Moin out to a false stroke by Sohaib Alvi
There’s a time and place for everything, it is said, and that remains the core philosophy and reasoning behind the recalling of Moin Khan from this World Cup. However, in my view there are some things for which there is never a time and place. And a casino falls in that category. As such it was an injudicious venue to have dinner in the first place whether or not Moin indulged himself in what is a frowned upon activity by most in even civilized societies and which our religion forbids emphatically.
Nevertheless, by just being present in the casino does not prove he was gambling. No photographs have passed my eyes indicating he was, though it has to be said that it is not a place where you just walk in and have your photos taken.
But it is his personal matter and whether he is innocent or guilty is not for us to decide. What is not his personal matter nevertheless is his job at the time he was caught inside the premises of a gambling place. He was after all the man who was representing a cricket board that is already being maligned for being soft on cricketers mixing with match fixers. And we all know that the probability of them being in a casino is high. He was the man who had a say in the final XI and millions of dollars are bet on what that will be at the time of the toss. Bets are opened in the casino for everything from the final XI to who will open the batting or face the first ball.
You can also pass on props that will indicate a certain event to happen; the colour of the wicketkeeper’s gloves or who will not wear a hat while fielding in the first 10 overs. But does that mean he should remain locked up inside his room and go into some sort of hibernation till the time the match begins? Certainly not. Is he to stop talking to anyone outside the team management and players? No he shouldn’t. But he should have the discretion to not create the perception that he is accessible to gamblers.
It can be said that he is not guilty of gambling away Pakistan’s fortunes. One would not be daft enough to be seen among gamblers if one is to fix a game or any of its aspects. And then make it so high profile an event as to pose for photographs that are bound to make the social media if not the mainstream.
But Moin certainly shot himself in the foot by going to the casino, especially considering he belongs to the generation of the 1990s that has been tainted in match fixing inquiries and accusations.
Moin all his life agreed to the realism that it is not necessary that you are out for an umpire to give you out; it is enough that the umpire perceived that the ball took the edge of his bat on way to the keeper.
He is now straddled with just that fact of life and he should not complain that he has been wrongly given out. He really shouldn’t have played that close to the ball if he wasn’t going to middle it.
On to today’s game and the question is whether the Pakistan think tank has learned from the mistakes made in the first two games. But so thick is the skin of the decision makers that we might yet see Umar Akmal keeping wickets and Younis Khan retaining his place at the expense of playing the extra bowler — or rather the necessary fifth bowler.
Younis seems adamant that the faults in the team have nothing to do with him and has conveyed that he has no plans to retire. Does that mean he will put some latent psychological pressure on the tour selection committee and get into the side despite a horrendous run up to today’s game?
If the tour selection committee which now includes the bureaucrat Naved Akram Cheema were to select him it would be equally guilty if he were to fail again.
I have written before and writing again that Sarfraz Ahmed must be given his rightful place back and Younus is the man who should make way.
If he plays and opens, Yasir Shah can be played in place of Nasir Jamshed who really must be told that we have more than six balls to chase the target. And that until he gets that into his head he can warm the bench. His inclusion is already being viewed suspiciously after Hafeez claimed that he was to be fit within ten days (in time for West indies’ game).
Pakistan are playing at Brisbane today and in the game between Ireland and the UAE on this ground played a few days ago we saw that the temperature was testing and that high level of fitness was vital to bat or bowl through the fifty overs.
It will be seen whether Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz are able to bowl their 10 overs, considering the injuries they have battled over the past six months.
It will worry Misbah even if he plays Yasir Shah as the fifth bowler as Pakistan have only Ahmed Shahzad and Sohaib Maqsood to bowl should one bowler break down.
Thankfully the boundaries are bigger on all sides at The Gabba, which allows Misbah to bowl spin with less worry about the boundaries.
The pitch also holds up the ball even though it is good to bat on. Over 550 runs were scored in the game between Ireland and the UAE.
Pakistan have their work cut out. And not just for today but for the rest of the games as well. Even if they were to win three of them their place would not be guaranteed in the quarter-finals as theirs is the worst run rate. They must not only defeat Zimbabwe today but they must do it emphatically. The same will be the case in their matches against the UAE and Ireland; maybe by over a 100 runs or with something like 15 overs to spare if they are chasing. But then like a true blooded patriot, I am assuming we will win today and squeeze our way into the quarter-finals.