Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Kamran Akmal believes that Pakistan erred in their team selection strategy for the ongoing first Test match against England in Rawalpindi.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Akmal opined that Pakistan should have assessed the conditions before picking their playing XI. He highlighted that the side cannot afford to make such mistakes against a strong opposition like England.
"Pakistan should have kept in mind that they were facing the England team, not some 13th or 14th-ranked team," Akmal explained. "They should have selected the debutants accordingly.
"Yes, making a Test debut is a big achievement for players, and it gives immense joy to their families. However, it is better to prepare a playing XI as per the conditions and the pitch."
England won the toss and decided to bat first at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday, December 1. The visitors dominated the opening day, scoring a record-setting 506 runs for the loss of four wickets, with four batters registering centuries.
"There was no point in going with three fast bowlers on this track" - Kamran Akmal on Pakistan's playing XI
Akmal went on to say that the Babar Azam-led side should have played an extra spinner instead of picking three fast bowlers for this wicket. He suggested that 24-year-old spinner Ibrar Ahmed should have definitely been picked for the first Test.
He pointed out that the bowler had performed admirably in domestic cricket recently, and deserved to make his Test debut ahead of Zahid Mahmood. Akmal claimed the non-selection could prove to be demoralizing for Ahmed.
"Saud Shakeel and Haris Rauf deserved to be a part of the team, and the management made the right call by adding them," he added. "But Ibrar Ahmed also deserved to play. There was no point in going with three fast bowlers on this track.
"Zahid Mahmood did well two years ago, and they should have played him then when Yasir Shah was struggling with fitness and form. Instead, they bring him now, when he hasn't played a lot of matches and also doesn't have a lot of wickets to his name. Ibrar Ahmed's confidence will take a hit as he didn't get a chance."
Mahmood proved to be the most successful Pakistani bowler on Day 1, bagging two wickets in 23 overs. Apart from him, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Ali were the other two wicket-takers, picking up one scalp each.