As Pakistan succumbed to their second straight ODI defeat against New Zealand, marking poor pre-World Cup preparations, one of their young bowlers had more horror in store. Bilawal Bhatti, a 23-year-old medium pacer, conceded 93 runs from his nine overs in Pakistan's 119-run defeat to join ranks with Wahab Riaz. No other Pakistani has conceded more runs in an ODI - Riaz achieved the dubious distinction against South Africa in 2013.(Kane Williamson Slams Ton)
Bhatti, who does not feature in Pakistan's World Cup squad, was hit for 10 fours and five sixes. This shoddy performance has of course compounded problems for Pakistan, who are already without star off-spinner Saeed Ajmal along with key pacers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan. The 1992 world champions were jolted by the news of Junaid's exit on Monday and would have been counting on Bhatti to make an impact against the Kiwis to merit a World Cup selection. However, things could get tricky from here.(Match Report)
Once known for their pace prowess, Pakistan have been severely cramped in recent years. Fast bowling talents like Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were sidelined after their involvement in the spot-fixing scandal, while injury problems have taken Gul and Junaid out of the equation. This renders the Pakistani attack incredibly inexperienced - with the exception of Mohammad Irfan and to an extent Riaz, the others do not have the extra pace and bounce to cause any concern for world class batsmen.(Junaid Khan Out of World Cup)
However, Bhatti can take heart from the fact that Pakistan coach Waqar Younis had himself been clobbered for 86 runs in his 10 overs against then world champions Sri Lanka in Benoni - despite the assault Waqar continued to remain one of the most dangerous pacers in world cricket. Bhatti has time on his side and it would be no surprise if he is still called in to replace the injured Junaid for the World Cup.