SLEDGING IS NOT PAKISTAN’S MAIN WORRY

Pakistan take on Australia in a few hours which will commence a series of paramount significance to the Pakistanis. Firstly, Pakistan has barely played any Test cricket in the past 3 years and this series will provide a change of culture, although it is arguable that Pakistan ought to be well prepared having just played a Test series in New Zealand. Secondly, Australia is still a tough team to beat despite not being invincible anymore. Thirdly, this is a high profile series as Pakistan is playing Australia in Australia. So, let there be no doubts about how crucial this series is from Pakistan’s perspective.

The Australians do use sledging to their advantage and many critics are claiming their main weapon against Pakistan will be sledging. However, is it really Pakistan’s major worry? Batting, as always, seems to be the main worry for Pakistan and the batsmen barely performed up to mark against New Zealand. In fact, had it not been for Mohammad Asif, Pakistan could have been beaten comprehensively in all the Tests.

Make no mistake about it- Pakistan's bowling is their only saving grace

Mitchell Johnson and Sidde both feature in the top 25

Australia has a strong pace attack which can rattle the Pakistan top order easily

 Test bowlers in the world, and although this statement is perhaps not as impressive as one might consider it to be, Australia also have Bollinger who has 15 wickets in 3 Tests so far. He is a left armer which means the change of angle might unnerve Pakistan to some degree. Even though Australia does not have Clark and Lee to complement Johnson, Siddle and Bollinger can take Pakistani wickets. Yousuf has commented that Pakistanis will need to show patience, and he cannot be more right. It seems futile stating the obvious given that Pakistani openers never learn from their mistakes, but both Butt and Farhat will have to wait until the new ball stops swinging before going for their shots.

Malik and Misbah are indispensable for some reason

Due to politics Faisal Iqbal, Malik and Misbah will definitely get more chances to play than Fawad Alam, but Pakistan must not persist with these players if they make mistakes in the first Test. It is thought Malik will not play in the first Test since he is out of form and since Faisal Iqbal made a 50 in his last Test, but Yousuf has commented recently that he has high hopes with Malik and Misbah. In fact, if any of Butt, Farhat, Iqbal, Malik or Misbah make their usual mistakes, Alam must replace that player in the second Test. It goes without saying that neither Malik nor Misbah deserve to be playing for Pakistan. One can say the same for Faisal Iqbal, but he has been in and out for many years unlike Malik and Misbah who have been selected in pretty much all Test, ODI and T20 squads despite being mediocre players.

Pakistan is counting on the batting form of the Akmal brothers and Yousuf to counter the Australian bowling attack. If Umer Akmal can score runs in this series, it will be another feather in his cap and he will probably be promoted to a Category A contract. The youngster has shown he can handle pressure and he must not falter at this stage, otherwise critics will start questioning his calibre.

Bowling wise, Pakistan has some fascinating options to ponder. The pace attack consists of

It is difficult considering Ajmal as an attacking option, but he will get a chance to play if Kaneria is injured

 Aamer, Asif, Gul, Rauf and (now) Sami. There are rumours the Pakistani management might play both Kaneria and Ajmal, and there are also rumours that Kaneria has injured his finger which means he might not play. In the first Test I believe Pakistan should go for the attacking option and play Asif, Aamer and Gul. Kaneria should be the spin option. It is always best to go in the first Test using the best XI on paper. If there is need for a 5th bowling option, Yousuf can opt for Butt, Farhat or Alam- depending on who is playing.

The rest of the line up should be as follows: Butt, Farhat, Yousuf, Iqbal/Alam, Umer Akmal, Misbah/Alam, Kamran Akmal…

The toss of course plays a major part; if the pitch shows some life and Ponting decides to bowl first, then Pakistan will probably lose this Boxing Day test. If Yousuf wins however, he should bowl first- simply because Pakistanis are inexperienced in Australia and he is the only world class batsman in the team. In any event, Asif, Aamer and Gul in full slow can do damage to the Australians if the pitch is offering seam and swing. Once the ball stops swining, Kaneria can attack the middle or lower order batsmen. This is of course wishful thinking- it all depends on how the pitch is like and how the players perform on the day itself. Rest assured, though, that sledging is not Pakistan’s main worry and the batsmen need to support the bowlers and play intelligently. Otherwise, this series will end as yet another nightmare for Pakistan cricket fans, and Pakistan will see the frightening possibility of being compared with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in Tests.

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  1. #1 by Maza786 on December 25, 2009 - 2:29 PM

    The series is a mammoth test of character for our young cornered tigers. Pak will and should play 2 spinners regardless. Both Ajmal and Kaneria are in form and Australian batsmen are somewhat vulnerable against them. You need 20 wickets to win and Pak must choose their best bowlers. I am a fan of Gul but he should make way for the two spinners so they can operate in tandem and bamboozle the Aussies. I am agreeing to the opinion that we should insert the Aussies to bat had we won the toss. We must also persevere with the openers for a healthy duration of time because then only we have an indication of the future and where they stand.

    Aussies get ready and beware; the cornered tigers are on a mission!

  2. #2 by Maza786 on December 25, 2009 - 2:35 PM

    However, if Kaneria is not fully fit I would like to see him not play and Ajmal play instead. People with full 100% fitness should be given priority. It’s the way it should work in general. Nonetheless, it is believed to be a sensationalised rumour so the sources may not be trustworthy. There has been no such confirmation and we all know how the media can act these days, don’t we?

  3. #3 by newguy on December 25, 2009 - 5:29 PM

    Khansahab,

    I am eagerly waiting for the opening day of boxing day test. You nailed it when you said batting will be a huge challenge for Pakistan. As we saw even in NZ against weaker bowling attack the top order struggled. Australian bowlers will test them.

    Pakistan has the bowling attack to take 20 wickets, question is will their batsman have enough in them to put up a decent score to back up the bowlers, or chase even a modest score down in the 4th innings? I think their batting quality is questionable, remains to be seen how they will face up to the pressure created by Australians. West Indies did reasonably well, but they still lost 2-0 and they had Chris Gayle, Chanderpaul, Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo in their lineup. Who will stand up and score some hundreds for Pakistan, they need Yousuf to stand up, and possibly the Akmal brothers. The openers and number three will be critical.

    I don’t agree with you though that they should bat second in they win toss, the best strategy in Australia is to bat first and put runs on board, even if that means risking a low 1st innings score. The reason I say so is because 4th innings batting will be very tough.

  4. #4 by khansahab on December 26, 2009 - 11:20 AM

    I had expected Rauf would not be effective, and that is exactly how it turned out to be. He was the most expensive out of the mainstream Pakistan bowlers. There is no point playing a bowler like him if the ball is coming on to the bat nicely. The pitch is offering neither great swing nor exceptional bounce, hence a quick bowler like Sami would have been more effective.

    Now, Australia can definitely not lose this Test. I will not blame the fielding much because 2 dropped catches in 90 overs is nothing alarming as far as Pakistani standards are concerned. The only thing is, when a useless player like Misbah drops them you feel angry because he should not be in the team in the first place.

  5. #5 by Shoaib on December 26, 2009 - 5:55 PM

    Khansahab…… Misbah didnt just drop the catch but with shamless grin on his face. The commentators making fun of Pakistan’s fielding. 2 drop catches, 1 run out chance Mr Maulvi Alaa Hazrat didnt even attempt it. and few misfieldings…..and yeah ofcourse shamless grin.

  6. #6 by Maza786 on December 26, 2009 - 8:17 PM

    What a shocking day at the office. Pak performed like world minnows. You can’t afford to drop catches against a side of the calibre of Australia. It is fatal. Butter fingers they are. Today also we now appreciate the value of a bowler like Danish. His absence has been a costly blow. Yusuf’s captaincy has been laid back and conservative as ever, simply lacking the energy and motivational levels in the field.

    Abdur Rauf was inevitably going to be ineffective. From what I’ve seen his bowling appears to be of village cricket standards and nowhere near international cricket level. He is Ok but wasn’t the best choice available. The leading wicket takers in the recently concluded Quaid E Azam trophy should have been given recognition ahead of him i.e Mohd Irfan who I’m sure would have thrived and excelled on the Australian pitches with his extraordinary physique.

    Khansahab, Sami wasn’t eligible to play as he’s only been in the country for a certain number of hours. And BTW, do u stay up the whole night to watch the action. I suppose you do have holidays.

  7. #7 by Maza786 on December 26, 2009 - 8:20 PM

    LOL @ “Shamless”

  8. #8 by khansahab on December 26, 2009 - 8:38 PM

    Maza

    Now you are “lolling” at Shoaib’s spelling error, but have you forgotten your “I am agree” days? In fact do you remember when we used to ask you to write in Punjabi because you could write neither good English or Urdu?

    Omer

    I am agree about Ajmal- stock T20 bowler, fairly effective in ODI’s and average in Tests. To me, Rauf is a bowler who could have performed better on NZ tracks than Australia. Actually, this is a flat Melbourne wicket even for Melbourne standards. Going with Gul was just my gut instinct- he has played some domestic cricket in Australia so his experience could have helped. But I do agree, of late he has struggled to make an impression and I blame this on over exposure to T20 cricket. Maybe he just needs more exposure to international Test cricket to get back into rhythm.

    In terms of economy Gul or Sami might have been expensive, but Gul would have definitely created more chances than Rauf. A little bit more pace definitely helps on such pitches.

  9. #9 by khansahab on December 26, 2009 - 10:32 PM

    Omer

    I (am) agree with the analysis. Please tell me, don’t you feel that fans are overreacting regarding the 2 dropped catches? Isn’t this the norm for Pakistan- rather, I think the criticism should be levied on the defensive captaincy.

  10. #10 by Shoaib on December 26, 2009 - 11:49 PM

    I apologize for the spelling error, well shameless grins have changed into some lols, anyway well spoted Abdul.

  11. #11 by Mohammed Munir on December 27, 2009 - 7:15 AM

    Indian / Sri Lanka game has been ABANDONED, due to unfit pitch.

    This is how it has unfolded on the Cricinfo …

    12.30 The game has been abandoned. After lengthy discussions between the match officials, the team staff, the DDCA people and Daljit Singh, the curator, it is deemed an unfit pitch to continue on. Unfortunate for those who packed in early on a cold day but there were too many concerns from early on in the game. The variable bounce was consistent, two batsmen were hit by rising deliveries, and there was a concern that further injuries could be caused. A sad way to end the series. Watch the headlines tomorrow, and so on.

    12.05 Still no word. This has gone on for a while. Javagal Srinath, himself a match referee, says on air that it is within the rules to start an entirely new match on an adjacent strip. But Sunil Gavaskar reckons that that pitch has even more grass. Shifting all the equipment, HawkEye etc, will take too much time, and what if even that pitch is dangerous too?

    11.42 Stay with us for further updates. As soon as we get word, you will know. The match has been temporarily abandoned. Shades of this game 12 years ago in Indore, which was called off because the pitch was judged unsafe. The two teams involved then? India and Sri Lanka.

    11.38 Alan Hurst, the match referee, and the umpires walk off. Plenty of DDCA and match officials standing on the sidelines. The players are inside.

    11.35 Sorry for the confusion. We heard from the ground scorer that it was called off. That has not been confirmed, however. The DDCA officials, the umpires, the curator and the match referee are inspecting the two pitches. The crowd is very restless. Some section are chanting irate slogans.

    11.30 The coaches are out. The players are all huddled. Now they are leaving the field, slowly. A few officials are inspecting the second adjacent pitch, which doesn’t look any better. The issue is the patches of grass interspersed with patches of baldness. If the ball pitches even fractionally on either side, the result is a low delivery of a riser.

    11.20 The umpires meet to discuss the condition of the pitch. Too many deliveries have nearly knocked the batsman’s’ head off. I will say it again, its a poor pitch to play on. Sangakkara storms out and has words with Dhoni and the umpires. He does not look pleased. On replays, I see that the second that last ball spat up off a length Sangakkara and Jayawardene, sitting on the sidelines, waved at the batsmen. Now the match referee walks out. This is big. The pitch has been bad since the start, and it took this ball to draw a reaction. What about when Dilshan was hit? Dhoni is having a lot to say as well. Plenty of chat.

    I really do not understand why must India do this, and that too after already winning the series 😆

    This is definitely not good for Indian Cricket 😦

    BTW, this is not the first time as it happened in a India Vs Sri Lanka game … look at this …

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64568.html

  12. #12 by khansahab on December 27, 2009 - 7:55 AM

    Omer

    We could have predicted the script- I said the top order would struggle and Farhat and Iqbal clearly did. If the pitch had offered a little more pace and bounce, Butt would not have been able to score over 20.

    Anyway, it is difficult for Pakistan to now score over 300 and Australia will be aiming to get them all out on day 3. It is a fantastic chance for Australia to give them a target of 500+ and then get them out. They will not be able to get past 350- this batting line up cannot do that which is why they need bowlers to get Australia out under 300.

  13. #13 by khansahab on December 27, 2009 - 7:56 AM

    In the next Test I think Fawad Alam should replace Farhat and Malik might replace Iqbal. Iqbal is a better Test player than Malik though. I don’t think they will drop Misbah.

    This is quite embarrassing, that on this relatively easier batting pitch Ponting declared at 450 whereas Australia could have made another 100 runs before declaring and they could have aimed for an innings victory. But, this shows what people think about the calibre of the Pakistan team.

  14. #14 by Mohammed Munir on December 27, 2009 - 8:02 AM

    India Vs Sri Lank … Abondoned Match.

    From Cricinfo …

    1.10 Interesting bit of information our bulletin writer has just dug up. Per the ICC’s Code of Conduct, after the first occasion of a venue producing a pitch unfit for play the immediate punishment is, and I quote: “A suspension of the venue’s international status for a period of between 12 and 24 months together with a directive for appropriate remedial action and the need for prior ICC re-accreditation as an international venue.”

    Now that leaves the Kotla’s holding any matches in the 2011 World Cup in the balance. 😆

  15. #15 by khansahab on December 27, 2009 - 8:06 AM

    Omer

    You have often commented that my predictions come wrong, although most of the times they come right. Anyway, I had commented on Pakspin that after Yousuf’s dream run in 2006, his form will deteriorate and he will not be the same player. His form has been average since 2007, he is making a 50 here and there but that is more to do with retaining his place in the team.

    I really think he is past his prime and he may retire in 2010, depending on which teams Pakistan is playing. On paper he is 35, when he turns 36 it will be an OK time for him to retire I think.

  16. #16 by khansahab on December 27, 2009 - 9:27 AM

    Omer

    Erm, when did I write Ajmal is an attacking spinner? Did I not mention in the thread that it is hard to consider him as an attacking option?

    I think you are again mistaking me for Javed A Khan who said that Ajmal should replace Kaneria if Afridi is playing?

  17. #17 by Mohammed Munir on December 27, 2009 - 9:33 AM

    BTW, where is Javed Khan these days ?

    That is, if Khansahab is not Javed A Khan 😉

  18. #18 by khansahab on December 27, 2009 - 9:40 AM

    Munir sahab

    He is busy due to some personal commitments and he may write (albeit briefly) in the next few days. But, he will return to his normal style in about a week or so.

  19. #19 by khansahab on December 27, 2009 - 9:50 AM

    Pakistanis are now not wasting any opportunity to criticise the 2 dropped catches and the pitch.

    These are just lame excuses- the bottom line is that Rauf and Ajmal should not have been played on this track and that the standard of batting is below average.

    Even good fielding teams drop 2 catches in a day, and if this track is such a batting paradise why the F is it not one for the Pakistani batsmen?

    I knew we would see some statement from Inti Alam to blame the pitch and that is exactly what he did. They are a bunch of sore losers and there is so much politics and nepotism that they can’t select players on merit.

  20. #20 by Mohammed Munir on December 27, 2009 - 11:30 AM

    Khansahab …

    Intikhab Alam is not blaming the pitch, rather he is openly blaming our batters as well as fielding.

    This is what he said …

    Intikhab Alam: “We have made things difficult for ourselves. It is still a very good batting track. Our openers did well, but then they threw their wickets away”

    Intikhab said. “But we have made things difficult for ourselves. It is still a very good batting track. Our openers did well, but then they threw their wickets away and this is not a pitch where you can give wickets away when chasing 454. ”

    “Misbah is still there as is Kamran Akmal and the young Umar [Akmal], who is very exciting, is still there and Mohammad Aamer can bat as well. They have to stay at the wicket and try to get near this total. You can never tell in this game. Funny things happen. We just have to make sure that we stay at the wicket and fight it out. It is still a very good wicket”.

    “I don’t think I have seen a wicket like this at MCG. It is a drop-in pitch, but I haven’t seen one like it. It is still good for batting. It is slow and not turning either. There is occasional bounce, but we would’ve played two spinners here but [Danish] Kaneria got hurt and we have missed him in this game.”

    “Our fielding was very disappointing and it is the weakest deparment of our game,” Intikhab said. “Had we taken two early catches it would’ve been different. This is a grassroots problem in Pakistan and people don’t take it seriously enough, but we are trying. The problem has been there for a very long time. We are trying to sort it out in Pakistan but there is not enough emphasis on fielding at domestic level yet.”

  21. #21 by Shoaib on December 27, 2009 - 6:40 PM

    Pakistan cricket team and the fielding coach….do they practice how to stop 4s, how to dive, how to catch in the slip and how to tackle the running catches.

    Commentators are laughing and having fun, club level cricket from Pakistan, I dunno why but i am missing Wasim, Moin, Waqar and Saqlain Mushtaq era, which wasn’t the best one but people used to take Pakistani cricketers more seriously.

  22. #22 by Maza786 on December 28, 2009 - 6:33 PM

    Pakistan’s chances of saving this test are difficult but not impossible. Shane Warne and Bill Lawry raised an interesting point during the commentary stints that Pakistan shouldn’t get too bogged down or muted in their approach because it’s not their natural flare. I agree with this. Firstly you shouldn’t do something which is too unnatural but more importantly Pakistan should keep playing their shorts and keep the scoreboard ticking over regularly because then the pressure is released which should naturally make it easier for one to stay at the wicket and occupy the crease which is the overall goal. However, if the batsmen are too muted in their approach the bowlers tend to develop into a dominant rhythmical mood which makes a dismissal more likely. So Pakistan shouldn’t go into a nut shell and play how they would naturally but obviously don’t do anything stupid or out of proportion because that is the last thing which is required. Someone needs to play a champion knock. Who will it be if anyone?

    But above all good to see Pakistan showing some fight and magic on the field today, that’s what we want to see on a more regular basis during the series. I adored that counter attack from Umar this morning. He has immediately created an impression down under. He has immense talent at a tender age and in my enlightened opinion could become the next Ponting or Tendulkar. His determination and positiveness is truly admirable and his career is only in its infancy.

  23. #23 by khansahab on December 28, 2009 - 6:43 PM

    Maza

    What an inspiring piece of prose! Today you have proven you are the most ecstatic and flamboyant commentator who will not stop at putting vision before our eyes.

    I am totally agree Pakistan should keep on playing their shorts, because if they don’t keep the shorts on, their underwears will be exposed!!!

  24. #24 by Shoaib on December 29, 2009 - 4:04 AM

    Javed Khan

    Welcome back! It has been quite a while to see you in action, nice to see you back. Javed Khan I thought you would join us in the second test with (Akhrot) Khan.

    Pakistan players are doing what they can do. Bunch of enthusiastic boys, they too like to play sly games outside, no one trained them ever how to field. Waqar Younis is sitting outside having sunbath with open ”Chaddeys” scratching his knees like he has got ”khurk” in his shorts.

  25. #25 by Mohammed Munir on December 29, 2009 - 5:56 AM

    Javed Khan …

    LOL @ ‘bad bitch’

    Welcome back Javed, yes we did miss you on LS, but I am a bit surprised as to where could you possibly go for your breaks that you don’t have TV, Internet and even Radio ? Hope ‘they’ are not grounding you at home ? 😉

    Maza …

    You should also keep playing in your shorts. 😆

    Khansahab …

    I was waiting for you to appreciate Misbah for his first innings 65 n.o. but you disappointed me 😛

    On Match …

    Even if we fight well and loose, I think it is ok, rather then going down humiliatingly. I mean look at it this, the West Indians lost the series 2 – 0, but still everybody liked the way they played/ fought and there were a lot of positives in their games. This is what Pakistan should aim for.

    BTW, a target of 422 seems too much, Balkay, three much, four much, hundred much for our team. In reply to this, and as expected, the openers are gone cheaply and Iqbal and Yousuf are batting, for now.

  26. #26 by Mohammed Munir on December 29, 2009 - 7:26 AM

    Stumps – Day 4 …

    Pakistan are 170 for 3 in 45 over with a run rate of 3.77, which is quite positive play. Pakistan is requiring another 252 runs for an elusive victory on the fifth and final day of this first Test. At stumps, Mohammad Yousuf was playing at 45 while Umar Akmal is on 27.

    Tomorrow first session will be absolutely crucial and if Yousuf and Umar play sensibly and carefully and bat upto lunch, the match will go toward an interesting finish.

    As of now the match is well poised, I would say slightly tilted toward Australia’s favour, but the important thing is Pakistan at 170 for 3 are in a better position then expected.

  27. #27 by Maza786 on December 29, 2009 - 9:46 AM

    I am curious to know if Ricky Ponting regrets the early declaration. The thought of a Pakistani victory must be a scare ringing through the brain cell of the Aussie skipper overnight. The pitch is still good enough for batting and hasn’t deteriorated a great deal but ultimately the approach and positive intent didn’t really allow Australia to dominate their superior situation. Pakistan have shown determination and fight today which is a positive to take away into the next match regardless of what happens on the final day. I said it before the series that a victory would be a bonus. Hard fought action , moments of brilliance and positive intent should be our ultimate vision against the Aussies and Pakistan have shown many colourful glimpses of that is this test match.

    If Pakistan pull off the further 252 runs required that would be heroic and historic. But that should be their goal. They should go for it. A draw is not going to happen. Pak have to go out there and build partnerships, play their shots and put up a real fight which is what they did today. They shouldn’t be put off by the mammoth requirement as records and there to be broken.

    However, having said that all Pakistan’s batting can collapse like a pack of domino cards. But as an optimist I back Pakistan to achieve the target. What drama that would be.

  28. #28 by amir on December 29, 2009 - 9:56 AM

    hi all i am from pakistan staying in southafrica i often visit ur website and find ur coments very interesting as pakistan team suporter i really want pakistan to win this match and i think that we had a good chance needing 252 and 7 wickets in hand from here on mentle toughness is going to count more then anything else pitch is flat and aussie attack is not as it used to be so if moulana and umer gona survive till lunch they are going to give others good launching pad to win what you guys think

  29. #29 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 29, 2009 - 3:36 PM

    Hi amir

    welcome to the blog, so what do you do in Johannesburg? Winning this match is not impossible for Pakistan but I must say it is a FISHFUL SINKING …. 😀

  30. #30 by amir on December 29, 2009 - 8:55 PM

    thanks javed A.Khan i am in johenesburg n got a electronics buisness i do agree with u that we need to strengthen our bowling we should call afridi but plz no akhter i dnt knw why people dnt get tired of this guy c’mon the guy is 33 or 34 over wieght,passed his best long ago, not fit enough to bowl 20 overs a day specialy in southeren hemisphere’s summer heat he is not going to bowl even a five over spell at ful pace i think sohail khan,muhammed irfan or talha are much better options then mr acting fast bowler i knw they are not experienced enough but there is no better way to give them experience against one of the best side in the world if aamir can do it these guys can do it also

  31. #31 by khansahab on December 29, 2009 - 10:52 PM

    Omer

    In my opinion there are 2 factors as to why Pakistan has managed to put up a fight in this Test:

    1) Butt has managed to score more than 30, given the flat nature of the pitch

    2) Shoaib Malik is not playing and Misbah made a 50.

    Batting is Pakistan’s principal weakness and the above 2 factors have helped considerably.

    Misbah’s selection is already guaranteed for the next 6 months due to his 50 in the first innings, but he has a chance to redeem himself by playing an authoritative knock and taking Pakistan close to victory. His main problem has been that he has been playing too much politics in the team and his batting has been selfish over the years. But we seldom doubted his talent, save of course that he struggles against the new ball.

    Umer Akmal was lucky to be dropped and now he has to capitalise fully and keep the scoreboard ticking. It goes without saying that Yousuf has to play the anchor role. Kamran Akmal should also bat responsibly as he is arguably in the best batting form of his career. Pakistan need another 250 odd runs- Pakistan has a good chance to make as many runs in the next 35 overs as possible before the new ball comes into play. If they can score 125+ runs without losing more than 1 or 2 wickets, they can win. So, the next 30 odd overs are very important and Umer Akmal and Yousuf will be challenged mentally.

  32. #32 by khansahab on December 29, 2009 - 11:02 PM

    Faisal Iqbal made 48, which is neither bad nor great considering the circumstances. However, he has probably done enough to secure a place for the next Test. Now the essential question is- when is Younis Khan arriving in Australia and whether he will play in the 2nd Test?

    If Younis plays, which he should, Pakistan would have to make Iqbal open with Butt and use Younis at no 3. If Iqbal can make at least 30 runs when opening, he will have done a reasonable job since Farhat is quite unreliable.

    The best thing to do would be to use Fawad Alam as opener as he played really well against the new ball when he made that century.

  33. #33 by khansahab on December 29, 2009 - 11:08 PM

    Munir sahab

    To answer your question regarding Misbah:

    If he makes 1 fifty or plays one good knock under pressure, it does not mean I should start praising him. If Saeed Ajmal had taken 3 wickets in Australia’s 2nd innings, I would not have changed my earlier statement to say that he is a good Test bowler.

    Misbah has been playing continuous Test cricket for the past 2 years and his performance is out there in the open for everyone to judge. He has not proven to be a solid, consistent player who can perform against the new ball or under pressure. As I have said earlier, he has only played 1 good Test innings so far- that 160 odd against India which was made on a flat track, but it was a good innings nonetheless. This 65 vs Australia was good, but it was not like a huge century on a seaming track so I don’t think it deserves exceptional praise. He is only doing this to secure his position for the 2nd Test- he needs to do much more to show us that he is doing this for the team and that he is a good player.

    Having said that, he is a better batsman than Malik. I would like to see how he plays at no 3 and whether he can outperform Iqbal, against this Australian side. Maybe Iqbal can bat better than Misbah at no 6?

  34. #34 by khansahab on December 29, 2009 - 11:21 PM

    Omer

    Look at this bowling spell of Mitchell Johnson:

    youtube.com/watch?v=B3afe2wpA4c&feature=related

    He destroys the Indian top order. The match is being played on a relatively flat subcontinental pitch; look at his pace, and the way he sets up each batsman. Look at that delivery that bowls Pathan- it was reminiscent of Wasim Akram. And the way he entices Tendulkar to edge that fuller delivery, and the way he catches Yuvraj off guard.

  35. #35 by khansahab on December 29, 2009 - 11:40 PM

    Munir sahab

    I would like to know your opinion on Misbah now? I hope you will not disappoint me? 🙂

    I just praised Johnson a while ago when I pasted that URL, and he has now taken 2 wickets in 2 balls. Clearly, one of the best Test bowlers in the world.

  36. #36 by khansahab on December 29, 2009 - 11:45 PM

    Misbah crumbled under pressure, showed he is plain mediocre.

    Why do the regionally biased keep insisting on his selection in the team? Does this guy look like he can play quality Test cricket?

    Why are Malik and Misbah always selected in every Test squad?

  37. #37 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 30, 2009 - 1:29 AM

    What kinda player Abdur Rauf is?

    Bowler?
    Batsman?
    Fielder?
    Rishtaydaar of the selectors?
    Or, just a plain Dugga?

    Like I have said Misbah has guaranteed his place for the whole series with that 65 not out and his FIRST BALL ZERO in the second innings means nothing to the selectors, it is like, yae tou hotaa hee hai.

    Sami is called in but, sitting out and Rauf is playing for God knows what reasons? He should not have been in the squad at all. Abdul Razzaq is a zillion times better than him.

    Younus Khan is on his way, as if he alone is going to win the series? Common idiot selectors, send Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi too for the remaining two tests.

  38. #38 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 30, 2009 - 1:35 AM

    Umar Akmal’s wicket was costlier than anyone else. Had he stayed till lunch Pakistan may have posted may be 30-40 more runs without the loss of any wicket. Now, it is 249/8. Haddin had to bend down to get a low catch to dismiss Umar Akmal, whereas the next ball Misbah gave his wicket in a silver platter to Haddin, right into the gloves he didn’t even get to move an inch to grab the ball at waist level. Pathetic Misbah.

  39. #39 by amir on December 30, 2009 - 8:07 AM

    what a shame we lost again last 7 wickets fell for only 70 odd runs only consistency our team got is collapsing in the same manner we did it same against SL and NZ and now same against aussies. if they play like that why pcb have to pay these guys a fortune to break the heart of whole nation i dont think these dumb fcuks take any pride in playing for thier country only wory for them is to cement place in the team i really feel sory for aamir the boy bowled his heart out to see these idiots giving away thier wickets like that. its not going to take long he and umer are also going to become like them we need to change the whole culture of this team

  40. #40 by amir on December 30, 2009 - 8:41 AM

    Omer this series is a gonner i dnt see pakistan wining last 2 matches even draws looks a distance away so what purpose its going to serve by playing old guns like shoaib and on top of all his bad habbits and attitude will have a nagetive impact on all the young ones in the team remember what he did to asif in my opinion best team for sydney is SALMAN, Akmal,Yunis,Yousaf, Umer, Misbah,Afridi/razzak, Aamir, Sami, Danish, Asif in this team we have 5 batsman 1 allrounder 2 semi allrounders in aamir and sami and well balanced bowling attack if moulana yousif can personely phone yunis i dnt understand why he cnt do the same with afridi who is in australia playing T20 bigbash Aussies are keeping same team so wicket is going to be same just a bit with more spin in it

  41. #41 by khansahab on December 30, 2009 - 9:01 AM

    Omer

    When did I saw Johnson is comparable to, or better than Akram? I just said one ball of his to Pathan reminded me of Wasim Akram.

    I don’t know why you look at my comments over-critically, so much so that you totally misinterpret them. If I praise Gambhir, you start saying that he is not a legend. If I praise Johnson, you start saying that I am comparing him with Wasim Akram! Can you snap out of this please?

    You are right in saying that I dislike Wasim Akram, but it does not mean I will compare a relatively inexperienced bowler with an all-time great.

  42. #42 by khansahab on December 30, 2009 - 9:04 AM

    What a slap on the face of Salman Butt, who spoke so highly of his friend Saeed Ajmal and said that Ajmal is better than Hauritz (before the Test)? But Ajmal ended up underperforming in this match and Hauritz not only shone with the ball but also the bat.

    By the way, it was recently revealed on a TV programme that Misbah is the one on whose recommendation Saeed Ajmal was selected to play for the international side.

  43. #43 by Mohammed Munir on December 30, 2009 - 9:32 AM

    Khansahab …

    Since you have disappointed me in not appreciating Misbah in the first inning, now I have to disappoint you with not criticizing his second innings 😉

    Misbah may not be the best thing in our batting lineup but seeing our, whatever options we have, I think Misbah is definitely better then Shoaib Malik, surely better then Faisal Iqbal and, to me, he will be comparable with Fawad Alam (that is if we take bowling out of Fawad). What I mean to say by this is that Fawad Alam is a good bowler and if we do not use him in bowling department and considering only his batting, he and Misbah are more or less comparable. I think, Fawad’s biggest plus point is his left arm slow bowling, but unfortunately, no Captain (neither Younis nor Yousus) is ready to consider him as bowling option.

    BTW, my team selection for the second Test match will be like this …

    Imran Farhat / Salman Butt (second option)
    Fawad Alam
    Younis Khan
    Mohammed Yousuf
    Umar Akmal
    Misbah-ul-Haq / Saeed Ajmal (second option)
    Kamran Akmal
    Mohammed Aamir
    Umer Gul
    Danish Kaneria
    Mohammed Asif

    One out of Farhat and Salman to open along with Fawad who will be a good option with his handy bowling.

    If Fawad is played, there is not much need for Saeed Ajmal (as Saeed also did not impress with his bowling in the first Test) and Fawad will support as fifth bowler (second spinner along with Kaneria as main spinner). While we can also try Younis Khan with his ‘lethal’ bowling attack (from Sri Lankan tour). This way, having Misbah in the team will keep supporting our weaker area of batting.

    The other option is to play Saeed Ajmal as a specialist fifth bowler in place of Misbah, but for this we have to agree to weaken our batting line. Since we have been saying that playing five regular bowlers and trying two spinners will be a good idea at SCG, we can play Saeed Ajmal, but Saeed will be my second option and I would still like to go in with Misbah as Fawad and Younis can provide us with bowling options.

    PS: Did anyone notice that Haurits (an Australian night-watchman) scored higher then any of our super duper batmen could score in either innings of the match ? What a shame … 😦

  44. #44 by khansahab on December 30, 2009 - 9:42 AM

    Munir sahab

    Either you think too highly of Misbah or too low of Fawad Alam.

    You have to realise that unlike all the other players, Alam had to wait 3 years to get his debut. And there was always a sword dangling over his head in that, one error and there was talks of dropping him. It is extremely difficult for a youngster to cement his place in the side if he is expected to score in every match, especially when players like Malik and Misbah are not dropped after constantly failing.

    The 168 he made on a seaming track shows that he can play swing- he has the ability, but he also needs to be given the confidence to exercise that ability more often. If he is just kept in and out of the team like they have treated him so far, that can kill his confidence.

    That 168 he made was a thousand times better than any knock ever played by Misbah and Malik. And on that basis alone, Alam needs to be kept in the team and given the confidence that he will stay even if he fails a few times.

    I don’t want to be fickle in jumping on the bandwagon and praising Misbah if he makes one 50 in 10 innings, in the same way I don’t want to criticise Fawad Alam if he has failed in his last few innings. We have to think long term- Fawad Alam has shown he can do wonders, he just needs support of people like you to become the next big thing. In fact, you are killing Pakistan cricket and speaking like the Regionally Biased by saying that Misbah is the same as Alam!

  45. #45 by Maza786 on December 30, 2009 - 10:28 AM

    What kind of player is Abdur Rauf? They guy can’t bat, bowl or field. Never did he deserve to be granted a test cap or get anywhere near international recognition. He has played his last match for Pakistan.

  46. #46 by Maza786 on December 30, 2009 - 10:36 AM

    Pakistan need to make some changes for the SCG test. Rauf is obviously out. I hope Younis comes back and therefore replaces Faisal. Pakistan have a massive problem with their tail. It starts too early. Good teams tails wag. But the Pakistan tail is hopeless. A bowling all rounder is essential. Someone like Rana Naved or Yasir Arafat. This is the solution to the problem with our team balance. Even Sami because he is capable of scoring a 30 or 40 with the bat at number 8 or 9. Aamer is still too young and hasn’t yet developed fully in the batting department to be classified as a bowling all rounder.

  47. #47 by Maza786 on December 30, 2009 - 10:41 AM

    Khansahab, believe it or not Fawad Alam’s attitude is shocking. He is a good player but attitude goes along way. As a 12th man he has been irresponsible and at times mischievous. It is believed that he is on a final warning.

  48. #48 by Maza786 on December 30, 2009 - 11:05 AM

    Khansahab, Ajmal is ineffective in test matches because he bowls too flat. He is good at keeping the run rate down and that’s why he’s such an asset in limited overs cricket but in test matches he is predictable. But then again, at the same time the Aussies played him very well.

    Reasons why we lost this test:

    1) Drop catches on day one. This put us on the back foot and was influential in the difference in margin between the two sides.
    2) Pakistan’s tail not “wagging”.
    3) Simply the brilliance of Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and Nathan Hauritz. Just were too good for us at the end of the day.

    But then again there were some positive signs:

    1) Aamer bagging the 5 for in the second innings. This was a record and personal best.
    2) Umar Akmal’s 50 in the first innings. His intent throughout was promising.
    3) Kamran Akmal’s batting. He was looking in splendid touch and played some wonderful shots. His day may come soon.

  49. #49 by Shoaib on December 30, 2009 - 11:37 AM

    Rauf and Farhat Out… Afridi, Younas In……….Afridi can play longer inning than Farhat.

    Khan Sahab is this you in the photo this time?

  50. #50 by Mohammed Munir on December 30, 2009 - 12:32 PM

    Khansahab …

    To me, Fawad Alam without his bowling, is more or less same as Misbah and I am as free to hold my opinion as is anyone else who likes it or not.

    You think or even call me Regionally Biased, but your support for Alam is hundred times more then me supporting Misbah, but I still would not prefer to call you Regionally Biased … did it ever occur to you why ?

    On the other hand, I never really supported Misbah, but I think, out of the players we have on hand on Australian tour, Misbah deserves a place in the team, ahead of Malik and Faisal.

    Fawad have played three Tests with six innings, does he have anything to talk about other then that 168 made on a “SEAMING TRACK” in Sri Lanka ? Well, his total Test score in 6 innings is 250, and if we take that one inning of 168 away, Fawad scored only 82 runs in 5 innings at an average of 16.40. Similarly, he already played 14 ODIs and have only one 50 to his credit. How many more chances and how much support does he need to become ‘next big thing’ ?

    Faisal Iqbal is playing in the team for exactly as long as Misbah or Malik, and he still is as hopeless as on day one, but I rarely see you pointing towards the reasons for his being included in the team. Well the thing is, Faisal Iqbal is with the team for exact same reasons, or may be even more, that Misbah and Malik are.

    Let me clarify myself on these four players Fawad, Faisal, Misbah and Malik. I would like to rate them as following …

    Fawad Alam (without bowling) = Misbah-ul-Haq
    Shoaib Malik
    Faisal Iqbal

  51. #51 by Mohammed Munir on December 30, 2009 - 1:02 PM

    Omer …

    We all very well know why Faisal Iqbal is in the team, but his case is not as much ‘discussed’ as we love to blame and curse Misbah and Malik here on LS.

    Fasial is also worst than Farhat and Salman, but I guess that is fine too.

    What I think about Misbah is that the Captain (Yousuf and even Younis before him) feel comfortable with Misbah being in the team as a senior player, whereas Faisal and Malik have their own reasons to play.

    I really feel sorry for Fawad, as he on the other hand, he is neither a bundle of brilliance like Umar Akmal or Aamir to become an automatic selection for the team nor is he having any ‘parchi’ like Faisal or Malik.

    I fully agree with your ‘parchi’ list of Farhat, Faisal, Malik and Butt. I think you are also right about Rauf and Sami, to some extent. IMO, the power of their ‘parchi’ is as below:

    1- Faisal Iqbal
    2- Imran Farhat
    3- Shoaib Malik
    4- Salman Butt
    5- Mohammed Sami
    6- Abdur Rauf

    While if we have to see the relative acceptabilitiy of these players in the Pakistan’s Test team, then I think they shall be as :

    Imran Farhat (first choice of these four)

    Salman Butt (second choice)

    Shoaib Malik (third choice)

    Mohammed Sami (fourth choice)

    Abdur Rauf (fifth choice)

    Faisal Iqbal (last choice, if all others are dead) 😉

  52. #52 by Mohammed Munir on December 30, 2009 - 1:29 PM

    LOL @ “Khan Sahab is this you in the photo this time?”

    Yes, Shoaib, I guess you are right ? 😆

  53. #53 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 30, 2009 - 4:36 PM

    This is what one of the Pakistani Selectors have said on Younus Khan’s inclusion in the team:

    “The Pentangular is happening and that would be a good way for him (Younus Khan) to play and get some practice. The Sydney Test is looking very unlikely right now and no decision was taken today. And who will he replace there? Various batsmen have scored some runs here so it might be unfair to drop them.

    The highlighted text above is such a regionally biased statement, it could only come from a Jingoist’s Gingivitis Mouth because it spreads the stench like a skunky phoo. He never thought of saying this when Fawad Alam was dropped when he scored more runs than Butt and Farhat combined together.

    Does he mean to say that Farhat, Butt and Faisal Iqbal are better than Younus Khan or, Misbah who scored a 50 after 14 innings is better than Younus Khan? Younus Khan will add strength in the batting department but, the bowling side needs to be strengthened further by axing Abdur Rauf and Ajmal both.

  54. #54 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 30, 2009 - 4:41 PM

    “Khan Sahab is this you in the photo this time?”

    Shoaib & Munir

    That’s him when he was photographed in Karachi during the load shedding, even the camera flash didn’t work.

  55. #55 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 30, 2009 - 4:46 PM

    Khansahab, believe it or not Fawad Alam’s attitude is shocking. He is a good player but attitude goes along way. As a 12th man he has been irresponsible and at times mischievous. It is believed that he is on a final warning. Abdul

    What is the meaning of a final warning in Fawad Alam’s case? Will they demote him to 13th man? All the better for him not to carry gloves or a bottle of water for those nincompoops who are good for nothing A holes. Besides, people like Intikhab Alam and Yawar Saeed should act like grown up men instead they are simply arrogant old farts messing around with the team selection with their biased opinions, personal likes and dislikes. They should be fired without any warning.

  56. #56 by Shoaib on December 30, 2009 - 11:29 PM

    lol@ Javed Khan’s description……..hmmmm So Khansahab is from Karachi.
    You know it makes me sad. Every single person on this blog is raising voice against the injustice, ‘safarish’, parchee and corruption. We are like ‘Awaam’ and PCB acts like our typical corrupt government and they have always been an element of the ruler party . Nothing is going to change, but it’s factual that we cannot stop raising our voice. That reminds me the advert of GEO TV talk show in which the guy says ‘’There is no difference between Dictator’s Democracy and Democratic Dictators, they are all the same nothing’s going to change but we cannot just sit down and watch’’
    I congratulate here everyone who is protesting against the corruption of PCB

  57. #57 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 31, 2009 - 5:16 AM

    Shoaib, Load Shedding and Karachi are synonymous and it was just a figure of speech and khansahab is from ManChestErr 😀

    On corruption in Pakistan one of the poets I guess it was Syed Ahmad Jaffery who mimicked Iqbal’s Shikwa, rather it was a parody of Shikva in which he said:

    Rishwatain Chalteen hain yahan
    Jaisay Gulistaan may Naseem.

    something something Altaf O Ameem.

    And, Ibne Insha once wrote about the quality of leaders in Pakistan

    Har Shaaq pay Ullu Baitha hai
    Anjaam-e- Gulistaan kya hoga?

    I think Ullu is a more respectable word, one should say Butt…..baitha hai aur vo bhee super glue laga ker

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