If there is one team in the cricketing world whose on-field brilliance is matched by its off-field histrionics, it is Pakistan. A team capable of producing world class fast bowlers has a knack of finding itself in the middle of a major controversy every now and then. This affects its performance and also overshadows its achievements.
Pakistan lost the first T20 World Cup after being defeated in a thrilling final by archrival India. They made up for it by winning the second edition held in England defeating Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final at Lord’s. In-form or out-of-form, this team has a tendency to throw surprises when least expected. In 2010, they were the semi-finalists.
The team has been placed in Group D along with New Zealand and Bangladesh.
Strength: Pakistan’s biggest strength has always been bowling. The pace bowling department wears a depleted look as the team will miss the services of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif— both serving ICC ban after found guilty of spot-fixing. Still, in Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Sami they have a quality pace attack. In Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi, they have one of the best T20 bowlers in the world. There is a reason that both these bowlers feature in the top- 5 of world T20 bowler’s rankings.
Ajmal with his offspinners and Afridi with his clever changes in pace will prove to be a major threat to the batsmen. With the changed nature of the Lankan pitch, fast bowlers will play an important role and it is one department where they have always been never short of options.
In Abdul Razzaq they have an all-rounder with an ability to hit big shots when needed. Though, his pace has dropped considerably with age, his contribution cannot be overlooked. He played an important role in Pakistan’s successful World T20 campaign in 2009.
Weakness: More often than not it is their batting and fielding that has proved to be their Achilles heel. Their catching often has cost them the match and is an area of concern. The batting won’t seize to surprise you with a spectacular failure. They have often been saved by their bowling after positing low totals on the board.
Opportunities: Two-time finalists and a semi-final appearance in the last edition make them a strong contender to land the title for the second time. The conditions are familiar and will suit their slow bowlers. A more consistent performance with the bat and an improved catching will vastly better their chances.
Threat: They are in a tricky group with Bangladesh and New Zealand. The former has a tendency to dish out surprises while the latter is considered to be a quality T20 side despite their poor show in the longer versions of the game.
Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanveer, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Sami
Record: Played: 60, Won: 36, Lost: 22, Tied: 2