It is fair to say that Pakistan Cricket has endured a pretty horrendous 2019. From getting whitewashed by an inexperienced Sri Lankan side at home to now being slaughtered by the rampaging Australians Down Under, it’s been a nightmare for all the fans as well as the well-wishers of Pakistan cricket. After having been blanked in the Twenty20 International series 0-3, the Men in Green are up against it at the Gabba in the ongoing first Test.
But, apart from their on-field performances, it is their decision making off it that has come under intense scrutiny. Another such decision that has heightened the criticism on the Misbah-ul-Haq-led team-management is the exclusion of the 29-year-old pace spearhead, Mohammad Abbas. Abbas, who has claimed 66 wickets in just 14 Tests at an average of 18.66 has emerged as the cornerstone of the Pakistan bowling unit ever since he made his debut.
The right-hander is currently ranked 12th in the world as far as the ICC Test rankings for the bowlers go, and had claimed 17 Australian wickets on the lifeless tracks of the United Arab Emirates at an average of 10.58. So, when the team was announced for the first Test at the Gabba, it really caught everyone by surprise when it was apparent that Abbas has been dropped from the playing 11 and the Pakistanis had opted for the 32-year-old Imran Khan Junior.
Yasir Shah has his say on the exclusion of Mohammad Abbas
Several former cricketers have expressed their bewilderment at the think-tank’s decision after Australia, riding on the back of hundreds from David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, put the Pakistani attack to the sword, amassing 580 runs in reply to the visitors 240.
Yasir Shah, Pakistan’s premier spinner has also expressed his disappointment at seeing Mohammad Abbas being excluded from the line-up. “Yes, we miss Abbas as he did well in the last series against Australia. It is the team’s decision to drop Abbas and they decided that these three [Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Imran Khan] are playing,” the 33-year-old said in the press conference as quoted by The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, bowling coach Waqar Younis defended Abbas’ non-selection by stating that the premier fast bowler has not been at his best since the New Zealand tour. Younis, however, hoped that the 29-year-old will certainly be in the reckoning for the Pink Ball Test at the Adelaide Oval.
“Mohammad Abbas has been a match-winner for us over the last 18 months, he’s been bowling really well. Unfortunately, he’s not at his best rhythm and recently back in the New Zealand tour he had an injury so he wasn’t bowling as good as he has done in the past against Australia and of course in England. But we’re not losing hope in him, he’s our main man and we’re going to have a really close look and hopefully, once we get into Adelaide we’ll think about it,” Waqar Younis said as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
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