Sunday, January 13, 2008

Zimbos Arrive..

In the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy that I mentioned in my previous post, SNG won the domestic title due to their first innings lead in a drawn match. What stood out was Misbah-ul-Haq's 161 in the 2nd innings - The man has carried his international form on to the domestic scene. I don't remember any of Pakistan's key batsmen who have done that in the past. How many times have you seen an Inzamam or a Mohd Yousuf or a Younis Khan score a big 100 for their domestic team?

The Zimbabweans landed in Pakistan yesterday with their captain, Prosper Utseya, claiming that they are capable of beating any team. After what the Irish did to the Pakistanis, it makes even the Zimbos confident. Have they forgotten that they just lost to the 3rd worst ODI team 4-1 recently? Surely the Pakis are not at their strongest currently but anything less than a 5-0 sweep in the ODIs would be unacceptable.

The tour kicks off tomorrow with a 4-day game against a Patrons XI, which will be led by Shahid Afridi and includes a number of players who have done well in the current domestic season as well as internationals Fawad Alam and Sarfraz Ahmed. Someone please explain the point of a 4-day practice game for a 5 match ODI series? I would have liked 2 or 3 ODIs instead as It would have given the Zimbos proper practice for the series as well as given the PCB a chance to test more players.

Shoaib Akhtar has claimed that he is ready to play but I doubt he will get more than 1 game as the PCB intends to try out their 2nd string pace attack especially with Asif and Gul still injured. Pakistan is also expected to test several openers who have done well on the domestic circuit and there have been many of them.

Watch this space for my next post, in which I'll briefly tell you about the new players that Pakistan is expected try out against Zimbabwe.

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