The Pakistan cricket tour selectors face a huge dilemma over picking up the playing XI in the run up to their high octane clash against arch-rivals India in their World Cup opener, to be played in Adelaide on Sunday.
Spurred by their back-to-back wins in warm up matches against Bangladesh and England, Pakistan are all set to take on India, but their biggest worry is finalising the playing eleven.
“Yes, the playing eleven has become a dilemma because after two weeks in New Zealand and Australia it is clear we have to play four specialist bowlers with Shahid Afridi as the fifth bowler,” an official in the team told PTI today from Adelaide.
“The problem is if we play four specialist bowlers then we have to play Umar Akmal as a wicketkeeper and that is a risky proposition given the importance of the match.
“If we stick with Sarfaraz Ahmed as keeper, it means we can only play five specialist batsmen and no one in the tour selection committee is comfortable with that,” he added.
The official said the option of using a make-shift opener with Ahmed Shehzad had been discussed but head coach Waqar Younis was firm in his belief that a gamble should be taken with Nasir Jamshed flown in to replace the injured Muhammad Hafeez.
“We have two options...play Sarfaraz and ask him to open with Shehzad and follow up the batting order with Younis (Khan), Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal, besides Afridi and the four specialist bowlers,” he revealed.
The official admitted the selection had become a dicey decision since majority of the tour selection committee also didn’t want to drop Sohail Maqsood from the batting line up.