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shoaib malik, mohammad hafeez, misbah-ul-haq, mohammad irfan, ms dhoni, virender sehwag, yuvraj singh, pakistan india chennai, pakistan india first odi, pakistan india odi series, pakistan india MA Chidambaram Stadium, pakistan india coverage, pakistan india live, pakistan india updates
Shoaib Malik has been retained in Pakistan's ODI squad after his match-winning performance in the 1st T20 in Bangalore. -Photo by AP

Mohammad Irfan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bustling debut, Mohammad Hafeez breaking the strike-rate barrier and Yuvraj Singh returning to old ways - this and so much more in between. The T20 series between India and Pakistan offered so much drama, it is hard to imagine the two teams have only played 80 overs so far.

Two of the tightest encounters saw both teams level the T20 series, and there is no doubt that they head to Chennai for the start of the ODI series with their tendons well-stretched. The transition to the 50-over format may not be as explosive, though, as rain continues to pour over the venue.

The buildup, however, must go on.

While Pakistan's squad that turned up in the T20s wore a balanced look about it, there will be quite a few changes coming about for the 50-over format. Some may seem enforced and some necessary.

Here are the names captain Misbah-ul-Haq will pick from: Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf had stated that some of the members of the T20 squad who performed well maybe retained for the ODIs. Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Irfan are the two beneficiaries from that decision. So that gives Pakistan another bowling option and a much-need all-rounder.

From this big list of names, Misbah has three openers to chose from, five fast bowlers, two spinners, four batsmen, an all-rounder and the sole keeper, Kamran Akmal.

It is Akmal's place in the side which can give the captain a little bit more to think about at the team meeting. The gloveman has scored four out of his five hundreds while opening the innings (the fifth came while batting at number 4), and six out his nine fifties have come while batting in the top three.

It is clear that if the older Akmal's utility as a batsman has to be made full use of, he must bat up the order.

The Chidambaram Stadium, with its true bounce, will make it easier for Akmal to fill that role but will Misbah be willing to gamble on it?

Hafeez seems to have taken to coming down the order quite well and is possibly ready for the adjustment in ODIs as well. Pakistan’s T20 captain scored 116 runs against India in the two T20 matches at a strike rate of 165.71, and has moved up a place to 19th in ICC’s latest batting table with best-ever ratings of 594. Second-placed Hafeez also achieved his career-best ratings of 377 as an all-rounder in the series against India.

A balanced Pakistan side may look like this: Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Zulfiqar Babar, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan

But should Irfan be risked with the 50-over format so soon? Though the temptation to play the 7ft speedster maybe great, the Pakistan management must ensure the bowler only makes a gradual shift to the longer versions.

The above-mentioned side has five batsmen, an all-rounder, and five regular bowlers. Obviously, Hafeez will play a vital role in the bowling department as well.

Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Anwar Ali provide good back up support but may seem too similar to the men and for positions they should fill.

It has been raining in Chennai since Friday and the showers persist. The team combination can and should obviously change according to the conditions that greet the two teams.

For the opposition, the most notable inclusion will be that of Virender Sehwag, who more often then not seems to dent Pakistan early on.

MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai:

-Pakistan have won the only game they have played on this track, the Saeed Anwar classic which saw the left-handed opener break Sir Vivian Richard's record for most runs in an ODI match -The top five best bowling performances on this ground have all been by fast bowlers. That bit should provide Misbah with something to work with when selecting his final eleven. The prevailing overcast conditions may also tilt the balance in the favour of the faster men. -Yuvraj Singh, who rattled Pakistan in the final T20, has the most runs at this ground, his 255 runs from 6 matches coming at a strike-rate of 92.39. He also has the highest strike-rate at this ground, his innings against Africa XI in 2007 coming at 230.76

Pre-match talk:

“Overall, Pakistan is a very good team. Its combination is such that they have specialist bowlers and have five bowlers for a match. In a way I feel they have complete bowling attack and they have experienced batsmen who can bat well in any conditions. Specialist spinners are also performing well. When it is compared to Indian team it is a very balanced side with talented players. Overall, which ever the team bats and bowls well for a long period of time will turn out to be well,” Indian captain MS Dhoni said.

“One thing we stressed on before coming here is that we have to play good, positive cricket. It was apparent during the T20s that for the first time, the Pakistan team was playing without pressure. That was our goal, to play this type of cricket. Hopefully, we will play the same way in the ODIs, be it in batting or bowling, play with the same kind of aggression and enjoy the game,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.

Comments (21) Closed

Adnan Dec 29, 2012 07:51pm
Good to see afridi hasnt been retained ..
Watta game Dec 31, 2012 02:37pm
No please ship Akmal back to boom boom; the day both brothers didn't play we rock & roll.... let him out of the team for 2 or 3 years so he can come back with a bang like Mr. Malick...
Abbasi Jan 01, 2013 12:30am
They should use someone like Harris Sohail who can bat really well or Anwar Ali who hasn't been on the seen after an amazing five-for in a U19 final against India.
EmMoosa Dec 29, 2012 07:13pm
In the future strategy, Misbah should be replaced with an energetic and young captain like Mohammad Hafeez and Akmal brothers should be rested particulaly Kamran Akmal who should not be in the team.
Pakistan needs a Batman Dec 30, 2012 01:32am
Are you serious? With this team, the tail starts from no. 7. Pakistan must bat seven batsmen now that we're missing Afridi and Razzaq.
Rizman Dec 30, 2012 01:28am
you r 100% right
Akhtar Dec 30, 2012 03:14pm
Thank God they did not send him to bat and saved his day. Another miserable performance would have brought more posts.
zara khan Dec 30, 2012 12:09am
Younis Khan is always there as a part time wicket keeper if Umar Akmal is unfortunate to make entry. Best Wishes for GREEN SHIRTS!
Ekone Dec 30, 2012 12:04am
Umar Akmal needs to be dropped, he is not fit for cricket
Farooq Mogul Dec 29, 2012 11:20pm
Agree with proposed eleven. Perfect for the time being, as Indian tour is like world cup, not a time for experiment and play your best eleven. Kamran is in the team as we have no oether wicketkeeper batsman to replace him. We tried few, unsuccessfully. He has to opne the innings and he could be very effective, with Hafeez at number three. In future, Misbah and Yunis should make way for youngsters like Haaris and younger Akmal or Umar Amin for a long run. Misbah will not last till 2015 WC and Hafeez should take over now. I have no problem to keep him test captain for little longer.
Ras'al Dec 29, 2012 11:09pm
Its better to just exclude Akmal from the squad. He is a total waste of a slot. He has been included in the squad due to his batting in which he is failing miserably. So what is the point to have him in ? The answer is; no point. Just pure waste.
saim Dec 29, 2012 06:34pm
pakistan should gamble with akmal out of the team believe me it will be great
Khurram Dec 29, 2012 06:37pm
Both Kamran & Umar Akmal should be at the top of the list for non selection in future for all formats!! Enough is enough!!!
Chanakya Dec 30, 2012 07:43am
" No risk, no game". But why a paper like Dawn has to come down to use word" bitter"? It should "fierce". And to have fierce rivalry is good, whether it's good governance,science, education, commerce, industries, so on . That will uplift lives of billions of people in the Subcontinent.But , please do not bring bitterness, it leads nowhere.
Umair Khalid (@umairkd2011) Dec 29, 2012 09:47pm
my team nasir jamshed kamran akmal mohd hafeez younish khan/azhar ali misbah shoaib malik umar akmal/haris sohail ajmal b umar gul/anwar ali junaih khan/babar irfan
Malik - Australia Dec 29, 2012 06:15pm
Aggression is key, pak must show that aggression we used to be known of... we could have won 2nd T20I if Afridi wasnt in the team, he is total loser at the moment and needs some time away from cricket. instead we should pick Mohammad Yousuf, he has all the potential and ingredients to become Paki representation in 10,000 one day and test runs, but i dont think our selectors got any repsect to him and any senior player, we look around in the world they all support senior guys achieve the milestone, but shame on PCB for letting all Pakis down by not picking our great Yousuf.......
Akhtar Dec 29, 2012 06:17pm
Dropping Shahid Afreedi was a good decision. I think Misbah should consider dropping both Akmals too. On the Ahmedabad wicket 22 off 17 is nothing to write home about.
Cyrus Howell Dec 29, 2012 09:07pm
Should Pakistan gamble with Akmal at the top? Yes. Someone needs to be the president.
Hakim Dec 29, 2012 08:41pm
Happy Afridi is not in the ODI. Why is no other Wicketkeeper in the squad? Razzaq is one class player who is missing from Pak team for no apparent reasons. I am really perplexed at Pakistan selectors choice on this.
Ahmed Dec 30, 2012 08:18am
Spot On
musheera Dec 30, 2012 06:37pm
Both the brothers play for the bookies, please drop them for ever