Amir does not need to prove himself: Moin Khan

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan believes that the selection committee performed an admirable job by selecting the squad for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, the former wicketkeeper-batsman admitted that the bowling department had not been in top form. He was, however, hopeful that the inclusion of experienced bowlers Wahab Riaz, Mohamamad Amir and Shadab Khan will bolster the Pakistan side.

“Unfortunately the bowling couldn’t click in the previous series. Wahab, Shadab and Amir are now coming back into the side. If the bowlers perform the way the batsmen are right now, I see Pakistan in the top four. I actually hope Pakistan can win the whole thing,” said Moin.

The former skipper also said that even though Pakistan had lost against England in ODI series but all it takes to build momentum is one good match. “It does affect the team, but it only takes one match in cricket to build your momentum. During the World Cup in 1992, Pakistan did not perform well in the start. But because of one match there was a total turnaround and Pakistan kept winning every match after that which eventually resulted in a tournament victory, ” he said.

Khan believed that the selection of pacer Mohammad Amir was the right decision as he is an experienced player.

“Amir is a senior player. He does not need to prove himself. He does not have to prove anything to be in the side. Although his recent form is not that great, but I think in English conditions he will be successful. World cup is the kind of tournament where you need your senior players,” he said. “It is a good opportunity for him to cement a place in the side. If he doesn’t perform then he will end up creating a vacuum for other players to fill.”

The former wicketkeeper, however, questioned the criteria through which fast-bowler Wahab Riaz was selected into the side. He said he watched him play in a tournament and thought he looked ‘rusty’.

“We will have to see the criteria on which Wahab was selected. You cannot doubt his ability. He bowled really well in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as well. But from the PSL till now we have to see if his performance was taken into consideration. A lot of things can create ambiguity,” he said. “Criteria should be followed. The process needs to be followed otherwise controversies are created. I saw him in a recent tournament and he seemed rusty. He was bowling with a very short run-up. Maybe he hasn’t played a lot of cricket or is just out of practise.”

Khan defended the selection committee’s decision of excluding Abid Ali. He said that the players who have been given a chance have performed well. “You try to invest in young players. The players that have been given a chance such as Imamul Haq have been performing really well. You have to promote players who fit into the team composition,” he said. “Abid no doubt is talented and scores runs. If the current players don’t perform well then Abid will have a chance to come into the side.”

The 47-year-old praised Sarfaraz Ahmed’s energy on the field and said that he saw a little bit of himself in the Pakistan skipper. “I see my own reflection in Sarfaraz. The way he remains involved in the match. He is a very talented player. I have always admired him. Whenever Pakistan falls in trouble he always performs and helps the team out of it. He always answers his critics with his bat and keeping gloves,” he said. “Sarfaraz shouts in the ground and that too in a motivational manner. He is always humble with the media. I hope Pakistan can perform well under his captaincy. “

Khan also said that abolishing departmental cricket would pave the way for a decrease in interest for cricket in the long term. “I don’t think anyone has talked about ending departmental cricket. We cricketers agree that departmental cricket should not be abolished. I think parallel systems should be established for regions. If departmental cricket is ever abolished, cricket in Pakistan would end up just like hockey in terms of interest level,” he concluded.