Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two 6s Over Cover!

You know those so called cricket fans who hardly know whats going on in the international scene and suddenly wake up from their slumber when the world cup is around the corner?

Yeah we all know some of them.

The same fans in this part of the world also get out of their slumber when international cricket comes to town.

One such fan said to me a couple of days ago - "the West Indies are weak, Pakistan should win it easily."

My response to that was that the West Indies were an improving side, while Pakistan is not as strong as before and the matches would actually be closely contested and worth watching.

The first such match just ended and boy was it close!

It was quite an experience being at the ground. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd was completely charged up, as was the Pakistan skipper.

If this is what half a capacity crowd can do, I can't wait for Friday, which is all sold out.

Quick notes on Pakistan's performance:

Salman Butt - rusty, which is surprising considering his amazing form during the Pentangular. Looked nervous and bothered and seemed concerned with the positive attitude of his new partner. Didn't seem too keen on running between the wickets.

Khurram Manzoor - confident start to his career. After a debut 50 against Zimbabwe in January he scored a solid 69 and ensured Pakistan got off to a good start. His partnership with Younis was crucial. Good future ahead.

Younis Khan - continued his marvellous run in ODIs this year. His 56 today followed 5 consecutive scores of 108, 67, 59, 48, and 123* (only 1 of those is against minor opposition, the rest against India and Sri Lanka). He has grown as an ODI batsman tremendously and played a sensible innings today guiding Khurram along the way. Got out when he needed to up the tempo, but useful contribution none the less.

Misbah Ul Haq - yet again found a strange way to get out.

Shoaib Malik - looked determined from the word go. Outstanding innings. Looked confident and in control on the field as well and seemed more comfortable leading the team. I wonder if thats due to Yousuf's absence or Intikhab's presence? Brilliant with the ball and needs to do that more often. Match winning knock.

Shahid Afridi - great with the ball, shit with the bat. His wretched run with the bat continues, needs to be moved lower down the order. Continues to be Pakistan's best bowler. His chemistry with Malik didn't show any signs of stress between the two - actually it never has. When Wasim & waqar didn't get along during their playing days, the tension showed.

Fawad Alam - match winner! This was his 9th innings in ODIs and the 7th in which he remained unbeaten at the end of an innings. Out of the 11 ODIs he has played, Pakistan have won 9. His late innings contributions have won Pakistan several matches and did so yet again. Has a Bevan / Hussey type average of 78.00 right now. Not sustainable, but needs to bat 1 position higher.

Kamran Akmal - in Shoaib Malik's words: "AWESOME". To win a match from that situation takes balls. He had plenty. 2 consecutive sixes in the final over and that too over cover is simply unbelievable. He must be thinking who needs Stanford - he was awarded a million rupees from the sponsors! Well deserved.

Sohail Tanvir - brilliant with the ball. To go at 4 an over when 600 runs are scored in a day is quite an achievement. And to pick up 3 wickets along the way, even better. Showed he's not only 20-20 material.

Umar Gul - needs to tighten his lenght, bowls too short. Did well near the end but should be more consistent.

Abdur Rauf - wasn't good enough. Needs some sessions in the nets with Aqib. Has potential and needs to be groomed properly.

Hopefully Shoaib Akhtar will be back in the next match.

Before I sign off I would like to spare a thought for Chris Gayle. What an exhilarating knock! And what an excellent 49th over under pressure. Captain cool did not deserve to be on the losing side but Kamran Akmal spoilt his party.

Just to keep things in perspective - Pakistan is still the most unpredictable team on this planet. They chased 294 today; tomorrow they may not be able to get to 150.

Thats the story of Pakistan cricket.

Well played today though.

Make your pitch on this post...

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21 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...


    Good analysis.

    I thought West Indies was weak before today, and it's difficult to say whether they will improve. That's because on the one hand their coach complained they did not get a chance to prepare adequately and their players were suffering from jetlag. On the other hand Abdur Rauf and Umar Gul bowled badly and surely they will bowl better in the next games. I have been a supporter of Rao, and today Pakistan lacked a pacer who could constrict runs in the middle overs. Rao my guess is Rao should be chosen in place of Rauf in the next match.

    I knew Afridi would not score with the bat and I knew Fawad Alam would be involved to some extent in chasing this score. As it happened Fawad did not do anything extraordinary but Akmal was the miracle man today. I suppose Akmal has justified his place in the team. Even if he drops a few catches, it is OK as long as he is batting like this. I think the gameplan was for Fawad to push for singles and doubles and for Akmal to go for the big shots, after Malik's departure. But in any event Fawad should have taken more risks. I thought his batting became slightly selfish towards the end. Nevertheless, whatever we have seen from him thus far has been extremely promising, especially the way he has batted under pressure.

    The running between the wickets of all Pakistan batsmen is below average. Younis is a good runner, in that he runs fast, but he is not a good judge of a run. Butt and Yousuf can neither run well, nor can they judge a run. Only Malik and Misbah are decent runners.

    You are right that Butt looked nervous because Manzoor was looking very positive. Butt on accounts of being a senior player should have taken command and should have dictated when the batsman should run. I am saying this because the running between the wickets of this pair was pathetic.

    I feel at times Umar Gul is an overrated bowler. Looking at his career graph there have been too many injuries and lapses of form. He also has a temperament problem. Having said this in the usual absence of Akhtar and Asif, he is probably the best bowler in the international side.

    Malik was at his best. Captain or not captain, if he improves his bowling he will be an automatic selection at least in T20 or ODI's. He was never a bad player; he is just a stupid captain. Today he lacked guts to introduce spin earlier on; West Indies was scoring at 7 runs per over and he should have introduced Afridi or himself soon after the 10th over.

  2. straight point said...

    this shows that how hungry they are for cricket...good...

    now they must keep momentum and hunger going...

  3. Q said...

    Khansahab, I dont think Fawad was selfish near the end.. he just couldnt get the ball away - he tried his best. Gayle bowled a brilliant over to him.

  4. Q said...

    SP, knowing them as I said - unpredictability...

  5. Anonymous said...

    Pakistan should work in the following areas:

    The Openers should reduce the dot balls by focusing more on singles,Butt struggled to find gaps and his timing was off.He was also uncomfortable against the pace of West Indian bowlers.

    Younis Khan was focusing to much on nudges and running down the ball to third man and fine leg he needs to play more in front of wicket.

    Afridi should be demoted in the batting order and Fawad should be promoted.

    Misbah is out of form, he needs to focus on singles and should refrain from risky shots early in the innings.

    Rauf should be replaced by Shoaib Akhtar if he is fit otherwise Rao should take his place, Umar Gul needs to adjust his length.

  6. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Q - missed the pak innings, do tell about Misbah's fall.

  7. Soulberry said...

    One thing's certain Q, WI lost their best chance of the series.

    Now It will be doubly difficult to get abreast of a revved up Pakistan.

  8. Q said...

    NC, Misbah facing spinner Miller - even before ball was delivered, Misbah changed his stance to become lefty ala KP and Miller fired in a faster one on leg stump which was not his off stump.


  9. Q said...

    Only if Pak don't go back to their unpredictable ways SB..

  10. Anonymous said...

    I am watching the final of ICL and I must express my disappointment with Inzamam and the Lahore team.

    Firstly Azhar Mahmood was alleged to have tampered with the ball. Dean Jones and other commentators were very upset about this. In the past we have accused the “white” commentators of being racist and accusing Pakistanis without good reason, but we have to accept that there must be something for so many accusations to come to light. I know the white cricket nations now accept that reverse swing is not cheating, but Imran Khan has admitted previously that he tampered with the ball in a county game.

    Secondly, Inzamam and Azhar Mahmood argued with the umpire when the ball was changed. The batsmen could not see the ball and the law states if the umpires feel the ball is not properly visible and should be changed, the bowling side cannot do anything about it. But Inzamam kept arguing and it looked very unprofessional on part of a man who has played international cricket for 18 years now.

    Thirdly, Rana Naved kept provoking Razzaq and he was very uncouth in his behaviour when the umpires intervened between Razzaq and Rana. Rana pointed his finger at the umpire and showed enormous disrespect. I have never seen anyone behaving like that with an umpire. The whole incident reeked of uncouthness and absence of any decency and refinement.

    I don’t know why it is Pakistanis who keep getting into trouble over these things. These 3 incidents have left me quite upset.

  11. Anonymous said...

    Azhar Mahmood did not tampered the ball. The ball was dirty and with the pacers on Hyderabad batsmen complained they couldn't see the ball Azhar and Inzamam were pleading that the ball should not be changed,there is a huge difference between tampering the ball and the ball getting dirty.

    As regards Rana and Razzak Incident Razzak was the one who was taunting
    Lahore Badshah bowlers, Yousuf went up to him and tried to stop him but he didn't stopped and in the end it became an ugly incident.

    This so called uncouthness is a regular part of international cricket now, and I think uncouthness and unrefined are a bit too strong words to describe a hot exchange of words in a game of cricket.

  12. Anonymous said...

    Azhar Mahmood must have devised a very unique and groundbreaking way to clean a dirty ball that raised such suspicion. There must be dozens of bowlers in the ICL who have cleaned dirty balls and the camera has focused on them doing that.

    Razzaq was doing his job by scoring runs for Hyderabad. Rana Naved was behaving like a kid- Razzaq smashed other bowlers too, but no one had a problem with him. It was completely Rana's fault and the commentators and people on other sites have also accepted this. Even when he got out Razzaq complained to Inzamam; he did not address Rana directly.

    Heated exchanges are a part of cricket, but talking to umpires with such disrespect (pointing fingers) and arguing with umpires for so long, over something routine like changing of the ball, is not a regular part of international cricket. If it was the commentators would not have singled these incidents out. When the ball was being changed when Hyderabad was bowling, Chris Harris also had a word with the umpire but he was very calm and he was agreeing with the umpires' decision.

  13. Anonymous said...

    BTW who thinks Humayun Farhat's wife is hot?

  14. Anonymous said...

    I think you have a misunderstanding about the whole situation the dispute was not about tampering the ball as you suggested earlier the dispute was about changing the dirty ball after 11 overs Badshahs wanted it to be cleaned and not changed as it was being done in previous matches, the ball was in perfect shape only was a bit dingy.

    Rana only gave 4 or 5 runs in that over so you can imagine who should have been upset,pointing fingers is not that big of a deal,nowadays players have started to throw elbows, I think you are over exaggerating the incident.
    But then again its your opinion and you are fully entitled to it.

  15. Q said...

    I dont think Razzak was cofronting the Badshahs bowlers. It was Rana who unneccessarily swore at him after the innings ended...

    I found it so funny that Razzak ran upto Inzi bhai to complain.

    Mahmood has been fined before by the ICC for tampering with the ball.

    Humayun Farhat's wife IS hot!

  16. Anonymous said...


    Glad you agree with that point about Mrs Humayun Farhat.

    When I saw her for the first few times I didn't like her, but she is one of those that "grow on you" after a while. I find her make up and hairstyle very hot.

    If you look at these cricketers' wives they are much more refined than them, they are so lucky they get better looking girls from good families. They have fame and money; that's why they get these girls. Oh well.

  17. Anonymous said...

    Wasim sahab

    I just saw Tony Creig and Dean Jones getting worked up with Azhar Mahmood and the whole idea of him being singled out amongst other bowlers just made by blood boil because I knew he has got into trouble before with the ICC.

    I don't know that much about the background of this particular incident, so you are correct I might be misunderstanding the situation.

  18. Anonymous said...


    I watched the whole match, and saw Razzak passing remarks to bowlers after hitting them, he was taunting Arshad khan earlier after hitting him for a boundary, and when Rana came in to bowl he said something to him while he was going back to his run up, Razzak was on non strikers end, Rana turned and said something back and from there the spat continued. Even Dean Jones said that Razzak seems to be carrying a grudge or grievance from his playing days with his former team mates.

    Anyways both will get penalized and everything will be clear.

    As regards the other incident as Ovais said he listened to Tony Creig and Dean Jones saying some thing about tampering, basically they were lip reading the discussion between umpires and Inzi and speculating I was also shocked when they were talking,the situation eventually became clear when one of the players from Hyderabad in a post match interview told about the whole incident.

  19. Q said...

    Wasim, then we must have watched different matches.. I didn't see Razzak taunt the Lahore bowlers - in fact he was just enkiying his batting and was doing friendly banter with the bowlers... It was Rana who made he whole thing more serious by swearing at him after dismissing him.

    Yosuuf did have a word with razzak but again it was exchanged with smiles.

    Commentators are stupid - Razzak has no reason to hold any grudge against anyone but the PCB. If anyone has a grudge it is the Lahore Badshahs who were denied the title last season due to Razzak.

    And had Razzak been taunting the bowlers, why did Inzi ask Rana to apologise.

    As for Mahmood and the ball change and Tony Greig... Inzi and Mahmood argued cos they did not like the new ball given to them.. Tony Griegs comments were uncalled for ..Chris Harris argued the same way when their ball was changed.

  20. Damith S. said...

    What are the chances they read my post Q ? LOL.

    I was being sarcastic on my blog and Jrods.

    ODI cricket is well and truly alive.

    To the death of 2020 !

  21. Anonymous said...

    Misbah is spooked! Good match.

    The WIs recent performance against Australia hints that they are getting back their mojo plus Pakistan should be a bit rusty.

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