Posts Tagged regionalism

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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KAHANI PAKISTAN CRICKET BOARD KI…..

Indian soap operas took the world by storm about 10 years ago and since then, they have shown no signs of stopping. Their demonstration of lavish sets,  catharsis based around blood relations, turbulent love stories and family politics has changed the face of Asian entertainment. Indians, Pakistanis and Bengalis sit glued to their TV sets everyday, keen on knowing the progress of a relationship between 2 lovers, or a dispute between the mother in law and her daughter in law, or the nefarious motives of the villainous element of a family.
One of the features of these dramas is that a lot of their titles start with a “K”, as the producers believe it brings good fortune to them, a thought influenced by some tenet of Hindu spirituality. So, we decided to start this thread title with a “K”, hoping that it will bring good fortune to Pakistan cricket.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Pakistan cricket is not any less than an Indian soap opera, and the latest drama created by Ijaz Butt, Younis Khan and the revolting players in the team proves this. Younis Khan, called “Drama Khan” recently by Javed A Khan, has disappointed many of his fans firstly by his slipshod batting in ODI’s recently. Secondly, Younis Khan, troubled by the not-so-secret rebellion in the team and the pressure of playing in a high profile tournament such as the Champions Trophy, offered his resignation on the pretext that he was upset by match fixing allegations and “other matters” (these thought to be the certain dissenting players in the team).

Sure, it is accepted Younis Khan is a man of honour. But match fixing allegations have been part and parcel of Pakistan cricket since time immemorial. Younis could have condemned these accusations in strongest possible terms in front of Jamshed Khan Dasti, but the fact that he resigned made his reaction appear as extreme as the accusations that were levelled against his men. Younis received the sympathy of the nation and was reinstated as captain, however critics were right in predicting that this episode would divert attention away from Younis’s failure as a batsman and captain in the Champions Trophy.

Ijaz Butt is the comedian of Pakistan cricket and it is a wonder he is still Chairman of the PCB after repeated failures. Ijaz

Ijaz Butt- the comedian of this Drama

Butt’s standard of incompetence can be discerned from his unwillingness to sack Malik as captain just before Younis was appointed as captain (it took a Presidential order to convince Butt to remove Malik as captain). Also, recently Butt gave a statement that the English media should focus more on county cricket performances of Pakistanis. Butt gave Kaneria’s example to say that Kaneria has been ripping through line ups, and PCB should get the credit for these performances. However, maybe Butt should realise that even mediocre players like Yasir Arafat have been performing commendably in county cricket and international cricket is very different. If the PCB Chairman is going to make stupid statements like that, what will the world think of Pakistan and PCB? How long do we have to tolerate this incompetent, uncouth and uneducated man as the Chairman? The Pakistan Senate has already predicated that it seems Butt never went to college because he is running the PCB like a grocery shop.

There are villains in this Drama, too. Malik, Misbah and Akmal are playing politics apparently. As always, no direct names have been mentioned; there are only rumours and controversies. Yet it seems fishy Younis has openly stated that certain players have reservations with this captaincy and that there is some kind of disunity. In dramas and movies you see the villains perishing sooner or later, yet in this Drama, Malik and Akmal are still there in the team, vitiating team morale and almost encouraging mediocrity. It is sad jealousy and bias based around regionalism still affects the team after Pakistan as a country and as a cricket team has lost so much because of it. But, that is how it works in Pakastan.

Speaking of regionalism, the reaction of the Karachi lobby to Younis Khan’s resignation was extreme and unprecedented. The Karachi lobby was instrumental in the sacking of Malik and appointment of Younis Khan as captain, and it is thought the lobby also wants Afridi as the next captain of the Pakistan team. The anti-Punjab stance of this lobby is worrying although it is submitted that its intentions are to weaken regional influence in team selection.

Afridi is also playing a little drama of his own. For some reason Afridi has decided to temporarily quit Test cricket at a time when he is batting more sensibly than ever and his bowling has significantly matured. What has caused Afridi to make this ridiculous decision? Test cricket is dying in Pakistan and Afridi could have been an asset for the team.

Pakistan is the laughing stock of world cricket and this Drama must now end. The Chairman needs to go, the elements playing politics need to be removed. Malik needs to be sacked anyway because playing him means accepting mediocrity. Malik has recently given an interview saying that he will be selected for Pakistan’s next Test assignment. This is shocking considering that he is one of the reasons why Pakistan is considered a mediocre Test team. Younis Khan is unstable and unpredictable and a person of his temperament must not be captain. Now he wants to play T20 cricket again although earlier this year he was adamant T20 is not for him. Younis should set an example and retire from ODI cricket. Pakistan is pinning hopes on Shahid Afridi to lead the team and weed out mediocre players.

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CHAMPIONS TROPHY & PAKISTAN

There is no need to replace Younus Khan with Afridi at the moment

There is no need to replace Younus Khan with Afridi at the moment

It is time to write a new thread and it is time to analyze the Pakistan cricket team selected for the Champions Trophy.  It is time for us to raise our concerns over the selection and omission of a few players. The most obvious one is the inclusion of Mohammad Asif and omission of Abdul Razzaq.  Asif has not played international cricket for almost 18 months and it is possible that he might take a few wickets, just like Abdul Razzaq did in the T20 WC, two wickets in his first match and 4 in the final.  But, Abdul Razzaq is dropped in favour of Rana who took 4 wickets in the last ODI and Rao took 5 wickets in the previous ODI against Sri Lanka. Some say that Asif’s inclusion is OK but, Abdul Razzaq should have been retained in the team and either Rao or Rana should have been omitted.  That is because Razzaq has more experience and his bowling would be more effective in SA. Read the rest of this entry »

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