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Wahab is not the ideal choice for the slot and may not even make it to the playing-XI when Gul returns. -Photo by AFP
Wahab is not the ideal choice for the slot and may not even make it to the playing-XI when Gul returns. -Photo by AFP

Up until Thursday night, Wahab Riaz was not aware that he’d be taking the field against the West Indies the following morning.

He had a torrid time in South Africa - 163 runs off 21 overs, including a 10-0-93-2 in Johannesburg. Wahab was then a last-minute inclusion for the Champions Trophy and did not feature against Scotland and the first tie against Ireland. After giving away 45 runs off his seven overs in the second ODI against Ireland, and coming into bat at 133 for seven, Wahab was probably hoping he had sat that one out too. He defended apprehensively and slashed unconvincingly in what seemed a lost cause then. Until that late cameo that shocked all those watching.

A week later, Wahab, head still bobbling as he ran in, bowled with venom and purpose, eager to impress against the South Africans in the warm-up, trying hard to sneak into the playing-XI. He was fully aware that Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali remained ahead in the pecking order given that the team-sheet will already have two left-arm pacers and that the captain thought of Adil and Asad as better bowlers.

But Misbah’s decision to play Wahab alongside Irfan and Junaid brought to the fore – once again - the gaping hole left behind by Abdul Razzaq in his peak days – someone with the ability to bowl and slog towards the end. Wahab did bowl his heart out against the West Indies, reaching 92mph and bending his back consistently. But even he was aware that it was the long tail – especially since Umar Gul’s absent too – and Misbah not trusting his batsmen to come good that helped him get the nod.

“The Oval pitch had really good pace and bounce and it’s really handy to have someone bowl at 150kph,” Misbah had said after the two-wicket loss against the Windies. “Wahab showed us that he’s capable of that against South Africa [in the warm-up] and again against the West Indies. He’s also something special down the order as well. Having four tail-enders does become a problem for us in the later overs sometimes and he’s the one who can bat well. He gives us that balance which we need in the team.”

The search for an all-rounder is desperate – team manager Naved Akram Cheema even insists Umar Amin is the answer to the problem, despite limited experience and shot selection – and given Pakistan’s strategy of late, of a steady start and keeping wickets in hand for a late onslaught, the want becomes a need. The presence of four openers in the squad does not help though, taking up an extra slot that can be better utilised in the lower-order in the shape of a batsman with the ability to clear the rope and act as a sixth bowler if things don’t go to plan.

The need for an allrounder is dearly felt. But in the aftermath of the South Africa loss at Edgbaston, if the experienced six can’t do it, there is not much hope down the order. Shoaib Malik’s bowling graph had dropped shockingly and while Monday was slightly different for a change, he fails to bring much to the ODI squad except being a handy boundary-rider or in an occasional, successful dodgy run-chase. Shahid Afridi may make yet another comeback but his ageing back, and the ‘unwanted’ tag in the dressing room, may make things difficult for him, despite the reported political influence. Not to mention his form over the last twelve months. The only format where Razzaq can still make an impact is a Twenty20 and that’s more with the bat than both. It’s a big ask for Fawad Alam to clear the ropes consistently and he probably has hit the end of the road when it comes to white-ball cricket. But perhaps he can be relied upon with staying out in the middle. Hammad Azam continues to be confined to domestic cricket as the selectors and team management refuse to place their trust in the young allrounder’s abilities. The search continues. With Pakistan already out of the Champions Trophy, it will be interesting to see what combination Misbah goes in with in the highly-anticipated yet inconsequential encounter against India.

Wahab is not the ideal choice for the slot and may not even make it to the playing-XI when Gul returns. Bowling, his stronger suit, tends to get wayward and costly when that rhythm is not there. Pakistan’s bowling coach, Mohammad Akram, though, reckons Wahab, who has given over five runs an over 14 times in his last 23 matches, needs to be consistently in the playing-XI for things to improve. Wahab has 45 wickets and has scored 211 runs at a strike-rate of over 82 in 31 ODIs. He’s good when in rhythm – and that happens in patches. He did vindicate Misbah’s gamble in him in the warm-up and against the West Indies – with the ball, at least – but the captain’s decision to overlook Wahab’s economy-rate issues and opt for him over his preferred choices is a sign of desperation that the batting woes are not to disappear anytime soon – aptly displayed at Edgbaston.

It also tells a sorry tale that from the reported abundance of talent, Pakistan cannot find an allrounder worthy of a place in the eleven or are not keen on playing the ones they have.

Comments (53) Closed

irfan haider Jun 12, 2013 07:13pm

Bakwas tareen player hai yeh

Malik Nawaz Jun 12, 2013 07:25pm

Well you mentioned Hamad Azam, this might be his chance, they should give him more oppotunities insted of make him sit on the bench.

Shahid Jun 12, 2013 07:27pm

Razzaq is still the best allrounder in Pakistan. Hamad Azzam is over rated as even his performances in the domestic games are nothing to write about. In my opinion, razzaq is still a much better bowler than Hamad.

yaqoot Jun 12, 2013 07:43pm

Fault lies with the quality of coaching....Wahab is more than capable, seems like even with the other debutants no one is really taking them under their wings and showing them the ropes at all. Imran nurtured Wasim, waqar came in, there was Aqib javed who was he ideal coach for our team but PCB insisted with a Dav Whatmore who had done a bit with srilanka but failed miserably with Bangladesh......foreign coaches are not the answer, look at the situation even now, Pakistans BOWLING is its strength and gaps that needed to be filled with the retirements of wasim and waqar are being filled and most of all the UNNOTICED point Muhammad Akram is a PAKISTANI coach. I say bring Aqib back asap! and have MOhsin work with the team again.......PCB and its selction committee is a bunch of jokers who cant seem to make out where to go? I don't see any Pakistan A tours to foreign countries? no players are being exposed to foreign conditions. Our domestic conditions are not anywhere near the hard and seaming pitches our colts face abroad......hence they are made to look bad and never given a chance again. who decided on Imran Farhat and why is Shoaib in the team as an all rounder and is not being bowled at all? what is going on? Pakistan is a proud cricket playing nation I cant see this going on forever? if Afridi is to be sitting out of the team and no doubt he should be and he is 34 years old why was he handed a A contract recently? there are a lot of flies in the soup that Pakistanis are not being told about. Umar Amin was played against South Africa, and despite being taunted as a superb all rounder, I did not see any signs of the Umer Ameen the PCB talked about, no shoulder strength was evident, bat swing speed is subpar which means he cant survive against genuine pace in say PERTH, also technique is lacking, ONLY real finds for Pakistan have been Asad Shafiq ( tests only ) and Naser Jamshed ( ODI and T20 ). Naser seems like the old inzamam we saw and is destined to be a good bat but even he needs improvement in personality to stay at the crease after a milestone is reached. Lots of issues frankly. Pakistan is all about unpredictability and excitement, lately though they have been PREDICATBLY down and out as far as batting is concerned. Perhaps a swap is required with our India friends, where fifty percent of their batsmen are shipped to Pakistan while half our bowlers go over to them?

Dawar Naqvi Jun 12, 2013 08:38pm

Awar Ali and Fawad Alam are very good all rounder in Pakistan. On purpose Fawad was not given chance to bowl because Malik and Afridi want to keep thier spot.

Under 19 herp Anwar Ali never represented pakistan senior team. amazingly no one mentioned his name. Do you know Why?

Wahab Riaz is a match fixer and ordinary bowler.

Hafeez is a best all rounder in the current cricket team.

Ahmad Jun 12, 2013 09:13pm

Pakistan has a lot of talent but team combination is not right,for exemple,Kamran is playing in lower order,should be opening .Ahmad shazad ,Hamad azam are left out again.Imran farhat makes few runs in south Africa and then nothing.New comer should be given two chances to prove his talent .

Mardan Jun 12, 2013 09:26pm

Wahab should not get carried away with the idea of becoming an all rounder. It is OK to have someone who can bat if need be, but he should concentrate on his bowling and try to become consistent enough to make the playing XI regularly. On the all rounder side, Pakistan do need someone genuine and for now, no one other than Razzaq, Hammad or Afridi come to mind. The sooner Shoaib Malik leaves the team, the better it is for everyone in the long term interest of Pakistan cricket. And of Umar Amin and Fawad, they have shown nothing of their allround abilities to merit anything in the playing XI

haq Jun 12, 2013 09:31pm

I don't know who is the best all rounder in Pakistan. I know that Wahab Riaz is not that person. I also know that Umar Amin is not an all rounder. His bowling is crap, galli wali cricket bowling. I think PCB needs to evaluate their options on the domestic circuit. Selectors should be watching all the domestic matches and pick the best talent out there. And I know that we have talent in Pakistan, it just doesn't show up due to pawwa bazi and parchis. Hammad Azam is an option, but I don't think he ever bowled 10 overs in an ODI. Never was given a real chance in ODIs to prove himself, unlike Farhat, Shoaib Malik, etc. I would rather give chance to Hammaz Azam that Umar Amin for this crucial position. 10 ODI's at No. 7 for Hammad and see the result.

Imran Siddiqui Jun 12, 2013 10:03pm

Wahab was also a part of the Salman Butt fixing video. He took a jacket or money to deliver to Salman Butt.

shado Jun 12, 2013 10:57pm

New player, ehsan adil need to be groomed - better batsman good average also a good pacer. - he has done well in warmups and domestics. I consider him hard hitting with power play option.

anony Jun 12, 2013 11:04pm

I for one, really like Wahab Riaz. He is just a bag of bad luck, with batsmen's edges flying past 3rd slip and run-out's that Wahab is mostly on the receiving end of. He has an excellent bowling action and generates very good pace. He is mostly consistent in bowling (excluding some bad luck) and a VERY useful batsman down the order. Plus his extensive county experience is a bonus as well. I say we must given this young man consistent chances on ODI's as I'm sure that he will only improve from here.

ammar Jun 12, 2013 11:14pm

Oy bhai we are in desperate need for cricketers who can bat period. Please get off your high horse and get to work. Pakistan cricket is slowly on decline - few years from now we will be struggling to win against teams like Netherland, Afghanistan, Ireland, etc. We are headed in the same direction as Hockey and Squash.

S Khan Jun 12, 2013 11:14pm

CT is not a tournament where you do experiment and looking for success on hit and trial basis, If i were to form a team for CT i would have gone for mix combo between experience and aggression 1. Hafiz 2. Nasir Jamshed 3.) Younus Khan 4.) Misbah 5) Razzak 6.) Umar Akmal 7.) K Akmal 8.) Wahab Riaz 9.) Saeed Ajmal 10.) Junaid Khan 11.) M. Irfan

New comers can be tested in any upcoming series but major tournament

Hassan Jun 12, 2013 11:29pm

Hammad Azam and Fawad Alam are automatic choices and here's why. The small chances the two got in the team were always at #8. Quality of both batsmen warrants them to play higher in the order, especially Fawad Alam who should be an automatic choice for #3. Problem is selectors select players but due to team politics, a lot of them never get a chance at the right position to showcase their skills. Fawad was consistently sent at #8 in T20s and as soon as he was made to open in Tests, he scored a century and then Intikhab Alam said that he goes to clubs so he is not worthy of selection. Accept the fact that our cricket administrators and some of the players are a bunch of losers just like our sorry politicians. They don't care about winning but just holding on to their positions until they are forcefully kicked out.

Hassan Jun 12, 2013 11:29pm

Also, a good international player has to have good temperament and strong mind which often gets overlooked when selecting players for international duty and tournament after tournament we ride on individual performances and luck.

Amir Jun 12, 2013 11:36pm

That all rounder was Mohammad Amir, the idiot, who threw away his career for a mere 2500 Pounds. The way things work in Pakistan is that there is no grooming at the board level. Lads rise on their own (Waqar, Wasim, Shoaib, etc.) and then someone "discovers" them, mostly by accident. There needs to be a process in place where talent hunt is carried out on a consistent basis. I am not entirely sure what people like Intikhab Alam, Javed Miandad, etc., bring to the table and why are they being paid so handsomly.

Cap C M Khan Jun 13, 2013 04:10am


PakFan Jun 13, 2013 05:08am

Based on the chart above Fawad Alam is a no brainer to be in the team...

asad Jun 13, 2013 06:05am

Dropping Younus Khan from the squad didn't help at all. Younus was dropped for scoring jn 30's and failing to score big runs. Now Pakistan batsmen cant even go to double figures. Younus was blamed for playing slow but this Pakistan side cant even play 50 overs and score 200 runs. We need to have experience and world class batman back in the side and groom asad shafiq and Umar Akmal . Players like Imran farhat, malik and hafeez should be kicked out of the team and send them to Bangladesh.

Zoab Khan Jun 13, 2013 06:40am


I don't think cricket falls like hockey. There is just way to much talent in Pakistan. Places like KPK, belts of southern punjab are still untapped.

The problem is the administration, these guys have no accountability so they do what they want. Scumbags like Mohammad Ilyas are able to run the show. Some employees just never get fired, for example, i had no clue that Inti Alam was still PCB management team. What the hell????? Wasn't he the guy who was coaching and picking his feet when the Butt was going behind his back and fixing?

Fawad Jun 13, 2013 06:41am

Unfortunately Mohammed Hafeez seems to have an opinion on everything - whether right or wrong. He dropped Abdur Razzaq from the T20s and made sure he stays dropped in all other formats. The gaping holes in Pakistan team have been made because of these selfish decisions. Even though Razzaq was the only player in our team who deliver when needed and not crumble like our openers and top orders batsmen.

Fawad Jun 13, 2013 06:47am

@Dawar Naqvi: Hafeez is the worst thing that has happened to the Pakistan team. The T20 captaincy has gone to his head. His body language says it all. Barely scores consistently. Its a shame if Saeed Ajmal or Junaid or Irfan score more then Hafeez in any form of the game. And that has been happening consistently since South Africa.

Iftikhar Jun 13, 2013 08:06am

Give me a break Mohammed Hafeez is the best all rounder in Pakistan today. Wahab Riaz involvement with corruption was questioned by Scotland yard, our board has done nothing to conduct its own investigations or being pro-active against such practices. I for one would not like to see tainted or suspected players on the team.

Noman Jun 13, 2013 08:13am

@S Khan:

What about calling back wasim , waqar, shoaib, azhar and mushtaq as well in your playing eleven.......

That is the problem with us the FANS, when selectors try to give chance to youngsters, we cry for fading stars to return and when those fading stars fail we cry for inclusion of youngsters.

The most cruel part of our selection is that soon we would see Umar Akmal back in ODIs and that too without any significant performance in domestic cricket while the likes of Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam will continue to be ignored

NK Ali Jun 13, 2013 09:24am

@Amir: Your comments are veritable and precise. The cricketers play in the streets and grounds, wherever available, and are recommended/noticed by a friend and a PCB 'hanger on' (bureaucrat). The academies are there for a select few and what training goes on there is better understood by the coaches and players. The results are here for all to see. The team is mercurial in temperament and effort, and frankly, a national team must be given serious consideration. Have a nice day and Salams

Dr. M. Chaudhry P.h.D. Jun 13, 2013 09:33am

What is the point of this wasteful analysis? There is no all-rounder on the horizon of Pakistani cricket is well-suited title.

Saleem Jun 13, 2013 09:47am

@shado:But But he was cleared and in the team and there are pressing issues to work on, so can we please move on?

Haroon Jan Jun 13, 2013 10:23am

pace which Wahab is generating currently rarely produced by any other bowler around,his bating skills adds to his credit, he should play regularly in the side and should be trusted for a better team,Afridi played enough cricket should only be allowed to play in rich T20s around the world,his central contract should also be revised to Category C doing justice to many deserving players in the country.

Ramzan Ali Jun 13, 2013 12:07pm

Where is Hammad Azam ??? Pakistan cricket selection board should look for hard hitters...... The tail enders should at least hit ball hard & can get good score if the opening stand fail to do so.

nasim khan Jun 13, 2013 02:04pm

@Shahid: Dear guys why people are keep talking about Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, and Yunus Khan, can they look beyond these players, who were very good at their times, but not now, and i dont understand whey the pcb keep selecting players like imran farhat, shoib mallik and kamran akmal, they should from now on look to build a new team under the captaincy of Hafiz

Imran S Jun 13, 2013 02:29pm

@Imran Siddiqui:

He wasn't involved and also remember he was naive enough to listen to his captain. Get a life plz

Imran S Jun 13, 2013 02:31pm

@irfan haider: Please be rational. don't say it for the sake of saying

Shobi Jun 13, 2013 02:32pm

Wahab Riaz is not even a bowler, i was thinking to write sensible but he is too far from the sense of bowling. He never bowled like a bowler, just run and throw the ball with full power is not an art of bowling. I can bet him, come let us have a 5 overs challenger. I could not even select him in my Gali/Muhalla team, he does not deserve any chance at all, just a waste (Kachra)...... Please do not embarrass the great all-rounder Abdul Razaq by comparing him with Wahab Riaz.

sherali virjee Jun 13, 2013 04:34pm

We have to find a wicket keeper who can bat.Not to have false hope when we are 6 down that "we still have Akmal". He should be sent on very top so he is out of the way, anyway.

Shahid Rizwan Jun 13, 2013 04:47pm


I think the way to go is with Hammad Azam. Wahab Riaz is not the answer....I was at the Oval for the Pak Vs WI match... It was really disappointing to see the fragile Pakistani batting....

It would have been better not to bring an army of 5 fast bowlers with 2 Spinners, 2 spinning all rounders already there. Very strange selection with 5 genuine batsmen only if you exclude Hafeez and Kamran Akmal. Of those 5 batsmen, Umar Amin is not a material for batting at 6 as he is not a big hitter. If he was thought to be an all-rounder, why he did not bowl? I don't think he is an all rounder as Wasim Akram rightly said before the tournament...

4 fast bowlers would have been enough. Selectors should have included more batsmen and genuine all rounder like Hamad in the list. Kamran Akmal should go away even if we are not unearthing a keeper who can bat well...Shoab Malik can only score 20, 30 runs that also not on a regular basis. He should be confined to T20 only....

Very disappointing!! I hope things get better....

Taimur Malik Jun 13, 2013 05:13pm

@nasim khan: We should know by now that we do not have replacements of players like Razzaq, younis, muhammad yousuf and afridi, Imran Farhat, Hafeez, Malik and Asad had their opportunities, its time move on and get rid of them. bring the afridi, razak, younis and yousf back non of them retired and still can do better then the bunch mentioned abvoe and select some youngester to play along them. Hafeez can go on play with one wicket a game and cling on the batter slot also. he can stay in team and may be as captain only in one condition, if we have 2 teams one to play in Eng, SA, Aus and other to play in Asia, i think he will do well only in Asia, so why we keep a player who cant adjust to the conditions quickly enough. Hope with the government changed in country we may have changed management on the top of PCB.

Moeen Jun 13, 2013 05:56pm

@Iftikhar: An all-rounder is also supposed to score runs. Hafeez's form as a batsman has been pathetic to say the least and his batting has technical flaws.

Tansar Jun 13, 2013 06:02pm

I am sorry? Tell me one innigs where he shined? Are you forgetting Abdul Razzaq, who because of some political and in-team reasons, is left out?

mohit Jun 13, 2013 06:39pm

What a joke wahab riaz as allrounder. which match did he batted and won for pak. performing in only one match dosent mean he is allorinder. consitency is lacking in pak team.

Ali Jun 13, 2013 08:43pm

I wonder why selectors and cricket experts always look towards bowlers and all-rounders to score runs. Why we don't expect that our specialist batsmen should be capable of making runs. Look at the records of top 4 Pakistani batsmen. None of these worthy a place in any other international team. It's amazing how many matches these players have played without any question over their abilities.... This is Pakistan where mediocre or even below average people can succeed.

Asif Jun 13, 2013 09:01pm

@Hassan:Excellent points so if i had my way this would be my team.

Hammad Azam (all rounder), Anwar Ali (All rounder), Asad Ali (Pacer), Irfan (Pacer), Ajmal, Haris Shohail (batsman), Asad Shafiq (middle order), Hafeez, Imran Nazir (opening batsman), Fawad Alam, Nasir Jamshed (Opener), Sadaf Hussain (pacer), Umar Akmal (wicket keeper batsman), Misbah

Ban following players from cricket Imran Farhat, Malik, Kamran akmal for good.....

ALI Jun 13, 2013 09:51pm

Zaheer Abbas rightly mentioned that Pakistani players play test cricket like one day and one day like Test, we need to change our mentality, its not worthy to score 170 and 167 while defending every ball, Y not they go out with aggressive planning and attack the opposition?,(where is Umar Akmal ? He was dropped because he plays with positive intend), Farhat, Malik, Akmal, Wahab Riaz, they even not deserved to be in the starting xi, how many more chances Farhat , Malik and Kamran needed to prove their worth. I think the time arrived to take big decision and bring new faces in the team.

Hassan Jun 13, 2013 10:43pm

Pakistan is already playing too many all rounders in the team. these bits and pieces players need to be kicked out. Bring solid batsmen in place of Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. We don;t need 10 overs from Hafeez, we need him to score 50s. If he is playing as a bowling all rounder then Hafeez shoud bat down the order so we can get 5 best batsmen on top of the order. Team is in shambles since the 2011 world cup. Kamran Akmal can stay as he is a keeper but should open with Jamshed.

Sarah Jun 13, 2013 10:48pm

@mohit: Wahab has won ODI against South Africa 4th ODI with Steyn and Morkel when Pakistan won by 1 wicket from hopeless situation on 5th Nov 2010 .By the way Sachin has not won even 1 match by himself in his entire 100 centuries.It would have been better if he had made his country win instead of playing for his own century ;)

satyendra Jun 14, 2013 01:12am


@Mohit that comment is uncalled for.Wahab is a very good player.

@Sarah. Are you referring to Sachin Tendulkar. Here are the facts and stats: Records shows that India won 34 times in ODIs out of 49 centuries scored by SR Tendulkar. One ODI was tied and other ended without any out come. So winning percentage is 69.4%. As far as Test records are concerned, Tendulkar made 51 centuries and India won 20 times, 20 matches concluded without any outcome and in 11 Tests India were humiliated. So winning percentage is 39.2%, while 21.6% tons didn't succour India.

Punj_Nud Jun 14, 2013 04:49am

After the historic humiliation in South Africa, nothing was learned? Now the mess is deep and gotten to the bones. Pakistan is already going the way West Indies went, a shadow of what it used to be, They recall Imran Farhar , Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz. keep Hafeez until he scores a century in a meaningless game and cements his place for next couple of years. It's a bunch of useless players ruining Pakistan cricket. Selectors have made sure we have a non-existing 1st class cricket, there is no upcoming talent. A barren land. Then we have this analysis. All that we have learned from this humiliation is that Wahab Riaz is an all-rounder. This is our analysis to remedy cricket in our country?

Vish Jun 14, 2013 11:29am

@Sarah: Check your records -- Sachin's has 5 "Man of Series awards", and 76 "Man of the match" awards besides numerous contributions to matches and series victories. I wonder if Wahab Riaz can play 76 international matches leave aside getting same number of "Man of the match" awards! In fact, when we talk about an average player like Wahab Riaz, let us not discuss legends!

Izhar Ul Haq Jun 14, 2013 12:50pm

One thing is clear that Green-XI can't survive without LALA, His bating in the last series was very improved. He deliver in either bating or bowling or in both. His fielding capability is unmatched. He is far better than Professor and Shoab Sania. LALA is a power house for team as well for spectators.

neeraj Jun 14, 2013 12:56pm

@ sarah how many centuries ? ...... 100. hummmm u can count 100 gud .add all centuries made by ur playing 11 & multiply it by 2 .wait ..... make it multiply by 3 . & see the magic

mahadi Jun 14, 2013 01:50pm

@Shahid: i totally agree with you...he is completely wasted.. and neglected

mahadi Jun 14, 2013 01:57pm

@Tansar: please do something to bring back this great and cut all the culprits.

Amir Jan Jun 14, 2013 06:02pm

For havens sake give Hammad Azam a persistent chance to establish himself!!

Asad Jun 14, 2013 08:32pm

I bet you Imran Khan can fix PCB working couple of weekends.It might be good break from PTI.