Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why Wasn't Pakistan's Victory Exciting?

Strangely I did not find myself that excited after Pakistan's victory over India in the final of the Kitply Cup.

Normally I would have been jumping for joy and calling the world to tell them "I told you so", but even when I did message a few people saying just that, I still felt something was missing.

What, I still haven't been able to lay my finger on.

Maybe it was Nasim Ashraf's presence alongside the players on the boundary line. What is a board chairman's job anyway?

He should be responsible for running a board, running a company, not to be present in the dressing room along with the players jumping and cheering like a 20 year old.

He wasn't alone though. Shafqat Naghmi, the Chief Operating Officer was present with him, hand in hand. I have never seen any other administrators behave like that.

Maybe it was Younis Khan's century.

I don't want to take anything away from him cause he played a wonderful knock that laid the foundation for Pakistan's huge total, but I have never wanted him in the ODI side and with this knock what he has done is that he's booked his place for another year.

Younis' innings was out of character as he scored at faster than a run a ball and looked more aggressive than Salman Butt at the crease.

He completely deserved the man of the match award for the way he played and guided Salman in a 200 run plus partnership.

However, for a man who has played 170 ODIs and bats at 3, Younis averages only 32 and this was only his 4th ODI century - this is exactly why I don't want him in the ODI side.

He did well though, but what I am worried about is that he won't do well in an ODI again for some time to come.

Maybe it was the way Pakistan's innings ended.

Misbah played a brilliant knock pishing up th tempo at the end after a solid base had been laid by Salman and Younis.

But once Misbah departed, Afridi and Malik could only manage 22 runs of the last 15 deliveries.

A score over 330 was on the cards but neither Afridi nor Malik could get the big ones out of the bag and Pakistan ended with 315, which at the end looked lower than what they should have got, and maybe even sligtly lower than what would have been a safe target against India's batting line up.

In another era, 315 would have been a winning score, but against India in these times with Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Dhoni et all doing the chasing, it never seemed enough.

It was at the end but India still got to 290.

Which goes to prove that to beat this Indian side you need atleast 300 on the board. That shows the strength of India today.

But what does it mean for Pakistan?

It means that for their bowlers to defend a target, the Pakistan batsmen always need to score in excess of 300.

That is the major worry I believe.

A 150 run victory, the kind Lawson had wanted in the group game against India, would have probably been more pleasing. It would have shown that the Pakistan bowling had the ability to put pressure on the opposition.

That though was not the case.

I know that it highlights India's strength, but it also highlights Pakistan's problems.

The Pakistan bowlers still gave away a high number of extras - 11 wides and 2 no balls.

Sohail Tanvir hasn't been able to transform his IPL form into ODIs.

Iftikhar Anjum looks as pedestrian as ever.

Shoaib Malik is suffering from under confidence - That last over in the IPL is probably still haunting him.

Umar Gul and Afridi have been very good but they need more support in the other 30 overs.

Nonetheless, Pakistan won an ODI trophy, and that too after beating India in a final. Thats sweet but more work is needed.

Definitely needed.

A repeat in the Asia Cup will be sweeter.

Make your pitch on this post...

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14 Pitched:

  1. Hasan said...


    We would have had that 150 run victory.

    The amount of bad decisions against Yuvraj, Yousuf Pathan and Raina were the beginning of Pakistan's headaches.

    If Asok De Silva knew what an LBW was, he would have given these batsmen out. Yuvraj was given 4 lives atleast, Yousuf had about 2 and Raina had 2 as well.

    Their middle order would have fallen cheap thrusting pressure on Dhoni and Irfan Pathan. I am sure our guys could have got em.

    Give Tanvir time, he will develop. The non clean striking of the ball did not help our run rate toward the end either.

    Nasim Ashraf should not be micro managing the team like this.

    Atleast the extras are much less than what they were first time around.

  2. scorpicity said...

    I have not watched any cricket for the last few weeks and yes somehow I didn't feel any urge to watch this series... maybe it is because of an overdose of cricket or the fact that this was a pointless series... anyway good to see pakistan take the cup... Malik has been coming under under severe criticism.

  3. Q said...

    Hasan, I agree there were positives as u mention. And definitely Afridi should have had 4!

    Its just for some reason Im taking the victory with a pinch off salt. I hope its not a one off.

  4. Q said...

    Scorps thats right.. Malik ws under a lot of pressure.

    He looked good yesterday cos Paistan won but he still has a long way to go.

  5. Saqib said...

    the umpiring was dreadful, and afridi got screwed, the looks on his face after the decisions said it all... akmals keeping was dreadful (although thankfully he held onto yuvraj's catch) makeshift opener or not he needs to be dropped

    i feel that younis should remain in the team but should drop down the order to number 5 or 6 letting malik come in at number 3, a position that he (malik) has been the most successful at

  6. Q said...

    Afridi should have had 4 saqib!!

    I agree with Malik batting at 3...but to bring in that opener, Younis needs to make way. How else would u do it?

  7. Saqib said...

    perhaps dropping misbah is the option... currently it seems like pakistan is using him with the intention of scoring quick runs in the slog overs... a solid opener in his place would provide the team with more balance

  8. Hasan said...

    i like misbah there though..

    hes got this Bevan type role and our opening is not as solid as we like to think it is.

    He works well there adding that much needed boost to our run rate.

  9. Q said...

    Misbah has been our most consistent batsman - sure he's got only 30s and 40s but he has got them in all the matches... he bats at 5 or 6 and comes in during the last 10 overs.. he hasnt had a chance to bat longer to make bigger scores.

    Plus he is a very good cricket brain.

    Dropping Misbah is out of the question.

    I would drop Younis.

  10. Asad said...

    All i know is that this win can boost up the pakistani side alot :)

  11. Q said...

    Lets hope it does Asad. And welcome to Well Pitched.

  12. Saqib said...

    another option is to drop one of the seamers.
    the fact is afridi should now be treated as a bowler with the ability to on the odd occasion get us 20-30 quick runs, we should thus treat him as our 4th bowler utilizing hafeez as an opener and another bowling option, hafeez malik and perhaps butt and younis could make up the 5th bowling option (of course this theory goes to hell on a wicket with absolutely no assistance for the spinners)

  13. Wasim said...

    Q very well written, and you highlighted mostly every thing which was missing,I am happy with the result but I am also dreading a status quo now in the team, if Pakistan had lost this match the media would have compelled the selectors to make some changes,Several Heads were at the chopping block including that of the coach and the captain and IMO,some of those players have extended their career for another year.

    Pakistan's could have won this match more convincingly if the umpires were not so unfair to Afridi, he had Yousuf Pathan,Yuvraj and Raina plumb in front of the wickets but it was poor umpiring which helped the Indian team last till end.

    I think Younis Khan should still remain on the chopping block alongwith Malik, somebody suggested to drop Misbah,It will be a wrong move.

    Tanvir was Ok, it was just that the Indians were not taking too many chances against him, Rao Iftikhar's performance was mixed, his first three overs were really bad but his next spell was ok,but my first choice would be Shoaib Akhtar in his place, which is not possible anymore,so I will go with Sohail Khan or Wahab Riaz.

    But since Kamran Akmal is going to get axed either Malik has to open or he has to bowl full 10 overs because if they play Nasir Jamshed then Fawad Alam will be dropped which will be an injustice because he bowled really well against India.

    Pakistan has shot themselves in the foot by banning Shoaib, regardless of his recurring fitness problems he still is the best Pakistani pacer and I think the punishment is too severe and kind of stupid.

    Malik is still in hot waters he will have to open.

  14. Q said...

    Saqib, I dont think dropping one of the seamers is an option. It gives the team an imbalanced look.

    Wasim, I would rather have Malik at 3 than open, with Younis out of the team. I wouldn't have Alam or Iftikhar either.

    We need a specialist opener. I prefer Khurram Manzoor to Nasir Jamshed. But both can be tried interchangeably.

    Pakistan is missing an allrounder like Razzak a lot as he used to give the batting a lot of depth...without him our tail starts at 8. Tanvir still hasn't translated his domestic batting form to international cricket but maybe with time he will.

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