Pace attack October 26, 2006

Urgently required: one spearhead

After several days basking in the glory of a victory over Sri Lanka, Pakistan's Champions Trophy could end in a dismal rush
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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bill Bartmann on September 2, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  • usman on August 27, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    no comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Bill Bartmann on September 2, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  • usman on August 27, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    no comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on October 27, 2006, 5:23 GMT

    I totally agree with you that Rana's form has been miserable. I think he is more fit as the 3rd bowler, who comes in after the 10 or 12th over. However, I just dont see Sami as being an option. He has been given too many chances, and his bowling average is one of the worst in world cricket. Imran cant be right about everything. Kaneria is one option, but I dont think that a legspinner can bowl well on every pitch. The truth is that it becomes very difficult for any team to do well, when you have lost bowlers like Shoaib and Asif. I believe that if proven guilty of deliberate doping, they should be severely punished, no matter how important they are. Yasir is a good allrounder, but he is not the spearheasd we are looking for. I think we need to look at U-19 or first-class performers, to fill in this gap. I think it is quite impossible for a team with bad opening bowlers and opening batsmen, to perform well. Pakistan makes the situation worse by bringing Afridi in at no.5.

  • awais misri on October 27, 2006, 3:56 GMT

    even if shoaib and asif are guilty, why should we ban them?? look at what australia did when mark waugh and warne were accused of match-fixing, it got brushed under the carpet! we should be lenient on those 2, so that they are back for the world cup. nothing is more important than winning the world cup! ok, u would say the aussies went into the 03 cup without warne, but they had mcgrath and an inform gillespie...we dont have such bowlers!

    and maybe, no, he MUST play instead of rana.

    hope the tribunal acquits our 2 ace bowlers.

  • Imtiaz Awan on October 27, 2006, 2:25 GMT

    I have close association with players and administrators from pindi division. The general feeling among players is that Wasim Bari doesnt like or support their players and as long as he is there Azhar mahmood cant return to team. Despite being performing good for a while now, yasir Arafat was not given a chance. On the other hand Bari supports Afridi to the core despite his uncountable failures. Its time to give chance to Mohd Irshad, Sami ullah Niazi, khalil and Anwar against West Indies to discover the spearhead we all want to see. Its time to say good bye to players like Sami, rana and rao, they have been given enough chances, they are not good for this level anymore.

    Kamran you didnt publish my previous mails, hopefully it will the other way round this time.

  • Waqar Ali on October 27, 2006, 1:34 GMT

    Yeah, we do need variety in our bowling line-up.

    Mohammad Hafeez should've been used in the previous game, he seems crafty and has a know-how of pace-variation in his spells. Especially with the dew being a major factor and spinners not being able to generate the expected spin, Hafeez could certainly be the trump card for Younis.

    Yasir Arafat deserves a place in the playing eleven.

  • haq on October 27, 2006, 1:03 GMT

    i don't agree with you guys if you have notice shoaib akhtar and asif both are effective in test matches but they tend to give out many runs like naved and gul gives so all i wanna say is we should beleive in thier abilities and keep them trying

  • mawali on October 27, 2006, 0:25 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, that's hitting the nail on the head. Sure we need a spear head. However, where do we find the "diamond in the rough"? The current crop looks disamal for the near future. I am hoping against all hope that Asif and shoaib did not take dope? (pardon the rhyming). But, in all honesty I remain hopeful for the dynamic duo!

  • Euan McPetrie on October 26, 2006, 23:19 GMT

    Rana is quality, but he is an attacking bowler. He can be a wicket-taker in the early overs if he can swing the ball, but later in the innings he is just about the right pace to hit. He might just need to mix things up a bit more.

    Forget about Sami, he's a pale imitation of the bowler he was when he was youngster. Go for youth, Pakistan has unrivalled talent.

    Can't understand why Kanieria isn't in the team unless he's injured.

  • MUSTAFA MIR (toronto) on October 26, 2006, 23:16 GMT

    i think its time to say good bye to rana navaid. Yasir arafat will be a perfact replacement,pakistan should also go with a specialist spinner.

  • Sheikh Husnain Rawal on October 26, 2006, 22:52 GMT

    is it a right time to call back Sami, not sure about that but one thing that is certain, he needs another chance to prove himself, Imran Khan does have an eye for talented players, and maybe if we stick it out just a little bit more maybe, the pakistan team can reap benefits from Sami's pace. that's if he ever bowls at full pace again!

  • faisal on October 26, 2006, 22:45 GMT

    why are they not including yaser arafat in the team and let rana rest. i would have made 2 changes in the team... 1 -let go of imran farhat and let afridi open this will allow to put faisal aqbal in the middle . 2- replace rana navid with yaser arafat in this way i will get a good medium pacer who can also bat good.

  • masroor on October 26, 2006, 22:34 GMT

    Pakistan's preformance against New Zeland was a heart breaker. I would like to point out one thing to all the critics(a very easy job) this was Younis Khan's second game as a captian. WE have to encourage our future captain. After Inzi, who do we have?? The current PCB org structure should be changed, the current selection comm should be scratched for their lack of forsight. Why? is that we are so dependent on just akthar and asif? We need to bring more quality spinner into our squad. It is not that we lack in Tallent - We have alot of talent just look at the stats of our under 19 players in the world cup (keep up the good work) but the problem is with the PCB for lack of vision. They are being paid for what???? where is the backup plan (desaster recovery plan). Instead of pointing fingures at the players we need to back them up, this the best time to rebuild our team b4 the world cup. I hope all the seamers and esp the captain have learned from their mistakes if not then the coach needs to remind them. I love the way S.Africa team Fields there are always two players after the same ball. PCB should be a private org and run like one where they are accountable to the people (us - cricket fanatics.......lol). I hope they show up on the feild with +ive attiude against SA..... Good luck

  • Khattak on October 26, 2006, 21:52 GMT

    Its so funny reading all the comments...Pakistan won the first match and they were heroe's...they loose one and we want a major shake up.....thats how we work I guess...If one thinks rationally we should give these guys another chance but since im also Pakistani I say Heads must fall!!out with Rana and lets bring in some fast bowlers....there must be someone with real pace in this country of 150 million apart from steroid express....some names I recall Najaf Shah, Fazal e Akbar and what about that nazir chap who was dropped after the english tour.....he looked pretty decent...!!think pak management and fast...our strike attack most likely will be banned for 2 years!!

  • zulfi shah on October 26, 2006, 21:41 GMT

    the ODI bowling stats of four:

    mat wkts ave econ sr rana: 52 82 27.54 5.48 30.15 shoib: 133 208 23.33 4.64 30.17 razzaq: 219 242 30.24 4.65 39.02 sami: 76 109 28.37 4.93 34.53

    conclusion: just because sami has pace doesn't mean he's actually good at taking wickets. rana has a better strike rate and average, even if he's a bit more expensive. and keep in mind, sami was preferred with the new ball over rana for a long time.

  • Kashif Buttar on October 26, 2006, 21:23 GMT

    I agree we need a spearhead, but i personally think if Akhtar and Asif are found guilty tribunal should ban them. Game against SA can be only win by good strategy, as we lost against NZ due to lack of good strategy.

  • imran on October 26, 2006, 21:09 GMT

    i have no clue why they include rao instead of Yasir arafat?? if we can figure that out easily by looking at the stats from domestic and even international records that Rao is no where near compare to Yasir,i don't understand why the selectors failed to get that. add shahiz nazir back as a opener, atleast he is way better than imran farhat who is keep loosing his wicket once he is in double figure. i would love to see hafeez and nazir open the inning, then come shoaib malik, yousaf and younis to follow but at currect stage, all we cna hope is that selectors add yasir for tomorrow match instead of rao.

  • Jibran Baig on October 26, 2006, 20:52 GMT

    So now Sami is our best hope? I remember reading an article recently about Yasir Arafat and it didn't give good reviews to Sami in the couple of lines that discussed him. Well someone did said on this blog that Sami's odi record isn't that bad and with our backs to the wall, wild card may be a last bet (though with his confidence shattered after getting a raw deal, since that Indian tour to Pakistan; he may not have been a big help). However, our problems our not that we didn't bowl well against New Zealand, we just bowl bad in the last 15 to 20 overs; and again our feilding wasn't much help to the bowlers. The primary culprit is Younis Khan, this is the first time he got it wrong as a captain; he should have bowled Mohammad Hafeez in the last overs. One could see that Oram, though hit Malik for a six was struggling against him. And with another offspinner who has far more control than Malik would have controlled their hitters. I just do not understand the concept behind not bowling your most economical bowler from the last match. Our batting was good enough to chase down 250 on this pitch. In the end I think they would have done well to bring in Yasir Arafat, he bowls good yorkers and we need him in the death overs.

  • adnan idrees on October 26, 2006, 20:40 GMT

    By the time I will post my comments Pak would have won the toss against SA and decided to bat. Now if Younis has any sense than he should look back at atleast 50 ODI of Pak and see avg. opening stand and it should not be more than 15 runs than there is no harm in having Afaridi open the inning worest comes Avg will stay the same. Younis should put himself at number 5 or 6 for a simple reason that there is an extra opener like Hafeez who can be at number 3 as an insurance for Afradi.Remaining batting order will follow Yousef.Younis.Malik.Kamran.Razzaq. replacment for Rana. and remaaing bowlers. Now for bowling if Younis can put aside may be his personal differences with Hafiz on the side and use hbim for full 10 overs of his quota as there is no other logical reason why he was not used against NZ. Please rest Rana for couple of years and get Yasir Arafat in immediately as with this change we have nothing to lose as Rana is not saving us any runs anyway.

  • Sabika on October 26, 2006, 20:33 GMT

    I think Imran Khan is right we need Sami instead of Raza Naveed. Sure he can be expensive but Imran must have seen something in him that makes him back him to the hilt. He sucks at tests but his odi stats are not that bad. Cnat do anyworse than raza is doing right now why not try him

  • Fawad on October 26, 2006, 20:26 GMT

    well i think rana is a very good bowler and pak needs him at the moment most than ever.He is an experienced bowler as pakistan dont have except razzaq any experienced bowler in the absence of shoaib and asif.yasir arafat should have been played in the last game.In this tounament pak cant make any other changes anyway.they have only 14 players to pick from.sami doesnt deserve a chance after he has failed to prove himself at international level(he is just another example of tremendous underachievers like Hick).He should only be picked if he performs well in the domestic cricket.Pakistan must give an extended chance to rao, gull, rana and yasir as even if asif and shoaib come back before world cup we cant be sure of the fitness of shoaib.and they are the best available fast bowlers at the moment. In the opening slot (salman, yasir hameed, imran nazir, imran farhat and Hafeez) we have few options although none of them is technically strong.i dont think so any pair out of these would be reliable under testing conditions.in my opinion salman butt and yasir should be given a go.one down is very important it would be high time for younis khan to concentrate a bit at his batting rather at the politics. afridi has been given according to woolmer no 5 position what i think is totally wrong because he is kind of player who would blast the bowling rather milk it, i think this positions suits somebody who likes to accumulate runs and doesnt score majority of his runs in boundries.as he doesnt want to face the new bowl so i would send him at no 6 behind malik where he can play as he can best.

  • Abdul Waheed on October 26, 2006, 20:22 GMT

    In your past Blog, "Yasir time" I agreed with you completely. However, I would like to bring the fact once more, Pakistan does not have enough fire power without the likes of Wasim, Waqar, Shoib and now Asif to pose serious threats on continues basis to any of the top opponents. Hence, bits and pieces pace/spin attack may win us few one dayers here and there we can not dream to be among the top two or three teams in ODI let alone Test Cricket. As far as I remember batting has never been our strength on which we could rely on. While like any Pakistani fan I love it when Afridi tears apart the opponents but how often? Never mind, he represents our batting strength where we do not know from one day to the next how the team will perform....it is a shame that we have no choice but to rely on the likes of Afridi and co. In the end I would like to praise Woolmer for bringing the team where it is now from where it was when he took over. I hope I am wrong but I can see a nose dive in team's performance once the man leaves. It is so pathetic that we do not appreciate good things when they are around. Whether it is cricket or anything else that affects our lives..... Waheed...Maryland-USA

  • Imran on October 26, 2006, 20:20 GMT

    Hi, U r right wen u say that rana is out of form and the time is running out fot him. But i agree with few guys who say that spinners win matches. In that case i could imagine only one spinner who is an all time great atleast in ODI, ie,, SAQLAIN MUSHTAQ.He is the one who who made spin bowling as an attacking option in ODI.

    I still feel that he will deliver the goods and also he is one of the better fielder.

  • ali on October 26, 2006, 20:19 GMT

    i agree and disagree. look at west indies there opening bowlers are bradshaw and taylor. tayylor is very talented but raw and bradshaw is ever consistent and. they dont have an out and out spearhead yet they are coming back. i think umar gul is an excellent bowler who has proven his worth. he will only get better. rao is also imroving. rana might need a rest. over the last year or so he has been playing a lot of cricket. for all of pakistans problems i actually feel they have a good bench. shoaibs never around and asif is new. i wud recall the dissapointing sami if he is willing to bowl quick and keep gul and rao.

  • Raza Zaidi on October 26, 2006, 20:17 GMT

    Sami got a looooong ride on "potential," much longer than anyone in Pak cricket history. Sorry Mr. Imran Khan, but you're wrong about Sami. His numbers accurately depict him as a below par bowler, even at the first class level, let alone international cricket. It's time to take another look at Fazl-e-Akbar. With 500+ first class wickets at 20 avg, he must be doing something right. And he's only 26.

  • Kamran Khan (kami49) on October 26, 2006, 20:12 GMT

    I agree with most of you!! bottom line is we need Muhammad Sami and Azhar Mahmood for attack bowling and instead of imran farhat, Salman butt will be better call.

  • Najib on October 26, 2006, 20:12 GMT

    oh come on kamran, for God sake try Jamshed Ahmed and Anwar Ali. They wrecked India and the rest of the world, and i am sure they can do the same in ODI. India have started using Piyush Chawla and he have produced very well, and i know so can Jamshed Ahmed and Anwar Ali. Please bring in those two bowlers and i would recommend Imran Nazir for return to the national side.

  • Farjad Tanveer on October 26, 2006, 19:52 GMT

    You have struck the bull's eye by saying that a spearhead is needed. The typical sting was lacking in the match against Kiwi's but with all due respect Umar Gul bowled nicely. But the question here is where to get the spearhead from??

    It takes time for a bowler to become the spear-head of a national team unless he is supremely talented to become one immediately after starting his career. With Shoaib and Asif gone for a time to come, Rana fading away and Shabbir banned till february i suppose, i personally feel it's time to hand over the reins to Umar Gul. Give him the confidence, the backing and make him feel like the leader of the pack. He bowled superbly in england as well as in the first two matches, though he was bit unlucky not to get wickets. With the world cup in a few months time and not much genuine bowling options on the fringes, Umar Gul holds the key. Meanwhile we can hope after hope and pray that Rana gets his form back so that we can have the bowling attack which did wonders in India in 2005 when still there was no Shoaib and little was known of Asif. If people think we can't win without Asif and Shoaib, go back to that series and think again...

  • aimel khan on October 26, 2006, 19:47 GMT

    our streets and grounds are full of talents what we need a honest struggle and selection to pick the talent we can consder some players from under19 well before any big event. im agreed with many of u that we dont have express bowlers and it seems our bowlers just wait for the batsman mistakes and if he mistakes then our fielding skills squander that chance. in the match against newzealand i will only blame our fielding which cost more than 35 runs and special thanks to kamran akmal superb form with keeping and batting since so long.The last 10 overs cost us 99 runs including the three overs2 of razaq and one from rao for 50 runs. The problem is our players relax coz there is no substitutes to replace any player if he not performs well. look at afridi since last 17 months and 21 innings he not manage even a single fifty but we are waiting that one day he will click. im sorry but we should not wait for our bullets that it will fire once in 30 shots we should keep the bullets with sure belief that it will fire. We are talent rich country we should not compromise on anything less. like Imran said if u cant take difficult catch and display nicely and consistently leave the place for other who can do it nicely coz u are paying for it u have the title of hero of the nation. all my prayers for my country and teams to be the winner of champion trophy ....pakistan zindabad

  • usman on October 26, 2006, 19:43 GMT

    I read "SAMI" somewhere - there have been enough chances given to him and if Imran Khan says that he should play then Imran Khan should keep his mouth shut. Being a legend does not mean leading in the wrong direction and forcing one's own will! If he wants Sami in the team, he should polish Sami himself and if he makes a big impact in local cricket only then he should be sent with the team. sami's problem is that being in Pak Team fame got to him and he started worrying more about his hair dye!!!

  • Jabran on October 26, 2006, 19:37 GMT

    I would definatley give the young ones a try rather then bring sami back who never learns. I would like to see the U19 plaers in especiall Jamshed Ahmed a left arm seamer who has got it all to be the next Wasim Akram i saw him in the u19 world cup his got it all, last i heard he wasn't even in the academy, if anyone is listening out there you gotta look after the youngsters a bit more and theses guys im talking about anwar ali khan and jamshed ahmed actually got talent which half thses players getting in the pak side havnt got i gota say. oh and Rana was never a great bowler he was always a average bowler who had one great season against the aussies

  • Junaid on October 26, 2006, 19:35 GMT

    i seriously think that m.sami should be played. he is quick and a very good ODI bowler. and i am not saying this because he has imran's backing. hes a very good "death" bowle. in the absence of shoaib and asif, sami SHOULD be recalled

  • Hammad Khan on October 26, 2006, 19:31 GMT

    Hi everybody, I believe Rana has lost his passion for game, otherwise it was a pretty similar attack that defeated india in 4 consective ODIs 18 months back. Both Rana and Rao have experience of indian conditions, but i believe that that line up had a passion to win in india, but this side is lacking it. Rana is bowling too short, and so is Razzaq, although hi got 4 wickets against Sri Lanka, but those were more due to bad shot selection from the batsmen. Someone needs to mentally lift the team up, after loosing 3 important players, and we might see a turn around of events

  • Rashid Mahmood Akhter on October 26, 2006, 19:25 GMT

    Lot of discussion on the team! Right but there are very little choices with the selection board and captain. So it would be another gamble to try new players with the SA as there will be tremendous pressure on every player. I feel they should have tried someone else in place of Afridi and Naveed in the Kiwis match. There was not too much pressure as everybody knew that there was another chance to qualify for semis even if the match is lost. Based on the performance in the Kiwis match they would have been in a much better position to select the team. Moreover coming back of Afridi and/or Naveed (in case the changed player would have failed) would have given them lot of confidence that they might be lacking right now.

  • AB on October 26, 2006, 19:22 GMT

    Rana was always expensive. Even in the first one-dayer he played. In my opinion what Pakistan need is a pace bowler who is miserly. Even Shoaib is expensive but he has one of the best strike rates in the business. Asif was perfect foil for Shoaib.

    A spear-head is a must, but before that we need to find a pacer who is miserly, and because he would be miserly he would get wickets, coz people would go after him.

    One of commentors stated that Danish could be used as an attacking option, but he too is expensive and plus there is dew, if we bowl second then the dew factor is big, plus since we already have so many spinning options, so that needs to be weighed. Plus the fact that he is a horrible fielder and a mug with the bat doesn't help his one-day selection.

  • Zed Fazel on October 26, 2006, 19:12 GMT

    Pakistan cricketers are well paid and for this they have to do a job, ie - play cricket professionally. If they fail, sorry, they have to be replaced by those who can do the job. I think, on the present form,Rana Naved should be dropped. Afriidi should also be dropped. What right has he to continuously for the last 6 months to go to bat and throw away his wicket. And the way he throws it away,makes him look utterly stupid. His presence is a 'false sence of security' to the team. He should learn something from other big hitters like Dhoni,Gilchrist,Gayle,Jayasuria and the likes. He also lets down in fielding these days. Yassif Arafat should replace Rana and Feisal Iqbal should replace Afridi.

  • Sohail Khan on October 26, 2006, 19:03 GMT

    Kamran,

    I think the major issue with the team is in the Wicket Keeping department. Kamran Akmal's wicket keeping skills are very ordinary and not upto the international standards. His poor form is continiuing for more than a year now.If Stryis run out was not missed than it would be very difficult for New Zealand to post the highest total in the tournament. I think selectors should give chance to someone who is more skilled and reliable. You cannot allow a good batsman to have two or more chances, specially from a wicket keeper.

  • Amir on October 26, 2006, 18:59 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi

    You are getting full marks on each debate.Rana should be off from the picture enough is enough.I was very disopointed with the performance of Kamran Akmal the way he is leaking runs and dropping chances and if you guys have seen him in last match he was giving smile on each mistake It was horrible. Probably he doesn't know that he is representing Pakistan. Its not domestic match or area ground. We should have back up keeper as well. I would say Younis Khan missed few tricks as well with not bowling with Hafeez and finally Players like afridi who are playing for last decade should be mature enough to tackle the pressure.

    Amir From Toronto

  • AZMAT SHAH on October 26, 2006, 18:48 GMT

    I agree, and even one spearhead may not be enough,we need a pair of spearheads because we are used to spearheads in pairs. Why dont PCB arrange an emergency "Spearhead Hunt" by organizing a nationwide bowling contest,and grab all those who touch 90 miles or a little less.We are just not used to seamers,we need just Raw Pace and get complacent with it only.We need our Unplayable Devastating ,Wicket Breaking Yorkers back,AND I am dead sure,Pakistan has talent to bestow upon us those Un-imagineable Yorkers back

  • nightwatchman on October 26, 2006, 18:42 GMT

    Rana has put in a number of bad performances.His career economy rate was already very high, even when he was in good form but at least he was taking wickets. I would like to see Yasir play tomorrow in his place. He has done well with Sussex & will also provide depth to batting. As for Sami, how many more chances does he need. He has failed time and again, and lets face it, Imran Khan is human and has made colossal errors of judgement in the past. His insistence on retaining Sami sounds totally unreasonable.

  • Shoaib on October 26, 2006, 18:33 GMT

    Rana is a liability at the moment. The sad fact is that he seems to imagine himself to be a great bowler, when actually he duly obliges to the batsmen in delivering plenty of half volleys and long hops.

    He gives batsmen an abusive send-off after flukily getting a top edge and yet you can guarantee that his first spell will be something like 4 overs for 30.

    Personally I think his cocky attitude has as much to do with his waywardness as anything else. Just look at the shear volume of legside half-volleys and poor deliveries he bowls. He also is not swinging the ball as much as he used to.

    And to top it all off, I hear he has issues with the senior players of the team.

    As for Sami, I thought we wanted to win matches, not lose them. Of course if we want to lose matches, please pick this bowler who has had chance after chance after chance but never learns.

  • John Beamish on October 26, 2006, 18:32 GMT

    As a Sussex fan I am dismayed with all this negative talk about Rana. I think he'll come good for you. Also I can't see why the selectors pick Rao over Arafat. Arafat is a better bowler and can actually bat.

  • Imtiaz on October 26, 2006, 18:31 GMT

    Personally i would have Imran nazir in odi as out of the opening slot farhat/salman/yaseer/nazir he is the best fielder.A good fielder can alone win you matches.. I think with the current situation, Yasir Arafat should be replaced for Rao as Rao is a very average bowler without any batting talent and afridi should come after shoaib malik. The goal should be to loose less wicket till 35 overs and score around 150 runs ie 4.00 runs per over and then unleash Afridi,Razzaq,Akmal and Yasir to score quickly. looking at the tournament, 270 plus is a match winning total and if we have one end blocked till the end with either Yousuf, Younis or Shoaib and than we can easily achieve it. also make sure all the spinner bowls 30 overs. They are usually very hard to get away.

  • Adil Sharif on October 26, 2006, 18:23 GMT

    Kamran it is nice to see ur valuable comments.I think we have to redraw our plan in champion trophy.As far batting is concern afradi should open the batting coz once the ball is new he can produce more runs and if he got out early then rest of the batsman can recover it.In bowling Younas has not used his bowler properly.I can not understand as hafeez was so effective in last 20 overs against srilanka.Why he did not bowled against newzealand.

  • Mustafa Moiz on October 26, 2006, 18:16 GMT

    I have been saying that Sami should be played. If you have a genuine fast bowler, you should play him. Even when Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were fit, he should have played. Amd now look at our predicament. Sami should play. And so should Imran Nazir and Yasir Hameed.

  • Dan on October 26, 2006, 18:11 GMT

    SAMI!!! You must be joking. This is one bowler who gets worse with every match he plays. People in Pakistan have short term memory in politics and cricket. Do you remember his abysmal performance in England. He gave away 100 or more runs in every single inning he bowled in! When was the last time he had a match winning performance? How did we find Asif? We had to drop Sami and give him a chance and we got a much better bowler. I think we should give young blood a chance. Whats the worst that could happen? We are going to loose right. That's what we are doing now. Fortune favors the brave.

  • Khawaja on October 26, 2006, 18:02 GMT

    well said with rana, i think we must give a chance to Yasir who is paicy and can bat well. with afridi there are only two batting positions @ opening & # 7. so that we can show his aggression and we can enjoy boom boom afridi.

  • Arslan Shaukat on October 26, 2006, 17:59 GMT

    What we really lack at the moment is penetration in our bowling lineup, which, apart from a 90mph fast bowler, can also be provided by an attacking legspinner. In his brief stint in the one dayers, Danish has always been used in a defensive, run-saving role. Playing under an attacking captain (Younis), Danish could be extreamily effective on these dusty, spinning Indian tracks specially if supported by attacking field positions such as slip, short leg etc. Imran Khan used Qadir & Mushtaq as attacking bowlers in one dayers with great success and so did steve waugh with Shane Warne.

    Thus, if we don't have any genuinely quick fast bowlers ready to replace shoaib, then the selectors and the team management should be intelligent enough to utilize other possible alternatives (Danish Kaneria) as attacking bowlers.

  • faryal b on October 26, 2006, 17:50 GMT

    Pakistans bowling appears to be tame at the moment. But I still hope they dont recall sami. Shahid nazir can be an alternative? What about a quality spinner? Could have been useful considering the conditions in india. Besides our batting hasnt clicked either apart from yousaf. And why does shohaib malik play so down the orde?

  • Rahim on October 26, 2006, 17:41 GMT

    which team in the world doesn't...

    but in addition also need a good one day spinner, a decent middle order basman, an attacking opening pair, a wicketkeeper who can aim and shoot and hold on to a snick once in a while, able minded fielders and all these guys led by an inspirational skipper who is appointed by a functional cricket board...Hazaron Khwaishain Aisee

  • Ali on October 26, 2006, 17:06 GMT

    It seems if the bowling attack have lost confidence after Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were called back home. The current side are playing the best fast bowlers they have. Rao and Gul are good supporting bowlers and Rana might be struggling to find his form, but he is the best fast bowler in Pakistan after Shoaib and Asif. Batting have become stronger though. But Afridi seems to be confused about what to do at No.5...slog or defence. This is an interesting move by playing him at Inzamam's spot. Mohammad Hafeez should be given more overs to bowl because he is the best spinner in the current side...and the best fielder too.

  • Rehan on October 26, 2006, 16:42 GMT

    Let's just look at the statistics (they don't lie, do they?!). Pakistan is allowing opponents to score at an alarming rate (527 runs from 100 runs) or an average of 5.27 per over. Compare that to New Zealand who have been a miserly 3.65 and are through to the semi-finals. In fact, Pakistan is allowing the most runs per over in this tournament, worse than Bangladesh and just below Zimbabwe.

    An silver lining: Team Pak is also the highest scoring, netting 4.87, better than everyone else. South Africa allows the least runs per over. It should be fun.

  • Abu Ahmad on October 26, 2006, 16:10 GMT

    Azhar Mahmood and Mohd Sami can prove effective spearhead lending much needed sting to attack.Other questions to ponder are :how long can we wait for Afridi to fire up An average of 9 plus in last 24 innings is pathetic,Akmal,s wicket keeping is below par,middle order needs strengthening with inclusion of Faisal or Misbah and why can,t Imran Nazir and Yasir Hameed be recalled?

  • Jinn on October 26, 2006, 15:59 GMT

    i think Kamran you and the rest of the guys here missed the real reasons why we lost the second game. naveed is out of form, but we all know what hes capable of and he is the only known fast bowling match winner we have. Gul is bowling better in every game and rao wasnt so bad either. personally i would let razzak open with gul. but even still apart from the last 4 overs our performance wasnt that bad; i can remember both shoaib and asif doing worse. still i reckon it was a 300 plus wicket batting first and we did well to contain them.

    Thats why we should have batted first. All these games have found batting first to be a better option. that was a mistake by younis "dummy captain" khan. Then you also got to realise that our top order collapse was also a major reason for the loss. farhat has always let us down and when all younis had to do was rotate the strike the dummy played a crap cut shot that i would be embarassed of! i dont care what imran says no3 he is not!! had shoaib malik come in no3 we would have won. due to the poor start it took malik and yousuf too long to mount the charge. And one more reson why we lost was afridis new position. That should be at worst case the lowest position that malik should come in at.

    i disagree that we dont have a talented team but its the thinking an using of players that went all wrong.

    come on Pakistan for tomorrow!!!!

  • Hamaad Ravda on October 26, 2006, 15:50 GMT

    I don't think I quite agree with Mr. Abbasi's comments regarding Rana. Its true that Rana hasn't been quite the same force with the ball that he was before his injury, but I saw some good things yesterday, and he seems to be getting his rhythm back. Rana has always been an attacking bowler, and he will leak runs, but he will also get you wickets. That being said, Younis Khan's field settings for Rana were not exactly ideal. Given an off-side heavy field, with 3 slips and a gully, he was forced to bowl more and more outside the off-stump, what not to speak of his luck with top-edges and inside edges. Then, he wasn't made to come back in the final overs, even as Rao was given an over at death - possibly the most misguided move that one can make, given Rana possesses a good yorker and a slower ball. Its funny how we are willing to bring back Mohammad Sami after over 2 years of non-performance, and are not willing to spare Rana for what has been only 3-4 games of non-performance. As for the bowling coach, Mr. Younis you could help Rana by telling him that his ideal length is to keep it up - the way u were getting most of your wickets once you had lost your sizzling pace - rather than trying to be a pace hound and get batsman out by bouncing them.

    As Mr. Abbasi pointed out, Yasir should have been played. He is also a better option at the death than Rao, as he possesses a good yorker. The move to play Rao was as mis-guided, as was the one not to bowl Hafiz, even though he had proven to be the best spinner in the Sri Lanka game.

    With regards to the captain, Younis Khan is still learning, and he should be given some leeway.

  • Arham Karim on October 26, 2006, 15:41 GMT

    Some fantastic points there, this pakistan attack clearly lacked a spearhead, someone who could do the job Shoaib has done or what Mcgrath and Lee do for the Aussies. Pakistan also lacked a death bowler and more slower balls/yorkers needed to be bowled at the end . Had that happened, newzealand could have been restricted very easily to 240 and Pakistan could have chased that. I think, despite the fantastic cricketers at our disposal already, that Yasir Arafat and Kaneria should both be given a chance. Even Sami, as a succesful bowling attack has to have at least one seam/pace bowlerwho has that BANG sort of ability, and can take a wicket instantly through rapid pace or swing or seam. If rana is off form, then I do not believe that Gul and Rao should both be in the same side, and perhaps Kaneria, Sami or Arafat instead as Pakistan need an out and out wicket taker rather than someone who waits for the batsman to get out through consistency. Thanks Arham Karim

  • Ayaz on October 26, 2006, 15:28 GMT

    Rana is way too expensive and his batting ability is overhyped. Yasir should be given a chance and we should also bring in some wicketkeeping competition aswell because Kamran Akmal is having a nightmare 12months

  • Ayaz on October 26, 2006, 15:28 GMT

    Pakistan definitely need to bring some new bowlers into the team very soon preferably for the Windies after the IC Champions Trophy if we really want to contend for the WC without Shoaib and Asif our back up bowling is not good enough to deliver on consistent basis - look at what happened against England in the test series for the 1st 2 tests we couldnt even bowl them all out over 2 days until Asif came back. Rana is way too expensive and his batting ability is overhyped. Yasir should be given a chance and we should also bring in some wicketkeeping competition aswell because Kamran Akmal is having a nightmare 12months

  • siddharth on October 26, 2006, 15:07 GMT

    I agree with mr. kamran that pakistan team wuld be missin services of asif and shoaib but as a neutral person i believe that pakistan hav the potential to get out of this doldrums .i being an indian dont know much abt what happens in paki domestic cricket but my impression is not very good abt the domestic cricket played there .I hope Asif and Shoaib clear their names from this controversy and be back .

  • Irfan Mayani on October 26, 2006, 15:02 GMT

    We do need a spearhead. And i think Rana currently is the right man. He must understand that he needs to bowl consistently . He is still bowling 2 or 3 good deliveries every now an then, but then he tries to bowl short and experiment ..his consistency in line is missing..its the approach that needs to be corrected. He is trying to take wickets every ball i think.

    Also we need to try out Yasis Arafat. I think this guy deserves a place in the side. Bring him in .He has shown some talent. This is the time to give him some chance. Try him instead of Gul or Iftikhar.

    And please please please use Hafeez as a death bowler.

  • muhammed khater on October 26, 2006, 14:56 GMT

    No doubt,that Rana Naveed is an enthusiastive cricketer and can make his comeback any time but though he is out of form so chance must be given to youngsters like Abdurrehman or Yasir arafat.I dont know whats the use of keeping optional bowlers when you are not going to utilize them.It seems since year that Rana is out of form then why Bob woolmer is continung with his bowing.Last year,i dont remember even a single match where the economy rate of Rana naveed falls less than 7.05.So Kamran i agree with you that pakistan require urgently a Spearhead at the moment.

  • Asim Ejaz on October 26, 2006, 14:45 GMT

    i agree with your comments, I was amazed that Yasir was not included in the team for the NewZealand match, he is in form and can bat as well. this would also nudge Razzaq as well because I believe he has found his comfort zone and is just content on keeping his place rather than challenge himself and try to improve.I am also in favour of Sami as he has always had a decent record in ODIs. Also where is Saqlain, I mean he is still young, where has he gone!!!!

  • sharoz on October 26, 2006, 14:39 GMT

    I totally agree with you mr Kamran rana has been out of nick and rao and gul are onlysupporting bowlers.Pakistan need to call back kaneria or even arshad khan if required.Moreover the pitches in India will suit them

  • Sonny on October 26, 2006, 14:26 GMT

    What i dont understand is that why are we not trying new talent, since our bowlers. Where are those two kids from the U-19 World Cup. I think the names of those two are Anwar Ali Khan and Jamshed Ahmed. Lets be real, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif will be suspended for sometime(most probably). So we need to try new talent. And Kamran where is Yasir Arafat?

  • Shahid on October 26, 2006, 14:12 GMT

    Kamran, i agree with you.But it is often forgotten that Rana was never an economical bowler. Yeah, he is not taking wickets but i personally always saw this coming. TO deliver yorkers at the death you always need confidence and confidence always comes from how you have bowled in the previous overs. But yeah Pakistan does need a spearhead or they can change their strategy by giving the ball to Shoaib Malik or Afridi in the death overs. Although not sure whether its gonna work or not.

  • ks on October 26, 2006, 13:50 GMT

    you are right about it kamran, keep up the good work i like this blog of yours. keep it up and regular. talking about backup options of spearheads, here is a link to akram's blog where he has done some anlaysis of our backup options and it has some points about what we have in backup and some figures to support his argument. http://lancepoint.org/blogs/akram/archive/2006/10/22/Pakistan-Pace-bowling-attack.-Present-and-Future.aspx

    can you start a blog on our opening pair, hafeez has looked solid in 2 matches but not carried on but imran farhat has looked pathetic from the word go, he got dropped in both matches and he gave another chance right after that one. such is a responsibility factor, wasnt the same factor for which afridi was dropped from opening slot. i read an argument on one blog which mentions that since we dont have a genuine opener available and the ones we have are not technically correct and waste of effort we should train some upcoming talented batsman( Shahid Yousaf, misbah ul haq, faisal iqbal) or a bowler who can bat a bit(yasir arafat, kamram akmal, najaf shah) atleast it will add some use for the opener even if he fails miserably like imran farhat whois a waste in the field also. I also believe that new keeper hsould be given a run for WI home series everyone has enough of kamran akmal's silly mistakes costing pakistan matches time and again.

    regards ks-

  • Danish on October 26, 2006, 13:44 GMT

    Mr. Kamran, I completely agree with you. However why is our team management, experts and nation in general obssed with a 90MPH bowler to be a spearhead. You hear comments by Imran Khan stressing the need of 90MPH bowler. Why dont we realize that we do not have a quality spinner in our side. Post Saqlain Mustaq era is filled with bits and pieces spinners, who can at best roll their arm over. If you look at some of best one day teams of world, the 1996 Srilankan had Murli as their spearhead, Saqlain was the lynchpin of thw golden era of Pakistani team pre the 1999 world cup final.Shane Warne spearheaded the Aussie attack during their invincible run. Indian cricket team always relied on Kumble and now Harbajan Singh. My point is why don't you run a feature on lack of quality spinner in our lineup post Saqlain Era and highlight this imbalance in our attack. We have had in past 7-8 year three to four 90MPHs bowlers. Shoiab, Sami and Rana. None of them have performed consistently for more than five consective matches, let alone a year or two. So we should leave this obsession with pace and find a quality spinner and build our attack around him.

  • Raza on October 26, 2006, 13:40 GMT

    I agree with you Mr. Kamran, Pakistan definetly needs a spearhead. The thing is, in the past, when Shoaib Akhtar used to be injured, or when we had not yet discovered the capabilities of Mohammad Asif, one or two of the bowlers would always step up and take on the challenge. The likes of Rana, Umar Gul, Shabbir Ahmed and Sami have done that for us in the past.

    Of recent, is a different story. We all know Rana is out of form and is not the same aggressive bowler we had once seen in the last Indian series. But the question is, is there anyone better than him, that can come and lead our bowling attack? Imran Khan like always, has suggested Sami, but how many chances should he be given? I don't see his addition to the side making any difference, at the end of the day, he will probably have similar statistics in a match to Rana or even worse like his current form suggests. And, on Danish Kaneria, only if he was an allrounder, and a very good fielder would the Idea of him being in the ODI team have any weight. The only change which might get beneficial results could be the inclusion Yasir, which is why I like the Idea of Mr. Kamran's post on Yasir.

    Yesterday's defeat was not just because of miscalculating the conditions, but poor bowling in our depth overs seem to be the main reason. We needed more slower balls, bouncers and yorkers...which is why Pakistan would miss Shoaib.

  • Omar Ansari on October 26, 2006, 13:24 GMT

    I said it once before and I am saying it again, we need Sami back, at least for the ODI's until Asif and Akhtar are out, but its too late now, we can't bring back Sami into the team for the match against South Africa.

    Pakistan will have to look at Yasir Arafat, they should drop Afridi for the next match, not because of his dismal form but because this pitch, according to everyone is a pace bowlers paradise and Afridi has never performed against the moving ball with the bat. Excluding Rana from tomorrows team will be a suicide, Rana looked like he was 60% back in form in the match against New Zeland, he was swinging the ball a little and had a lot more control on his line.

    Unless Pakistan wins the toss tomorrow and elects to field first and unless Rana and Gul roar and cripple the South African batting, (which seems to be impossible at this stage) Pakistan are going to have a near impossible time going into the semis...

    Y.Khan could go in with Afridi tomorrow but that will be a huge risk and the possibility of a satisfactory result will be just 10%.... anyway my fingers are crossed… hope Pakistan wins and kicks some serious South African butt no matter who they pick...

  • ali on October 26, 2006, 13:23 GMT

    i think Imran Khan should be the chairman of PCB because he is the one who bring so many legends into pakistani cricket like wasim, waqar, abdul qadir, aqib javed and inzamam as far as the our bowling attack is concerned i think there is no doubt about skills of Rana but i think they should have give him match practice before bringing him into International cricket and i think they should have give chance to mohammed sami and salman butt then yasir arfat and abdul rehman because the players like sami and butt should be atleat with the team because even if they get chance but there is always going to be pressure on them

  • Khalid Ahmed on October 26, 2006, 13:06 GMT

    Pakistan are a rubbish team. A spearhead is not going to make difference.

  • hassan siddiqui on October 26, 2006, 12:49 GMT

    I think selectors made a big mistake by not sending Sami,Shahid nazir or Kaneria to replace akhtar n asif.If you are in a hunt of a big trophy you need some lethal wicket takers who can win you a game out of nothing and I dont understand the reason of playing Rao iftikhar ahead of talented pacers like Sami,Shahid Nazir n Yasir.On the other side, I think Rana is a class act n we should persist with him coz he can bounce back any time.

  • BK on October 26, 2006, 12:38 GMT

    The fact of the matter is that Pakistan has stopped producing world class cricketers like it did in the 80s and early 90s. Name one outstanding talent in the last one decade and i'll agree. Akhtar is a product of too much hype. Asif is still cutting his teeth. The batting cupboard looks bare. Perhaps, I must say, Pak cricket is gone to the dogs there is no honest and sincere effort to unearth special talents from the backwaters. They need a skipper like Imran Khan who can spot a raw diamond. Sadly, those sitting on high horses don't believe in getting off.

  • Jamil Hisamuddin on October 26, 2006, 12:15 GMT

    Hi Kamran,

    I agree with you in regards to Rana. As you mentioned earlier, it is now definitely Yasir's time. He should be given the chance in next match. Also, we should not loose our patience with just one loose with the other three fast bowlers. Rao and Gul do have all the required potential to spearhead. Just bring in Yasir and send in Afridi at no.3, rest should be fine tomorrow. Good luck Pakistan... Jamil (Dushanbe Tajikistan)

  • Khalil on October 26, 2006, 12:06 GMT

    We are looking on different things here, like batting and bowling, but one important thing which we alway forget and are forgetting here is "fielding", which was poor, is poor and getting worst in every single match. These days you its hard to win matches unless you field well. I dont understand what pakistani players are getting paid for, just to go out to register their attendence. I've watched the Pak vs NZ game, the feilding was so shaky that we cant believe, Shahid Afridi the best feilder in the side was holding looking at the ball, while the batsmen were talking runs, Kamran Akmal the keeper, throwing the ball onto the stumps and completely missing it just half a meter away, instead he could just walk to the stumps and could easly dislodge the bails. It was funny as well as disapointing. Well i could only say, "GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN".

  • raheel on October 26, 2006, 12:00 GMT

    well i totally agree with your comments n i think it is due to the hasteness of our board which has led to this grieve situation. I think the Board should have waited for the tournament to be completed and then leak out the dreadful news. I hope the tribunal use some common sense and clear Asif n Shoaib since in this case it is the doctor not the players who were at fault.

  • Gohar Ayub on October 26, 2006, 11:47 GMT

    Definately, it will cost us dearly if we will not have Shoaib & Asif in the team soon. Rana Naveed almost over now...we should soon find a replacement...any body knows the progress about Shabbir?...is he going to be a part of Pakistan Squad in the world cup....

    Secondly, i hate to see imran farhat playing....he always play street cricket. He can't judge deliveries outside the off stump.....In my opinion Salman Butt is a better choice...atleast his shot slection is better than Fahrat.....

  • Irfan Jaffry on October 26, 2006, 11:41 GMT

    You are right. We definitely need a spearhead and the selectors might already been frustrated with Rana. But one must ask question about the use of whoever is available. On Indian pitches and against teams like Newzealand and South Africa, spin is always a handy option. It was baffling why Hafeez was not given the bowling against NZ even after his very good showing against mighty Sri Lankans who are known to play spin better than the other two opponents in the group. Secondly, Mohali's pitch is favorable, especially under lights, for the bowlers with a little bit more pace. Certainly Yasir Arafat would be a better inclusion in the side. You are right, we are waiting for our spearheads to return, but using the ones who are there, might give us a chance to find a new spearhead. Yesterday's defeat was more a case of miscalculating the conditions than anything else.

  • Anwar Asad on October 26, 2006, 11:39 GMT

    I think we are out of the competition. I don't see Pakistan beating South Africa on a bouncy track. What we need is what we don't have in every department of the game.

  • haroon khan on October 26, 2006, 11:35 GMT

    Mr. Kamran i absolutely agree on waht u have said about pakistan's toothless bowling attack. It makes me wonder sometimes how we r not THE BEST in bowling in the whole world. we have LEGENDS such as wasim and waqar and imran and nawaz, y not let them give a few pointers to our youth. Sami is now loooking an attractive option to our spearhead i feel. he has everything that a pace bowler needs: mainly pace and aggression. Just needs to practise on line and length and he will be the perfect bowler. in the meantime i think Rana should be excluded from next match and maybe give a turn to ARAFAT or Khalil if that is possible.

    In relation to our batting order: afridi should move down to 8, malik to 3, younis to 5, we should keep batting orders consistent to provide confidence in the players. hafeez looks like a better spinner than afridi and malik as well and should be a regular bowler in our ineffective attack. also we should try one of our bowlers from the U19's squad- youth brings unpredictability and in pakistan that is the norm.

  • Junaid Siddiqui on October 26, 2006, 11:26 GMT

    I think the bowlers are just feeling the heat! They need someone to lead from the front. To show them the way! Abdul Razzaq and Rao Iftikhar are not strike bowlers. They can just support the big guns. As far as Rana is concerned. His confidence seems dented. Only Gul looked anything close to taking a wicket. We cannot survive on one bowler!!!

    And one more thing..Hafeez HAS to be used. Afridi bowled horribly yesterday!!!

  • TARIQ KHAN on October 26, 2006, 11:25 GMT

    Every body comments negative when we lost but when we won then the same team boys are our heroes, so pls don't comments negative appreciate those guys who are playing for pak. I think if younas send afridi to open the inning he will do good i saw all afridi inning in which he made 100 or 50's all in when opened the innings so why he is not trying to open him, if we lose afridi wicket at early stage then other can handle and i suggest that younas must bat on inzy place and in his place he must send shoaib malik.

  • Adnan Mian on October 26, 2006, 11:20 GMT

    After having a read, it looks like the criticism will not stop however, i do beleive that without premier fast bowlers its always going be an uphill task. Rana has not proven his capabilities with the ball and therefore may be an option as 1st change. Yasser Arafat should replace Iftikhar Anjum. This bolsters the batting to 10 and the fact that he has had success at Sussex, can be handy with the bat at 10. I beleive that if we open with afridi (since he useless at no.5, and let the likes of Hafeez, Mo Yousaf and Shoaib Malik tighten the middle order for the likes of Akmal and Razzaq, Rana and Arafat to bring potency at the end. Younis Khan made a few errors but dont forget guys he has just been handed it for a tournament - so mistakes will be made but i have no doubt that he is a good captain and will get better- good vibes, fantastic enthusiasm and most of all a team player!

  • zahid on October 26, 2006, 11:06 GMT

    I think you are quite right that rana has got many chances now and he should be discarded and yasir should be brought in, but why sami, remember he is burden on the team, and no matter what imran thinks, the number of chances sami has got, no one got. So why bring back a bowler who is not a class. Kamran akmal should be retained and given further chance as he had a brilliant last year.

    Younis khas failed miserably as captain, he should have used more spinners especially hafeez, when things don't go well its the variety you try and sometimes batsmen get confuse with the variety of bowling they are facing. younis needs to learn more on his mistakes, he also should have introduced spin much earlier than he did.

    Regarding bowling spearhead, pakistan should give chance to youngsters who performed really well in under 19 world cup, i think they might be young, but if they have confidence they can perform well and give them more training then bring back guys like sami.

  • Ashar Hameed on October 26, 2006, 11:01 GMT

    Kamran, much has been said about batting and bowling but our weakest link is our fielding, yet. Teams like Sri Lanka and South Africa have full time fielding coaches and if they require fielding coaches, we perhaps need a fielding coach for every player on the team. I also think Razzaq and Afridi waste 2 spots on our final 11 permanently. Shouldn't we rather have 2 batsmen who can bowl a bit or 2 Bowlers who can bat a bit instead of 2 all rounders who can do just a bit of both and that too in every 20th match? Just not good enough at international Level. How Many games have Afridi or Razzaq won for us in the past 50 matches? 2-5? Is that acceptable? Kamran Akmal too has proved to be a waste of time. They all may be able to bat on flat surfaces but when it comes to pitches that offer a bit to the bowlers they are all found wanting and what is the use of a bowling coach if our bowlers still cannot bowl according to the situation? I think they should be bowling a lot more Yorkers at the death overs.

  • Shehzad on October 26, 2006, 10:50 GMT

    A couple of options. recall for Azhar Mahmood, he has proved a very effective new ball bowler in England. Sami has always had a fantastic ODI record. Both seem to have been disgarded by the Pakistani Hierarchy, although it is known that Azhar and Younis Khan are very good friends, this could tilt the balance.

    Other more viable options are bring in a couple of raw under 19 players from our recent triumphs. Anwar Alis boomerang swing, Tariq Mahmood brings the Murali factor and Mansoor Amjad should all be considered.

    Also Kamran is looking increasingly weary behind the stumps, his poor keeping yesterday on the Sytis run out -was the turning point.Zulqarnain should be given a try prior to the WC.

  • Jamil on October 26, 2006, 10:41 GMT

    I agree with the toothless bowling attack. In one of my previous comments on a blog, I mentioned lack of backup bowlers. We notice in the last year that both Rana Naved and Umar Gul are second attack bowlers at best. They have proved at multiple occassions the unreliability with the new ball. Razzaq is a seamer and a support bowler. I also suggested earlier and will mention again, the use of first class cricket results in pakistan e.g. based on ABN Amro 1-day tourny, bowlers like Mohammad Khalil and Asad Ali have shown excellent performance. Actually, Khalil has played 3 1-day international and 2 test matches back in 04-05 (might have some action problems but that can be sorted out) - got some training from Denis Lillee too, so did Mohammad Asif at the same time. We got to train and use such bowlers again. Similarly, pakistan announced 25-man future players squad (which includes Khalil etc). We lost Shabbir due to lack of proper guidance for this actions and he is now a mere seamer. To conclude, we do have a lot of players in line, just if we believe in some recycling policy. Got to have trained backups who can be recalled in case of need. It might not be drugs next time, may just well be injuries or any other catastrophe.

  • Javed A. Khan on October 26, 2006, 10:25 GMT

    You are absolutely right Kamran, Rana Naveed's performance is hapless. He has always been a weak link in the fielding side and without a sting in his bowling, he is not only a shadow of his past but he appears to be a liability in the side. Your last post about Yasir was probably meant to hint that he should be included and my last post which didn't get published, I mentioned that no matter what Pak will field the same winning side, which means Yasir will sit out and Rana will play and fail again. Now there is a possibility that Yasir will replace him. It means adding a lot of pressure on the young lad by putting him in a tense and cruical match. Pakistani selectors have done this before i.e., calling a player and making him sit out, e.g., Azhar Mahmood, Mushtaq Ahmad. etc. Lets hope that Pakistan does not repeat the same mistake of fielding first after winning the toss. The current side's strength is not in bowling but batting. Thank goodness that the expirement of spraying chemical on the outfield has failed. So, now you know what you'll get. Javed A. Khan, Montreal Canada.

  • Javed Hashmi on October 26, 2006, 10:09 GMT

    Your post is right on. However any bowler who is introduced in the team should be on the merits of performance in domestic cricket. You just can not bring in a bowler based on his previous performances or on favourable commetns by past cricketers. The hype for Younis Khan's good captaincy is also over now. In the last two matches he made basic errors, having the fielders near the inner circle when the slog was on by the Kiwis, not bringing the field in when new SriLankan batters came on the crease, not having Hazeez bowl against Newzealand when he was the best performing of the spinners against Sri lanka out of Afridi and Malik. I think Imran Khan should now stop singing praises for Younis Khan too.

  • Amer Hussain on October 26, 2006, 9:57 GMT

    I am enjoying Pak Spin - please keep up the good work. As regards Pakistan's bowling, Rana was a let down yesterday, but more so Razzaq and Afridi.

    I miss Shoaib and Asif - they would have made merry on the track yesterday. Quality like these two will be difficult to replace by any team. Its like Australia without McGrath and Lee or England without Hoggard and Harmison. But when these are not available, it is up to the others to step up to the mark. I still believe they can - but then I also believe that Shoaib and Asif are innocent, the hearing will clear their names and they will be back in India with the team ready for the game against South Africa.

    I wish them well, I know that Bob and Younis are shrewd enough to turn them around. And at the end of the day, whichever 11 ends up playing, as long as they acquit themselves well, what more can be asked?

    By the way Mr Kamran, any chance of a feature on Mohammed Yousuf - his turnaround has been remarkable, and I am sure there are others who would like to read your opinions.

  • Awais on October 26, 2006, 9:36 GMT

    i think we should give Rana more chance.yesterday's bolwing performance was not that bad at all.some inside edges of four and moreover he is not well handled by yunis khan.In the death overs, he should have been given his remaining two overs as he still has the best yorker amongst current Pakistan pace attack.

  • ibrar Hussain on October 26, 2006, 9:19 GMT

    i agree with the above. i dont understand why Yasir Arafat was not selected, he is quicker then both gul and Rao, and he can swing the ball, his batting would have been handy aswell. Pakistan need to bring back Sami, and let Waqar teach him a thing or two.

  • Azfar Shirazi on October 26, 2006, 9:18 GMT

    Kamran i totally agree with u that we need a strike bowler right now....but in the absense of shoaib and asif these guys will have to do in this tournament i think they all have talents but in the last ten overz they bowled exceptionaly bad,not a single yorker,i mean come on it does not take a rocket scienctist to figure out that and no slow balls either every one pitched short or lenght bowlz,i think rana should had been given to bowl at the end he might be expensive but he does get those yorkerz there and slower one if you are bowling these deliveries n getting punished then u do not feel bad cause u have tried.not razzaq who is bowling only lenght balls in the end.he got away against srilanka but he wont get away with other teamz.

  • ali talib on October 26, 2006, 9:10 GMT

    i think in a way u re rite coz RANA is givin away so many Runs and not as effective as he was sometym back since he has return from injury on england tour.. right now we are left with only stock bowlers and i think best strike bowler in current team is razzaq and u can very well imagine our bowling standard..we are definitely missin akhtar and asif

  • sk on October 26, 2006, 9:00 GMT

    good call Kamran, We definately need a spearhead and also we need to do something with our batting order settled, we need to decide on which number afridi is going to play that decides thee course of the game. Kamran Akmal should also be settled down and stop leaking crucial dismissal chances.

    regards sk-

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  • sk on October 26, 2006, 9:00 GMT

    good call Kamran, We definately need a spearhead and also we need to do something with our batting order settled, we need to decide on which number afridi is going to play that decides thee course of the game. Kamran Akmal should also be settled down and stop leaking crucial dismissal chances.

    regards sk-

  • ali talib on October 26, 2006, 9:10 GMT

    i think in a way u re rite coz RANA is givin away so many Runs and not as effective as he was sometym back since he has return from injury on england tour.. right now we are left with only stock bowlers and i think best strike bowler in current team is razzaq and u can very well imagine our bowling standard..we are definitely missin akhtar and asif

  • Azfar Shirazi on October 26, 2006, 9:18 GMT

    Kamran i totally agree with u that we need a strike bowler right now....but in the absense of shoaib and asif these guys will have to do in this tournament i think they all have talents but in the last ten overz they bowled exceptionaly bad,not a single yorker,i mean come on it does not take a rocket scienctist to figure out that and no slow balls either every one pitched short or lenght bowlz,i think rana should had been given to bowl at the end he might be expensive but he does get those yorkerz there and slower one if you are bowling these deliveries n getting punished then u do not feel bad cause u have tried.not razzaq who is bowling only lenght balls in the end.he got away against srilanka but he wont get away with other teamz.

  • ibrar Hussain on October 26, 2006, 9:19 GMT

    i agree with the above. i dont understand why Yasir Arafat was not selected, he is quicker then both gul and Rao, and he can swing the ball, his batting would have been handy aswell. Pakistan need to bring back Sami, and let Waqar teach him a thing or two.

  • Awais on October 26, 2006, 9:36 GMT

    i think we should give Rana more chance.yesterday's bolwing performance was not that bad at all.some inside edges of four and moreover he is not well handled by yunis khan.In the death overs, he should have been given his remaining two overs as he still has the best yorker amongst current Pakistan pace attack.

  • Amer Hussain on October 26, 2006, 9:57 GMT

    I am enjoying Pak Spin - please keep up the good work. As regards Pakistan's bowling, Rana was a let down yesterday, but more so Razzaq and Afridi.

    I miss Shoaib and Asif - they would have made merry on the track yesterday. Quality like these two will be difficult to replace by any team. Its like Australia without McGrath and Lee or England without Hoggard and Harmison. But when these are not available, it is up to the others to step up to the mark. I still believe they can - but then I also believe that Shoaib and Asif are innocent, the hearing will clear their names and they will be back in India with the team ready for the game against South Africa.

    I wish them well, I know that Bob and Younis are shrewd enough to turn them around. And at the end of the day, whichever 11 ends up playing, as long as they acquit themselves well, what more can be asked?

    By the way Mr Kamran, any chance of a feature on Mohammed Yousuf - his turnaround has been remarkable, and I am sure there are others who would like to read your opinions.

  • Javed Hashmi on October 26, 2006, 10:09 GMT

    Your post is right on. However any bowler who is introduced in the team should be on the merits of performance in domestic cricket. You just can not bring in a bowler based on his previous performances or on favourable commetns by past cricketers. The hype for Younis Khan's good captaincy is also over now. In the last two matches he made basic errors, having the fielders near the inner circle when the slog was on by the Kiwis, not bringing the field in when new SriLankan batters came on the crease, not having Hazeez bowl against Newzealand when he was the best performing of the spinners against Sri lanka out of Afridi and Malik. I think Imran Khan should now stop singing praises for Younis Khan too.

  • Javed A. Khan on October 26, 2006, 10:25 GMT

    You are absolutely right Kamran, Rana Naveed's performance is hapless. He has always been a weak link in the fielding side and without a sting in his bowling, he is not only a shadow of his past but he appears to be a liability in the side. Your last post about Yasir was probably meant to hint that he should be included and my last post which didn't get published, I mentioned that no matter what Pak will field the same winning side, which means Yasir will sit out and Rana will play and fail again. Now there is a possibility that Yasir will replace him. It means adding a lot of pressure on the young lad by putting him in a tense and cruical match. Pakistani selectors have done this before i.e., calling a player and making him sit out, e.g., Azhar Mahmood, Mushtaq Ahmad. etc. Lets hope that Pakistan does not repeat the same mistake of fielding first after winning the toss. The current side's strength is not in bowling but batting. Thank goodness that the expirement of spraying chemical on the outfield has failed. So, now you know what you'll get. Javed A. Khan, Montreal Canada.

  • Jamil on October 26, 2006, 10:41 GMT

    I agree with the toothless bowling attack. In one of my previous comments on a blog, I mentioned lack of backup bowlers. We notice in the last year that both Rana Naved and Umar Gul are second attack bowlers at best. They have proved at multiple occassions the unreliability with the new ball. Razzaq is a seamer and a support bowler. I also suggested earlier and will mention again, the use of first class cricket results in pakistan e.g. based on ABN Amro 1-day tourny, bowlers like Mohammad Khalil and Asad Ali have shown excellent performance. Actually, Khalil has played 3 1-day international and 2 test matches back in 04-05 (might have some action problems but that can be sorted out) - got some training from Denis Lillee too, so did Mohammad Asif at the same time. We got to train and use such bowlers again. Similarly, pakistan announced 25-man future players squad (which includes Khalil etc). We lost Shabbir due to lack of proper guidance for this actions and he is now a mere seamer. To conclude, we do have a lot of players in line, just if we believe in some recycling policy. Got to have trained backups who can be recalled in case of need. It might not be drugs next time, may just well be injuries or any other catastrophe.

  • Shehzad on October 26, 2006, 10:50 GMT

    A couple of options. recall for Azhar Mahmood, he has proved a very effective new ball bowler in England. Sami has always had a fantastic ODI record. Both seem to have been disgarded by the Pakistani Hierarchy, although it is known that Azhar and Younis Khan are very good friends, this could tilt the balance.

    Other more viable options are bring in a couple of raw under 19 players from our recent triumphs. Anwar Alis boomerang swing, Tariq Mahmood brings the Murali factor and Mansoor Amjad should all be considered.

    Also Kamran is looking increasingly weary behind the stumps, his poor keeping yesterday on the Sytis run out -was the turning point.Zulqarnain should be given a try prior to the WC.