Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pakistan Cricket?

On the post below, Khansahab has asked a few important questions regarding the current state of Pakistan Cricket.

I try and answer them here - with my opinion based on some facts.

1) Will Afridi be dropped in the near future?

The emergence of Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed as an opening pair has meant that Malik has had to move down the order. The only way Malik could come back into the team for the match against Bangladesh was in place of Afridi.

IMO, Malik instead of Afridi strengthens the batting but it significantly weakens the bowling. Its going to be a tough one for the selectors. I would definitely go with Afridi but DNA's backing of Malik as skipper means Afridi will miss out more often than not.

It could very well be Malik vs Afridi going forward.

2) If the Champions Trophy goes ahead and IF Pakistan perform the same way as they have been doing for a year (great against minnows, poor against established teams) what will happen to Malik and Lawson?

Malik and Lawson will continue till their term ends. DNA has made it clear and I doubt he will budge. He can control both of them more than any other captain (Misbah or Afridi) and any other local coach.

I would have replaced Malik already but the I'm not the Chairman with the Leash.

3) Is Mohammad Asif returning, fitness permitting?

He was cleared by Dubai in shady circumstances. The all famous 3-man committee has been formed and we all know what the results of that would be.

Asif, fitness permitting, would be playing for Pakistan come the Champions Trophy.

4) Is Shoaib Akhtar returning?

The Lahore High Court has paved the way for Shoaib's return but there are still a number of people in the PCB and the team who do no want him to play for Pakistan again.

It will be tough. Even if he does return, I doubt he would be able to carry on due to fitness problems.

5) What will happen to Mansoor Amjad and Saeed Ajmal? How will the team management react to them. For eg, if the pitch is only partially assisting the spinners, will they be given confidence to play and perform?

Saeed Ajmal has a very bright future. Not many spinners make their debuts against India and come out on top.

He's come too late into the international scene but he's by far one of the best spinners I've seen in Pakistan since the days of Mushtaq and Saqlain. He'll do well in tests too. Kaneria has competition.

Mansoor Amjad will stay on the fringes much like Fawad Alam. Its difficult for either to be a regular feature as long as Malik and Afridi are around.

6) What will happen to Umar Gul? Gul has had numerous problems with injuries. When he is fit and in form he is destructive but his frequent injury problems have become a burden on the team especially when he is perceived as the lead man in Asif's and Akhtar's absence.

That's true. He has been as injured as Shoaib has been but as long as he is fit he will remain a part of Pakistan's 1st choice attack.

7) Abdur Rauf has shown promise. Is he a replacement for Umar Gul in the near future? Sohail Tanvir is in form and I think Rao Ifthikar has not performed poorly so I think he will stay.

Like Saeed Ajmal, it has taken Abdur Rauf ages to break into the international team. Not many fast bowlers come into the Pakistan team at the age of 29.

Rauf has been on the domestic scene for 8 years now and in 80 odd first clast games he's picked up 375 wickets to go with 57 in 57 List A games.

He is a promising pacer. Better than Rao and Wahab and in his last 2 ODIs, he did better than Tanvir.

I believe he will be a regular feature in Pakistan's 1st choice pace attack. He should be.

8) How was Safraz all over as a keeper in the Asia Cup and will we see Kamran Akmal in his place?

Sarfraz was outstanding behind the stumps. Some of his work reminded me of Rashid Latif.

Despite that I feel Kamran Akmal will be back sooner than later as Sarfraz's presence weakens the lower order batting considerably.

9) How is the team morale now? Afridi is under stress, the team looked united without Malik and the seniors are not getting along with Lawson. If the team morale worsens undoubtedly this will result in consistent poor performances. The partnership of Malik and Lawson has proved to be one of the most destructive to Pakistan cricket in the nation's history.

Malik is low on confidence and Lawson doesn't have the support of the seniors. This will continue as long as both remain in their current posts, which looks likely with the backing of DNA.

The team will continue to be the unpredictable Pakistan as it has been forever.

I think its a distant dream to expect consistent performances from Pakistan.

Even when we won the World Cup, we were one of the weakest teams in the tournament who had lost more than we won.

Make your pitch on this post...

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3 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...


    You have answered all these questions flawlessly.

    I doubt anyone else will be able to elicit more apt responses.

  2. Anonymous said...

    We know this has been an era of failure for everyone associated with the PCB but I just recalled something I consider very important.

    I remember after last year's series loss against India, Malik was asked about Pakistan's poor standing in world cricket. He said something like, India is a strong team, but Pakistan will compete better with teams not as strong as Australia and India.

    Sri Lanka is not a top 3 team, but I think everyone will agree they outplayed Pakistan if you look at the overall Asia Cup.

    This is a very sad development.

  3. Q said...

    I believe we have to agree with DNA when he says Pakistan doesn't have the same talent as they did in the 90s.

    Its sad but its true..

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