Pakistan did not lose its match to West Indies because of Haris Sohail

Would Pakistan have won if Asif Ali or Shoaib Malik were included instead of Haris Sohail?

By
Moazzam Shah
Pakistan's Haris Sohail walks back to the pavilion after getting out for 8 runs during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between West Indies and Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, central England, on May 31, 2019. Photo: AFP 
 

Haris Sohail was included in Pakistan's playing 11 in the match against West Indies in favour of Asif Ali. The dramatic collapse of Pakistan’s batting order against the West Indies pace attack on a ground which is known for high scoring matches raised a lot of questions on the selection of the final 11.

It has become the talk of the town that the batting collapse would not have collapsed shambolically on 105 against the Holder's team, had the team included Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali. On the expense of not being with the popular mainstream narrative, I disagree.

Let me give you a scenario. Imagine Malik and Ali present in the team in place of Hafeez and Haris Sohail respectively. Would we have avoided the collapse? 

Hypothetically speaking the chances are slim because both the batsmen play in the middle and lower-middle order so if the team is four wickets down in the first 13 overs, one cannot expect much from a lower middle order player to turn the table for them.

The middle order’s responsibility is ideally not to build the innings but to score quick runs in the latter part of the innings.

Each and every player has a different role to play in the game. It was the responsibility of Pakistan’s top order to play out the new ball in the overcast conditions i.e, to stay on the wicket for the first hour of the game, to say the least.

As an opener, one needs to be quick in his reflexes. If we look at the dismissal of both the openers, they both were slow to react to those deliveries. This could be the threat for the team in the upcoming matches because if our openers do not get rid of their lazy approach with the new ball, the team might have to face the same situation in the upcoming matches.

Babar Azam who bats at no.3, it was his responsibility to steady the ship after the team lost openers cheaply but he threw his wicket by playing an unnecessary shot on delivery outside off stump. This was a typical Pakistani batsmen style of throwing their wicket.

More than a selection, it’s on the players to understand their role and responsibilities. The top order's failure is the main reason behind this loss rather than the selected playing 11.

The Sarfraz men played only 21.4 overs of their batting innings as Jason Holder picked three wickets, Andre Russel took two and Sheldon Cottrell bagged one wicket. Mohammad Hafeez with 16 and Wahab Riaz (18) were the only other batsmen who reached double figures.