Posts Tagged pakistan vs australia

WHERE DOES PAKISTAN CRICKET GO FROM HERE?

The recently concluded ODI series between Pakistan and Australia left fans with mixed reactions. Some of us thought that Pakistan did well to manage 2 victories, whilst others thought that Pakistan had the ability to perform better against a tired and inexperienced Australian side. Whatever the case may be, no strict action was taken against any of the senior players who failed to perform in that series. The main culprits were captain Younis Khan, vice captain Misbah, former captain Shoaib Malik and the most experienced pacer Shoaib Akhtar.

When will the PCB realise that tolerating average performances will destroy Pakistan’s status in international cricket? When will the cricket administrators realise that Pakistan is treading down the path of the West Indies, a team which ruled the cricket scene for two decades but is now considered almost a minnow team? Corruption, politics and negligent management has destroyed cricket in the West Indies and Pakistan is certainly heading down that path.

There is no denying that an indication of a weak cricket board is that player power is rampant and players consider themselves above the board and the country. In the Pakistan team groupings are formed and certain players back other players and create a situation where, “I scratch your back and you scratch mine”. The board could not convince Younis Khan to accept captaincy and as a result a weak and inept captain was selected in Shoaib Malik. The board cannot persuade Malik and Misbah to raise their level of performance against good sides in pressure situations despite both these players being on the top tier of central contracts, earning a sizable amount every month from the PCB. No administration has ever been able to control Shoaib Akhtar and he continues to fool the board, the team and the fans in broad daylight but he is above every being it seems. He is barely capable of bowling 5 overs in a match and yet he is an automatic selection in the team. This is a joke and this can only happen in Pakistan. Nasim Ashraf’s administration tried to put Akhtar in his place but Ashraf became very unpopular with the masses when he tried to curb player power.

A lot of the PCB’s incompetencies result from the social and political problems in Pakistan. There is corruption, ethnic bias, nepotism, dishonesty, mismanagement in the police force, in the armed forces, in the civil service, in government offices, so why should be cricket board be bereft of such evils? The cricket board, after all, is a public organisation and it works in tandem with the sports ministry. How to resolve these types of problems, becomes a political discussion, not a discussion about cricket and we have spoken about these issues many times on this blog.

There is an absence of professionalism in the PCB which filters down to the players on the field when they are playing. On his day Kamran Akmal can score a century against Australia, but in the same series he is very capable of dropping easy catches and playing stupid shots. Consistency has been Pakistan’s biggest problem for over a decade now and the PCB is absolutely clueless. Consistency does not come from the player itself; when a player performs and does something spectacular, that is a sign that this player is capable of doing something amazing and it is up to the team management and the board to ensure the player reaches his potential and performs more often. However, the PCB has not been able to answer the question, “How to nurture a player’s talent so that he becomes consistent?”

Since the PCB is incapable of producing consistency from the players, it should rotate players more often so that seniors are kept on their toes. Pakistan cricket has to come out of this tried and tested mentality that a senior player should not be dropped because it will weaken the team. Why do senior players in Pakistan have so much power and why are they untouchable? Recently I saw a programme where it was revealed that Shoaib Akhtar has sources in the Punjab government, which is why he is never dropped on accounts of unfitness or bad behaviour. So again we come to the point about corruption and favouritism in the Pakistan and how that affects everything, including sport.

Fawad Alam has become a victim of team politics and most people now consider him to be exceptionally tenacious to still have a big heart and still hope for playing for Pakistan. Fawad has been amongst the top domestic batsmen in Pakistan for about 3 years. He has performed in all formats- 4 day, 1 day and T20 and he is amongst the few players in the world who average above 40 in all 3 formats domestically. Whatever limited chances he has benefited from playing at the highest level, he has made a mark but he is still being ignored. He single handedly won a T20 for Pakistan when he hit 3 sixes in 5 balls. He has been involved in brief partnerships with seniors like Malik, Misbah and Yousuf and he has outperformed them, yet he has been ignored. Recently in a practice match against the international Pakistan side he was the best batsman against the bowling of Akhtar, Gul and Tanvir and he was the best bowler too. He is also one of the best fielders in the country.

So in real terms it seems no improvement was detected with Pakistan cricket. There is widespread incompetence, player power and politics that is ruining the sport in the nation. People in Pakistan are becoming fed up of the team’s substandard performances and are turning to other sports like football, baseball and basketball.  In the time of Imran Khan and Miandad, players played with more fire and patriotism but now these current players only play for themselves and for money. As cricket has become more “glamourised” and “commercialised”, perhaps that is not entirely the fault of the players themselves. However, politics and nepotism are definitely evils that should have nothing to do with sport.

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I DON’T WANT A DUMMY CAPTAIN

I don't know why we are loosing but I am happy

I don't know why we are loosing but I am happy

Younus Khan refused to captain the Pakistan side twice by saying:  “I don’t want to be a dummy captain.” On paper and in theory it sounded very impressive that this man has the guts to say that he does not like to be under someone’s thumb.

Now, what made him change from refusing to be a dummy and acting like a dummy? It is very obvious from his statements to the media, pre and post match comments that he wants to keep the whole world happy. He has clearly mentioned that he cannot drop Misbah and Malik despite the fact they are not performing well, especially Misbah simply because one is a former captain and the other is a vice captain and if he does that, the media will be after him. It means he is scared of the media and not doing justice with team selection.

By now even a school kid who plays cricket can say with authority that the UAE pitches are favouring spin bowling. Australia’s weakness is spin bowling, Pakistan’s weakness is its batting. Pakistan has the advantage of strengthening its batting and spin bowling department by including Fawad Alam in the team. He has been in the squad only to sit on the bench or we saw him as a 12th man in the 4th ODI.

Australian batsmen are used to playing fast bowlers, as they have one of the best fast bowling battery in their team and they are not afraid of fast bowling. But, they are finding it extremely difficult to handle Afridi and Ajmal, even Malik bowled well in the 3rd ODI. So, any dummy captain would notice this weakness and take advantage of the situation. But, Younus Khan in his pursuit to keep the whole world happy is blinded by his goody, goody nature.

He has become a laughing stock among the commentators and cricket fans that you ask Younus Khan, ‘how are you?’ He would reply.  ” I am happy, I am always happy, no matter what I am happy.” It is good that you are a happy go lucky (rather unlucky so far) person, but on the ground you have to be firm and tolerate no nonsense from any player who under performs or play below par.

Just because Shoaib Akhtar is a senior player and carries a lot of clout behind him and in the 4th ODI he took two wickets in his first two overs, he got a free hand after that, he was clearly out of breath and couldn’t maintain his line and length and in the fielding department he was making a mess of the situation and Younus Khan was seen laughing at his pathetic fielding. This is not what you expect from a good captain. If you can’t admonish him on the field, take action against him later and drop him from the playing XI.

Misbah out of form

Misbah out of form

Mishab is totally out of form like he was for the rest of his life prior to the T20 WC stint. In the 4th ODI, he was out first ball, but umpire Aleem Dar said, he couldn’t hear the nick and did not give him out. Despite a life Misbah continued his poor form, played a very slow innings and scored 30 odd runs.

Younus Khan’s own batting form is simply pathetic he has not been able to score in any match during this series and yet he has the audacity and the cheek to say, ‘we are learning.’  Learning how to loose? This is pathetic.  Malik was heavily criticized for saying the same thing after loosing a match, ‘we are learning’ and the irony is they also call themselves as professionals.

I am so happy that I don't mind throwing away my wicket

I am so happy that I don't mind throwing away my wicket

Professionals don’t learn at this level, the deliver and the Pakistani captains consider these international matches as a learning place? It is indeed very pathetic.

During this series Shahid Afridi not only performed well with ball and bat, but he was seen encouraging, cheering, bucking up every single player. In fact he took the lead role which Younus Khan and Misbah are supposed to do. He was going with the bowlers before their run up and talking to them. He was seen congratulating Ajmal, Malik, Akhtar and even Akmal whenever they took a wicket or a catch. He was also seen very upset at Shoaib Akhtar’s lazy running in fetching the ball and clearly gave him the message that he is not happy with his fielding.

shahid-afridi-dama-dum-mast-qalandar

shahid-afridi-dama-dum-mast-qalandar

This is how a captain must be leading from the front and not just laughing, smiling and saying I am happy. May be you are trying to cover your embarrassment or may be you are really happy but the Pakistani public and fans are not happy upon loosing 3 matches in a row. The second ODI was given away to the Australians in a platter. After a 95 run opening partnership the team collapsed like a house of cards. Its a shame that none of the batsmen played well.

The question is, is Pakistan going to look for another captain? Or, are they will keep Younus Khan who says he is not a dummy captain, but certainly acting like one. Or, if they decide to replace him, who would be the new captain? There is no one better than Shahid Afridi not just because of his seniority but because of his temperament and his ability to lead from the front and his proven domestic record speaks in volumes. Therefore, it is about time for Pakistan to give Shahid Afridi a chance to lead the team Pakistan in the forth coming T20 World Cup. And Younus Khan is definitely a misfit for T20 and so is Salman Butt.  May be Younus Khan should lead the test side but, if that is going to effect his batting then he should better not lead the test team as well.

What are your views on Younus Khan’s Captaincy, please go ahead and speak your heart out.  For sure, my vote is for Afridi.

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PAKISTAN’S CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The next few days bring an uncanny excitement to Pakistan cricket fans. We have seen captains changing, disasters wrecking sport in the nation and political and social turmoil affecting the morale of the Pakistani public and cricketers, but the next few days can improve the situation for everyone who has some kind of association with Pakistan.

The responsibility on Youniss shoulders is enormous, and the expectations of Pakistani fans are greater

The responsibility on Younis's shoulders is enormous, and the expectations of Pakistani fans are greater

A new leader is at the helm in the form of Younis Khan, a generally respected figure. Younis is one of the few stars of Pakistan cricket of the past decade who have not been involved in scandals or disgraceful incidents. Across the world Younis Khan is known as a friendly, caring individual who is deeply patriotic about his country and passionate about his culture, but who does not let that come in the way of respecting other countries and cultures. Although it is too early to speak in favour of or against Younis’s captaincy, he needs to lead with relentless aggression because that is the only way Pakistan can become a top side.

TOP PERFORMERS

The top performers for Pakistan going into this series are Younis and Umar Gul. Whereas

With Shoaib Akhtars fitness being debatable, Gul goes into this series being Pakistans main strike bowler

With Shoaib Akhtar's fitness being debatable, Gul goes into this series being Pakistan's main strike bowler

Younis has been Pakistan’s best batsmen for almost 2 years now, Gul has been Pakistan’s best bowler for almost the same duration. Apart from testing Younis’s captaincy skills, this series will also test his character when it comes to batting. Younis only averages 16 against Australia in ODI’s and he needs to improve that figure.
Gul needs to bowl with fire and aggression. If he can extract the right bounce, bowl quick and use reverse swing, he can cause Australia plenty of problems.

LOOK OUT FOR…………….

Will Afridis batting form return playing against Australia?

Will Afridi's batting form return against the 2nd best ODI side?

Shahid Khan Afridi: Afridi has been in good domestic form and made an impact both with bowling and batting in the recent RBS One Day Cup. If Afridi can get into some kind of batting form, he will be a force to be reckoned with in this series. He is going into this series as Pakistan’s most reliable spinner.

Sohail Tanvir: Tanvir got into some form in recent tournaments after consulting Javed Miandad. He started with a bang and he needs to retain the same attitude. If he can bowl with pace he will trouble some Australian batsmen.

Nasir Jamshed: Younis reportedly prefers Ahmed Shahzad over Nasir Jamshed, not least because of obtaining the right hand/left hand opening combination with Salman Butt. However, Nasir has more experience and has impressed to some degree so far in international cricket. He needs to bat with confidence and play his natural game. A good series against Australia will guarantee him selecton in the team at least for another year.

Australia will be banking on captain Clarke, all rounder Symonds, keeper Haddin and medium pacer Bracken.

Symonds is back, and he enjoys ripping Pakistan to shreds

Symonds is back, and he enjoys ripping Pakistan to shreds

Symonds averages 62 against Pakistan in ODI’s which is his highest average against any Test playing nation. Haddin is averaging 43 this year. Clarke is going into this series as Australia’s best batsman. Bracken is amongst the best ODI bowlers in the world, although against South Africa he was not in his best form.

A lot of Pakistan fans are predicting a series win for Pakistan, and some are also saying that Pakistan will end up winning 2 matches. Australia cannot be underestimated and in fact the LS Management is doubting Pakistan’s potential, although they acknowledge this potential. Players like Hauritz and Shane Watson have the ability to turn matches around single handedly. Hauritz was the Man of the Match in the last match against South Africa, so he is in form.

The biggest advantage to Australia which is also Pakistan’s biggest disadvantage, is that some consistency can be expected from the Aussies. Clarke can bank on knowing the limits to what his players can and cannot do. Younis will be less sure of his team’s potential, but his job is just to offer support to his players and persuade them to play positive and aggressive cricket.

Who is the next legend in the making?

Who is the next legend in the making?

Pakistan cricket thrives on uncertainty. The fans expect the unexpected. That has been the pulse of Pakistan cricket for a long time. Today Pakistan is devoid of legends like Wasim, Waqar, Imran and Miandad. The problem I have with Younis and Qadir’s management is that we are only seeing 1 or 2 new players in this squad. Barring Nasir Jamshed, Ahmad Shahzad and Fawad Alam, all of these players have been tried and tested. When his career ends Younis will probably be considered a legend, but ODI cricket has not been his forte until very recently. So, none of the players in this squad are capable of emulating the feats of Saeed Anwar, Miandad or Wasim Akram.

However, playing under a new captain and in home-like conditions, still offers limited hope to Pakistanis. Younis will be in the spotlight because he has supported playing these tried and tested players. Now it is upto Younis Khan to create some magic and create history by leading his team to a series victory against a formidable side, a win which will go in history books as the revival of Pakistan cricket. A loss is expected, but a win will transform the morale of a bruised nation, and an emotionally battered people. This is Pakistan’s chance to make a difference.

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