Pakistan has won the crucial match against Sri Lanka who were tipped not only as favourites but, as potential world cup winners. Whereas, Pakistan were not only underdogs but, they are not even a full side, yet they won. The irony is the so-called ex-greats of Pakistan cricket, starting from Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja, Zaheer Abbass are all criticizing Afridi for one reason or the other. The most venomous comments came from Wasim Akram during the match, as a commentator he is not supposed to criticize his own team captain. Who the hell he think he is? A commentator needs to be liberal and fair not biased and prejudiced against a certain players owing to jingoism.
Afridi is not only an aggressive captain but, he is also a good communicator with his players, he was constantly talking to his bowlers, fielders all the time. Wasim Akram doesn’t like that, he said this at least 3 times that, Afridi should leave the bowlers alone and not talk to them. If Afridi, leaves them alone and if the bowlers are not bowling in the right spot or not according to the field, then these very people will say, Afridi must talk to his bowlers and tell them to bowl in the right spot and arrange the field accordingly. In other words their job is to criticize either way. And, the main reason is they don’t like him. It would be very blunt to say this, but it is a fact, if Afridi was from Punjab they would have left no stone unturned in showering praise and accolades. The other reason is Afridi does not listen to them, he may say OK Wasim Bhai, but he will do what he thinks is best and that is his nature. You cannot take away stripes from a tiger or spots from a leopard.
Besides, Wasim is such a hypocrite and a big liar that he doesn’t remember what he blabbed a few days ago? Along with Rameez he was boasting about the dressing room atmosphere and the camaraderie of the 1992 squad under Imran Khan’s leadership. Knowing that Imran is politically an important figure in Pakistan now, Wasim was trying to butter him by saying, Imran Bhai is such a great leader that when we were playing in the 1992 WC, in the absence of Waqar Younus he relied solely on me as a bowler and he used to guide me on and off the field. And, on the field he used to give me tips after every ball that I used to bowl. Now, he negates his own statement and finds Afridi as a culprit for talking to his teammates.
My word of advise to Afridi is not to pay any heed to these oldies, because they are attention seekers and they want to be in the limelight and keep giving stupid statements to the press or keep blabbering controversies on the TV programmes and while they are commentating only to gain cheap popularity.
As regards the team Pakistan there is nothing much one can do in changing the players from the squad, if the same players are shuffled in batting order, they can be utilized better. For example, Abdul Razzaq and or, Umar Akmal must come at number 4 so that they get more overs to play and make use of the first 15 overs power play i.e., in case of early wicket loss. Misbah and Younus Khan are so far doing a reasonably good job but, they need to accelerate the run rate a little more otherwise, there is no use scoring 50 odd runs each and playing till the 45-46th over and putting up a total of only 210-215 runs. By the time they reach the 45th over the total must at least be 260 and it is possible if, the top order plays aggressively by using the power hitters up the order. Then the final total can be over 300.
The batting power play is generally delayed because most teams are afraid of losing the momentum if they take it early. For e.g., Pakistan took it late and scored 36 runs in 5 overs. Today, India took it early and they not only lost the momentum but scored only 32 runs in 5 overs. And that is because Tendulkar got out during the power play and thereafter wickets started falling at regular intervals. England too had a disastrous batting power play. It is a kinda double edged sword which may or may not work in favour of the batting side. Because, it definitely restricts the singles as all the fielders are within the circle and the bowling team brings on their best bowlers and when the batsmen cannot take singles, they get under pressure and play airy shots assuming they have to simply place it over the in-fielder’s heads but, they end up giving simple catches. Therefore, the batting power play must be chosen according to the situation, I would definitely like to chose it early and advise the players not to get frustrated or under pressure and play erratic shots. But, play according to the merit of the ball.
Afridi you are doing a great job by keeping the team united, don’t pay any attention to these so called greats, because they aren’t anymore, once upon a time they were and with time the game has changed. Gone are the days when a total of 240-250 was defend-able and considered as a match winning total. Or, when batting second keep scoring in singles and doubles and keep wickets in hand and then slog in the last 10 overs. These days a total of 340 is not defend-able. Therefore, don’t be defensive the best defense is offense but, not the way you hit every ball, play sensibly and don’t try to hit six on every ball. Your bowling form is great don’t let it slip from your hand, GO AFRIDI GO.