Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Pakistan are Favorites for the ICC World Twenty20

Wasim Akram has said it, and many others also believe so.

I have all the reasons why so many people are talking up Pakistan's chances for the ICC World Twenty20.
  1. Not many people outside Pakistan know this, but the Pakistanis have been playing 20-20 cricket longer than any other cricket nation.

    The "Annual Ramadan Twenty20 Cricket Tournament", has been played in Karachi for over 2 decades now. Since the mid 80s, cricketers from all over Pakistan have been getting together in Karachi for a month long 20-20 cricket fest.

    Its unfortunate that we didn't have visionaries like Lalit Modi or the vision of the ECB to turn the format into a money-spinning one.

  2. The above point probably explains why Pakistan has won more Twenty20 Internationals than any other team; and lost less than any.

    Pakistanis understand the shorter format, and their record suggests that they are better at it than any other team.

    Consistency has never been Pakistan's virtue when it comes to cricket, however, when its 20-20 cricket, its a different story altogether.

  3. Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi, Misbah Ul Haq, and Shoaib Malik. These 4 were instrumental in taking Pakistan to the final of the World Twenty20 in 2007.

    Misbah in fact won that final for them single handedly, before losing it with that infamous scoop shot.

    The fact that Gul and Afridi are the leading wicket takers in this form of cricket, and that Misbah and Malik are among the leading run scorers, suggests that these 4 are among the best 20-20 cricketers the world has seen.

    Having 4 match winners in one team holds Pakistan in very good stead.

  4. Their preparation for the ICC World Twenty20 has been ideal.

    Having been barred from the rigours of the IPL, the Pakistanis were involved in a training camp, a couple of practice matches, and an intense domestic T20 competition, which lasts less than a week.

    Compared to other teams, particularly India and South Africa, Pakistan will have a lot more fresher legs at the World Cup.

  5. You simply cannot rule them out of anything, particularly when they are hungry for it.

    When Pakistan puts their mind down to something, they turn out to be the most dangerous opponents one can ever encounter.

    The stripping of the World Cup 2011 hosting rights coupled with the Champions League snub is enough to rile up Pakistan and get the players to rally around each other to bring home the 20-20 World Cup trophy.

    The news from Pakistan is that the players are thinking along exactly those lines!
For me, they are definitely the favorites.

Having that tag in no way means that they will win the 20-20 world cup; hell with Pakistan one never knows, but for sure they cannot be taken lightly.

Make your pitch on this post...

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55 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Good post mate. And quite a good deal of stats.

    But one thing Pakistan lacks right now is discipline and match practice. Playing in domestic T20 tourney and in international arena is different. the opposition matters too.

    If only PCB could look into the cricketing matters than being a sissy pussy cat in crying over hosting rights and look more into the infrastructure of the game and pyrotechniques of ppl like Shoaib Akhtar, your team would very soon return to its true colors. The team of 90s.

    and i m not sure how Pakistan team players are going to take the returns of Yusuf and others who played ICL. though they aint in the world t20 team, but in future.

    I would say Pakistan are one of the favorites for the T20 and who wouldnt like the repeat of the final of T20 2007 world cup!!

  2. Wasim said...


    Pakistan will sorely miss Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Nasir Jamshed.
    However the team is still strong enough to compete.Younis should play Fawad Alam, he should use Kamran Akmal or Shoaib malik as an opener that's the only way he can make room for Fawad.

    English conditions will definitely suit Pakistani Pace bowlers.
    I think we have a good chance only if Younis Khan lets go of his stupid interventions in the team selection.

  3. SledgeHammer said...

    Good post Q! There's definitely some optimism for Pakistan fans.

  4. Stani Army said...

    Now all we need is to come up against a minnow, take it easy and get knocked out. Typical!

    (Sorry Sledge)

  5. karachikhatmal said...

    @ sam

    our true colours would mean a team that gets dismissed for the lowest scores ever, has players dismissed for using drugs, has everyone throwing matches, and the whole team is constantly divided by in-fighting divas. that was what the 90s were like, and in fact how our cricket has always been like. and so it is now. we're a bit less succesful, and less marquee players, but its only a matter of time. :D

  6. raj said...

    Pakistna never win tournaments they start favourites as. They win when everyone gives up on them. Even within a tournament, if they reach a stage wherefrom they must win everything, everyone writes them off at that point, and then they go on to win. 1992. Last year's tri series with india and some other country I dont remember.
    So, if Pakistan start off losing and in the brink of elimination, they'll win. if they start off well, then they'll not. Simple logic :-)

  7. Abdullah said...

    Imran Nazir 60 of 29 balls. Outstanding stroke play.Utter dominance ! Sialkot Stallions will win the RBS T20 09.

    I emphasise my point on what an astonishing exhibition we saw from Imran Nazir today. The way he charged the bowlers and cleared the boundaries with ease was quite remarkable. Also he frequently lofted the ball over the wicket keepers head to claim boundaries. This was expertise and ruthlessness. Simply why is he not in the Pakistan team ?

  8. Abdullah said...

    This June contest is one which shall be watched with abundance of excitement around the globe. The dynamics of this T20 format has been a sporting revelation ever since its introduction in June 2003. The publicity and attraction this format has attracted has been resounding to say the least. Majority of encounters result in close tense climaxes. Additionally the duration is ideal for entertainment value. Therefore I would like to remark that this is where the games future lies. The combination of skill, uniqueness and intensity is there for one to express passion let it be playing or watching.

    Prediction: Should be a competitive and anticipated competition on the whole. India are the current holders and have the balance of experience and youth to go the distance. Also they have the captaincy enterprise enhanced by MS dhoni which proved influential in RSA 07.

  9. Abdullah said...

    But I will keep my hopes hidden for Pakistan in this tournament because the experties,uniqueness and flamboyance seems to be lacking which is what the whole T20 competition requires in order to be successful.

    Nazir,Rana,Mahmood, Yousuf are all not in the squad. Also another T20 specialist is Fawad Alam but the reality is that he will be unlikely to play in the final 11.

  10. Q said...

    Sam: Thanks.. PCB can't help it, they're just trying to fight for their rights. Who wouldn't?

    As for Shoaib.. well thats another story in itself.

    Repeat of 07? It'll be great for the tournament! Only the result shud be different.. ;-)

  11. Q said...

    Wasim: I agree, those guys will definitely be missed.

    But we still have a good enough team.. another option to open is Afridi.. that way Alam can make it into the team.

    I don't mind Younis Khan's interventions, after all its the captain's team that should play.

  12. Q said...

    Sledge: thanks man.. there is optimism.. there shud be..

  13. Q said...

    Stani: we play the Netherlands early and with the Dirty Dirk Nannes attacking for them, we could come into some trouble..

  14. Q said...

    KK: well said man..

    The thing that people fail to understand is that Pakistan has always been this unpredictable and inconsistent.. the difference between the 90s and now is the less marquee players as u pointed out.. the board has always been this dysfunctional.. its nothing new..

    The fact that we even win matches despite all the background drama, says a lot.

    Imagine our team with a set up like Australia's.

  15. Q said...

    Raj: also true.. though Pakistan is not saying they r favorites.. I am, Wasim Akram is, but thats about it.

    Majority of the people are talking abt India or South Africa walking away with the cup.

  16. Q said...

    Maza: Imran Nazir will be missed. Alam needs to play.

    Out of the others you mentioned: Mahmood, Rana, Yousuf - I don't think they can make it into a Pak XI for 20-20.

  17. Som said...

    Whichever be the tournament and however low they may look but Pakistan is never to be taken casually.

  18. khansahab said...


    Good analysis but the only problem I have is that other teams have been improving their T20 standards.

    There should be no excuse now, I think more than half of these players have played in the UK at least once in their life. They have had ample match practice in domestic cricket, they will play warm up matches too in England and they have 3 in form bowlers in Gul, Afridi and Ajmal.

    I don't support Younis's captaincy and if he comes out with this excuse that his team was not used to playing in English conditions, he should be sacked.

    The onus is on Younis, Misbah and Malik and they have to play with more responsibility. I think Misbah has not played in UK, but Malik and Younis have been visiting UK every now and then.

  19. Abdullah said...

    Meaningful stat. Provides some inspiration and optimism for Pakistan fans and players. They are tailor made for this format due 2 the culture of plaing tape ball cricket and Ramadan tournament matches and that stat has demonstrated this opinion.

  20. Dipankar said...

    Fantastic post :), and the history of T20 in Pakistan is truly richer than the rest of the n00bs.

    I do think that Pakistan just like the last time will be the underdogs. At the minimum, it will make it to the semi-finals (and more). Its as if the team is built for short bursts of concentration and talent :).

    Being an Indian, would love to see another final like the last time (not saying that India has to win). Cricket played should be of the highest quality and the sub-continent players really make us all proud. Enjoyed the last one, this one has the potential to be a cracker.

  21. Rayden said...

    Good post. I had mentioned last month that Pak is one of the favourites for the T20 World Cup.

    Also interesting to note about the Annual Ramadan Twenty20 Cricket Tournament. Its been played for 2 decades now??? Why didnt the Pak media cover the event properly. Rest of the cricketing world would have surely taken note then.

  22. Q said...

    Som: true that buddy.

  23. Q said...

    Khansahab: thank you and welcome back :-)

    Our bowling is looking good surely with the 3 guys u mentioned.. and ur right abt the middle order - they will have to stand up and be counted for.

    I dont have much hope in the openers.. but Akmal might just turn out to be our saving grace with the batting this time.

  24. Q said...

    Maza786: yes.. that table is quite revealing.

  25. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Q, There's a warm up game in a few days. I'm told it will be on Live.

  26. Q said...

    Dipankar: Thanks and welcome to well pitched.

    Not only with cricket but even with majority of the stuff we do, we tend to be very good at it for short bursts of time. We being Pakistanis :-) .. we are not known for out consistency and long levels of concentration.. more like flash in the pan stuff.

    Which is why 20-20 is just ideal for our players.

    Its no surprise that the longer the game gets, the lower the level of performance becomes for Pak.

    If its a repeat of 2007 final, there will be nothing like it. Only for our sake, I hope the result is different this time round.

  27. Q said...

    Rayden: yes buddy it has been that long.. media hasn't really picked up in Pak as it has in India.. and as I said, we don't have the visionaries like Lalit Modi (despite his evil lieing and money making ways) that could have turned that annual 20-20 tournament into a high profile money making one.

  28. Q said...

    NC: U talking abt the Pak v Ind one? That's on 3rd June. Pak takes on SA on the 1st, and Ind takes on NZ on the 1st.

    Live in TV u saying?

    Or we covering it LIVE like the IPL final?

  29. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Live on tv, and Live like we covered the IPL Finals.

  30. Wasim said...


    I don't mind Captain intervening the selection to give chance to a deserving player but his emphasis and comittment to seniority based selection regardless of the form is ridiculous that gives one the impression that he is trying to be politically correct and trying to keep all the seniors happy and content.

  31. Q said...

    NC: done..

  32. Q said...

    Wasim: I agree on that count.. when Younis was in Dubai he specifically told the media that he will not drop Malik or Misbah cos one was a former captain and the other a VC..

  33. LiB said...


    The practice games that India play on the 1st and the 3rd will be shown live on ART 16:30 GMT!

    i dont get ART but i am hoping set max, star cricket or ten sports one of them will air the games!

  34. Q said...

    LIB - Zabardast!!

    So if u don't get ART, how did u watch the IPL?

  35. LiB said...


    i watched it over setmax! :)

    i was sick of e-vision, they have the most idiotic of packages to offer; you get F1 coverage in the basic package but not in the Gold Package; premier league is on showtime, if you go for that you lose out on the other channels; so i cancelled my subscription of e-vision and went for DishTV - a smuggled satellite reciever from India! :)

    Now i get Ten Sports (the one aired in the sub-continent), ESPN, Star Sports, Star Cricket, Zee Sports! forget about watching the premier league or the spanish league, i even get to watch the scottish league :p

    and its dirt cheap too! :)

  36. Anonymous said...

    Khatmal, i meant Pakistan true colors means an agressive team which believed in itself and cud win out of nowhere.

    something which akram and younis did as bowlers to the opposition and Anwar, Aaloo to the opposition as batsmen....

    ignoring the vices you said were in the team.

    90s team was way more attractive, aggressive than this one.

    I just imaging what Pakistan team would have been in T20 with the likes of Wasim and Younis in full flow. Orgasmic. One a master of yorkers and other a willy craftsman....

    Contrast that to Umar Gul and Tanvir....Good bowlers, but not class of Wasim.

  37. Nasir said...

    Love your optimism Q! I wish I could actually call the Pakistani team favorites for anything other than self-implosion. I know we can win the cup, I know we have the talent, the drive, blah blah....but it's Pakistan dude! We can kick Australia's ass on a good day and go down in flames to Ireland on a bad one. I stopped making predictions about Pakistan ong I just watch the games with an open mind. If we win, hooray, if we don't dont and lose by ten wickets, that;s just par for the course.

  38. Q said...

    LIB: Dish TV is awesome ad ur lucky uve got that. Some channel will definitely show the matches - they dont miss out on the cricket.

    However, ur more than welcome to drop by and watch the matches at my place :-)

  39. Q said...

    Sam: orgasmic indeed. Sadly the Ws are gone and are irreplaceable. But we can't continue to live in their memory.

  40. Q said...

    Nasir: I hear you man, I hear you. I have almost become immune to their implosion. Some what so that I did not even react when they fell from 95-0 to 178 all out in the 3rd ODI against Australia.

    And that is exactly why I concluded my post with:

    "Having that tag in no way means that they will win the 20-20 world cup; hell with Pakistan one never knows, but for sure they cannot be taken lightly."

    I just called em favorites, didn't say they're gonna win it :-)

  41. Q said...

    and welcome to Well Pitched Nasir.

  42. RGB said...

    1. Seriously? Does that also mean England should be favourite for every Test and ODI tournaments?

    2. The record is bloated by the 7 wins against minnows.

    3. Out of the four only Gul deserves to be at the top.

    For the remaining three they are at the top of the tables partly due to the quantum of matches played.

    Misbah had a great tournament in 2007. But has not replicated that form since then.

    Malik and Afridi are decent but not in the same league as Gul.

    4.The IPL experience cuts both ways. It will cause fatigue but players can also fine tune their strategies against better opposition.

    5. T20 is the best format for this Pakistani team. And given the unpredictable nature of Pakistani teams, one cannot rule them out, particularly in a T20 tournament. But does that make them favourites?

  43. Fark said...

    Hi Q,

    posting here for the first time.

    Great post and great to read some really insightful comments. I'm a big fan of the "curiously talented and techniqued" Misbah, and I loved watching him play last year.

    I'd like to know who you think might play the "all-rounders" role in the starting XI. I'm asking this because in my observation, the nature of the T20 game is such that invariably atleast 1 regular bowler in every game doesn't seem to fulfill a quota of 4 overs. In such a scenario, who do you think does the work for the pak team?


  44. Q said...


    1. No. Tests have been played over a century, while ODIs over 4 decades hence the overall records include teams of different eras. T20Is have been around for 4 years or so and the teams have been pretty much the same, hence the record speaks for itself.

    2. If you take out the 7 matches against minnows, Pakistan record will read: Played 10, won 6, lost 3, tied 1. That will give Pakistan a win percentage of 65%, which will still place them at the top of the table. Hence the record is not bloated.

    3. Afridi was the player of the tournament in the 2007 20-20 WC. He has been a consistent bowler in T20s and ODIs for the last 3 years. Misbah, in T20s has continued the same form, in ODIs and Tests he hasn't I agree, but in T20s he has.

    If you take a look at the leading run scorers and wkt takers in T20 cricket, u will see that there are many who have played more matches than Misbah, Malik, and Afridi. So their aggregates are not due to quantum of matches. The averages speak for themselves, anyhow.

    4. I agree with this. As Dhoni pointed out last year, "if we win they will say we were fresh, if we lose, they will say we were rusty". So yep it works both ways.

    5. Agreed, u can't rule them out. I think they are one of the favorites if not THE favorites.

  45. Q said...

    Fark: welcome to Well Pitched. Glad to see you here and pleased that you enjoyed the post.

    For Pakistan, Afridi and Malik have played the role of allrounders for the longest time.

    Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat are also potential allrounders, but niether has yet translated their domestic batting form at the international level. Some may argue not even their bowling form.. but u know what I mean.

    Afridi and Malik remain the true allrounders of Pak cricket.. and hopefully Razzak when he will make his return.

    Going to check out ur blog now.

  46. LiB said...

    thanx for the offer Q, will definitely showup at your doorstep with samosa chaat! :)

  47. RGB said...

    1. If he relative constancy of the T20 teams is a criteria , then how does the two decade long T20 tournament help? How many of the current players have played in that tournament and for how many years? From what I have read, it is a tournamnet between club sides. That raises questions about the quality of cricket in that tournament and whether it can contribute to any development in T20 skills.

    England had a T20 tournament for 5 years prior to the 2007 tournament. Did that help? 4 years and 2 editions of IPL are enough for teams to understand T20 format and level the playing field.

    2. The wins against minnows do bloat the win % from 65% to 80 %.
    Without those wins, Pakistan's win % is not signicantly different from that of India, SL and SA.

    3. I had said partly responsible.
    Regarding Misbah in last two years his scores are 87*(against Ban), 17, 20 ,23 * and 24. Hardly ground breaking stuff.

    Symonds, Smith, Oram, Yuvraj, Gayle, Jayasuriya , Warner and even Masakadza have better record than Malik with respect to average and strike rest. Malik is at top of the table due to the quantum of matches he has played.

    Afridi has been decent. Disregarding performances against minnows he has 12 wickets @ 20 in 10 matches. Not top of the draw. He too owes a place in leading wicket takers table to the quantum of matches played.

  48. Q said...

    LIB: wonderful! Will coordinate before the game.

  49. Q said...


    1. the 2 decade long T20 tournament was to show things in perspective as to how long the Pakistanis in general have been playing T20 cricket. Its the type of cricket that our cricketers grow up on. Yes it is a club cricket tournament and the quality is not comparable to international cricket at all, but surely u learn a number of skills playing the game.

    The English are a wrong example.. they've been playing cricket longer than any nation, has it ever helped them? :-)

    2. 65% still puts Pakistan above the other teams. Take out the minnow games from the rest of the teams and the gap between them and Pakistan increases even further.

    3. Point taken abt Misbah and Malik... but regarding Afridi, I'll leave it to him to silence his critics during the T20 WC.

  50. RGB said...

    1. I am skeptical about what that tournament has contributed or can contribute. And were the matches in that tournament played in a manner similar to the way T20 is played now or were they just abridged ODIs?

    I gave the England example to show that most teams now understand the T20 format and prior familiarity is no longer an advantage.

    2. Without considering wins against minnows India win% is 62.5 and those of SL and SA are bit below 60. Yes Pakistan is still at the top , but the difference is not too significant. Had the Pakistan win % been 80 against non minnows as well, that would have made a difference.

  51. Q said...


    1. The tournament has always been played like T20s are played today. I don't understand the "abridged ODI" comment.. T20s are abridged ODIs, are they not?

    I differ on the prior knowledge not being an advantage. Some teams still regard T20 as exhibition cricket. Many batsmen still panic when 50 is required in 6 overs, failing to realise how in T20 thats actually easy. Many bowlers still have not learnt the art of bowling in T20.

    I do think Pakistanis have an advantage here.

    2. Bottom line: Pakistan has a better win record than all T20 playing countries.

  52. RGB said...

    1. "The tournament has always been played like T20s are played today."
    I have not seen the scores from that tournament but I do not think 150-160 would have been the average score in a 20 over innings in the late 80s. And T20s are not just abridged ODIs. The dynamics are quite different.

    "I differ on the prior knowledge not being an advantage"
    I had said prior familiarity is no longer an advantage. It may have been an advantage when T20 was first started but not any longer.

    2. "Pakistan has a better win record than all T20 playing countries."

    Ireland has 100% record. :D

  53. Q said...

    RGB: u r relentless man! :-) ..

    You're right 150-160 was not the average score in those annual T20 Ramadan tournaments in the 80s, 180-200 was.

    I agree with you about familiarity not being a factor anymore, but even today the Pakistanis and the Indians are the only ones with some "gully cricket" skills, which I think apply very well to T20.

    I know abt the Irish, let me rephrase - better record than any team that has played more than 5 T20Is :-)

  54. Anonymous said...

    wel i admit at pakistan used to be good dey used to amke a 200 or more wickits in a twenty20
    dey were always in the final but i think dat was dwn to d old players hence the term old is gold they have taken most of the old palyer out which were the best they knew how to play they are only 3 old players left the rest are new and not good. dey nt gud a fielding somethings happend to them ever since dey gt new players belive it or not they going down deyb had 65-4 out common it should be 100-0 out dat wu dey were but nt anymore india beat them so south africa for a team dat is one of the best they are not doing agood job belive or not they need to sort themselve out otherwise they are nt gna win they goin dwn wat can u do i dnt think dey will win. good luck dey need it!!!!!!!!!

  55. Q said...


    There isn't much difference between the team in 2007 and now..

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