Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test, Melbourne, 5th day December 30, 2009

Stunted development, but hope floats

The side is not inexperienced, just the development of many has been stunted from a lack of Tests
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Over the course of five days at the MCG, one truth about Pakistan gradually emerged from the strange haze of timidity and gloom and the starburst of youth: the fallout of 2008, their Year of No Tests, is not to be underestimated. By the end of the Sydney Test next week, Pakistan will have played 18 Tests in three years. Australia will have played 32 in the same period by then. And only one Pakistani - Kamran Akmal - has actually played in every one of those 18 Tests.

Test cricket requires strange ways of men. It has its own disciplines and rhythms and it isn't for everyone. Patience is needed, but not at the expense of alertness; lethargy is loathed but not always punished, where sometimes rushing things is. Sensing and riding the flow of a Test, of a session, of a period or situation is critical and it comes only over time. But if, like Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Asif and to an extent even Mohammad Yousuf, you have not been playing Tests regularly, these things are missed. And it hurts. The side is not inexperienced, just the development of many has been stunted from a lack of Test cricket.

Pakistan had good periods in Melbourne, good passages, mostly on the third and fourth day. But as happened in Sri Lanka and New Zealand earlier this year, those passages cannot be sustained. Good sessions are followed by flat ones, other crucial sessions they start off too slowly, concentration levels are poor at the start of sessions.

Catches are dropped at stages when they can be least afforded, runs are given away cheaply just after wickets are picked up, wickets are thrown away just when batsmen are set: recognising the importance of what is happening when you are doing well and why it is happening is as critical to sustaining it as anything else. Not being able to do it is Pakistan's misery.

Batsmen have been hit particularly hard by this intermittency of Tests. Numbers are not needed, only memory: how many batsmen were set in this Test, and in Tests against New Zealand and Sri Lanka when dismissed? The batting gods do not forgive that sin readily. In their last 14 Test innings now, Pakistan have crossed 350 - a basic minimum Test score - only twice. Younis Khan is no magic wand either for he was present on six of those occasions.

Admittedly Pakistan teams - even winning sides - have always reacted to their own, inconsistent rhythms and moods, session to session, day to day, but usually they have had men who can defy everything and win a Test from nothing. No such blessing is at hand just currently. The lack of Tests is hurting; coupled with the many basic issues Pakistan have always had - catching, slack running, fielding in general - it hurts doubly hard.

But if you're an optimist - and there are more of them per square mile than there ought to be in Pakistan - then the way to look at a tenth successive defeat against Australia would be to suggest that despite all this they managed to push Australia on some days. Depending on how you rate a nine-wicket defeat, a 170-run loss is the closest in terms of result between the two sides for five Tests and some years probably. At a stretch, they were still in with a shout as the final day dawned and certainly the captain thought so.

There was no humiliation here - though avoiding that is hardly an ambition - even if Australia declared twice. And it took, Ricky Ponting said later, the best bowling performance from an Australian side since the days of McGrath and Warne to win it.

There remains hope for Sydney. Something needs to be done about the fielding and batting, though little can be done on a tour. They will hope that the young can maintain their verve. Every day that the Test developed it became clearer too the folly of Umar Gul's omission and Danish Kaneria's absence was felt. That is the smaller picture and similar stuff could probably be said for just about every loss Pakistan have had for a while, maybe ever. The bigger picture is that they go to Sydney with at least one more Test's experience than they came into Melbourne with.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ayaz-from-Toronto on January 2, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    It was such a disappointing defeat yet again. THey could have done a lot better than this. In the presense of Umer Gul how could they select Abd-ur-raouf. Let alone Umer Gul, Sami was there as well and we all know they he is way quicker than Raouf and a better batsman too.On the last day what I coudn't understand was that what were the instructions of coach to overcome Mitchell Johnson? They could have stood almost a foot outside the crease to negate his out swing or they could have taken the guard at middle stump. I hope that they would learnt something positive out of that defeat and inshallah try to perform better at SCG.

  • raveekoomar on January 1, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    what happened to sohaib malik, he used to be the pin boy before even younis khan made a name for himself as the #3 batsman for pakistan. i hope he is instated into the pak team soon.

  • kharsoom on January 1, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    The issue with the Pakistan team's performance at all types of cricket is same however at test level it can't be masked. They have been dropping catches or getting out on ordinary balls all the times but the implications is not as great in shorter version of cricket than the test level. The basic deficiency I have noticed is the focus span; it seems to me that most crickets our players are currently playing are shorter version where players are not batting or fielding for long durations. When players are losing wickets on ordinary balls or if they are dropping catches which they will catch may be 10/10 in practice clearly indicates that they were reactive rather than prepared. To win a test you got to get 20 wickets, in past during the days of Imran, Waqar and Wasim we had the bowling capable of taking possibly 25 wickets 6 to 7 times out of 10 to make up for poor fielding. Currently we don't have the bowling that strong. We need to start coaching players how to focus and when to focus

  • short_cover on January 1, 2010, 2:20 GMT

    I am surprised why no one is talking about the suspiscious nature of the catch that dismissed Umar Akmal. I have played a lot of cricket and I am not trying to act like a sore loser. I also agree with the need for cricket revival in Pakistan. But I just cannot understand this decision. Lets walk-thru this thing. If onfield umpires make a referral, the 3rd umpire has to be 'dead sure' and 'beyond any doubt' that the wicket cannot be denied before he can give it out. I am not saying this bcz I am a Pakistani, but I ask everyone to look at it again and again in youtube to see if there isn't a doubt about it as it looks grounded in closeup. Even Ian Chappel during review said something along the lines of; is this a certain catch? and whether 3rd umpire can give something like this out or not. Afterwards, Bill Lawry says 'its as clean as a whistle'. Umpires seem susceptable to aus pressures, even ICC. This decision was make/break for this game. Remember Aus v Ind series a few years back??

  • Big_Poppa on January 1, 2010, 1:54 GMT

    Ultimately, many factors lead to this dismal defeat -- not least, the horrible catching that was unfortunately witnessed by people all around the globe. However, one cannot stay quiet regarding the hopeless selection of players. Given the performance of the batsmen, I can only pause and ponder how the team would have performed with the addition of Imran Nazir, Fawad Alam, Asim Kamal, Saeed bin Nasir, Abdul Razzaq, and Anwar Ali.

    Imran Nazir and Fawad Alam are superb fielders and on his day, Imran can destroy a bowling attack at a mind-boggling run-rate. Fawad can also pitch in with his slow left-arm off-spin. Asim Kamal and Saeed bin Nasir are hardcore first-class batsmen who are not being given chances. Abdul Razzaq can surely contribute more than Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, and Misbah ul-Haq. Anwar Ali aka "Daddy of Swing" is not being given a chance at all and I can only imagine the trio of Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Aamer, and Anwar Ali bowing in Australia.

  • cemuet on December 31, 2009, 18:03 GMT

    I believe only if Pak manage to hold on to crucial catches they can compete in test matches. Just imagine if the Aus were 11/1 instead of 181/1 in the first inn. Every sport is a psychological game, more than it is a physical affair. No. 3 batsman coming in at 11 has a totally different mind set than coming in at 181. Both the Aus openers were given lives that resulted in about 150 runs. Getting wickets, specially early wickets brings confidence and aggression in a side, specially the bowlers. When wickets are not coming by, and the rare opportunities are missed, it drains out energy, and demoralizes the side. The MCG test was a perfect example with both of these scenarios playing out with Pak team. Catches win matches, just hold on to your catches, keep wickets coming, get opposition out within a reasonable total, batsmen go out without a pressure of trying to save a test in the first inn and play their natural game, and this Pak team can certainly compete even with this weak bat

  • SangakaraFan on December 31, 2009, 17:48 GMT

    I am reading some people blaming the captain for this defeat which is wrong. Captain can't do anything when players are not capable to perform at the highest level. If you anaylise correctly you will get your answers. 1) Openers are the weakest link.. specially Salman Butt, who after 25 odd tests he still averages under 30. You need somebody like Langer or Gambhir who can defend and also attack. 2) Middle order batsmen not technically good to play on bouncy tracks apart from M Yosuf. (Misbah,S.Malik,F.Iqbal should be shown the door) 3) Bowlers give up too easily when opposition attacks them. These are the weak links...Not the captain.

  • LSmith on December 31, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Good Article indeed but the real issue is overall composition of the team itself is at fault. Look at the opening pair, simply lack the quality of test openers ( not that they do have ODI or T20). Asif said melbourne wickets remind him of faislabad which is utter nonsense or lazy excuse for a test quality bowler. Yousuf thinks T20 is causing the issue... I wonder he got the chance to play IPL after ICL...

  • mharun91 on December 31, 2009, 10:30 GMT

    How much we miss the days of Imran Khan. It is clear that being a moral person are no credentials of being a good leader. You need to be creative, gutsy, sometimes audacious, think independently, solve problems, stand your ground (even against the board and ICC), learn from mistakes, be articulate, charismatic, resourceful and have the talent to lead from the front. The management puts up subservient and obedient captains. They tried to interfere with Imran Khan in the 80s but failed. We need captains who can make Pakistan win: Select his team, draw talent from remote areas, teach them, train them, groom them, turn them into a fearless fighting lot, and then perhaps you could challenge Australia as we did West Indies in the 80s. However, there doesn't seem to be anyone with those credentials. The current captain seems too nice, too obedient, thinking all the right thoughts, lacklustre, without energy. Just the person the unimaginative bureaucracy of PCB would love to have.

  • mharun91 on December 31, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    I think under the current, lacklustre, captaincy, nothing can be achieved. There is no energy, no initiative; it seems the team is not even trying to win. We need Afridi in the test team to bring some sting into the spinning department-which even with the inclusion of Kaneria looks innocuous. Overall the spirit seemed dead. Dropping crucial catches is criminal. These players are representing 150 million people of Pakistan who have put their hopes in them. And they can't even hold on to catches. There should be repurcussions. This is dishonest. Why don't they practice? Why not work hard? If we lose with honour, go down fighting, people won't mind; but they way they have gone down lately is just hopeless and demoralizing for the nation. It shows the nation has no direction, only going through the motions.

  • Ayaz-from-Toronto on January 2, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    It was such a disappointing defeat yet again. THey could have done a lot better than this. In the presense of Umer Gul how could they select Abd-ur-raouf. Let alone Umer Gul, Sami was there as well and we all know they he is way quicker than Raouf and a better batsman too.On the last day what I coudn't understand was that what were the instructions of coach to overcome Mitchell Johnson? They could have stood almost a foot outside the crease to negate his out swing or they could have taken the guard at middle stump. I hope that they would learnt something positive out of that defeat and inshallah try to perform better at SCG.

  • raveekoomar on January 1, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    what happened to sohaib malik, he used to be the pin boy before even younis khan made a name for himself as the #3 batsman for pakistan. i hope he is instated into the pak team soon.

  • kharsoom on January 1, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    The issue with the Pakistan team's performance at all types of cricket is same however at test level it can't be masked. They have been dropping catches or getting out on ordinary balls all the times but the implications is not as great in shorter version of cricket than the test level. The basic deficiency I have noticed is the focus span; it seems to me that most crickets our players are currently playing are shorter version where players are not batting or fielding for long durations. When players are losing wickets on ordinary balls or if they are dropping catches which they will catch may be 10/10 in practice clearly indicates that they were reactive rather than prepared. To win a test you got to get 20 wickets, in past during the days of Imran, Waqar and Wasim we had the bowling capable of taking possibly 25 wickets 6 to 7 times out of 10 to make up for poor fielding. Currently we don't have the bowling that strong. We need to start coaching players how to focus and when to focus

  • short_cover on January 1, 2010, 2:20 GMT

    I am surprised why no one is talking about the suspiscious nature of the catch that dismissed Umar Akmal. I have played a lot of cricket and I am not trying to act like a sore loser. I also agree with the need for cricket revival in Pakistan. But I just cannot understand this decision. Lets walk-thru this thing. If onfield umpires make a referral, the 3rd umpire has to be 'dead sure' and 'beyond any doubt' that the wicket cannot be denied before he can give it out. I am not saying this bcz I am a Pakistani, but I ask everyone to look at it again and again in youtube to see if there isn't a doubt about it as it looks grounded in closeup. Even Ian Chappel during review said something along the lines of; is this a certain catch? and whether 3rd umpire can give something like this out or not. Afterwards, Bill Lawry says 'its as clean as a whistle'. Umpires seem susceptable to aus pressures, even ICC. This decision was make/break for this game. Remember Aus v Ind series a few years back??

  • Big_Poppa on January 1, 2010, 1:54 GMT

    Ultimately, many factors lead to this dismal defeat -- not least, the horrible catching that was unfortunately witnessed by people all around the globe. However, one cannot stay quiet regarding the hopeless selection of players. Given the performance of the batsmen, I can only pause and ponder how the team would have performed with the addition of Imran Nazir, Fawad Alam, Asim Kamal, Saeed bin Nasir, Abdul Razzaq, and Anwar Ali.

    Imran Nazir and Fawad Alam are superb fielders and on his day, Imran can destroy a bowling attack at a mind-boggling run-rate. Fawad can also pitch in with his slow left-arm off-spin. Asim Kamal and Saeed bin Nasir are hardcore first-class batsmen who are not being given chances. Abdul Razzaq can surely contribute more than Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, and Misbah ul-Haq. Anwar Ali aka "Daddy of Swing" is not being given a chance at all and I can only imagine the trio of Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Aamer, and Anwar Ali bowing in Australia.

  • cemuet on December 31, 2009, 18:03 GMT

    I believe only if Pak manage to hold on to crucial catches they can compete in test matches. Just imagine if the Aus were 11/1 instead of 181/1 in the first inn. Every sport is a psychological game, more than it is a physical affair. No. 3 batsman coming in at 11 has a totally different mind set than coming in at 181. Both the Aus openers were given lives that resulted in about 150 runs. Getting wickets, specially early wickets brings confidence and aggression in a side, specially the bowlers. When wickets are not coming by, and the rare opportunities are missed, it drains out energy, and demoralizes the side. The MCG test was a perfect example with both of these scenarios playing out with Pak team. Catches win matches, just hold on to your catches, keep wickets coming, get opposition out within a reasonable total, batsmen go out without a pressure of trying to save a test in the first inn and play their natural game, and this Pak team can certainly compete even with this weak bat

  • SangakaraFan on December 31, 2009, 17:48 GMT

    I am reading some people blaming the captain for this defeat which is wrong. Captain can't do anything when players are not capable to perform at the highest level. If you anaylise correctly you will get your answers. 1) Openers are the weakest link.. specially Salman Butt, who after 25 odd tests he still averages under 30. You need somebody like Langer or Gambhir who can defend and also attack. 2) Middle order batsmen not technically good to play on bouncy tracks apart from M Yosuf. (Misbah,S.Malik,F.Iqbal should be shown the door) 3) Bowlers give up too easily when opposition attacks them. These are the weak links...Not the captain.

  • LSmith on December 31, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Good Article indeed but the real issue is overall composition of the team itself is at fault. Look at the opening pair, simply lack the quality of test openers ( not that they do have ODI or T20). Asif said melbourne wickets remind him of faislabad which is utter nonsense or lazy excuse for a test quality bowler. Yousuf thinks T20 is causing the issue... I wonder he got the chance to play IPL after ICL...

  • mharun91 on December 31, 2009, 10:30 GMT

    How much we miss the days of Imran Khan. It is clear that being a moral person are no credentials of being a good leader. You need to be creative, gutsy, sometimes audacious, think independently, solve problems, stand your ground (even against the board and ICC), learn from mistakes, be articulate, charismatic, resourceful and have the talent to lead from the front. The management puts up subservient and obedient captains. They tried to interfere with Imran Khan in the 80s but failed. We need captains who can make Pakistan win: Select his team, draw talent from remote areas, teach them, train them, groom them, turn them into a fearless fighting lot, and then perhaps you could challenge Australia as we did West Indies in the 80s. However, there doesn't seem to be anyone with those credentials. The current captain seems too nice, too obedient, thinking all the right thoughts, lacklustre, without energy. Just the person the unimaginative bureaucracy of PCB would love to have.

  • mharun91 on December 31, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    I think under the current, lacklustre, captaincy, nothing can be achieved. There is no energy, no initiative; it seems the team is not even trying to win. We need Afridi in the test team to bring some sting into the spinning department-which even with the inclusion of Kaneria looks innocuous. Overall the spirit seemed dead. Dropping crucial catches is criminal. These players are representing 150 million people of Pakistan who have put their hopes in them. And they can't even hold on to catches. There should be repurcussions. This is dishonest. Why don't they practice? Why not work hard? If we lose with honour, go down fighting, people won't mind; but they way they have gone down lately is just hopeless and demoralizing for the nation. It shows the nation has no direction, only going through the motions.

  • infirmofpurpus on December 31, 2009, 9:50 GMT

    Pakistan could have won this test. It was as if they came to their senses in the second innings, only to lose it again. I would not predict the outcome of the series on the basis of this one match. Mark my words: The final tally shall read 1-1. Aamer and Akmal [Jr.] are rare talents, and need all the encouragement they can get. So, my Pakistani cousins, don't dishonor them (or write them off) with a 40-over attention span.

    Go Pakistan!

  • rzi-BDML on December 31, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    Yes i do agree with Usman and also with the skipper, that lack of Tests is hurting Pakistan cricket. I hope it wount be the case next year after playing 6 tests in England. To play Aussies is always helpful for the other teams. we should consider the begining of the golden period of India under Gangully, starting from the tour of Austraile (and alomost winning) 1-1 draw, following the first ever series in Pakistan, and so on.......... Lets hope for the best in sydney.

  • 2bnot2b on December 31, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    The only problem I see with the Pak team is the leadership by the captain . There is plenty of indivitual talent in the team but a lack of confidence and mental approach is hurting the team big time. Pak need a "Ponting" who could pull the team and give them vision, goal and direction to achive some solid success and sustain it too. Without some solid leadership, you will only have a few stars shinning indivitually every now and then, which is the case now. PCB needs to groom the captain for required leadership only then they can expect some success on their way. Board needs to set their priorities right, which has never been the case.

  • Awesom on December 31, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    I agree with Yousuf that the problem with Pak cricket team is that they foucs too much on ODI and now T20 . They are so called world champs in T20 but if you talk about the soul of cricket and that is Test they are not good enough to compete with teams like Eng , Aus , SA and even now India. Top 3 batsmen of Pk current team has avg less than 30 , Misbah is ordinary with avg of 35 . I would say only Yousuf and Asif are world class test players in team and with some extent we can bet on Umar , Amir ( Both Still Developing ) and Younis. Look at Gul he is so called world class bowler in T20 but his performance at test is ordinary . No matter how much hype and money is in T20 and ODI a player and team can be judged by its test performance and Gul will never be considered a great player no matter he take 400+ wickes in ODI or T20 . Our players quit test to prolong their career in T20 and ODI , where as world class players always prefer to play Test instead of shorter version .

  • bouncer1021 on December 31, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Pakistan are always a slow starters. I think they played horrible first two days. Once their back was against the wall, they came back and fought hard. Last day gave us typical Pakistani collaps, mental block and some good bowling by MJ.

    I think they keep getting their selection wrong. Not playing Kaneria and Gul was a problem for them. Many good technically correct batsmen are sitting home and watching Imran, Butt, Misbah, Shoib and Alam and wondering why they haven't been given a chance.

    Pakistan also need a strong captain to lift them. That's probably not getting resolved any time soon. Expect Pakistan to strike back in the next test.

  • hammadpakistan on December 31, 2009, 3:35 GMT

    The problem lies with both selection committee and players. They seem to lack even te basic skills of playing. The current approach to the game is different. Gone are the days when players used to be copy book in the game, and no innovations involved. It is high point that, the selection committee and the team, look at the realities. It is no justifying from the captian to say that, the first over bowled by Johnson killed us. It is a shame. He is basically a defesive captian. No team today playes without five regular bowlers. The idea of going in this match was to play for a draw. There was no attempt made to win it. The manager and coach of the team need hammering for this strategy. Look at Faisal Iqbal, he did not deserve a place in the side. Why Shoaib Malik was left out. He could have batted well and also, if needed, boweled well. Why Omar Gul was dropped. This is very bad and damages the integrity of the country. Would they wake up and try their best in the reamining games.

  • Nik777 on December 31, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    I read a comment by a Pakistani writer saying Pakistan should select a team consisting of the country's 6 best batsmen and 5 best bowlers, and don't even ask if they can field or catch.

    That seems to sum up the Pakistani view of cricket, and the failings of this team along with so many others over the decades.

    Strike bowlers that take wickets without needing anyone to catch anything or restrict runs are fairly rare. Usually they are quicks, who cannot maintain their pace over after over in a 5 day test.

    Pakistan seems to be hoping to reach the pinnacle of cricket through discovering a team of heroes - batsmen who score centuries without ever being dismissed, and bowlers who can bowl all day, and keep beating the batsmen with pace or swing, and either knock the stumps over or trap them lbw.

    Until Pakistan addresses the other 30% of cricket which is fielding, then they will have teams that normally only compete at 70% - while we all keep waiting for their next heroes to arrive.

  • Fantabulous_Sohaib on December 30, 2009, 22:24 GMT

    Good article, indeed Pakistan recently have lacked in Test experience, ofcourse it doesn't help that we do not have batsmen that are world class and very poor fielders. But at the moment we have work with whatever we have our openers need to make slight adjustments in their technique like planting their foot adjacent to the line of bowl instead of on the line of bowl because of which they have to play the ball around the pads and get lbw ! I think Kaneria should be in the side alongwith Umar and if Younis does fly down to Austrailia then I will drop Misbah pronto, because he is utterly useless and drop Faisal down the order so that Younis gets reinstated to his number 3 position ! Keeping Fingers Crossed. All The Best to Pak Team for the next Test !

  • schaa on December 30, 2009, 21:48 GMT

    We must look a the test averages for our openers Butt 25 tests 2 x 100 & 7 x 50 & average = 29.26 even a nightwatchmen player would have a better avg then this.Now look at Farhat 3 x 100 & 12 x 50 & average = 34.10 (Do we have World Class Test Player Openers ?) Whats the point gambling on these players when they only picked up when perform well in domestic but are not competitive in Tests? There should be a qualifier criteria for to select players for the side.something like for example openers 5 x test ,400 Runs 2 x 50's & 1 x 100s & this criteria should get higher & if a player does not reach his target he should be dropped for the 6th test. Similar criteria could be put in place for middle order batsmen & bowlers,some leniency in the targets could be given to all rounders or over achievers.

  • kevinross on December 30, 2009, 21:15 GMT

    Opening and Top order Curse for Pakistan; Imagine a Kid who is inexperienced and find him self opening for Pakistan. The immense pressure of playing first class cricket for first time or being away for quite sometime, pressure to perform on bouncy pitches with most lethal bowlers attacking and moving the ball at 150kmph. He is probably used to playing against Habib bank on dead subcontinental picthes. Are WE being Fair? His Career will be over before it even begins.

    I have been very vocal to send experienced openers. Yuraj, Raina , Watson all these players worked thier skills from bottom up and not from top to bottom. Senior players cant choose thier sweet spot to bat on. They need to move up the order to nurture the young talent in Pakistan. Umer Akmal started his career as a middle order batsmen thats why he is in. If we would have introduced him as a opener his carrer would have been over before it could begin. Look at all teams.. they send their experienced players first.

  • ray42 on December 30, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    I agree with most of what you have written Osman. I have followed Pakistan cricket for the past 28 years, almost all games - the passion started when Pakistan won at Lords. There always has been two common factors in a defeat. Poor catching and 'lost' batting, especially in foreign pitches. Coeurlion, u r right about the fielding - but these guys just don't learn. I don't know if calling back Afridi is a long-term solution. But unfortunately in the present situation, he's better than Farhat and can bowl, so maybe.. I think Butt and Faisal played OK. Butt was guilty of playing across the line and missing in both innings, but Faisal got the only ball that turned in the whole game. He was positive and was a reason why Pk were in with a chance. Drop Rauf, bring in Sami - I believe he's better than Gul in this version, can bat a bit and is a good fielder. If you want to open with Akmal, then Yunus, Yusuf, Umar should be followed by Faisal /Misbah at 6 and 7. I hope Kaneria's fit and plays

  • Jarr30 on December 30, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    SangakaraFan@ I agree with you 100% about you opinion of Pakistani batsmen.. BUT what about Sri Lanka getting a hammering from India???

  • VDubey on December 30, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    First of all, Osman you are have written a beautiful article, straight from the heart and yet so factual. It is so refreshing to see Amer and Umar delivering when some of the senior members are found wanting. It will help if Yusuf steps up and take more responsibility in batting. Fielding is what it is, let the team focus on what they are good at.

  • Usama54 on December 30, 2009, 17:25 GMT

    If we become realistic, as far as tests are concerned pakistan team has become like a minnow, no doubt they have players like Umar Akmal, Yousuf, Amir and Asif but they are not justifying their talent, I remember Asif winning test match for pakistan against India in a flat karachi pitch, so it is still MCG an Australian wicket, Pakistani team is mentally weak they dont have beleif in them thats why they dont look even fighting.

  • Plastikos on December 30, 2009, 17:13 GMT

    I couldn't agree more with you, coeurlion (lionheart- good name). Shahid Afridi should DEFINITELY be in this team. There is NO excuse for him to be playing for other teams when his country needs him! Come on, Afridi, show us all what a great test match player you can be.

  • SangakaraFan on December 30, 2009, 17:03 GMT

    Pakistan seriously lacks quality batsmen. Look at India, they have Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dravid, Yuvraj...Any opposition bowlers will have nightmares trying to figure out how to get them out but for Pakistan it's exactly the opposite. Ponting is sooo super confident that he declares his 1st innings at 454. That itself is a statement telling you how bad Pakistan side is.

  • Jarr30 on December 30, 2009, 16:45 GMT

    I just feel that Ponting knew that Pakistan was not good enough to put up a fight. That's the reason he declared in first innings at 454 and even in 2nd innings he could have extented the lead by 500+ but he did'nt because he knew that Pakistani batsmens are not capable and lack character to fight. Ponting would'nt have dared to do this against stronger sides like India & SA. I PREDICT A 3-0 HAMMERING for Pakistan.

  • kalyanghosh on December 30, 2009, 16:23 GMT

    It was really a very disappointing performance.The main failure was batting.It is clear that this team lost because of below par performance of batsmen and poor fielding.Otherwise, how can Hauritz take 5 wickets.Everybody knows that subcontinent teams are best players of spin.The batting (except for one or two)really lacks class.By the way where is Shoaib ? Why he is not in the team? Pakistan still has a chance to square up in Sydney since it is a spinning track.Thus they must get in Kaneria and Younis and drop Imran & Rauf. May be Kamran can open with Salman.But keep 5 bowlers (two spinners and 3 pacers). The opening pair has to give a good start as Sehwag and Gambhir does for India.

  • VivaVizag on December 30, 2009, 16:21 GMT

    There is only one team that has the courage to see the A*stralians eye-to-eye in Australia. It is Team India. Rest of them will be sub par contests.

  • vigi101929 on December 30, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Pak is important for the world cricket.......Comm`on man u were the winners of T20 world cup and Semifinalists of the Champions trophy...Rem no other team except Pak reached the last four of both the tournaments.........If the BCCI was to think like all of u ,the entire Indian team would have been changed....India`s consistency and confidence comes from the 21st generation cricket follower who thinks in a diff mindset.........Was there any verbal bashing from any Indian supporter when we lost to pak in Champs trophy......No coz Pak were at their prime during that time............Lend ur support to ur team when there are problems and don`t give kneejerk comments for the loss.

  • keralite on December 30, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Pakistan is a very unpredictable side. On their day they can demoralise any opposition . Pakistan's strength has always been their bowling, particularly swing bowling.But when the fielders are not doing their job, how can the bowlers be successful? As far as batting is concerned, there isn't any test specialist with the exception of yousuf. If they are going with the same team to the next matches, I am afraid, it will be a clean sweep for Aussies after a long time.

  • ASH_76 on December 30, 2009, 15:55 GMT

    The problem lies with the selection committee. The players are trying hard but unfortunately dont have the talent (with the exception of a couple) to compete at this level. Albeit they are trying their best they are simply not good enough, the three tests defeats should tell you something. What i cant believe is that why you wouldnt play your best 11. Only this morning i read that the selection committee have not considered Y Khan for the sydney test, maybe they are still trying to heal their pride for Younis wanting to take a break to see if he can get some form. The problem with the committee is that it is stuck in its own tribal way. "Say no to us and we'll get you back". In fact they are dam right incompetent and totally unprofessional. Maybe a military coupe is the answer. What is certain is whilst Ijaz Butt and co is in charge Pakistan Cricket is doomed.

  • indcrcfan on December 30, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    No kidding! I think Pak and commentrators around the world should back of Umar a little. He is a good player, can be great but not a finished product yet. Let him develop, probably a season in england will help. But if your 4th and 6th down players are your best new talent at batting, there needs a lot to be desired. How about YK? Why the hell is he out of the side?

  • HEARTOUT on December 30, 2009, 14:25 GMT

    Mr.Sami this is not the right time for discussing the test defeat which has already happend 10times we all should see the times when we will be playing the world cup in next 10months and as far my knowledge concern there's no preparation going for this.......Is there anyone who beside talking trying to sort out these problems.......India on the other hand taking our approach of introducing young talent and giving them confidence to do wel with aggression......My God Pakistan cricket have been run through big names whether they are players or explayers........Only the best times i remember we were competable were Late Woolmer times otherwise we are still the same nephews and referrals...Pakistan 70% cricket played in one city and won most tournaments but players of this city have been labelled and victomized not to being tested on real merits..The whole nation is responsible for this injustice and will continue to pay a bigger price then loosing tests and image of Pakistan.......

  • Dr_Omar_Khan on December 30, 2009, 13:51 GMT

    "Test cricket requires strange ways of men. It has its own disciplines and rhythms and it isn't for everyone. Patience is needed, but not at the expense of alertness; lethargy is loathed but not always punished, where sometimes rushing things is." Poetry, Osman, poetry!

  • insightfulcricketer on December 30, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    I think the glaring hole in the recent Pakistani team lineup is the absence of true test batsman .The ones who will give a session to the bowlers and keep the next two sessions for themselves. Successful Pakistani teams had atleast two batsmen in tandem doing that Zaheer-Javed, Javed-Malik, Anwar-Ejaz etc. Teams going to Australia absolutely need to have batsmen who can consistently score 400+ on flat batting tracks of Australia especially in the first innings. You can go over with a weaker firepower and still compete but with a lack of big batting runs you will definitely not prevail. Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik need to be there and the young Umar needs to be coming in at No.3 . If the experienced trio does not deliver then changes need to be made for the long run. With England winning and Pakistan eventually also competing well .With traditional minnows like England coming to the party .Who will say Test cricket is boring anymore?

  • Percy_Fender on December 30, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    I had imagined Calcutta 2001 happenning this morning with Yousuf and Umar being the modern day Laxman and Dravid. Sadly that was not to be. The tendency for everyone is to find fault with the captain and each member of the team. The fact is that it was a fair enough performance considering that the team has had hardly any time to condition and get ready. I would like all the vocal critics to realise that Younis is not Imran Khan and will never be. In today's Pakistan there can never be an autocratic leader like Imran considering how divided the individuals in Pakistan are. Yousuf is a great batsman. Probably just as good or more so than Younis. He should remain captain and they should bring back Kaneria for Rauf and Youis for Farhat for both Sydney and Hobart. The wickets there will aid spin and Pakistan have a good chance to do better. Ajmal and Kaneria can teach Hauritz a thing or two about spin bowling.

  • Khans_word on December 30, 2009, 12:51 GMT

    The team openers problem is a serious concern. I think Pakistan need to look next door at how India mould their youngsters to produce good openers. Although in Feb next year we have Saeed Anwar holding a camp. I think the camp needs to be an ongoing training regime. The fielding was atrocious and points to a lack of concentration. The players seem to be mentally incapabale of long periods of concerted effort in the long version of the game. The excuse that they have been out of Test cricket is lame as they do play domestic long version. M Amaer fantastic bowling effort gave hope. The fifth day, they just lost the plot. Playing defensive seems to be M Yousaf only strategy. He should have shouldered the strike on the last day and shown some fight. Umar Akmal in the first innings showed that once you get aggressive and attack the Australians, it does seriously affect the bowlers confidence. Changes to 2nd test - Rauf and Fahrat out; Akmal opens;Sami,Dainesh in and get Younis Khan back!

  • ILoveTestCricket on December 30, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Ricky Ponting showed Pakistan not once but twice in this match that they were not good enough to score more than 300-350. In first innings he declared at 454. Would he dare to do same against teams like India,SA or even England?? Again in 2nd innings he chose to give Pakistan terget of 422 when Shane Watson was still batting and could have easily stretched the lead. He was damn confident of not only in his bowling attack but also fickle mind set of Pakistani batsmen. Except Yusuf they do not have any quality test batsman who can stand rigours of test cricket. Umar Akmal will be sorted out by all international sides very soon. Pakistan test side can't win matches against quality opponents with one dimensional side(read bowling).

  • Bilal_S on December 30, 2009, 12:11 GMT

    There really isn't that much Pakistan can take from this game. They failed at crucial junctures and clearly cracked, or even worse, wilted as the Australians built up the pressure.

    Sure Aamer, Asif, Akmal, Mo Yo had some success, but this is not enough. A team cannot play with just four or five players firing and the rest of the batting order remaining a liability. I currently have no confidence in the reliability of Butt, Farhat, Iqbal or Misbah, which is a bad sign going into Sydney. Neither am I convinced that their fielding will improve. They WILL drop catches in the next game, like the five that they grassed in this one. As long as our batting and fielding remain in this state, we do not have any chance of winning or consistently performing well.

  • coeurlion on December 30, 2009, 11:54 GMT

    I'm an Australian, and missed the 1st two days, but I've said in other comments that Pakistan have an 'X factor'. When on song, they can obliterate any team. I never take matches with Pakistan lightly. For example, Aamer crippled our 2nd innings effort (this kid has talent)... only Shane Watson's maiden ton saved our backsides. Yousuf made a valiant 61, but he ran out of partners. As Osman said, 'there is hope', but to rely on a 17 and a 19 year old (Aamer and Umar Akmal) is folly! They WILL make mistakes... they're learning their craft. But I really wanted to see Shahid Afridi! An all-rounder like Afridi should NOT be playing for SAust when his country is playing a test against us at the same time! He also has a good arm, since the fielding was abysmal! I think Pakistan need to a take a leaf from our book; get a baseball coach! Do I make some sense? Please fellow lovers of cricket from Pakistan, enlighten me!

  • mohammed79shoaib on December 30, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    Hi all. I agree with Kevinross to an extent as the infrastructure of PCB needs to be changed. There is a general lack of commintment from senior players and that rubs on junior players. Some of the shot selection this morning was not great! Kamran being one. As a senior player he should be taking more risponsibility. We cant relly on Umer and Aamer to win us games yet. They will be stars of the future but they are still very young and need a lot of time to develope (Umer's shot to get out in te first innigs for example). Where is Razzak and Rana? Why was Sami picked in the squad? What the hell is hapening at the top of the order? Imran and Salman have had far too many chances! Imran's ton in Newzealand in my eyes was a bad thing for Pak cricket. Neither of them can catch a ball to save their lives! how many have they dropped since the tour of Newzealand?

  • nitingarg25 on December 30, 2009, 10:28 GMT

    I feel the problem with Pakistan Team is they don't have hunger for win. They just start playing test matches and their main weapons (Aamer, Umer) are inexp in this form of game. If I compare current team with the team which played against SL, I can say there is a lot of difference. Current team is more focused and balanced. 1-2 change will bring them back in game.

    I expected a last ball thriller match today but when i opened my TV, it was all over.

  • kevinross on December 30, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    I have been very vocal in need of changing the infrastructure of PCB from the chairman to the coach for quite sometime now.. From the drama of Player politics to the handling of Younis Khan ,Shoaib Akhter , The Lankan team Attack to IPL drama. You will find enough evidences that Ijaz Butt and Inthikab Alam has brought the Pakistan cricket to its knees. It's to late into the Australian Tour but I believe the faster these people are fired the better it will be for the Pakistani Cricket in general.

    Now as far as this Australia tour is concerned. Dont expect any wonders as the chances to win with such a team is very slim. Few personal advices;

    A) Senior Players should move up the order and take the lead. Kamran Akmal should open Yousuf should be one down and Misbah should be sent back

    B) Need batting and Bowling Depth. We need All rounders. Where is Abdul Razzak, M. Hafeez, Asim Kamal..(Afridi) perhaps if you ask him to lead as captian on Test side as well?

    C) Rao and Akhter for sure.

  • .saj on December 30, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    it is such a shame we all paki supporter always hoping we mite do well we mite do well today but its always same story batsman didnt do well .fielders didnt do well . if we could have hang on to catches result would have been different .same excuses all the time same politics .they always dissppoint all the nation .all the player in the team dont give dam about nation .they dont know how many ppl are looking fwd for thier success .none takes responsibility they all play crap .by playing they are loosing respect and loosing fan . we can only hope and hope they play well in sydney .but i doubt it nothing will change same old story .

  • ritan on December 30, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    I thought that the addition of all the ICL players would help pakistan atleast be competitive, but they have once again gone down without a fight , I do agree that always people speak about pakistan not being able to cope with the pace and swing bolwers even though they have their own , but its their inefficiency in facing quality spin bolwing hurts them the most . Look at their records in the sub contient and places like England and New zealand and now in Australia . I feel they acted to fast in throwing out Geoff Lawson as an coach , they should have persisted with him and seen the progess. Watch the otherside from Pakistan , India persisted with the idea of foreign coaches even there were strong opposition back at home . People involved in Pakistan cricket should atleast now come together and plan for the future otherwise Pakistan would be in danger of facing the same fate as Zimbabawe.

  • Murtaza83 on December 30, 2009, 9:28 GMT

    Agreed Osman. A lot of comments here suggest that the current batting line up is not test worthy. It isn;t a great line up by any means, but it unfortunately is the best we have. Every time Pakistan loses, which is a lot, there are talks of sacking everyone, remember 2003? where Pakistan got rid of wasim, waqar, saeed and so on. Pakistani fans need to be patient, stick with a team for a while and then after an extended bad run consider major changes. The constant shuffling of openers has not led to anything positive. That being said, there is a need for a change in attitude. The openers need to respond to their roles, the job is to get runs, so a more positive approach is required. It would be nice to see a genuine all rounder in the side, i was surprised at the exclusion of Adbur Razzak from the tour.

  • Cricket_Writer on December 30, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    Being a pakistani fan I'm suffering with sleepless nights as I stick to my television to watch wickets tumbling, drop catches, sloppy fielding, uninspiring captaincy, dummy coach, bad field placing, well in a nutshell a completely disorganised team. Oh my God I'm gonna be a blood pressure patient sooner. The problem lies not only in team but surely in our cricket board and selection committee. For God's sake, hire professionals and not politicians. Imran farhat has been tried for so long, he must be replaced with Imran Nazir who undoubtedly has got at least much better technique than Farhat & why we have labelled him a T20 player, make him play in tests so that he could develop some temperament. Since shahid afridi has mastered the art of leg spin, he should be permanent part of the team in all forms of cricket because he is the best fielder in our team, good leg spinner & could be handy with bat. & where is Asim kamal (LH batsmen)? So lots of things to ponder on team selection.

  • yasirmurad on December 30, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    I have no problem in losing if you see that things are moving in the right direction. Firstly, it is very difficult that if your country is not going in the right direction, a sports team follows the right direction. It can only happen with a personality like Imran Khan who despite being indiscipline was the sole power in Pakistani cricket at that time.

    The country not going in the right direction is reflected in the quaility of PCB chairman, Coach and some dubious selection. Inspite of selection of Imran farhat and Sami, I believe that all players capable of becoming superstars are in the team. Unfortunately, there are only two upcoming, Umer Akmal and Aamer. The other better ones are Younis, Yousef, Asif, Afridi (bowler) and Kamran. After these seven , you can pick any four.

    My suggestion is to make Younis captain with full powers like Imran Khan and create a discipline. At least Umer and Aamer will not create a problem. The rest can leave if they want.

  • dasher515 on December 30, 2009, 8:55 GMT

    Everyone talks about the deficiency of Pakistani batsmen playing against good quality fast and swing bowling but surprisingly no one is talking about their lack of technique against spinners. Their record against Warne, Kumble and Murali is pathetic. Not only that, the average spinners like MacGill, Paul Harris, Panesar, and Herath have plenty of match winning performences against them. Now one more average spinner, is added in this list "Nathan Hauritz".

  • Farce-Follower on December 30, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Nice article. Only in situations like this does one realise the importance of a player like Rahul Dravid. Just imagine Pakistan having a super reliable # 3 and a fantastic slip fielder. In a team full of stroke players, a player like Dravid would be worth their weight in gold. Is there anyone with such a fantastic temperament. I thought Asim Kamal was one for the future.

  • skhurram.com on December 30, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Suppose Younis is here. What changes will you go for in 2nd test?

    For me, - I will not touch the openers at all. At least they have shown a little form (include NZ & Tour Game) and we have to remain patient to let it develop.

    - Swap Faisal with Younis. I am an admirer of Faisal but No.3 is not a position for him. He is a fine No. 6 batsman but his fault was he threw his wickets away after good starts. That is the only reason I would prefer Misbah over him + Safe Catching.

    - I will swap Ajmal with Kaneria.

    - If Gul is fit then he will take place of Rauf. Else Ajmal will replace him - keeping in mind the nature of pitch. If pitch is fast (unlikely), then Sami is a good option as well.

    Once Miandad said, there is no hidden tricks in bowling. If your skill and conditions favour bowlers then go for the wickets. If the odds are against bowlers then dry up the runs and wait - The batsmen (specially Aussies) will panic to raise the run-rate.

    My another 2 cents...

  • Shahidbg on December 30, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Mr.Sami, Please stop talking about lack of tests, infrastructure, domestic cricket, etc. The matter of fact is that Pakistan is not generally a sporting nation and that reflects every where. They produce amazing talent despite the system and bank on pure talent nothing else. On top of this misery, they have incompetent people runnig the things. Look at the coach with 70 years of age, below average player and no coaching qualification. He hardly knew any thing about one day, T20 or aggression required today to win a test match. Look at the chairman, selection committee, board, the list goes on and on. We don't have talent in the batting, ordinary bowling with some good spells here and there and rely on how bad other team is going to play. We are T20 team and that is it. Pakistan badly needs a coach who can remove flaws and gives a clear cut plan. I was watching when Mitchel Johnson was setting up Salman Butt and Butt was still trying to play across the line and surviving butno advice

  • nomikshah on December 30, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Agree with Kattadurai. The current crop of Pakistani batsman is not cut for test cricket. They lack the basic technique and on top of that do not even have the temperament to stay at the wicket either. It's an OK batting side when it comes to flailing the bat around for a T20 (Pakistan has won most matches because of the bowling) but if you expect a 300+ score on a more than once basis, thats not going to happen. Sehwag and Yuvraj might not have the footwork but they at least have the will to stick around for as long as possible. What to talk of a side which relies on a 19 yr old to carry the brunt of scoring!

  • Faris123 on December 30, 2009, 7:46 GMT

    I think that its a matter of fact that Pakistan`s batting lineup is not as good to even compete with strong clubs side`s bowling. They (Pakistan officials) need to take this issue seriously, although its useless to say that because of the politics this failed nation always has, Pakistan has only produced individual brilliance never made a brilliant side/team. Cricket is a team game but Pakistani players had proved it wrong with individual brilliance on more than many occassion but now, where cricket stands right now, its hard to imagine a test victory without team work. The bowling is always been Pakistan`s strenghts but in this match they just conceded too much runs in 1st innings. I think Pakistan cricket needs to spends all thoses billions of dollars in getting their batsman`s techniques correct. Hire Tendulkar or any former Indian batsman, they will get these batsmens technique right, they lacked basics only. They dont know when to come on front foot and when to went on back foot.

  • Pindiman on December 30, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    What stunded development are we talking about? Same formula, same bunch of losers, same result and same excuses. This is 21st century, wakeup, technology has revolutioned the world and we are still applying the same 30 years old approach. No planning at all, catches are meant to be dropped for Pakistan, also why not play with 8 batsman and 2 bowlers since the others are only for fill in the blanks. They say Pakistan are unpredictable, sure enough, there is no team, its bunch of individuals and on their day, they can do well, but not as a unit. People use technology to come up with plans for each batsman what shot he played most, where he makes most runs, where he gets out, what pitch etc whereas we rely on individual talent which of course can surprise you at times but thats the best it can do, it can't take you to No. 1. We need educated people both inside and outside the game who understand the ever changing world of technology and adapt, not a captain who was dreaming we can pull it

  • ilovusenthil on December 30, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    pakistan top 3 batsmen have played 31,25,25 number of test matches which is actually a very good count but no one looked like threatening the bowlers...they all looked to occupy the crease but no one looked to play aggressive or score runs quickly...i would love to see razak, afridi, younus in the side...on their day they will win matches for pakistan...

  • SenorPepper on December 30, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    Pakistan Cricket has always produced prodigious talent, but rarely the professional support such talent needs to thrive consistently. A series of unfortunate events have kept Pakistan out of world cricket, which has been cricket's loss. It is natural to expect the Pakistan Cricket team to deliver at the highest level, but, how could they as Mr. Samiuddin incisively points out, when they have have very little exposure to quality batting and bowling against which to benchmark themselves? I would love to see Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer for a long time, but when each player feels they are one bad performance away from banishment, they cannot play their natural game- they play not to lose as opposed to playing to win. The experience gained from the first test should be encouraging and hopefully, a better strategy will be in place for the second test. The team is just a few strong performances away from finding what it needs to flourish. I sincerely hope those days are not too far.

  • D.M.Qureshi on December 30, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    Mr. Samiuddin i also posted on your blog 'Pak Spin' I wrote at the time they were down 5 wickets and I wrote rigth at those moment they our team will be bundeld right below 300 hunderd and we can be proud of our players that they never disappoint us and always deliver the results that we expect. The main cause the detioriating batting and fielding is not the players but the coach which has escaped the attention of everyone fans,analysts,PCB, experts and everyone else who support Pak team and wants them to do good and perform well. But the root of the our batting failures match after match, series after seires lies in inefficient, incapable, void of ideas coach that we have at the moment. Alam should be removed even before the start of sydney test because he is doing nothing anyway and someone who dose have proper credentials of coach be installed in his place up until that happens you can expect every test we play even against Ireland we will lose. We need qualified coach not ALAM.

  • nnkhoja on December 30, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    Agree with Kattadurai...

    Pakistan needs to try new opening players now. Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hasan, Taufeeq Umar, Aqeel Anjum, and Gunjan (Hyderabad opener) need to be considered. We can't let Imran Farhat and Salman Butt just sink our opening with amateur shots.

    Moreover, in the middle order, like we tried Umer Akmal, we should try some young players, instead of giving chance to Faisal Iqbal and Misbah-ul-Haq. There are some players those should get chance as follows: Rizwan Ahmed, Haris Sohail, Zeeshan Asif and Wajihuddin.

    There are many talented players like above get wasted due to some players who has close tie with captains or coaches.

    We also need to consider have Waqar Younis as Pakistan Coach along with Aaqib as his deputy.

  • mushiyan on December 30, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Well I expected Pakistan to play with the same bowling unit they played against Newzealand as they were gelling well as a unit but i couldnt understand how come you drop umar gul?, most consistent performer/player, hardworker gives everything for team. how come u pick Rauf? y sami was called? y openers are afraid of playing their shots? y everybody dropping catches? somebody has answers to theses querries! Please somebody tell our board it was not Intekhaab Alam who won us Both World Cups....Remove him, oppoint some younger person who can bring some positive changes in players mind.

  • azfarulislam on December 30, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Pakistan lacks the killer instinct right now. You will not be overhauled by the playing XI Pakistan has. Compare it to a team like India where the opposition bowlers are already under pressure looking at names like Shwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Yuvraj, Dhoni even before the match starts. Does Pakistan have a single batsman who will give sleepless nights to opposition bowlers?

    Get Afridi back, at least he has the character and the killer instinct which many of the Pakistanis presently dont have. Also, on the Sydney wicket he will be more than a handful playing in tandem with Kaneria and will give the late order some potency.

    But knowing Mohammed Yousuf and his defensive approach, Alas!! This will never happen....

  • Abushumayla on December 30, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    I fully agree with Kattadurai that batting line up of Pakistani team is not woth palying test cricket. Never to forget that Pakistan has not produced a single test class batsman during the last 8-9 years or so except for Umar Akmal with some hopes - yet to be proven, long way to go. Inclusion of Younus would not make any difference in the team like inducement of Misbah as worthless.

  • nikhil_mandavkar on December 30, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    I am from India and always admired the unmatchable talent of Pakistan cricket. Here, I would agree with Samiuddin that the lack of test matches has cost them. Because, I belive that as a team they have got enough talent to beat any side on any turf. However, the batting remains the main worry. They are not able to produce good consistent batting totals. Probably a bit of self-confidence is all they require so that they can belive and defeat the Aus. All the best for next match, please play with Danish and Gul, and if possible one extra batsman.

  • monisiqbal on December 30, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    Mr. Samiuddin is just being optimistic and it is evident from this line: "The bigger picture is that they go to Sydney with at least one more Test's experience than they came into Melbourne with."

    I think that the opening pair should not be changed, though the middle order should be solidified by attacking batsmen unlike defensive players like Faisal Iqbal and Misbah. Anyone from the domestic circuit who can play like Afridi but is mature enough with the bat as Afridi is with the ball, should be given a chance.

    We did not have someone like Kevin Peterson, Yuvraj Singh or Michael Clarke for the whole decade and Umar Akmal is a hope and we need more players like him in the team.

  • CiMP on December 30, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    This is a good analysis. Md. Asif and other bowlers need to get into a rhythm which can come only by regular playing in tests. Political developments, indiscipline, injury etc have contributed to the stalling of what promised to be a glittering career for Asif. Dropping Umer Gul for Rauf was puzzling.

    The lack of consistency in all batsmen at the same time is baffling. Pakistan always had strokemakers but the way the batsmen have played in Nz and Oz clearly shows they are confused about whether to attack or defend. Reading thru cricinfo commentary of today's game I thot Yousf shd have taken the lead and gone for broke. Instead he dawdled (with due respect to oz bowling) as if he cd draw the test single handedly. Umar is very young and is already pulling more than his weight in the team. But batsmen #1-3 are a huge problem for Pak. Misbah's failure in the 2nd innings in contrast to the way Shane Watson carried the torch for Ozs tells the difference in commitment between the two teams.

  • skhurram.com on December 30, 2009, 6:45 GMT

    I certainly agrees with you Mr. Osman. Lack of test cricket really hurts a cricketer. Its mindset is different from T20 and ODIs, where there is little chance of come back ones you starts wrong. Its the real test of skills where if someone has the REAL ability, they can always come back hard within the same match. We have still world class cricketers who can challenge Aussies or any other top team in the form of Asif, Amir, Yousuf and Akmal but I also agrees that we are lacking the magicians like Wasim, Waqar, Mushtaq in bowling and Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam and most recently Younis in the batting department.

    Very little can be done during a tour especially when you are facing Aussies in their homeland, but we need to learn from W.Indies. They came back strongly and aggressively to Australia in remaining two matches after losing first one with a big big margin. I believe being hard and aggressive is the way to go for Pak as well. They are at their best when doing so.

    My 2 cents

  • mriaz on December 30, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    i agree with Kutta. trust me except yosuf and Kamran none of the pakistami batsmen including shoiab malik is qualified enough to play at international level. looking at the misery of these players, i strongly feel that domestic teams of india and srilanka habe better players than these. they wont find place in the domestic teams. susprised why PCB dont loo beyond these payers and start pushing youth. let the team lose with the new players, then atleast pak will have chance to build team player for future.

  • redneck on December 30, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    it seems to me that pakistans pace attack will always get batsmen nicking to slips, especially in australia where it is probably the most common form of dismislal along with being caught by the keeper. it is therefor vital that pakistan have atleast one pair of safe hands in the slips cordon!!!! i would even go as far as to drop a specaist batsman for a specialist fielder if one exists in the pakistani domestic comps? it may sound stupid when pakistan where still 170 runs short and that too with australia declaring twice but taking 20 wickets is the most important thing in test cricket! allowing australia to declare their first innings isnt going to produce an end to 10 straight losses for pakistan. there bowlers produced oppertunities, but they might aswell not bother with the ammount of dropped catches the team has!!! new zealand might not have made pakistan pay for their butter fingures but the aussies will everytime!

  • emad on December 30, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    AMAZING article Osman, I'm really impressed! You've got a great cricketing mind. You're absolutely correct, Pakistan can play most of the phisical part of the cricket, it's just the mental strength, the experience, the test brains that are a bit under cooked. I have a lot of beleif for Pakistan for Sydney. Just bring Younis, Danish, Gul, and an all-rounder for a fifth bowling option!

  • Swiss-boy on December 30, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    Well said "the skills required for test match are quite different". Its like the difference between Marathon and 100 m dash. You need to run for the both, but you application of running skills matter to win.

    TDespite what the winning margin may say, I am of the opinion that there is not much difference between AUS and PAK teams.

    Looking forward to tense test matches - Pakistan seem to have re-kindled interest in test matches. Excellent matches in NZ and looking for similar excitement in Down under

  • AamirBhagat on December 30, 2009, 6:04 GMT

    Well we expected another batting collapse but expectations were more of victory as two of batsman were set last evening... Just two to three wrong sessions cost them test matches and its happening since they went to Srilanka. These collapses frustrates the fans as every time we sense a victory the batsmen sense something else.... Hope to see a win in Sydney for Pakistan.

  • Kattadurai on December 30, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    Why don't Mr.Samiuddin accept the fact that the current Pakistan team (their batting line up) is not good enough to play test cricket. Salman Butt and Imran Farhat have played more number of tests to show that they are unfit for the longer version of the game than to blame it on lack of tests in 2008. If lack of tests are the reason, how come Asif, Aameer & company consistently threaten the opposition session after session.

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  • Kattadurai on December 30, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    Why don't Mr.Samiuddin accept the fact that the current Pakistan team (their batting line up) is not good enough to play test cricket. Salman Butt and Imran Farhat have played more number of tests to show that they are unfit for the longer version of the game than to blame it on lack of tests in 2008. If lack of tests are the reason, how come Asif, Aameer & company consistently threaten the opposition session after session.

  • AamirBhagat on December 30, 2009, 6:04 GMT

    Well we expected another batting collapse but expectations were more of victory as two of batsman were set last evening... Just two to three wrong sessions cost them test matches and its happening since they went to Srilanka. These collapses frustrates the fans as every time we sense a victory the batsmen sense something else.... Hope to see a win in Sydney for Pakistan.

  • Swiss-boy on December 30, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    Well said "the skills required for test match are quite different". Its like the difference between Marathon and 100 m dash. You need to run for the both, but you application of running skills matter to win.

    TDespite what the winning margin may say, I am of the opinion that there is not much difference between AUS and PAK teams.

    Looking forward to tense test matches - Pakistan seem to have re-kindled interest in test matches. Excellent matches in NZ and looking for similar excitement in Down under

  • emad on December 30, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    AMAZING article Osman, I'm really impressed! You've got a great cricketing mind. You're absolutely correct, Pakistan can play most of the phisical part of the cricket, it's just the mental strength, the experience, the test brains that are a bit under cooked. I have a lot of beleif for Pakistan for Sydney. Just bring Younis, Danish, Gul, and an all-rounder for a fifth bowling option!

  • redneck on December 30, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    it seems to me that pakistans pace attack will always get batsmen nicking to slips, especially in australia where it is probably the most common form of dismislal along with being caught by the keeper. it is therefor vital that pakistan have atleast one pair of safe hands in the slips cordon!!!! i would even go as far as to drop a specaist batsman for a specialist fielder if one exists in the pakistani domestic comps? it may sound stupid when pakistan where still 170 runs short and that too with australia declaring twice but taking 20 wickets is the most important thing in test cricket! allowing australia to declare their first innings isnt going to produce an end to 10 straight losses for pakistan. there bowlers produced oppertunities, but they might aswell not bother with the ammount of dropped catches the team has!!! new zealand might not have made pakistan pay for their butter fingures but the aussies will everytime!

  • mriaz on December 30, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    i agree with Kutta. trust me except yosuf and Kamran none of the pakistami batsmen including shoiab malik is qualified enough to play at international level. looking at the misery of these players, i strongly feel that domestic teams of india and srilanka habe better players than these. they wont find place in the domestic teams. susprised why PCB dont loo beyond these payers and start pushing youth. let the team lose with the new players, then atleast pak will have chance to build team player for future.

  • skhurram.com on December 30, 2009, 6:45 GMT

    I certainly agrees with you Mr. Osman. Lack of test cricket really hurts a cricketer. Its mindset is different from T20 and ODIs, where there is little chance of come back ones you starts wrong. Its the real test of skills where if someone has the REAL ability, they can always come back hard within the same match. We have still world class cricketers who can challenge Aussies or any other top team in the form of Asif, Amir, Yousuf and Akmal but I also agrees that we are lacking the magicians like Wasim, Waqar, Mushtaq in bowling and Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam and most recently Younis in the batting department.

    Very little can be done during a tour especially when you are facing Aussies in their homeland, but we need to learn from W.Indies. They came back strongly and aggressively to Australia in remaining two matches after losing first one with a big big margin. I believe being hard and aggressive is the way to go for Pak as well. They are at their best when doing so.

    My 2 cents

  • CiMP on December 30, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    This is a good analysis. Md. Asif and other bowlers need to get into a rhythm which can come only by regular playing in tests. Political developments, indiscipline, injury etc have contributed to the stalling of what promised to be a glittering career for Asif. Dropping Umer Gul for Rauf was puzzling.

    The lack of consistency in all batsmen at the same time is baffling. Pakistan always had strokemakers but the way the batsmen have played in Nz and Oz clearly shows they are confused about whether to attack or defend. Reading thru cricinfo commentary of today's game I thot Yousf shd have taken the lead and gone for broke. Instead he dawdled (with due respect to oz bowling) as if he cd draw the test single handedly. Umar is very young and is already pulling more than his weight in the team. But batsmen #1-3 are a huge problem for Pak. Misbah's failure in the 2nd innings in contrast to the way Shane Watson carried the torch for Ozs tells the difference in commitment between the two teams.

  • monisiqbal on December 30, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    Mr. Samiuddin is just being optimistic and it is evident from this line: "The bigger picture is that they go to Sydney with at least one more Test's experience than they came into Melbourne with."

    I think that the opening pair should not be changed, though the middle order should be solidified by attacking batsmen unlike defensive players like Faisal Iqbal and Misbah. Anyone from the domestic circuit who can play like Afridi but is mature enough with the bat as Afridi is with the ball, should be given a chance.

    We did not have someone like Kevin Peterson, Yuvraj Singh or Michael Clarke for the whole decade and Umar Akmal is a hope and we need more players like him in the team.

  • nikhil_mandavkar on December 30, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    I am from India and always admired the unmatchable talent of Pakistan cricket. Here, I would agree with Samiuddin that the lack of test matches has cost them. Because, I belive that as a team they have got enough talent to beat any side on any turf. However, the batting remains the main worry. They are not able to produce good consistent batting totals. Probably a bit of self-confidence is all they require so that they can belive and defeat the Aus. All the best for next match, please play with Danish and Gul, and if possible one extra batsman.