Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Demise of Pace and Changing of the Guard in Pakistan Cricket.

As many as eight 50s were scored in the 1st ODI between Pakistan and the Zimbos. Thats an ODI record. The 5 half centuries in Pakistan's innings is also a record. This doesn't say much about the batting but actually highlights the low quality of the bowling that was on display.

Debutant Samiullah Niazi went for 6 runs an over and was treated like a club bowler by Vusi Sibanda and the other Zimbos. Opener Sibanda hit as many as 11 boundaries in his innings of 59 against a Pakistani new ball attack - even half as many boundaries would have been a far fetch for him had Pakistan's 1st choice (Asif, Gul, Sohail Khan) been fit.

At the post match ceremony Prosper Utseya, the Zimbo captain, said that he thought 300 was a chaseable target if they had managed to restrict Pakistan to that. With the Paki attack that was on display today, I don't doubt him. The stronger teams would be licking their lips at the prospect of facing these bowlers from Pakistan. Is this the same country that in the past produced some of the best pacers in the world!

Where have the Wasims, Waqars, Shoaibs, Imrans, and Razzaks disappeared? It has always been the bowlers who have won Pakistan matches. The decline in the pace battery has been the key reason behind Pakistan cricket's recent demise. Pakistan will not return to its winning ways against stronger opposition unless quality pacemen emerge or come back from injury.

The 3 pacers that Pakistan played today gave away 126 runs in 22 overs and took 2 wickets. Against a team like Zimbabwe that is hardly flattering.

The other debutant, Nasir Jamshed, had a promising start to his international career. He played with a lot of aggro and showed that he possesses all the shots in the book. But then there have been too many 18 year old openeres who have impressed in their initial outings before returning to the jungles around Pakistan. Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed all fall in that category. I hope that Nasir doesn't follow the same route.

Finally a word on the most important story from the match - the possible changing of the guard in Pakistan cricket. The XI that played today was the same XI that the chief selector had wanted but the captain did not. I had written about that in my previous post. Historically the captain and senior players in Pakistan have always had more power than the cricket board, however this incident might be what I call the changing of the guard with the power shifting to the PCB.

The current captain is no Imran, Wasim, Waqar, or Inzi, thus it it is very possible that he has no option but to do as the PCB tells him to. That is exactly why Younis Khan is not captain today.

If this can prevail I think it will go a long way in improving the state of Pakistan cricket. Player power has been a grave concern in Pakistan cricket since I've followed it. If the current PCB management is able to cure this cancer with a young captain and team, it will only provide positive results in the future.

I hope my observation is accurate and I hope our young captain remains the modest man he is and isn't affected by the root cause of all evil in Pakistan - power!

Make your pitch on this post...

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8 Pitched:

  1. Golandaaz said...

    Boards are fickle. Have no reputation to protect. Unlike in the west they have no conscience either. India and Pakistan always flourish under strong leaders. Pakistan were unbeatable under Imran because he had a reputaiton to build and protect, he lived brand Pakistan. Ditto with Ganguly.

    I am not sure if this change in guard is a good thing.

    India is doing well off late due to its senior leaders. Leave it to the boards and Indian cricket will become a circus.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Unrelated to this post. Other than Younis and Akthar, everyone else is on the team. What happened to the 'youth' experiment'?

  3. Q said...

    Golandaaz - I believe Indian cricket is doing well cause of the board rather than the senior leaders.

    If u remember, when India started losing their way under Ganguly, he was sacked and dropped. Under Dravid India started winning test series abroad.

    Same goes for the T20 success, which should now translate into ODI success - the board dropped the senior players. The young T20 squad came about cause of the board. And again it is cause of the board that u find Ganguly and Dravid out of the ODI team - in the long term this will prove to be a good move I think.

    Ottayan - Younis is in the team. It seems that Pakistan has "rested" only ther fast bowlers in Akhtar, Gul, and Asif.

    As far as I know more new faces will be given chances in the ODI series as it goes on. You can expect to see Younis / Yousuf sit out a few matches after the 2nd ODI.

    Watch out for Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Kamran Hussain, Khalid Latif, Yasir Arafat and hopefully Sohail Khan.

    They are all likely to get 1-2 games during this series.

  4. NAzhar said...

    I agree Pakistan's bowling is very weak and brittle because of injury issues!

    I agree with Golandaaz that this change of guard is not good. PCB is a very political organization that has a history of turning against players, especially the senior greats and just are power hungry.

    Ideally there needs to be cooperation between the captain, coach, manager and the board!

  5. Q said...

    Guys read this:


    Its an article on how the selectors, Shoaib Malik, and Lawson argued over the selection of the XI before the 1st ODI. It states that the chairman, Nasim Ashraf, had to step in to calm both parties down.

    I think th changing of the guard will be good despite the PCB being a political organization cos a board's control over the players i definitely better than having an XI with political divisions. That what player power has resulted in in the past.

    There was Imran vs Miandad, Wasim vs Miandad, Wasim vs Waqar, and more recently the religious vs the non-religious. If the board has its say and controls the XI, it safeguards the team from such disputes.

  6. Soulberry said...

    You make some strong arguments Q.

    I was wondering about the bowling too as I watched the match.

    But as regards the power transition, it can cut both ways. Maybe this is a period when a strong board is needed to guide all the new men, new captain included, onwards.

  7. Q said...

    You said it SB. Since the captain is not in a commanding position right now due a number of reasons, it is the best time for the PCB to play that guiding force u talk about. Otherwise we will have a situation where other members of the XI will start eyeing the captaincy spot, there will be divisions within the team, and Pak will not get anywhere.

  8. NAzhar said...

    It is healthy in sports, and in life, to always have exposure to 'the other side of the board'. With the new system you basically have a dictatorship under PCB which is not healthy. I don't like it and don't trust them!

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