Which team will win PSL 8?
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Ijaz Ahmed talks exclusively to PP about Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq and T20 cricket.

by Pakpassion Staff


Speaking exclusively to PakPassion.Net; ex-Pakistani superstar Ijaz Ahmed reveals that he's a big fan of T20 cricket. Ijaz who was affectionately known as the axe-man, due to his ferocious hitting style, thinks that the fans have voted with their feet by turning up in large numbers to watch T20 games.

He believes it's the fast paced and aggressive nature of this game with it's constant twists and turns that has made it so popular. He says that in T20 cricket almost all the games are very close and a good 2 or 3 overs at any point in the game can completely change the match situation. It's this unpredictability that catches the fans imagination and leads to thrilling cricket being played.

But it's the Pakistan v India final of 2007 that Ijaz names as the reason for the sudden popularity of T20 cricket, especially in the subcontinent. He says the final was an exciting once in a lifetime match that went down to the wire and neither team were out of it till Sreesanth took that catch in the final over. However Ijaz would like to stress that Test cricket is still the ultimate form of cricket because it is more about skill than about luck. In test cricket it takes more than a good 2 or 3 overs to turn a match and players are truly tested to their limits.

When I mention to Ijaz that he was playing T20 cricket before it was invented, he cant help but chuckle and say "yes I would've liked this version of the game, I was a pretty good hitter in my day"

When I ask Ijaz whether in this form of the game he'd be a lower order striker or an opening pinch hitter, he reminds me that in the second half of his career (post 1994) he was averaging over 40 in both forms of cricket when playing at 3 in Tests or 4 in ODIs. Ijaz believes that he'd have relished playing at number 3 because that's where your best batsman for the format should be playing.

That's why Ijaz is adamant that Misbah should be batting no lower than number 4, whats the use of your best batsman coming in with only 3 or 4 overs left asks Ijaz. It makes no tactical sense for Misbah not to face the most number of deliveries possible.

But that's not all that's wrong with this team says Ijaz, he strongly believes that the selectors were wrong in selecting Younis and Malik for this format as he believes they aren't suited to this type of cricket. Ijaz believes that if Younis admits that he isnt suited to T20 cricket and rests himself for the rest of the tournament then he would get a lot of respect for that decision.

After all argues Ijaz, didnt Younis rest himself against Australia in Dubai? That was an acknowledgement that this wasnt his type of game so he would only gain more respect by resting himself and letting someone more suited take his place in the XI.

However Ijaz believes that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Pakistan in the form of Razzaq's return. Ijaz thinks that Razzaq can be the catalyst that Pakistan need to get their title challenge off the ground. Razzaq has an aura about him and is a game changer, he will upset opposition gameplans claims Ijaz.

Ijaz is quietly confident about Pakistan's chances to win the cup, he points out that teams who start out poorly often hit form just before the semi final stage and then become very hard to beat.