Could prove to be smart additions to the squad
A little random I know, with PSL season four reaching fever pitch, it is a bit strange to focus on one individual player. A player who really is not spoken about enough!
Aamer Yamin has been at the periphery of Pakistan’s white ball sides since the start of his career. We saw glimpses of the all-rounder’s talent early on against Zimbabwe, where he struck some clean lusty blows. It may have been against an innocuous Zimbabwean attack, but it was the nature of his strokes that caught the eye. There was nothing agricultural about it. It was pure, crisp, and thoughtful.
Yamin’s domestic performances have also been impressive. In 50 over cricket he often opens the bowling, and down the order he has proven to be a consistent ball striker. In his last international stints, he scored 15 off 6 deliveries against New Zealand in a T-20, and in his last ODI he made 32 off 27 balls.
With the potential Yamin has shown over the years, it is strange to see that he has only 4 ODIs and 2 T-20s under his belt. There is no doubt that Faheem Ashraf’s arrival has hindered his chances of being a consistent member of the international side, but one must look at this logically, and constructively analyse what Pakistan needs for the World Cup in England this summer.
Faheem Ashraf the bowler has improved tremendously. He has picked up pace since his first international match in Cardiff, he changes his pace cannily, and most importantly, he has the ability to get his yorkers in at the death. When we talk of his batting, he would be the first to admit that he has not done justice to his talent. He is used in white-ball cricket as a late order six hitter, but unfortunately, he has not been the explosive finisher Pakistan were hoping for.
In his last international stints, he scored 15 off 6 deliveries against New Zealand in a T-20, and in his last ODI he made 32 off 27 balls.
Yamin on the other is a batting all-rounder. His ball striking at the death is arguably the best in the country. An average of 37 in first-class cricket reveals that he can also construct an innings when need be. He is a more than handy seam bowler upfront and in the middle overs. What’s more, he is a fantastic fielder, something coach Mickey Arthur values greatly. It will help Yamin’s case that Mickey Arthur is coaching the Karachi Kings, the franchise Yamin is playing for this season.
This PSL is Yamin’s chance to show Arthur and the sectors why he deserves to be on the plane to England for the World Cup. Arthur already mentioned that PSL performances will be looked at before finalizing the World Cup squad. Whether one agrees with that plan or not is irrelevant in this case. Yamin should know that he will be observed closely, and he mustn’t let this opportunity slip.
I am in no way suggesting that Ashraf should not be in the World Cup squad. His growth as a bowler has been wonderful. I am arguing that the selectors find a way to have both in the squad. One must look at what Pakistan’s 50 over team needs right now. No one will argue that a skilled six hitter is needed at the latter stages of the innings. Slow-run rates have been the biggest hurdle for Pakistan in ODI cricket. With the likes of Yamin, and even Asif Ali if included, could solve that problem, especially in the last 15 overs. The anchors are already there in Babar, Hafeez, and Malik, but there is no doubt that the batting line-up needs some impetus towards the end.
Faheem Ashraf’s ability to bowl at all stages of the innings certainly maintains his advantage over Yamin, as Pakistan have also struggled in the recent past with the ball at the death. However, the selectors need to really think about what Pakistan’s 50 over squad needs or is lacking at present. As I said, the fourth edition of the PSL is Aamer Yamin’s opportunity to show the selectors what he brings to the table, and why he deserves a place in Pakistan’s World Cup squad.