Pakistan Cricket Board, much like its team, can be quite baffling. Sometimes things happen that astound everyone, never quite to be repeated. In 2010, then chairman Ejaz Butt, towards the end of his quite frankly traumatic tenure, appointed Misbah ul Haq captain of the test team in a decision that turned out to be the cornerstone of Pakistan’s subsequent unparalleled success, coming on the heels of its worst time as a team.
At other times, you wonder if the board is being serious or whether they’re playing an elaborate prank on the whole nation. One such example is the selection process. Players are seemingly selected and dropped at random, and a 17 year old kid can emerge with unimaginable skill for his age out of the blue and not having played a first class game. Talented players, like Fawad Alam, can be forced into and out of the team periodically for over 8 years, and their inclusion as well as exclusion poses a question for the selectors. In 2008, people questioned why was he in the team, and what was his role. In 2015, people questioned why was he not taken to the World Cup when he was Pakistan’s top scorer the previous year?
But there are still other times, when a player struggles through the poor excuse of a cricket system we have, dominates both formats, makes a mockery of the local competition, and still doesn’t get to represent his country on the international stage. I am talking about Sadaf Hussain, a left arm fast bowler from Rawalpindi who the selectors seem to turn a blind eye to even when his figures look like this:
He made his debut in, believe it or not, 2009, and has been the star of the domestic circuit since. Even at a time when the selectors look intent on almost exclusively selecting left arm fast bowlers, he has failed to make the cut. It is astounding how many different fast bowlers we tried after Asif and Aamir’s ban, and still managed to ignore this clearly outstanding talent. Aamir completed his ban, came back into the test lineup, and still no sign of Sadaf Hussain anywhere near the Pakistan team. Just a casual reminder, these are the stats of the bowlers we’ve selected since 2011.
Bear in mind, Sadaf Hussain’s is not a solitary case. There are quite a few others (Tabish Khan’s name comes to mind) who also suffer from the same fate. But Sadaf’s record is too good to ignore. This guy is clearly ready to make the step up. It’s just that our selectors need a little nudging. While our batting and spin bowling have made successful transitions from 2011 to date, even dealing with shakeups like bans on bowlers’ actions, fast bowling is the department where we have been quite inconsistent in selection. We Pakistanis pride ourselves in our fast bowling resources, and talents such as this one should not be going to waste.