Inconsistency is the word best used to describe Pakistan cricket. From winning the world cup in 1992 under the leadership of the valiant Imran Khan to a shocking defeat at the hands of minnows Ireland in the 2007 edition, Pakistan has seen the best and worst facets of the tournament.
This time however, they boast of a rejuvenated side under the calm and composed leadership of skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq and they will certainly be hungry for some lost glory.
Strengths– Pakistan boast of one of the youngest ever sides they have fielded in a long time. Despite having experienced campaigners like Younis, Misbah and Afridi in their ranks, it is their youngsters like Umar Akmal, Yasir Shah and Sarfraz Ahmed who have recently outshone their predecessors.
Adding to that, Pakistan is a pace bowling factory. The number of world class bowler they have produced in the past goes unmatched and the conditions in Australia and New Zealand would be tailor made for them to wreak havoc.
Weakness – Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal will not feature in the world cup leaving a large gaping hole in Pakistan’s armory. The duo has been Pakistan’s most consistent performers in the recent past and hence the pressure will be on the youngsters to replace these ‘big boots’.
The crackdown on illegal bowling action cost Ajmal his world cup berth and Hafeez too looks likely to shy away from bowling. He has been their handy new ball bowler and they will have to find an ideal replacement.
Trump Card – ‘Tuk Tuk’ is what critics use to describe Misbah’s batting pace and the skipper is indeed our man to watch for Pakistan. He has been an epitome of patience for them bailing them out of many collapses in the recent past. His methodology of pacing his innings has always been a treat to watch and he will once again shoulder a large responsibility.
Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz