Enough is enough. A few days ago, my friend J-Paul sent me this email, and after hearing about Pakistan's latest game, I figure there is not better time to share it:
Yo, so is Nazir the worst -- of the 8 main international teams -- one day batter going round? The guy has played 71 innings and has an average of 25. Take out Zimbabwe (his only 2 hundreds), and the tool averages a mere 22. This is a specialist opening batsman here. The sooner they purge themselves of the likes of his scum, the better. How 'bout Younis Khan opening with Razzaq? Shit, can't be any worse than Nazir and Hafeez. Oh yeah, I forgot, Younis isn't an 'opener', whatever the fuck that means in this day and age...
After Imran Nazir's 2 against South Africa today, I realise that not only do I agree with the sentiment, I think it doesn't go far enough. I'm starting to wonder whether Nazir could even make it into the Zimbabwe team. He now has an average of 24.95 from 72 innings. The current Zimbabwean openers, Brendan Taylor and Vusi Sibanda, have averages of 28.43
and 23.88, respectively. (Which, remember, understate their talents somewhat, since neither of them have ever had the chance to, well, 'play Zimbabwe' and inflate their records.)
I don't exactly know why Pakistan have such an obsession with shielding their talent from the new ball.
They have done so ever since Saeed Anwar became a hermit a few years ago, and they were left with an ensemble cast of young, undersized wafters to rotate at the top, with varying thicknesses of monobrow and equally unfulfilled potential. And so it became that Taufeeq Umar begat Imran Farhat, who then begat Imran Nazir, who begat Salman Butt, who begat Mohammad Hafeez, who begat Kamran Akmal, and so on.
I understand the idea of trying to protect your match-winning players from the dangers of the new ball, but what good does it do to always have your worst batters leading the way? Sure, I probably wouldn't risk opening with Younis and Yusuf if I was in charge. But what's wrong with having Younis opening, Shoaib Malik coming in at 3, and then Yusuf at 5? Add some padding in between those (a Yasir Hameed here, a Misbah-ul-Haq there, an Afridi floating around), and you've got yourself a batting order. And you'll stop wasting our time with B-list poseurs like Imran Nazir.