Posts Tagged Fawad Alam

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Pakistan suffered one of its worst tour defeats at the hands of Australia. Pakistanis were completely outplayed in Tests and ODI’s and the tragedy was that they could not even win the lone T20. Chaos ensued during and after this forgettable, yet unforgettable series and grievous flaws were identified right from the top of PCB’s management to the Pakistan team’s on-field behaviour.

Butt is the laughing stock of the cricket world and under his leadership Pakistan cricket has gone from bad to worse

There are reports of turmoil within the PCB as Ijaz Butt has failed to change the culture of the PCB and in fact internal strife, mismanagement and incompetence levels have increased. Butt is under immense pressure to resign as it is alleged he is too old, incompetent and more concerned about running his private business than managing the cricket situation in the country. Since Butt has appeared on the cricket scene, the team has gone from bad to worse. There is no vision, no planning, and like his appointor, Asif Zardari, Butt is spending more time facing flak and responding (unconvincingly) to criticism than actually doing something positive to remedy the affliction the Pakistan team is experiencing.

On one hand Butt said that Yousuf was the wrong choice as captain of

Pathetic Yousuf thinks he captained well in Australia

the team for the Australia tour, but on the other hand he said there was no alternative. What kind of decision-making is this? Why was a younger player not appointed as a temporary captain? Yousuf proved to be a worse captain than anyone thought. Not only was he completely negative in everything that he did- batting, field placement, bowling changes, managing team morale etc, he also failed to win the respect of his team-mates, unlike Inzamam who was at least senior enough to obtain some respect from the juniors. It was also disheartening to see Yousuf openly condemning Butt’s running between the wickets and Manzoor’s technique. Interestingly, Butt proved to be Pakistan’s best batsmen in Tests and Manzoor probably played the best knock by a Pakistani in the Test series.

According to many news reports, Malik is the reason behind dirty regional politics in the team

At the same time as Butt’s inept management and Yousuf’s maladroit captaincy, there were reports of team disunity. Some reports went as far as suggesting that two camps were created in the team- the Karachi camp (thought to be led by Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi) and the Sialkot/Punjab camp led by Shoaib Malik. In fact some news suggested that the team manager had created a report on Shoaib Malik using politics to advance his camp’s interests. Whether any action is taken against Malik for this remains to be seen. Indeed, Malik captained Pakistan’s T20 match and although it was known Pakistan would provide a tough challenge to Australia in any circumstance, Malik’s captaincy has been hailed as “inspirational” and “attacking” by his misled supporters. The truth is that a club T20 team from Pakistan can provide a tough challenge to Australia in T20, yet somehow Malik’s supporters have forgotten this.

In such dire times, Pakistan needs a completely new and revolutionary strategy. As far as team

Umar Akmal is a gifted batsman and has a very good cricketing mind

Fawad has some technical batting problems, but he still impresses. He is the best fielder in the side and his batting and fielding impressed the Australians

performance is concerned, in Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam Pakistan found their best 2 ODI batsmen. This firstly proves that the much maligned Pakistani domestic structure can still produce good players. Secondly, this proves that for some reason or the other, the team’s main batsmen- Younis, Yousuf and Malik, are not up to the mark and must make way for juniors. When your best ODI batsmen are not your 4 or 5 most experienced batsmen, you know something is wrong with your team.

The horror seen in Butt’s time shows that a former cricketer is not necessarily a good administrator. Pakistan should appoint a management expert with good cricket acumen to lead the Board. In fact, the best way forward is probably to fire all former cricketers who are involved in running the show as all of these cricketers seem to have shady motives and personal grudges against each other, and an organisation cannot run successfully in this way.

Inti, it is no laughing matter that under your term as coach, Pakistan has become a very weak team, especially when chasing targets

A younger, fitter coach should be appointed. Pakistan should look beyond people like Intikhab Alam and should opt for a relatively low profile coach, perhaps from some regional academy. Pakistan has suffered too much and too long under Intikhab- his failure reflects in the fact that no improvements have been seen in the players. All the technical weaknesses remain, the standard of fielding is still poor, the bowlers are still getting injured relatively easily. The worst aspect is that mentally the Pakistan team has worsened under Intikhab, whereas when Inti was appointed he said mental strength would be one of his main areas of focus. Pakistan is losing Test matches from winning positions and it is looking increasingly vulnerable when chasing even modest targets.

Mediocrity is prevalent across the squad. Being mediocre is in some

Too many mediocre performers spoil the broth

ways worse than being pathetic, because a mediocre player makes 30 runs with some consistency to cement his position in the team, but is always focusing to remain in the team because he finds it so hard to make sizable scores, especially when the situation demands some character from a batsman. Similarly, bowlers like Rana and Rao survive on picking up 1 or 2 wickets here and there, or keeping the economy rate to under 4.5. Whereas, a pathetic or substandard player gets booted straightaway from the team. Shoaib Malik must not be tolerated anymore in the lineup. Similarly, Rana and Rao must be permanently banned from playing international cricket.

He can be very stupid sometimes, but his "outside the box" gameplay may well be what Pakistan cricket needs to survive

Afridi’s ball tampering incident was regrettable. However, whereas it has caused anger for many, many also see Afridi as someone who would be willing to think outside the box and who would be desperate to win matches for Pakistan. Although Afridi is not the brightest cricketer in the squad, he is very unlikely to tamper with the ball again. Afridi has received his penalty from the ICC and he must now be forgiven by the PCB and Pakistani public. Pakistan needs Afridi’s passionate captaincy and fighting spirit, and the fans should persuade the PCB to experiment with Afridi in all formats. Otherwise, Malik or Akmal will be appointed captain and Pakistan should not reward their consistently poor performances any longer.

Now the PCB must use their initiative and build a Test team with Younis, Yousuf, Afridi, U Akmal and Fawad Alam in the middle order. In ODI’s, Afridi, U Akmal and Alam must be the main batsmen and perhaps Butt will also improve his ODI form and become a significant cog in the wheel. In Umer Akmal and Fawad Alam Pakistan has found two exciting and talented players and now the PCB must look for more players like them.

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YET ANOTHER NEW LOW FOR PAKISTAN CRICKET

Pakistan lost the Test series quite humiliatingly and then they lost the ODI series too. It might have been fascinating for some individuals to see Pakistan garner some pride at the end of the ODI series, however to the routine observer, nothing new was seen from Pakistan. Pakistan may have won the last 2 ODI’s convincingly, but there was no consistency in their performance and they only proved the point that they perform when they are pushed to the brink or when there is a question mark over the selection of some senior players. Read the rest of this entry »

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THREE MUSKETEERS CONSPIRING

Misbah Paddling

Misbah Paddling

Shoaib Malik Pack your bags and go home

Shoaib Malik Pack your bags and go home

Kamran you are too small to get into big conspiracies so don't get involved

Kamran you are too small to get into big conspiracies so don't get involved

Younis Khan’s team won the first T20 WC champions by defeating Sri Lanka in the final.  Then, suddenly they became the first team from Pakistan under his leadership to suffer a test series defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka.

There are rumours of conspiracy theories creeping up, whatever the reasons or rumours that may be spreading, Pakistan has proved to be one of the most unpredictable teams in world cricket who can self-destruct from a winning position to a losing one.

People say you can expect anything from Pakistan, they are the most unpredictable team in the world. Unpredictability alone is not the issue, there are some unexplainable questions like, no one knows how Fawad Alam on his debut can play the Sri Lankan bowlers with ease and scored a masterly 168 with such ease and without any stress. Whereas, the most experienced middle order couldn’t even reach double figures.  It seems like they did not want to score any runs and get out as soon as possible was it a deliberate ruse or was it really so difficult to play?  If it was difficult for them why was it so easy for Fawad Alam?

The way Shoaib Malik scored a six and got clean bowled the next ball is a proof that he wasn’t interested in securing the match. Neither Misbah nor, Akmal did anything to add a few runs to the total neither the Captain has any explanation to this pathetic batting displayed by his batsmen in both the test matches.

The captain, the coach, the selectors and the PCB Chairman they all came up with some stupid notion that Pakistan has not played much of test cricket. Earlier in the T20 WC when they lost the warm-up matches as well as the first round matches, they used the same template.  “Our team didn’t play much of international cricket and we are a bit rusty.” And, when they won the WC they used it as a dual edged sword.

It is really stupid to make such excuses especially when the senior batsmen simply throw away their wickets, it is not cricket it looks like there is something more than what meets the eye. The senior players simply didn’t show any responsibility and lack of test exposure or lack of international cricket has nothing to do with it and not only Younis Khan, but the entire Butt management knows the real reason. But, they are not willing to accept it and not willing to make any changes.

Some of the viewers and TV media sports critics are blaming Younus Khan for the reverse sweep that he played and got out.  Agreed that was a very stupid and unwanted shot.  But, he made 83 runs and was involved in a partnership of 200 runs with Fawad Alam.  But, what about the rest of the players? Three of the team’s senior batsmen did not do anything in this series so far.  Mohammad Yousuf has made a century but what about others?

The former captain Shoaib Malik, who self proclaims that he is Pakistan’s best all-rounder, he is playing international cricket for ten years and still he cannot decide at what number he can bat?  In 4 innings Shoaib Malik has scored 83 runs 39 n.o. being the highest which helped his average reaching at 27.66 still it is lower than his career average of 35.73.  His supporters are saying that he got out on a peach of a ball.  What a load of BS.  A good player is not supposed to get out on a peach of a ball. Although it was not a good ball, but just a straighter one and he missed it completely.  If he is such a good player he should not have played such a stupid shot.  A six and then clean bowled.  That was not what the Doctor Ordered.

Misbah-ul-Haq or,  Mis fit ul Haq in the test team yet he is the vice captain, has a career test aggregate of 779 runs in 14 test matches with an average of 37 runs.  And, in the last two tests or in 4 innings he scored only 66 runs at an average of 16.50.  What has happened to him? Is he just like this from the beginning? Or, he has become so lethargic and indifferent lately?  Because the moments of sporadic brilliance do not have any consistency in his game which makes him a very mediocre player.  His game is more like a swinging yo-yo. He is definitely not a finisher but, a loser.

Kamran Akmal is displaying the worst batting performance in Sri Lanka. He managed only 29 runs from four innings in the series at an average of only 12.25. He has a much better career average of  33.09 but, it seems like he has unduly dragged himself  as a part of the conspiracy. He should better get out of this triangle because he is a square peg in a round hole.

The below-par performance of the Three Musketeers has sparked rumours that they are not happy with the captain and also with other members of the team because Shoaib Malik was stripped off his captaincy and to avenge this, they are creating groups.

These conspiracy theories are not new, but this time it is getting so obvious that even a dimwit dolt can make out that it is happening. Even the morale boosting win at the T20 WC in the UK has failed to unite the team which many people including Sarfaraz Nawaz, believes the team is bitterly divided and killing the team spirit.

Sarfraz Nawaz
is convinced that there are ‘groupings’ within the team with senior players like, Malik and Misbah unwilling to give their best under Younis Khan and they deserve an axe.

Even Inzamam-ul-Haq has raised similar fears.  He also said, that Younis Khan is not handling the situation very firmly and his happy and jovial attitude and light comments during the post match press conferences are not helping in erasing this menace and he needs to take a firm action and drop those players who are not performing.

It was expected a lot from Younus Khan that he is  “NO DUMMY CAPTAIN” and will stand up firmly to discipline the team because, it is definitely the job of the captain and the team management not only to discipline the team but, also to resolve these trivial issues and those who are trying to divide the team or create fractions and divisions in the team must be admonished, dropped and penalized.

It is about time that Malik and Misbah must be dropped from the third test and Kamran Akmal should be advised that he is getting a last chance, either he perform or join the culprits who are creating divisions and fractions in the team.  Sarfaraz Ahmad is waiting for his wings and eager to fly.  Fawad Alam has set a precedent that no matter how long you may suppress an individual you cannot kill the spirit and the desire to fly and a talent is never wasted for long.

The selectors were not willing to drop Salman Butt they made several excuses by saying:  “Yes, Fawad Alam is a very talented player an excellent fielder BUT, we do not have a spot for him in the team.” The moment he replaced Salman Butt, it is all history now.

Why is it Malik and Misbah not questioned for their pathetic performance? Are they above the law or like someone said, are they sacred cows? If they don’t perform they must be dropped. Like I have said in the previous thread that, Faisal Iqbal and Abdul Razzaq can fill in their spots and these two defeats should be considered as an opportunity to bring about the desired changes.

If Pakistan needs to build a team for the test, they have to take these decisions and formulate a plan and a strategy to make sure that such shameful defeats may not happen again, especially when they visit Australia and New Zealand in the near future.

No one expects Pakistan to be the world champions of T20 (which they are) ODI and also number one test team in the world. But, they expect them to fight till the end. The team’s morale is such that they do not show any fighting spirit at all. Until and unless these changes are not made, others will not pay any heed in improving their standards.

Winning the T20 WC was no fluke, the team played the finals in the last WC and won this time. It was a good start to win the cup after the political crisis and the social boycott they got because of the security aspect. But, this test series defeat has left a big stain on the face of those who proclaim that they are the best all-rounders and best batsmen in Pakistan, it is more like a stigma and a taboo for them after this shameful defeat.  But, there are other players who played well and they deserve the respect, praise and accolades and they must be encouraged.  Hence, the team needs to move ahead and move on just like Fawad Alam did.  He shone brilliantly like a star in the dark night while others around him were dwindling and fading away.

Fawad Alam is a shining example for those who thought that, “Alam tou sirf Dam-e-Khayaal hai.” And it is for this reason Ghalib has said:

Hasti kay faraib may mutt ajaiyo Asad

Alam tamam dam-e-khayaal hai.

 

Fawad Alam The Shining Star

Fawad Alam The Shining Star

 

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