The Pakistan Cricket Team departed for a tour of Zimbabwe on the 25th August, 2011. The team is scheduled to play one Test Match, two Twenty-20 matches and three One Day Internationals. The team left for Zimbabwe from Lahore to Abu Dhabi from the Allama Iqbal International Airport and will take a connecting flight to Zimbabwe.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has replaced Intikhab Alam with Naveed Akram Cheema as manager for the tour of Zimbabwe, and Waqar Younus is accompanying the team as coach. The team is expected to perform well, despite a one-week training camp. Assistant Coach Aqib Javed and assistant manager Shahid Aslam have also been not included for this tour.
The omission of Intikhab Alam is not in any way to do with the team’s previous performances. Managers are appointed on a series by series basis, and Intikhab Alam wants to give more time to ongoing programs for the development of cricket in Pakistan. Cheema is a member of the governing board and has therefore been appointed for the tour of Zimbabwe.
All rounder Shoaib Malik, previously captain of the Pakistani Team is also going to Zimbabwe for this tour. He was in the list of standbys for this tour, but he had to be cleared from the Pakistan Cricket Board. Malik has been playing in domestic cricket since he last played for Pakistan during a controversial tour of England last summer. Malik had issues with the integrity committee of the Pakistan Cricket, and after clearing himself of all suspicions had been included in the team for this tour. Coach Waqar Younus seems to quite happy with Malik’s inclusion, saying that this will strengthen the team.
Wasim Akram cautions that exclusion of Wahab and Gul could hurt their bowling, and the new bowlers in the team lack the experience of the other two players.
Chief Selector for the Pakistan Team Mohsin Khan says that although the Zimbabwe team deserves respect and cannot be taken lightly, but he said the new players need international experience, and playing with senior players will provide them the experience to perform better later on against much stronger teams. Since international cricket is not being played in Pakistan, there are fewer opportunities to groom junior players. In fixture like the with Zimbabwe junior players will gain experience and confidence.
The tour schedule is: Zimbabwe Xl v Pakistan at Bulawayo on August 28-29. Test on September 1-5 also at Bulawayo, 1st One Day International at Bulawayo on September 8, 2nd and 3rd ODI’s at Harare on September 11 and 14 respectively.
Written by: Richard Thomas
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