Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rambling on and on...

A couple of days back Obaid came back from his long hiatus and now I return from a mini one after the UAE national day celebrations. I followed both the tests this week and saw Murali create a world record, Misbah announce his arrival in grand style, Akmal save his test career, Jayasuriya announce his test retirement, and Younis Khan play a captain's innings among other things. I'll talk a bit about each of this below.

Whatever I say about him is not enough. Only 15 years ago the Lankans were the bunnies of international cricket - to have a world record holder among their ranks is something to be damn proud of. Although I am a diehard Shane Warne fan, Murali's feat is extraordinary and deserves credit. I am so tempted to pull out stats to prove why Warne was better than Murali but I think I'll leave that for another blog.

Kamran AkmalThe boy played a gem. This was his 5th 100 and no other Paki keeper has scored as many - that's some achievement. This is the 3rd time in as many test series (2005 Mohali, 2006 Karachi, and now) that he's played an innings to bail Pakistan out of trouble against India and help win or save a test. Again, that's some achievement. Despite his atrocious wicketkeeping, this innings has definitely secured his place in the team for another year.

He arrived at the crease when Pakistan were 85-3 in the 28th over before lunch on the 3rd day. Yousuf had just been bowled by Harbhajan and Pakistan were staring at a possible follow on and a likely innings defeat. 124 overs and 371 runs later, Misbah was still at the crease as Pakistan's innings folded. He had faced 59 of those overs and scored 161 of those runs in an innings that would have made the old Ul-Haq, the man he replaced, immensely proud. Its been a long time since I have watched such level of grit, determination, and patience from a Paki batsman in test cricket. Rameez Raja is tipping him to take over as captain of the side in 6 months if he maintains his form. I wonder if that will be a good move.

Sanath JayasuriyaThe selectors had given him an ultimatum and I think he made the right decision. Not many Asians get to retire in grace and I'm glad the trend is changing after PCB set the 'farewell test' in motion. First Atapattu and now Jayasuriya - both have bid goodbye on a high with 80 odds in their final test innings. We're lucky to have him around in the ODIs and smash those balls past point and cover for SIX!!

Younis Khan
He seems to be more in control on the field than Malik and leads from the front while batting as well. Today he scored a flawless 100 to ensure that Pakistan battles out a draw - thats the 2nd time he's done that in the last 3 tests to save Pakistan from defeat. 3 hundreds in the last 4 tests and Younis is becoming ever dependable. Anand Vasu has put it aptly that he is a reluctant captain, but a capable leader. Even though he deserves it, I doubt he would captain the side for a longer term, especially after his recent outburst against a captain's lack of control.
Thats all the rambling I had to do. Some other stuff that I enjoyed was Jaffer reminding me of a young Azharuddin, Kaneria bowling Sachin with a googly, Sami showing why he demands to bat higher up in the domestic season, and Sangakkara show the English what the Aussies experienced some time back. What an innings he played today. SL will most probably go 1 up tomorrow. I also watched Gibbs take the Kiwi attack apart with 7 sixes and a bit of the ICL where Inzi seems to be in amazing batting form.
Bangalore in 4 days. Kumble's home town. India looking to win the series and Pakistan looking to draw and keep their record in India intact. Pakistan hasn't lost a series there in 30 years and they wouldn't want to now either.

Make your pitch on this post...

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9 Pitched:

  1. KC said...

    The problem with Younis is that he tends to get carried away when given the opportunity for public-speaking. Nobody in the world needs to know that he had no involvement in the team selection. Nobody in the world needs to know that he doesn't want to captain Pak. He's a good player - and will always be remembered as the one who rejected the captaincy after being groomed for it for over 2 years. He needs to keep quiet, and let his bat do the talking. If he ever manages to sort out his issues with PCB, he'd be a fine captain. But I surely don't need to know the what-if scenario.

    Has anyone noted the decline in Rameez insights and his commentary in this series. Ever since he spoke to SRK in the last ODI - he's all over the place. Misbah for captain again is an unwarranted comment - he's just come in, he's in good form - let him enjoy his cricket. Why put the stupid notion in his mind that he can some day lead the team? Malik is the best available choice as of now - he took the responsibility when nobdoy else was stepping up. He has his limitations - give him some time, one year is too little to doubt his credentials.

  2. Q said...

    I actually don't mind Younis speaking his mind - it shows the disorganization that exists in Pakistan cricket. Maybe someone speaking abt it openly will get the act together.

    Rameez has lost it since he moved from ARY / Ten Sports to Neo Sports. You should have heard him during the India vs Australia ODI series. Looks like hes getting some good pot in India :-)

  3. Uncle J rod said...

    How about we let Malik have a red hot crack before inzy junior, younis khan or anyone else gets a go.

  4. Soulberry said...

    Excellent round up.

    Murali has carried his team, and I'm sure stats are suggestive of different aspects.

    Misbah has probably come of age now. This century should see him scoring freely in future too. And Younis Khan's was truly a captain's knock. Pakistan did well in the sum of things. India will regret their fielding yet again.

  5. obaid said...

    I don't think it makes sense to make misbah the captain. Any player that plays well shouldn't automatically become captain, so I'm not sure why rameez is saying that

    Bangalore is where Pakistan lost the 96 wc quarters to India but it is also where we won a famous test victory against India under Imran. Gavasksar played one of the best innings of his life in the 2nd innings. The pitch was turning square then, so let's see what happens. I think Pakistan should pick the left arm Rehman instead of sami

    In terms of fielding I guess both India and Pakistan are pretty bad, so its gets cancelled out

  6. NAzhar said...

    No way should Misbah be captain. I agree with KC that Malik is the best option for captaincy. I think he needs to consult more with Younis and Yousuf.

    Hail Murali for an awesome career...love the enthusiasm with which he plays the sport!

  7. NAzhar said...

    Oh and Ramiz has totally lost it - no insights - Bishop actually is the only commentator who has some insights...Sohail, Yardley and Arun Lal are disappointing too...stating the obvious!

  8. Straight Point said...

    by all count let him concentrate on his batting...coz we would have been writing his obituary had he not scored in india after not so good series against SA...much like what DK is facing after being highest scorer in englans series...

    we are like this only...its our common psyche that we tend to get carried away after couple of good or bad performances and leave logic behind in our hollow praise/criticism...

    by that count who ever scores or take highest wickets in series should automatically become captain of next series??

    what a thought???

  9. Q said...

    Nazhar - all sohail does is criticise the pakistanis.

    I was just reading that Misbah began his first class career in only 1999. I thought he was around for much longer but apparently he wasn't. He was pursuing a career, did an MBA as well.

    He made his debut in 2001 and was then in and out of the team. For a 33 yr old he's done amazingly well to cement his place. And he looks fresher than most 33 yr olds in the international scene, apart from the Aussies ofcourse. Which is good for Pakistan.

    Your right SP, there is no logic to making the best player in a series captain.

    SB - u r right. Murali has carried the team. If there were no Mcgraths, Gillespies, Lees, and others in the Aussie line up, Warne would have probably picked up more wickets. Plus also if he had played more against Zimbabwe and the bengalis as Murali has.

    The debate will live on forever, but for me there is no bowler bigger than Warne. Apart from Wasim Akram. Their ability to think batsmen out is unmatched.

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