Monday, August 3, 2009

Enter: Imran Nazir

I don’t mind Nasir Jamshed, I really don’t. While I don’t see in him the promise I see in Umar Akmal, the kid has done enough to warrant a chance. And since he didn’t abandon his country for some rebel league in India, I suppose the establishment would place him higher in the pecking order than the IPL prodigals. Also, he didn’t exit the team due to a lack of form. He was actually making runs in the last couple of matches and then got injured.

So, fair enough. He gets to make his case before the other guy. Weak dismissal first match? Chalk it down to nerves. It’s only fair to give him a second chance.

But enough is enough. He’s had his shot, and is only 19 so he’ll get many more if he works hard. But it’s time for him to make way because he is keeping another guy out of the team. And not just any guy.

For the good of all mankind, Imran Nazir needs to play in the fourth ODI.

Look, we’ve all but lost this ODI series. Sure, there is every chance we’ll win this match but Nasir added next to zero to the innings. If we win, replacing one wild card opener for another really doesn’t make a difference. We would still have a winning combination, albeit with a better fielder. And if we lose? Well then the case for Nazir’s inclusion is watertight. The last 2 matches become dead rubbers and we should test him out looking ahead to the Champions Trophy. Imran Nazir may very well score a duck and a 1 in both matches. But I fail to see the relative gain in leaving him out in favour of Yousuf, Misbah or Jamshed.

Also, I think some people tend to undervalue the psychological importance of electric fielding. How often is it that you’re watching a fielding side just go through the motions – shoulders drooping because nothing’s going their way? A brilliant catch, a spectacular save or an unexpectedly precise run-out can turn all that around. It lifts the team up. It rouses them from their indifference. Nazir brings that to the team. I’m not saying he does that on a daily basis. But at least that’s something he is capable of doing. Misbah, Salman and Nasir are NOT capable of that.

Alright, that’s that for the reasonable arguments. Now to appeal to your heart.

Imran Nazir IS Pakistan cricket.

His unpredictability. His flair. His vulnerability to rushes of emotion. His brashness. Match-winning booms followed by sharp declines. Nazir is Afridi by another name (and ethnicity). He's the Beast and I'd insist on calling him that if a friend of mine hadnt already made that nickname all her own.

Nazir is one of the sweetest hitters of the cricket ball in our nation and you’re a fucking idiot if you think Afridi can still bludgeon the way he used to. You think the Yuvrajs and Gayles were picked because of their technique? No, they were picked because selectors understood that, more often than not, you’re going to get a flat pitch so why not opt for players who can make maximum use of that. They were picked for their aggression. A short yet belligerent innings can knock the wind out of the sails of the opposition or rob their best bowler of some of his confidence.

Lets face is – technique is pointless for Pakistani cricketers. We need to fact facts: the players with the best techniques (Younis, Yousuf) are as capable of playing the moving ball as the players with mediocre ones (Akmal, Alam). Not that Younis or Yousuf’s technique is textbook. We have never won matches but out-techniqueing the other batting side. We’ve done it by inspiring ourselves to just outplay the opposition.

And Nazir is inspirational. That’s what a team like Pakistan needs. We don’t need a Khurram Manzoor or a Salman Butt blocking their way to a partnership of 4 runs per over. We’ve always had the simmering talent to be whatever we want to be. We just need certain players to ignite that talent. Check out Akmals innings today. Maybe it’s the trigger that’ll set off Umar Akmal’s talent later in the innings. Fawad Alam’s test century? He was boosted by the psychological lift given by Kaneria and Ajmal’s bowling. And unlike the Maliks, Misbahs and Yousufs, Imran has not been psychologically scarred by Kulusakera and Thushara. The older guys have no confidence against the Lankan bowlers. Nazir will either cream them all over the park, or get out too soon for him to watch the ball beat his outside edge delivery afer delivery, slowly creating self doubt in his mind.

So for the sake of all that is good and holy: Imran Nazir needs to be given a chance to be what he is.


  1. There's just one problem. Imran Nazir sucks. As has been proven in with the many chances he HAS been given. I don't BELIEVE you put him and guys like Gayle and Yuvraj in the same sentence.

  2. Dude. Just the thought of a line and length delivery outside the off-stump will have Imran Nazir cowering in the dressing room corner corner behind Afridi.

    AT BEST he'll hit a good looking back foot punch through point (which will probably be mind-blowingly well fielded by Samarraweera anyway), but we already have not one but TWO Akmals to provide us that pleasure these days. Imran Nazir can go pluck his unibrow.

  3. Ahsan:

    You were Salman Butt's biggest fan at one point so I consider your opinion on the opening slot irrelevant.


    If Pakistan are going with a formula of an opener in addition to Akmal I dont see why it shouldnt be Nazir. Ahmed Shehzad may be a better player but I dont think he's suited to the ODI game. Certainly not the T20 version.

    Also, in tandem with Fawad Alam, Nazir is bringing sexy to the unibrow.

  4. whats with the unibrow mojo/hoodoo...even umar akmal has one?

  5. I've even forgotten how he plays :|