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October 26, 2006

Pace attack

Urgently required: one spearhead

Kamran Abbasi

After several days basking in the glory of a victory over Sri Lanka, Pakistan's Champions Trophy could end in a dismal rush. Younis Khan's team is certainly capable of defeating South Africa but it will be an achievement to immediately bounce back from the New Zealand match.

Even if Pakistan win, a big question mark hangs over the team's bowling attack. With Rana Naved-ul Hasan looking a shadow of the bowler that won hearts with his courage and his incisions, the bowling has a toothless look to it.

Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar can be valuable support bowlers but a bowling attack without a spearhead is a bowling attack waiting to be taken to the cleaners, particularly in India. Rana has been recovering from injury but he has been back long enough for that excuse to be redundant. As much as everyone would like to see him recover his form, this Rana isn't the raja who became a definite selection.

This is a major problem for Pakistan. Rana's form was poor in the one-day series in England and he continues to be ineffective. The selection committee's patience must be running out, it may have run out already. It is not immediately obvious that Rana will ever get his form back. Pakistan need an alternative and quickly.

Some of you have commented that Pakistan's poor bowling performance confirms the sense in Imran Khan's demand for a recall for Mohammad Sami and Danish Kaneria. Imran's one day philosophy was always to play the best available bowlers and peg back the opposition by taking wickets.

The worry for Pakistan though is that without Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif there really isn't anybody to lead the bowling attack. This thought will inevitably weigh heavily upon the tribunal members at tomorrow's hearing.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Bill Bartmann on (September 2, 2009, 13:49 GMT)

Excellent site, keep up the good work

Posted by usman on (August 27, 2008, 10:03 GMT)

no comments

Posted by ikram on (December 22, 2006, 9:55 GMT)

hey kamran, i have been watching the 20-20 matches on Geo and some of the bowlers are really impressive. especially anwer ali from karachi. sami was bleeding runs from one end and anwer ali was very economical and accurate with pace from the other end. he should definitely be given a chance SA. shabbir didnt look match fit for international cricket and he looked like he had lost a yard of pace. abdur rauf and mohd irshad also looked very good they had pace, bounce and were accurate. i dont understand why pcb and selection committee does not give a chance to anyone else besides the same old people. maybe its due to the fact they are not inzi's boys or they dont follow his tableeghi ways. it seems since amir sohail left the chief selector position. not a single new player has been uncovered or given a chance. the same players are given chances despite repeated failures. players like sami, rao iftikhar, shahid nazir, rana are not the only pacers, there are many more who are younger, stronger, faster and better. i hope better sense prevails, and in place of sami and shabbir, someone younger and hungier, and quicker is given a chance for sa. i hope you write something on the talent available in pakistan in regards to fast bowlers and how they are not being tapped.

Posted by chudhary on (October 27, 2006, 9:13 GMT)

Rana's bolwing with either Shoiab or Sami in the team is much better compare to when he's leading the pace attack.

Sami's ODI record is very acceptable for him to be in the team. If not then although its a bit late but we have to test either Akhter Ayub or Muhammad Irshad who both can bowl at 90 mph.

Posted by Punter on (October 27, 2006, 8:34 GMT)

I think Rana is not over yet. He has just become a bit predictable with his length; as had been Sami. They are both very good bowlers. The only thing that doesnt make sense is why cant they be a bit more unpredictable, esp Sami is always afraid to bowl short. I think its also because of the undue pressure on them. And by the way, lets not forget that none of the present stock are a true replacement for either Shoaib or Asif; so, untill we find one, gotta face the music!

Posted by Hasan Gilani on (October 27, 2006, 8:33 GMT)

i think Yasir is much better than Rana after his last two performances in the tournament.

Posted by sunny fahim on (October 27, 2006, 8:01 GMT)

i think yasir arafat can be that guy he have decent pace he played a game ageinst england when england visit pakistan he was doing around 89 mph and he can move the ball

Posted by Talal on (October 27, 2006, 6:54 GMT)

dear pak spin

I thought rana had bowled well against nz early on. He was bolwing some good outswingers. His best figures are in indian conditions. So i think we should continue with him in this tornament. I agree pak do need a spearhead, but why can't it be umer gul. He has good control and has the ability to swing the ball both ways. He is also the future of pakistani cricket. So he will be a force to reckon with.

Posted by saifullah chaudhry on (October 27, 2006, 6:40 GMT)

yeah we dont have a spearhead, rana cannot pull that off in the subcontinent, espacially after an injury. i think we still need to give sami a chance as he might have improved. i know its not confirmed that he has improved but we dont really have a choice right now. he has pace and he might be able to do something. another thing that im concerned about is younis khan's captaincy. i can never understand why you would send afridi in to bat when the team is 3 down. afridi is either a chance opener or a player for the end and doesnt by any standards fit into the number 5 position. he is already struggling with his batting form and this is like denting is confidence even further. i know younis khan prides himself on being aggressive but you have to play according to the situation and the situation at the time required pakistan to stablise the innings which afridi is clearly not the man to be doing. plus the batsmen need to stop playing stupid shots and vitually gifting their wickets to the opposition.

Posted by Ali on (October 27, 2006, 5:51 GMT)

I dont understand why yasir arafat wasnt given a chance against new zealand, as he has had such a great county season. Roa on the other hand,,mmm,, i dont like that guy i mean he has no pace and hes just to ordinary. We need some pace and at the moment i think the best option we have is include yasir because he has some pace (85-90) and he can also be handy with the bat. I wonder if any of you have heard of Mohammad irshad. I heard he is as fast as shoaib and his bowling line and length is also superb. wonder where he is?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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