Posts Tagged kamran akmal
The PCB administration got changed and shortly after, Malik was sacked as captain. A new captain was appointed and all eyes were on how the relationship between the assertive captain Younis and Chief Selector Qadir would be.
Most people were quite curious about the point of having a warm up game between Afridi’s Patrons XI team and the Sri Lanka team. Some thought this was just a test to see if Afridi could contribute with the bat and make a place for himself in the test squad. Others, after watching the innings of Ahmed Shahzad and Azhar Ali, thought that this was an excuse to showcase the talent of these two players so that one of them could be included. Afridi played a decent knock with the bat that should have justified his inclusion in the Test squad, if his batting was the concern of the selectors. He did not get a wicket but only 3 of his regular bowlers did. If his batting was not a concern, then his place should have been guaranteed anyway, because he has been in form as regards his bowling. This is not to defend Afridi per se; it just boggles the mind why he was
even chosen to captain in the warm up match if the selectors were expecting him to score a century?
Ahmed Shahzad, after his knock of 146, was chosen from the warm up squad and it is over Shahzad’s selection that apparently Younis and Qadir had a disagreement. Shehzad’s inclusion is certainly controversial, not least because Nasir Jamshed, who is a more consistent batsman, has been left out by the selectors and also because Shahzad was not even in the list of 22 probables that were proposed by Qadir a week ago. Shahzad is known to be a confident and clean striker of the ball, however he lacks the consistency of other openers like Nasir Jamshed and Khurram Manzoor. Manzoor has been the best opener in domestic cricket for a number of years now whereas Nasir Jamshed has been a top batsman for over a year.
That leads to the question of whether Manzoor is likely to open along with Butt. Manzoor is an experienced opener at domestic level but so far in ODI’s he has appeared to be a mixed package. Whereas he has been gifted with the ability to stay at his crease, his shot selection appears very limited and he appears very restricted to his back foot. Today it was reported that Younis and Qadir might toy with the idea of opening with Malik and playing Asim Kamal and Faisal Iqbal in the middle order.
It is rumoured that Younis is not a great believer in young talent. On various TV shows
Younis has stressed the need to have more mature players in the side. That is the reason why there were reports that he might want to try out Faisal Iqbal or Asim Kamal instead of Fawad Alam, and why he might want to persist with Kamran Akmal
instead of Sarfraz Ahmed. It is unclear who has been behind the controversial selections of Faisal, Asim and Akmal, but they are certainly selections that should not have been. With all the respect in the world to Asim Kamal, his recent domestic performances have not been anything to write home about. Plus, Fawad Alam’s unbelievable run at domestic level should automatically disqualify Kamal from international selection. Faisal Iqbal is a strange case, he is different to Bazid Khan because unlike Khan, he always makes some good scores in tournaments and he shows some good technique at times, but he lacks consistency. It is very sad that more deserving players are being deprived because of Miandad’s nepotism.
On the bowling front, the situation is clearer. Akhtar is unfit so Gul was always the strike bowler. Tanvir, despite his brilliant performance in his last first class match, was overlooked to the benefit of Mohammad Talha. Talha has been the most devastating bowler in the Q&A Trophy and it would have been criminal to ignore him from this squad. Kaneria was always Pakistan’s first choice spinner and he now needs to hope that Akmal gives him some support behind the stumps.
My preferred XI for the 1st Test now that Nasir Jamshed is not in the team:
Butt, Manzoor, Malik, Younis, Misbah, Fawad, Akmal, Gul, S Khan, Talha, Kaneria
Pakistan’s humiliating loss to Sri Lanka displayed everything that we on LS have spoken about numerous times; pathetic captaincy, favouritism towards certain players, lack of unity and lack of planning. Javed A Khan in his preview of the series predicted a 2-1 victory for Sri Lanka and how true did that come! 2-1 on paper does not appear that humiliating, but one needs to analyse how Sri Lanka came back at Pakistan and the margins of defeat in the 2nd and 3rd ODI. In the 2nd ODI Pakistan lost by 129 runs and in the 3rd it was an unbearable margin of 234 runs.
Malik in the post-match ceremoy again tried to blame other factors for the defeat instead of his captaincy, citing that it is difficult if the team has not played much cricket, but if that was the case why did the team even bother practising before the commencement of this series? And what was the point playing in the Q&A Trophy if it would have been difficult beating Sri Lanka? Malik might as well have stayed at home flying kites in Sialkot, or spent time with Sayali Bhagat in India.
Why is it that only inside Pakistan Malik gets bundles of support,
but outside Pakistan people consider him to be an idiot? Malik commands no respect from any cricketer outside Pakistan, whether that is Dhoni, Jayawardene or Greame Smith. Further, all foreign commentators have been extremely critical of Malik and just cannot understand why Malik keeps making ridiculous decisions. Dominic Cork is the latest addition to Malik’s critics, asking why Malik is so defensive and why he keeps making silly mistakes like not using Gul for his total quota of 10 overs and sending Akmal to bat at no 4? Malik’s captaincy was laughable in this series; in particular, he made some very basic errors in field placing to the benefit of the likes of Dilshan, Kandamby and Sangakkara.
Akmal was again a major disappointment. He dropped about 4-5 catches and missed a very crucial stumping chance off Malik today. What is it about Akmal that Malik finds so attractive? For 3 years Akmal has been a major liability in the keeping department. He has played a major part in ruining careers of Kaneria and Sami, and now he is playing a major part in destroying Afridi’s career. He dropped 3 catches off Afridi this series. Again, most international commentators, from Robin Jackman, to Tony Creig to Dominic Cork have been highly critical of Akmal’s keeping and puzzled as to why Sarfraz Ahmed is not being encouraged, yet we keep seeing Akmal again and again. I remember how Jackman and Ian Bishop in some series kept asking Waqar Younis and Ramiz Raja, “Why is Sarfraz not being played?” and “What is he doing sitting on the bench?” but
Ramiz and Waqar provided no answers.
Speaking of Ramiz and Waqar, what is their problem anyway? They have been silent on criticising Malik and giving Akmal his due. Isn’t the job of a commentator to be neutral and call a spade, a spade? Ramiz Raja on his TV show frequently supports Malik and Akmal when discussing cricket with his friends. Ramiz is usually Pakistan’s only saving grace in the commentary box with his suave appearance, reasonably good command of English and wit, yet observing his bias is an unpleasant experience.
It will be unfair to square the blame only on Malik and Akmal, but these two players have definitely tried their best to demoralise the team owing to their constant failures in their respective roles. Shahid Afridi risks being dropped permanently after failing to shine with both ball and bat, although Akmal’s lack of support behind the stumps has dented Afridi’s confidence completely. Yet, most fans expected better from Afridi this series. Shoaib Akhtar was thought to make a difference in this series, but he was the worst bowler and let the team down completely. For over a year Javed A Khan and myself have asked for Shoaib to be sacked from the team, yet Shoaib has many admirers who have lived in denial and accused myself and Javed A Khan for making these statements for controversial reasons. Yet, Javed A Khan and myself have always been on the dot with Shoaib’s performance and attitude. He is history.
The team needs someone like Fawad Alam, who is mature, left
handed and can provide some stability in the middle order. Ever since the ABN AMRO T20 Cup in 2006, Fawad has been imperious in domestic cricket. He is unique in the sense that apart from Misbah he is the only player averaging more than 40 in all forms of domestic cricket in Pakistan. Nothing is guaranteed in life except death and taxes, and there is no guarantee Fawad will become the next Brian Lara. But, as far as deserving chances to perform goes, no player deserves it more than Fawad Alam.
Fawad Alam’s stats compared with other batsmen:
Name Format Average
Shoaib Malik First Class (4 day) 29
Shoaib Malik List A (one day) 39
Shoaib Malik T20 42
Younis Khan First class 51
Younis Khan List A 35
Younis Khan T20 25
Misbah ul Haq First class 51
Misbah ul Haq List A 46
Misbah ul Haq T20 43
Mohd Yousuf first class 51
Mohd Yousuf List A 41
Mohd Yousuf T20 17
Fawad Alam First class 57
Fawad Alam List A 44
Fawad Alam T20 41
Hence, you can see Fawad Alam generally has better stats than everyone except Misbah ul Haq,
and compared to Misbah he has a higher first class average.
In conlusion, enough is enough and a revamp is definitely needed. PCB needs to stop destroying cricket and use the right players. Akmal needs to be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed, Malik needs to be replaced by Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi needs to be kept on his toes. The PCB will not make Afridi the captain, so perhaps it is in Afridi’s best interests to resign from international cricket rather than face the humiliation of being sacked permanently. With Younis still confused about captaincy and Misbah suffering from finding his role in the team and inconsistency, Umar Gul is perhaps the best option for captaincy, as he is the only player with a defined role, proven track record and required aggression and commitment. So, my vote for Pakistan’s future captain is Umar Gul. He should hope, however, that Akmal doesn’t start dropping catches off his bowling too!
Most Pakistani fans are hailing this series as a positive occurrence in the scheme of things. However I don’t believe there is any cause for celebration. This result was expected and nothing new or extra ordinary happened in this series which was not expected from before, from Pakistan’s perspective.
The biggest worry for Pakistan was the fact that all of the matches were closely contested. In the first match Akmal helped Pakistan pull off an almost impossible victory from the jaws of defeat. In the second and third matches Pakistan bowled much better, yet if the Windies batsmen had batted the full 50 overs, they would have come very close to the target Pakistan set for them. What no commentator has highlighted so far is the fact that Pakistani bowlers could not prevent West Indies’ main batsmen, Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan from making sizable scores in almost every match. Three out of the four best batsmen in terms of run-scoring in this series, were West Indian; namely, Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan. Their batting averages were 78, 73 and 54 respectively. If I was Shoaib Malik, Ijaz Butt or Intikhab Alam I would have sleepless nights contemplating why Pakistan bolwers could not dominate these batsmen. I understand they are very good players, but that should not be an excuse because Pakistan also has bowlers like Gul, Tanvir and Afridi who are world class in limited overs cricket.
One might feel that I am being too unsupportive of Pakistan or too critical, because at the end of the day Pakistan won the series. My response to that is, West Indies is like a minnow team and apart from the trio of Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan the only two other decent players they have are Powell and Taylor, who are good bowlers. This is actually the worst West Indies team I can recall from recent memory. If Pakistan could not dismiss players like Gayle and Chanderpaul then it means there is something seriously amiss from the Pakistani bowling attack.
Waqar Younis may be appointed the bowling coach soon, and I hope he seriously does some good work with young Pakistani pacers because if West Indies had 2 or 3 more renowned international players like Bravo, the result may well have been opposite.
In terms of ratings, Pakistan has now been elevated to no 5 in the world in ODI’s. This is a farce because this year Pakistan has played minnow teams mostly. I can’t believe the PCB declares it is looking to the future when it is sticking with a direction-lacking and spineless captain Shoaib Malik and it is happy with Pakistan’s “ascension” in world ratings when all Pakistan is doing is beating below average teams with the assistance of their below average captain Malik, who is simply not captaincy material.
Under Shoaib Malik the Pakistan team has gone from bad to worse. Malik was not pathetic in this Fortune Cup, but he was not outstanding either. Although Malik’s 66 off only 50 balls in the 1st match was encouraging, he was not at his best in the remaining matches. However, more than this batting or bowling, it was his captaincy that again came under the scanner. He made ridiclous Powerplay selections and he was very rigid with the batting line up. Also, he ought to be criticised for not using more young players in the 3rd match, as Pakistan had already won the series and could afford giving more exposure to its talented youngsters. Malik’s basic problem is one of self-preservation and selfishness. That is the reason why senior players Yousuf, Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar have been critical of him. He is desperate to see Pakistan’s rise in the world rankings so his status in the team can remain protected. That is not the attitude you want from your captain. What kind of precedent does this set for the future captains of Pakistan?
Akmal has been an enigma, yet at the same time we are used to seeing inconsistent displays from the whole team as well as individual players which makes Akmal’s peformance appear tolerable. Akmal dropped plenty of catches in this Cup and the person who lost out the most as a result of Akmal’s lack of focus was Shahid Afridi, who did not bowl badly in the first two matches but was seriously let down by Akmal. Pakistan however, was also let down by Afridi’s batting performance yet again. The new selection committee has not been announced yet, but chances are we may not see Afridi playing for Pakistan for some time, which will be a big blow to those supporing him as the rightful captain of Pakistan.
Lastly, the form of openers Butt and Manzoor would be worrying, although Butt’s miserable form is likely to be only a temporary problem. Khurram Manzoor played very sensibly in the 1st match, but appeared clueless in the 2nd and 3rd matches. It is debatable whether Manzoor would be selected in the future, but perhaps he deserves another chance because of his 2 50s in his first 2 matches.
To conclude, this series established nothing new for Pakistan and the concerns carried on from before remain. Unless the captain is changed with immediate effect, Pakistan can not tread on the path of success. There are many short term and long term solutions, but the first thing that is needed is the change of captain. Don’t be fooled by the ostensible glory of a 3-0 victory and the elevation in international team ratings.