Left-arm quick Junaid Khan seems to have been around in international cricket for what seems to be an eternity. Now 29 years of age, Junaid made his international debut over eight years ago but has only recently gone past the 100 international match mark.
In and out of the Pakistan side, Junaid has quite often been the fall-guy after a poor series and has never really established himself as a regular in any format and a record of 22 Tests, 74 ODIs and only 9 T20Is does seem to confirm an international career that has been stop-start.
On his day, Junaid is a match-winner who has the ability to single-handedly turn a match in Pakistan's favour, but a lack of consistency and opportunities have hampered his international performances. At this year's World Cup, Junaid will be Pakistan's most senior bowler and will be expected to lead the attack as well as guide the young pacers in a predominantly youthful pace-bowling attack for Pakistan. Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali will all be looking up to Junaid for learnings. His experience of English conditions especially after stints with English County side Lancashire will be key in guiding the young guns in the Pakistan bowling attack.
The World Cup presents Junaid with a fantastic opportunity to silence his critics and show the world that his limited opportunities for Pakistan have been an error on the part of the selectors. Pakistan's poor recent ODI form has largely been down to a lack of wickets early in the innings and if Pakistan are to have a successful World Cup then Junaid Khan's form, especially with the new ball, will be vital. Early wickets from Junaid Khan will mean that Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim can then work their magic in the middle overs, a tactic that will be crucial for Pakistan to succeed at the World Cup.