Friday, July 3, 2009

Pakistan set to play an overseas test after 17 months!

Sri Lanka have never beaten Pakistan in a test series at home.

In fact the last time Sri Lanka won a test match against Pakistan at home, many of Pakistan's squad members were in their diapers; while some had not even come into this world.

That is an intriguing statistic, considering that Sri Lanka have beaten Australia, South Africa, India, and England at home in a test series in the last decade.

So what has kept Pakistan from losing a test match in Sri Lanka?

The last time they were there in 2006, Shoaib Malik's magnificent rearguard as opener saved Pakistan a test, while Mohammad Asif, in his pre-doping days, won another with his wily swinging deliveries.

Pakistan won that 2-test series 1-0.

In their tour prior to that in 2000, it was Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis who bowled Pakistan to victory in the first 2 tests before rain played spoilt sport in the 3rd.

Both of Pakistan's test series wins in Sri Lanka in this decade have come through pace and swing.

That is another intriguing statistic considering that Sri Lanka largely rely on their spinners and prepare pitches to suit the same.

This time round however, Pakistan do not possess the guile of a Mohammad Asif, nor the pace and skill of a Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis.

Umar Gul has been a revelation on T20Is, and has had some success in ODIs, but in test matches he is yet to produce a magical spell or two since his 5-for against India in Lahore in 2005.

While the other two pacers, Mohammad Aamer and Abdur Rauf, are yet to play a test match.

Hence, I doubt pace will be the key for Pakistan in this series.

On the spin front, Danish Kaneria has been a disappointment in my books; Saeed Ajmal is another member of the bowling attack who is yet to play a test match.

With such an inexperienced attack, Pakistan is going to find it tough to keep their test record in Sri Lanka intact.

I'm not sure what Pakistan's team composition is going be like, but going by what has happened in the past, I believe Khansahab is right in saying that they need to play all 3 pacers in Gul, Aamer, and Rauf.

That would leave space for only 1 spinner and I reckon it should be Ajmal.

But then Pakistan will be going in with as many as 3 debutant bowlers.

Wise or not, you tell me?

The batting doesn't seem to be a worry in my view.

Salman, Khurram, Younis, Yousuf, Misbah look like a solid line up on paper; they have it in them to deliver as well.

Barring Salman, all are very good players of spin; countering Murali and Mendis will not be a problem for them.

The number 6 spot is where the question mark is - Shoaib Malik, Faisal Iqbal, or Fawad Alam?

Recent form suggests it should be Fawad; continuity suggests it should be Faisal; Younis Khan's logic of not dropping seniors suggests it should be Malik.

Who will Younis go with?

I believe it is a good problem to have; either of the 3 are more than handy batsmen to have at number 6.

Come tomorrow, Pakistan will take the field for their 1st overseas test in 17 months.

That's a hell of a long time not to have toured anywhere for a test series.

Will Pakistan make the most of it and live up to their repuation in Sri Lanka?

Its up to Younis Khan to lift his troops up again for another fight.

Make your pitch on this post...



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14 Pitched:

  1. Leg Break said...
     

    Who is this “Younis” guy you speak of?

  2. Sam said...
     

    well u never know. Pak have great tradition of producing a great pacer out of no where. u never know Aamer or Rauf might be those.

    u know history for Pak cricket better than me. so i wont rub off Pak chances.

  3. Late Inswing said...
     

    I would think Shoib Malik wuold get in ahead of the other two to support the experience and class of the two Ys. Don't you think they have persisted with Faisal Iqbal far enough?

    Ajmal - as the support bowler. Late bloomer, long FC career, I would bet on him to know what is needed and play his role (He certainly did that in the T20WC) although he is yet to play a test.

    On a tangent - What would be interesting is how SL play under Sanga. There was a certain ruthlessness to their batting in home tests under Jayawardene and how both Malinga and Gul bowl with the old ball.

  4. karachi khatmal said...
     

    yo Q

    I thought you would be interested in this - our show Newseye on Dawnnews will have Max Babri on the show tonight... It will air from 2100-2200 PST tonight (friday)

    thanks again for the heads up on Max Babri... also mail me if there are any questions you want asked...

  5. Q said...
     

    LB,

    I speak of Younis Khan and I speak of Waqar Younis...

    I know they like to spell it "Younus", I really don't know why cos "Younis" in Pakistan is spelt "Younis" as far as I know :-)

    Btw, looks like Pak v NZ will be happening in AD and Dubai this year...

  6. Q said...
     

    Sam,

    I'm not rubbing off their chances, but as I said before their bowling is a worry.. too inexperienced for tests.. lets c how they live up to it..

  7. Q said...
     

    Late,

    I don't think Faisal has had his fair run.. if you look at his test record, he has been fairly consistent.. he doesn't play ODIs and T20Is so people generally forget abt him.. every time he turns up for a test he does well.. he has 50s in his last 2 test innings.. a few more in the ones before that..

    But I also think Malik might get the nod ahead of him...

    Malinga and Gul would be a treat to watch with the old ball...

    Sanga, to me, looks like a captain in the same mould as Mahela.. not much difference in T20.. maybe in tests we may see something..

  8. Q said...
     

    KK,

    Thanks for letting me know.. I won't be in at that time so will miss the show, but will watch it later. Will get someone to tape it or transcript it.

    I don't have any specific questions, but I would like to know how much credit he really gives his sessions with the players with respect to the world t20 victory...

    I guess the other things you would be asking him - as in what he thought of the team, what different therapies he tried on them, how it helped them, and so on...

  9. Stani Army said...
     

    What is Test cricket? Can someone remind me?

    Q, remember you posted that the Lankans had never beaten us in the World Cup? And what happened? We lost.

    If we lose now, I'm blaming you for it Q.

  10. Rayden said...
     

    I hope they have sporting pitches in SL. If they do, then this will be an awesome series. I give Pak the edge but SL obviously have home advantage. Also looks like Murli won't play the first test.

  11. khansahab said...
     

    Q

    Mubarak ho! Giyareenbandi has worked. Malik is playing instead of Fawad Alam :-)

  12. Q said...
     

    Stani,

    U can blame me all u want, but I assure u, u will not get the opportunity ;-)

  13. Q said...
     

    Rayden,

    Looks like a great start to the series!

  14. Q said...
     

    Khansahab,

    Sad. U know who I wanted to see.

    But it was a great choice to go in with all 3 pacers, something u had been calling for..

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