’s World Cup-winning ‘keeper writes his first column for Dawn.com.

Ever since Pakistan decided to name three different wicketkeepers for the different versions of the game, there has been a lot of discussion on this new ploy. Personally, I don’t think this move was necessary. The selectors have picked Shakeel Ansar, who undoubtedly performed well on the domestic circuit recently, but, he has been playing for a long time and there have been no real ‘outstanding’ performances from him in first-class cricket. To give someone a place in the national team based on a year’s performance is not justified. Sarfraz Ahmed, who was already in the team, is a very good wicketkeeper and batsman and they could have utilised him in the Twenty20 squad, as changing up the players so often can disturb the composition of the team, making it difficult for them to find good rhythm. I am all for the inclusion of players who do well domestically. It shows that the selectors are keeping an eye on the youth for the future but Ansar does not even have age on his side. It is unfair to the rest who have been performing well consistently to bring in a player based on just one season’s performance. I have respect for his talent and ability but Sarfraz and Adnan have been performing well and could have been used in the Twenty20 format as well. Now that he has been given this chance, he should be able to show that he has the potential to play T20 cricket. However, to stay in the team, he will have to perform, otherwise it will be very difficult for him to cement his place.

I am a big admirer of Adnan Akmal’s game. He has been playing well in the Test side, but needs to improve his batting if he is to be considered for limited-overs cricket. The problem with his batting is his inability to play big strokes, perhaps because he is physically not very strong. Players like Sarfraz and Kamran Akmal have shown their stroke-making prowess. Kamran, especially, has produced several innings in times of need which have helped the team. It may sound harsh, but it seems like he (Adnan) doesn’t have the batting skills for ODIs and T20s. He is a composed batsman but his array of strokes is very limited. As a wicketkeeper, he can play in all the three formats but his batting skills restrict him to Tests.

Adnan is doing very well in the Test team but if he unable to perform consistently, it could cost him his place and it may open the door for Sarfraz, who is one wicketkeeper-batsman for all three formats. For his domestic side, PIA, Sarfraz has done well over a period of time, across the three formats. Another ability that sets him apart is his experience as the captain of Pakistan’s Under-19 side. He is a team man, who understands the workings of a side and not just as a captain. As a player, too, he is always looking to help the captain. Because of the recent shuffling of wicketkeepers (ever since Kamran’s ‘departure’), both Adnan and Sarfraz have been unsettled. If given a chance, Sarfraz can also fit into the opener’s role in the limited-overs game. If he is utilised in the top order, he can be a great asset for Pakistan.

These boys have only been playing for Pakistan consistently for nearly a year, so to pick one out is very difficult. While Adnan’s technique is very sound, Sarfraz is breathing down his neck and could take away the Test spot from him. In my opinion, Sarfraz is the best glove-man for Pakistan. Each player has his or her own flaws and technical problems but they must work hard to overcome those flaws. If your technique isn’t correct, you need to work on it. No two ways about it. If, for instance, the way you gather the ball is not right, it is imperative that you improve your technique. At the end of the day, being a ‘keeper, it is the most important part of your game. In this respect, all Pakistani ‘keepers are hard-working boys, which is heartening to see. There is so much competition amongst them that they have to make themselves stand out.

During my playing days, there was an on-going competition between me and Rashid (Latif). It was a healthy competition, mind you. Whenever Rashid was picked, it was obviously very difficult for me to take in. However, I would always tell myself that I should concentrate on improving my performance to make a comeback. I would go back to the drawing board, try to find areas I could improve and then work on them. Eventually, selectors would take notice and I would be able to make a comeback. Hard work pays. It was one of the main reasons behind my 14-year career as a Pakistan international.

Moin Khan played 69 Test matches and over 200 one-day internationals for Pakistan from 1990 to 2004.


Comments (34) Closed

Jun 06, 2012 07:17pm
Any one can be Pakistan W Keeper other than Akmals... all 3 are useless and immature.. they need to grow up and play professional... I can also hit like Akmals in 1 or 2 games out of 10 no big deal.. I can also be like Afridi make 50 runs in 100 games and than go back to hibernate... cheers
Jun 06, 2012 05:57pm
Moin was nearly as bad a keeper as Kamran...the lack of media coverage spared him, but he dropped many a game, nit just catches! Rashid was on a mission which cost him his career, otherwise Moin would've never played again after the 92 England tour
Jun 06, 2012 04:31am
Kamran was a match fixer of the highest standard. Watch his deliberate drops and missed run -out in the Sydney tests. Please keep him away. I'd loose games with an honest setup than win some that are fixed.
Gultasib Khan
Jun 13, 2012 03:23pm
Zulqarnain was punished because he was honest & he cared for his Country.if he had join the other match fixers(some of them still in team and in team management) he would still be in the team .without doubt he is best keeper Pakistan produced since Wasim Bari. Inshalah when players are picked on merit he will be back in the team G.Khan UK
Jun 05, 2012 09:00pm
Great write Moin. I agree that Sarfaraz Ahmed is the only wicket-keeper right now in Pakistan who can be included in the playing 11 on merit.
imtiyaz kashmiri
Jun 01, 2012 07:04am
this is the point pak cricket should fully realize.
Jun 01, 2012 07:46am
Good to see Moin contribute...he needs to be coherent, though, and logical in his analysis. But, as a start this is a very good article. Good writing debut, Moin!
Jun 01, 2012 07:48am
Good writing debut, Moin...wish you the best! Please be coherent and above politics...Pakistan cricket needs such stars...
Capt Mansur
Jun 01, 2012 09:14am
I agree with you Moin. I am really disapointed in the selction team for picking up Shakeel as he is a veteran, it he had skills why could't he impress the selectors earlier???? Keep writing and improving Pakistan cricket.
Jun 01, 2012 09:24am
Neither Sarfaraz nor Adnan qualify as as answers to Pakistans problems with wicketkeeper batsman. Keep looking Pakistan,unless u want to be a mediocre team. BTW Moin, your article seems too political and biased.
Jun 01, 2012 12:10pm
Salam Moin Bhai, nice to read your column, and it's very productive advice i hope media convey your message to "whom it may concern". I hope dawn tv use your talent as put in your their sports program as expert's analysis...
Faisal Jamali
Jun 01, 2012 01:04pm
I agree with Omar. Zulqairnain is the best out of the lot. However after his Dubai antics i wonder if he shall get a chance. If not, both Sarfraz and Adnan Akmal are average at best. Look elsehwere. Moin and Rashid were in a class of their own. However, Moin went downhill after 2000, even though his last year in domestic cricket was quite good, he had lost his batting skills by then.
Manzoor Elahi
Jun 01, 2012 02:04pm
Welcome Mr. Moin Khan. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on Dawn.
truth matters
Jun 01, 2012 02:59pm
anyone but the akmals. they have caused enough agony to this country
Javid Shirazi
Jun 01, 2012 03:04pm
Wonderful to read Moin giving professional perspective on the game. Looking forward to more of it.
Jun 01, 2012 04:17pm
Political Biased? my dear friend where did you find that? can you point it out to us who are not as political savvy as you! and I for sure did not know that Sarfaraz, Adnan and Kamran belong to the same political back ground!
Jun 01, 2012 04:24pm
zulqarnain should be punished the way he left the team in lurch
ahmed ali
Jun 01, 2012 05:19pm
Sarfraz Ahmed is the best wicketkeeper around. Look at his average . Its because of politics he is only in one team. Adnan's average is pathetic. Zulqarnain is alright .. he is not that great but better than adnan akmal ..
Dr. Asad Sazdick
Jun 01, 2012 08:23pm
moin himself a mediocre wicket keeper is not in a position to make any reccommendations. His motives seem to be ethnic. Adnan is a better man for the job and a better batsman as well.
Jun 01, 2012 08:24pm
What makes you say Sarfaraz is not up to the task ? the most unfairly treated boy, apart from perhaps Fawad Alam and Tanvir Ahmed. I have no doubt that Karachi based boys dont have the "right connections" to get them any long term inclusion in the team. The team is dominated by LCCA players. At one time there were 9 players from same Lahore mohalla - akmals, butts, farhats all among them...
Jun 01, 2012 11:18pm
Shakeel Ansar is certainly not the 'answer' (pardon the pun) as shown by his average display behind the stupms and the golden duck in the first T20 vs. the Lankans. His selection smacks of the bad old days of selection in Pak cricket where merit is secondary to other factors e.g. politics. As for the other 'keepers, both Sarfraz and Adnan have been unconvincing and neiitehr engenders confidence when batting. At least Kamran Akmal was a decent batsman and those who malign him have forgotten his past important knocks e.g. his match-winning rescue act against the Indians in teh Karachi Test of 2006. he may have been clumsy with the gloves but at least he was gutsy.He could be given 'one last chance'. If Sami has then why not Akmal? The latter's record and contributions to Pak cricket are far greater than the former's.
Jun 02, 2012 01:06am
Shakeel Ansar proved today why he was not being selected in the national team. Missed at least one stumping today and the batsman ended up scoring 23 runs after that chance. As a batsman, out first ball, lousy shot. He may be good in domestic cricket, but he is certainly not up to international level. Selectors need to look for some youngsters in 20's instead of picking players who are 30 years old. How long a 30 year old can play anyway.
Abdul Quddus
Jun 02, 2012 05:03am
And u r more qualified than moin khan to make a recommendation????
Jun 02, 2012 07:12am
moin himself a mediocre wicket keeper is not in a position to make any reccommendations. His motives seem to be ethnic. Adnan is a better man for the job and a better batsman as well. I agree
Ibrahim Khalil Siddiqi
Jun 02, 2012 11:00am
That's not correct, dude. Moin and Rashid were the best wicket keeper batsmen of their times. I like Moin's column which is based on facts. You may have your own point of view but technically, he is the best man to say something about this topic. Dear Mr. Moin Khan, Keep up the good work. Thanks Ibrahim Khalil Siddiqi
Syed Qamar
Jun 02, 2012 11:44am
Moin what ever you said is absolutely correct, but the problem is that in our cricket politics has involved a lot, so no matter how good you are, you are not selected , specially if you hail from Karachi ,and just because of this biased attitude we are not reaching where we are supposed to.
Jun 02, 2012 12:40pm
Incredible. It seems that a mohair can't argue in favor of another person who happens to be mohair without the accusation of ethnic bias. Sarfaraz is a good keeper
Jun 02, 2012 05:38pm
A few years back, Rashid Latif used to say that Ameen ur Rahman was the best prospect as the future wicket keeper. To be honest, I don't really know about the guy himself but there is no mention of him anywhere now.
Jun 03, 2012 12:47am
urm, perhaps because KAkamal was involved in spot-fixing? And single-handedly cost us the WC match against NZ?
Ch Babar Bajwa
Jun 03, 2012 07:00am
i don't agree with moin although he was a great keeper n knows all the aspects of this format but sarfraz's batting is not good no doubt he's a good keeper but pak needs a keeper who also contributes with his bat too like MS Dhoni AB Divilyers .i think shakeel Ansar might be a good choice bcoz he's a striker batsman too.but sorry for Akmal bros
Jun 05, 2012 05:11am
kamran must given a chnace to retain his performance, he is the best wk in the world. we dont need the new face, we need the best performer in cricket for pk.
Jun 03, 2012 08:25am
i agree with moin, sarfraz's batting average is highest among all wicketkeepers in domestic circuit (in 40s) - even our pioneer batsmen like faisal iqbal doesnt have that good average which sarfraz has.
Jun 03, 2012 09:43am
With all due respect to all the opinions voiced here about team selection, I feel that we are being a bit premature, this team played together for the first time in the ODI, we cannot expect them to have superb rhythm from the get go. Let's give them another chance. Let's give Shakeel another chance, maybe he can turn in a better performance in the second outing. Let's wait and watch....
Jun 04, 2012 02:34am
Moin admits Adnan's technique is better and Shakeel Ansar performed very well in domestic circuit but still believes that the job should go to Sarfraz who has failed on multiple occassions his height is too short has no reach as far his batting is concerned he is no better than Adnan or Ansar.