Posts Tagged Twenty20 cricket
Millions of Pakistan cricket fans were left astounded by the events that occurred on 14 May 2010. Australia snatched the World Cup T20 semi final from Pakistan’s grasp and did the impossible.
One must wonder whether Australia’s miraculous victory was a product of good luck or a certain mental resilience that has defined global cricket domination for more than a decade. To say whether sheer skill, or sheer luck plays a part in T20 is a moot point that can lead to heated arguments between fans of the format, or purists who view it plainly as entertainment. One devles into arguments of philosophy regarding how “skill” is defined, or whether the ability to slog, constantly vary line and length, and create new shots can be considered as “skill”, too.
Apparently the Pakistan Cricket Board has attempted to employ the same techniques used by the Australian board as regards psychological coaching of players in order to inculcate some form of mental strength. However the PCB has missed a trick. Why is that Pakistan is always so vulnerable against the Australians? Ever since the 1999 World Cup final, Pakistan loses to Australia consistently even from winning positons.
Most Pakistanis are satisfied with the team’s performance and are commenting that, Pakistan reached the semi finals and put up a competitive show against a good team, Australia. But, I am not as optimistic. We seem to have forgotten that Pakistan is the best T20 team in the world with great T20 players like the Akmal brothers, Razzaq, Afridi, Ajmal etc. It must not be forgotten that Pakistan lost to teams like England and New Zealand but they were able to beat South Africa. T20 is more about luck than anything else, although we can argue the skills of players like Ajmal, Razzaq and Afridi are more suited to T20. I still feel that if Pakistan was mentally strong they could have reached the final.
Pakistan was playing with so many T20 specialists. It is worrisome now to consider that teams like England and Australia have demonstrated so much improvement in this format. Pakistan is unable to compete with these teams at Test level, and will we now see a situation that Pakistan will be relegated even in T20’s? People might accuse me of being sceptical but one must not forget that Pakistan just scraped through in the semis because of good luck. In the next World Cup if we see Pakistan performing the same way then it is fair to say that Pakistan will be completely marginalised from international cricket and will be accorded the same status as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, teams the ICC does not take seriously.
England and Australia have picked up upon how T20 is played. Going back into history, T20 originated in Karachi, at the Nazimabad ground in the 1970s. It spread like wildfire across the whole of Pakistan and then other countries took notice and played the format informally. T20 suited Pakistanis because the way cricket is played on the streets in Pakistan, slogging the ball is encouraged and no one wants to see batsmen who take singles and doubles or who plan think too much about their statistics. Also, Test cricket required discipline and good facilities which you cannot find very commonly in Pakistan. So, it was natural that Pakistanis excelled at this short format.
Shahid Afridi’s captaincy has evoked mixed reactions. Some people comment that he was too defensive, some people did not understand his constant shuffling of the batting order and bowling options. Yet, what Afridi has proved is that he is able to experiment and constantly try something new. This is a good quality and it must not be undermined. With time Afridi will improve but for now the PCB must continue with him as captain. The reason why Pakistan did not perform ideally in the first few matches was because of poor fielding and batting performance of Misbah, Umer Akmal, Hafeez and Afridi himself. Whether Pakistan’s performance in this Cup was good or bad, they must continue to work on their fielding as most of their fielders are still not world class.
Misbah ul Haq went into this Cup one of Pakistan’s 2 batting order backbones. Yet, his performance was pathetic. Even before this tournament the Legslip management criticised his selection (and have been doing so for 2 years) but Misbah somehow keeps being selected repeatedly. On the other hand, Fawad Alam is still not being provided with opportunities. Hopefully this Cup is a message for the PCB never to select Misbah, Hafeez and K Latif again. How many more matches will Misbah lose for Pakistan?
In conclusion, this Cup represents Australia’s resurgence in world cricket glory. The difference between the winner and loser in that memorable semi final was one team’s complacency and mental weakness and the other’s “Never Say Die” attitide. Australia took a dip for a few years in international cricket and many people commented that without McGrath, Warne, Hayden etc the team’s status would wither, yet the Aussies have shown that there is no alternative to mental strength. There is a certain level of self-belief, a certain mettle that can cause humans to create miracles.
And we witnessed a miracle at St Lucia on 14 May 2010.
Abdul Qadir was a great legspinner for Pakistan who bamboozled many batsmen in his career. As Chief Selector for the Pakistan Cricket Board, Qadir has made a couple of interesting suggestions which this thread explores.
CAPTAIN APPOINTED ON SERIES BY SERIES BASIS
This is a welcome suggestion looking at the current captain, Shoain Malik. Malik has evoked mixed reaction from cricket fans during his captaincy tenure. Generally, a lot of the reaction is due to factors such as the dearth of cricket being played by the national team. However, Malik has been observed in ODI cricket and his captaincy has not
lived up to expectations. He appears a weak and uncharismatic leader who is more concerned about securing his place in the side, as opposed to improving team morale and gaining respect of players. However, consistent domestic performances in both batting and bowling and leading Sialkot and Punjab to victory in domestic competitions has altered the opinion of many of Malik’s critics, such as Inzamam.
Malik’s position has benefited from the unavailability of Yousuf due to his contract with the ICL and the dip in batting form of Shahid Afridi, two players who announced their willingness to take over from Malik as captain of the team. In fact, the Malik-Afridi rivalry is no secret to most. With Younis backing Malik and Misbah not being approached for the captaincy position, it seems Malik will remain captain but if the choice is between extending his tenure for a year or evaluating his performance on a series-by-series basis, the latter option is better for Pakistan cricket.
SEPARATE TEAMS FOR ODI, TEST AND T20
This was the other bombshell dropped by Qadir, which has raised mixed response. This suggestion is certainly innovative and sensible. Pakistan cricket has seen a sharp decline of late and having specialist teams for different formats can work in many ways. Firstly, more players will be tried and fresh faces
will be seen. For instance, players like Yasir Arafat and Mansoor Amjad, who have age on their side as well as capability of performing more than one role, can gain if they are slotted in the T20 team, because experienced players like Afridi and Kaneria will be considered before them in ODI’s or Tests. Secondly, Pakistan has recently relied on all rounders too much, with the result that both batting and bowling have suffered a setback. For example, Abdul Razzaq’s last few years in international cricket were nothing to write home about. He was a liability in batting, and a liability in bowling. Qadir’s ideas can help restrict players like Razzaq and Rana to a format where they can compete with top international players- Twenty20.
One argument is that Pakistan has needed all rounders to compensate for weak openers. Surely, if openers are not performing consistently, support is needed lower down the order and people have used this argument to justify playing players like Razzaq and Rana. However, Qadir’s recommendation can also help alleviate this dilemma. Format-specific openers can be tried. For example, Imran Nazir (if his ban is overturned) and Nasir Jamshed, both big hitters, can be utilised for T20 whereas openers like Butt and Khurram Manzoor, who are more cautious batsmen, can be used in Tests.
Of course, even without format-specific teams, PCB can slot random players to play for certain formats, but the economic concepts of division of labour and specialisation can help explain why treating Qadir’s proposals seriously, might help. Players can become better by playing the same format over and over again. For instance, someone like Imran Nazir can be considered as an automatic selection in T20, and he can always be guaranteed a place in T20 cricket. This will improve his confidence and also his fitness level- since he will be playing frequently. He will also not need to worry about other openers taking his place that much, because he will have a specialist role and he will know that he will always be considered over a more defensive opener, such as Khurram Manzoor for example. This strategy will help fast bowlers even more. Bowlers can benefit from more frequent international exposure which will improve their mental competitiveness, provide them with an incentive to keep their fitness top-notch and will also help their confidence.
To conclude, Abdul Qadir’s views have emerged as a breath of fresh air, considering the lack of planning and absence of sensible decisions by the PCB for a long time. Miandad, the Director General of PCB has expressed disapproval of these ideas because he thinks it is too much hassle, but it is submitted that implementation of such proposals is beneficial for Pakistan cricket for the longer term.
Finally the PCB Chaudharys have decided to go to Dubai. They raised the decades old slogan “Dubai Chalo” after being bullied by the ICC and the SNPC’s (super nations playing cricket ).
In the past too they had to move the games to neutral venues to accommodate Australians and played against them in Sharjah. But, since then they have more options and Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium has already hosted a few ODI’s but, the state of the art Dubai Sports City has built a 25,000 seating capacity most modern cricket stadium in the world. They can play night cricket in Dubai.
I am not sure how many of you remember my comments on Pakspin when Kamran wrote that thread “ICL – IPL What the Hell?” I wrote that very soon you will be seeing “Arabian Nights Cricket in the UAE.” The Dubai government has now announced that the Sports City will be ready in early 2009 and already hosting an international hockey tournament. But, the most important news is about the PCB signing a three 3 year agreement with Dubai to host their ODI and twenty20 Internationals.
Here is the latest news right from the horses mouth. It has not even appeared on cricinfo yet.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has signed a three-year agreement to play its home one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches at the new Dubai Sports City.
The move comes with teams remaining reluctant to tour Pakistan because of concerns over terrorist attacks.
Pakistan, who have not played any Tests or ODIs against major teams this year have also invited West Indies to play two Test matches in Abu Dhabi.
The Emirate will also host three ODIs against the Windies in November.
Only minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have played in Pakistan in 2008, while their last home Test series was against South Africa in October 2007.
The PCB has lost millions of dollars in revenue from the cancellation of matches and believe it is vital for cricket’s financial well-being to make use of the facilities in the Emirates.
Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer of the PCB, said the new £4.8m deal with Dubai Sports City “gives us the option of playing international cricket and also improves our financial health.”
The new 25,000 stadium in Dubai will initially host a series involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh next April and a series of Twenty20 matches against various teams.
The deal comes after failed attempts by Pakistan to convince teams to tour the country after a spate of bombings in recent months.
Pakistan had sought new opponents after the postponement of a Test tour by Australia and the ICC Champions Trophy, both because of security concerns, but had no takers.
Reuters news agency quoted “informed sources” who suggested the PCB will be paid £800,000 for each event in Dubai, as well as a £53,000 appearance fee to each player for every tournament played. ” Unquote.
Has the PCB done any good for the future of Pakistan cricket or not is a question that we all need to discuss here. So, please go ahead and write your comments.