If as predicted, India-Pakistan game gets hit by the rain and a curtailed 8-10 over match ensues, who should open?
Shoaib Malik, former Pakistan captain, reckons Pakistan should open with the same combination of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. “The opening should be same. You can make changes from No.3 to No.5 – keep it flexible. We don’t know what situation might arise,” Malik told A Sports.
Misbah-ul-Haq agreed with Shoaib and added the role of the in-form strikes would be crucial too. “Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan will play an important role if it’s a short game. They can be pushed up the order, after the regular opening. Nawaz and Shadab have been leaving impacts on the game and will have a role to play.”
Wasim Akram also picked his bowling line-up for Pakistan. “Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Naseem Shah. And the two spinners. There has been talk about using four seamers with one less batsmen but I suppose three fast bowlers are enough at MCG,” Akram said on the same TV show.
Misbah also answered a query from a fan about the influence of Matthew Hayden as the batting consultant for Pakistan. Couple of nights ago, the Pakistan team had visited Hayden’s home for dinner and an emotional video, with Hayden speaking, had gone viral.
“It might help Pakistan in Australian conditions. He was a very very good batsman and used to hit big sixes. He had a very good technique. As a mentor, he will be mentally helping out the batsmen. Share experiences, encourage the batsmen mentally. It can help a bit but overall it would come down to the individuals who have to back their talent,” Misbah said.
Shoaib added an incident involving Hayden from his time with Pakistan team when the former Australian opener said Pakistan need to improve their power play batting.
“I remember he said he wasn’t happy with the ‘way we end the Powerplay. That is a concern’. In Australia, I think he would emphasise on it and try to get the batsmen to score more runs in the Powerplay.”