Openers November 18, 2006

All right now for Pakistan's openers

The opening slot has been Pakistan's most troublesome, and in the recent past has been hogged by a series of left-handers, the legacy of watching Saeed Anwar and Brian Lara
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The opening slot has been Pakistan's most troublesome, and in the recent past has been hogged by a series of left-handers, the legacy of watching Saeed Anwar and Brian Lara. Unfortunately for Pakistan, no left-hander has hinted at permanency. Salman Butt has lots of time to play his shots. Taufeeq Umar is sometimes capable of great application. And Imran Farhat looks the most accomplished--but only before he gets anywher near the crease for an international match. The failure of openers has been held as the biggest failure of Bob Woolmer. The reasons are complex. There is plentiful ability but inadequate learning. Cricket, as we all know, is a game of the mind as much as it is a game of hand and eye. It may be time for the rule of the left to give way to the might of the right.

One half of the problem, at least, looks to be solved. Mohammad Hafeez has been impressive and influential since his return to international cricket and has quickly established himself as the more secure of Pakistan's openers. Hafeez has shown the right attitude, a willingness to scrap when he needs to.

This strength of Hafeez has been a failing of Imran. Pakistan's most frequent opener is an impressive and stylish cricketer. He has an astonishing array of attacking strokes with which he can seize the initiative in a trice. But he can lose it just as quickly. Imran is only ever a moment away from madness. He has squandered a glorious start too often with a needless swish or a hopeless swipe.

Perhaps the sad conclusion is that this talented young man does not have the right mindset for international cricket. Whether he plays at Multan or not, Imran must be running out of chances. The return of Yasir Hameed is imminent. A right-handed opening combination of the two Hs, Hafeez and Hameed, is the one Pakistan must try out quickly. It is one that could do the job in both forms of cricket. Yasir's aggression might well compliment Hafeez's application.

The question, of course, is whether or not Yasir Hameed can return as impressively as Mohammad Hafeez? We need to find out sooner rather than later.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Saari Malik on June 9, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    After Pak & Aus series in UAE Pakistan had a very good domestic taurnament but in T20 world cup same team is playing which was in UAE series PCB sellector are useless they are unable to get oppeners from that. In current team also they have good openers but they have good confident on Salman & Ahamd shahazad, which is not happening. why they are not opening with Shahid Afridi & Kamran Akmal.

  • khalil on January 17, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    I think Pakistan has tried too many openers till now.It should stick to Butt and Yasir Hameed and give them a long run.Hameed has shown his class whenever tried.He has the stamina of playing long innings and an array of beautiful strokes.It will also give you an ideal left/right combination.He just needs confidence . An opener should play close to the body like Akmal but is not an option at the expense of his keeping,which is already on the decline.Furthermore Its not a healthy sign to bring middle order up and give you an impression of an upside down batting order,with no middle order and a long tail.We need genuine openers like Saeed/Sohail.Who kept the middle order relaxed .We should go for regular openers and stop further experimentation.

  • Mehmood on February 16, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    why team management is still thinking on these flop combinations..keeping everything into consideration and looking at carribian wickets i feel razzaq and afridi is best combination for openning. Razzaq can change gears depending on situations. we should permanently drop RANA( he is less than any ordinary bowler).

  • KK,COLOMBO on February 11, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    In my point of view Salman Butt should play again for PAK team again as an opener.He is such a stylish player though he sometimes edges the ball out side the off stump.(that cant be the reason for him to be out of the squad since batsmen like Farhat,Malik do the same.)Salman Butt has scored few 100s and 50.He was not so good in the English tour but he has shown great class.he has done very well in India and Australia in where most Asian batsmen are not very good.At last I should say that he should be given the chance again.And also i feel that boom boom afridi should open the innings.because if he hits 3 or four sixes at the start bowlers get frustrated.But he has to bit responsible as an opener and should not try to hit high bouncers as he rockets them and get caught. If PCB can fix this PAK team has a great chance in the Carribeans.

  • mohsan on February 9, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    i think that the best openers in odi are kamran akmal and imran nazir. In test matches it should be shahid afridi and yasir hameed. these pairs would most likely give pakistan the best...

  • abdul Qadoos on January 6, 2007, 2:55 GMT

    why are we obsessed with same old tried and tested player's i saw rafatullah recently in twenty20 game looks very stylish with good technique, also leading batsman in patron's trophy by the name of Afaq Raheem yorkshire's david byas was interested in him as their second overseas player untill new adminstration took over,he was leading run scorer in patron's trophy why are we lobbying for tried and tested failure's bring in new talent new faces , so that their might be another saeed anwar or inzamam waiting out their to be explored

  • D - on December 27, 2006, 22:01 GMT

    Its sad that we are doing the same to Salman Butt as the PCB establishment once did to Imran Nazir -ruining a young and exceptional talent by shunning him in and out of the side instead of giving him a sense of permanency in the team and letting him "play" and show what he can do. Salman Butt has scored test and one day hundreds against teams like Australia (in Australia) and against India (always pressure matches) when only 20 and 21 years of age - not to mention a good one day average of 40 (before the india series and 30 post series). This says a lot for his talent. He should have been allowed to play through his bad form or at worst should have been given a rest for a couple of matches and brought back and again left to play through. Whats the worst that could have happened - not being exposed to the "scintilating?" performances of Hafeez and Farhat? Butt is the only potential opener who shows promice of replacing Saeed Anwwar. Hafeez is a grinder at BEST. Farhat has talent but given the choice, i would rather invest in Shoaib Malik or Kamran Akmal as the other opener - given their greater composure and again loads of talent. As a result of PCBs/selectors' fickle nature, we are back to where we were four years ago, 3 months to the first match and no where close to having a permanent opener. Silver lining is that he is inluded in the 25 for S. Africa and i hope he is given the nod ahead to Hafeez!

  • Qasim Khan on December 11, 2006, 5:19 GMT

    Okay ... the last thing we need is another change of openers...I honestly feel that this pair is clicking...sure sometimes one of them don't get the scores, but majority of the time, the other tends to pull up his socks and get a decent score on the board. You can't expect to get a Gilchrist + Hayden or Anwar + Sohail combination through a couple of trials.

  • abid on November 30, 2006, 15:12 GMT

    salman butt and imran nazir should be first choice with taufeq umar 3rd and bazid khan should be moulded in to a opener bcaz he has a good temperment and as he showed against aust A Iin 05 when he faced stuart clark,nathan bracken and mick lewis whom he singlehandedly was taking the attack to

  • Umair Jafri on November 30, 2006, 14:27 GMT

    A lot of effort has been put by there the management of PCB to select the right combination of openers. There are 6 players who can be placed in Pakistan’s top order, including Shahid Afridi, Salman Butt, Muhammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Salman Butt and Asim Kamal. There have been many combinations tested in the past. The first question in the (Frequently Asked Questions) FAQs is “Why they are left to be tested in the International Cricket”. They are many other places where their ability to accomplish a position can be tested. The games of ODI and TEST cricket are entirely different from each other. Similarly there are different styles of each player in cricket, therefore players should be nominated with careful analysis and more practice matches. Certain quality experts should be employed to chose the right combination, by looking at there previous performances and statistics. But for now, there is no room for more changes and experiments before the World Cup. PCB should seriously think about this matter. Pakistan team has already encountered various obstacles in the past few months, now it is high time for the Pakistan after a series of record breaking effort by Muhammad Yousuf. Best Wishes Pakistan.

  • Saari Malik on June 9, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    After Pak & Aus series in UAE Pakistan had a very good domestic taurnament but in T20 world cup same team is playing which was in UAE series PCB sellector are useless they are unable to get oppeners from that. In current team also they have good openers but they have good confident on Salman & Ahamd shahazad, which is not happening. why they are not opening with Shahid Afridi & Kamran Akmal.

  • khalil on January 17, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    I think Pakistan has tried too many openers till now.It should stick to Butt and Yasir Hameed and give them a long run.Hameed has shown his class whenever tried.He has the stamina of playing long innings and an array of beautiful strokes.It will also give you an ideal left/right combination.He just needs confidence . An opener should play close to the body like Akmal but is not an option at the expense of his keeping,which is already on the decline.Furthermore Its not a healthy sign to bring middle order up and give you an impression of an upside down batting order,with no middle order and a long tail.We need genuine openers like Saeed/Sohail.Who kept the middle order relaxed .We should go for regular openers and stop further experimentation.

  • Mehmood on February 16, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    why team management is still thinking on these flop combinations..keeping everything into consideration and looking at carribian wickets i feel razzaq and afridi is best combination for openning. Razzaq can change gears depending on situations. we should permanently drop RANA( he is less than any ordinary bowler).

  • KK,COLOMBO on February 11, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    In my point of view Salman Butt should play again for PAK team again as an opener.He is such a stylish player though he sometimes edges the ball out side the off stump.(that cant be the reason for him to be out of the squad since batsmen like Farhat,Malik do the same.)Salman Butt has scored few 100s and 50.He was not so good in the English tour but he has shown great class.he has done very well in India and Australia in where most Asian batsmen are not very good.At last I should say that he should be given the chance again.And also i feel that boom boom afridi should open the innings.because if he hits 3 or four sixes at the start bowlers get frustrated.But he has to bit responsible as an opener and should not try to hit high bouncers as he rockets them and get caught. If PCB can fix this PAK team has a great chance in the Carribeans.

  • mohsan on February 9, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    i think that the best openers in odi are kamran akmal and imran nazir. In test matches it should be shahid afridi and yasir hameed. these pairs would most likely give pakistan the best...

  • abdul Qadoos on January 6, 2007, 2:55 GMT

    why are we obsessed with same old tried and tested player's i saw rafatullah recently in twenty20 game looks very stylish with good technique, also leading batsman in patron's trophy by the name of Afaq Raheem yorkshire's david byas was interested in him as their second overseas player untill new adminstration took over,he was leading run scorer in patron's trophy why are we lobbying for tried and tested failure's bring in new talent new faces , so that their might be another saeed anwar or inzamam waiting out their to be explored

  • D - on December 27, 2006, 22:01 GMT

    Its sad that we are doing the same to Salman Butt as the PCB establishment once did to Imran Nazir -ruining a young and exceptional talent by shunning him in and out of the side instead of giving him a sense of permanency in the team and letting him "play" and show what he can do. Salman Butt has scored test and one day hundreds against teams like Australia (in Australia) and against India (always pressure matches) when only 20 and 21 years of age - not to mention a good one day average of 40 (before the india series and 30 post series). This says a lot for his talent. He should have been allowed to play through his bad form or at worst should have been given a rest for a couple of matches and brought back and again left to play through. Whats the worst that could have happened - not being exposed to the "scintilating?" performances of Hafeez and Farhat? Butt is the only potential opener who shows promice of replacing Saeed Anwwar. Hafeez is a grinder at BEST. Farhat has talent but given the choice, i would rather invest in Shoaib Malik or Kamran Akmal as the other opener - given their greater composure and again loads of talent. As a result of PCBs/selectors' fickle nature, we are back to where we were four years ago, 3 months to the first match and no where close to having a permanent opener. Silver lining is that he is inluded in the 25 for S. Africa and i hope he is given the nod ahead to Hafeez!

  • Qasim Khan on December 11, 2006, 5:19 GMT

    Okay ... the last thing we need is another change of openers...I honestly feel that this pair is clicking...sure sometimes one of them don't get the scores, but majority of the time, the other tends to pull up his socks and get a decent score on the board. You can't expect to get a Gilchrist + Hayden or Anwar + Sohail combination through a couple of trials.

  • abid on November 30, 2006, 15:12 GMT

    salman butt and imran nazir should be first choice with taufeq umar 3rd and bazid khan should be moulded in to a opener bcaz he has a good temperment and as he showed against aust A Iin 05 when he faced stuart clark,nathan bracken and mick lewis whom he singlehandedly was taking the attack to

  • Umair Jafri on November 30, 2006, 14:27 GMT

    A lot of effort has been put by there the management of PCB to select the right combination of openers. There are 6 players who can be placed in Pakistan’s top order, including Shahid Afridi, Salman Butt, Muhammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Salman Butt and Asim Kamal. There have been many combinations tested in the past. The first question in the (Frequently Asked Questions) FAQs is “Why they are left to be tested in the International Cricket”. They are many other places where their ability to accomplish a position can be tested. The games of ODI and TEST cricket are entirely different from each other. Similarly there are different styles of each player in cricket, therefore players should be nominated with careful analysis and more practice matches. Certain quality experts should be employed to chose the right combination, by looking at there previous performances and statistics. But for now, there is no room for more changes and experiments before the World Cup. PCB should seriously think about this matter. Pakistan team has already encountered various obstacles in the past few months, now it is high time for the Pakistan after a series of record breaking effort by Muhammad Yousuf. Best Wishes Pakistan.

  • imran tahir on November 29, 2006, 5:37 GMT

    slectors should pick, salman, tofeeq, yasir, imran farhat, imran nazir, esp Tofeeq and imran nazir doing well in domestic now days. but we should give more chances to openers. the first best opening pair was mohsin and mudassar after long gap we got saeed and amir, just stick with any of 2 or 4 players with good footwork for longer period of time. after that we will find good results too.

  • umair ali khan on November 28, 2006, 7:28 GMT

    as for as the opener is concern i n my oponion shaid afridi and imran should open in one day because afridi is very good in opening department

  • Raza Zaidi on November 25, 2006, 7:36 GMT

    The excitement about Hafeez is premature, just as it was for Butt, Taufeeq, and Yasir Hameed before him. Lets hold our horses until performances back up the putative potential. Raza.

  • Abdul K. Hussain on November 23, 2006, 18:27 GMT

    I think you, and to be honest even I, were too quick to back Hafees (the last letter of his name does not work on my keyboard!!). Mentally he has it, but unless woolmer can pull a magic wand on this technique and his complete lack of foot movement, he will be found out very soon. He has tightened up outside off stump (something that he was loose with when he first came in) but he still lack foot movement and play accross the line to ball pitched on middle stump. If he wants to make it at this level he needs to fix these issues and fast.

  • Ghalib Taimur on November 22, 2006, 15:26 GMT

    I agree with Mr. Niblock.We can't just depend on our openers playing well in our backyards.If we want to become one of the top teams in the world we need players who can counter any conditions.Salman Butt and Hafeez should open in ODIs while Hameed and Butt for Tests.

    Farhats issue is he tries to hit the ball too hard which causes his head positon to become quite awkward.He must learn to place the ball in the gaps and play with soft hands to become a regular test opener.He will definitely face problems in South Africa.

  • Kashif Malik on November 21, 2006, 23:32 GMT

    As rightly observed by many the real test is SA away from our flat & dead pitches. Time will tell whether the current openers are up to the task; although I still can't get Mohali in the Champions Trophy out of my head.

    I hate to bore the readers by re-iterating the same point BUTT how many recent openers have done well on bouncy and seaming wickets against world class bowlers?

    On a separate point, i have No probs with razzak. He has been excellent for Pak Cricket, more so in ODI, however I sincerly believe on current form his place in the test squad should be reconsidered. A break may do him the world of good.

    Given that the PCB are changing their selection policy so it is in line with the rest of the world I expect a wholesale of changes for the SA tour.

    Finally, we will miss one or two opportunities to get Lara out and he will do a Sehwag on us before declaring. Inshalla, on this occasion, we will bat the whole of the fifth day to save the game.

  • shahab randhawa on November 21, 2006, 18:52 GMT

    Pakistani openers will not have face much problems on flat tracks like in subcontinent.But they will struggle when they will go to South Africa. i remember Imran Farhat and Tayfeeq Umar giving 3 consecutive century stands against South Africa in Pakistan in probably 2004.But when Pakistan went to New Zealand, both of yhem failed miserably.The basic problem of pakistani openers is the flaws in thier technique which can only be removed by hard practice.

  • Daniyal Khan on November 21, 2006, 17:20 GMT

    First of all i would like to suggest to the team management that Imran Farhat needs to be seriously dropped from both the test and ODI teams. He gave ample chances during his 74 runs in the first innings - he was vulnerable against gayle,infact he was vulnerable against everyone in the tourists attack. The way he got out was even more shocking - i have never seen him getting out to the bowler, he gets out to himself. He seriously needs to be dropped as i cant take his perfomances against the Kiwis and the South Africans in the Champions Trophy out of my mind. The other reason i would like to see him dropped is because i cant see him smiling when hes putting down catches thats just not acceptable. I think Yasir Hameed with a better average in both forms of the game should be given a chance and the idea of having a left hander opener in Imran Farhat should be chucked! Hafeez and Hameed to be named permanent openers till the worldcup so that they can start working in pairs as well like most openers do nowadays. We have been blessed with a great batsman in Mohammad Yousaf, Mashallah! he is in sublime touch and i just hope that he continues in his quiet manner and becomes Pakistan leading batsman which doesnt look that far as he's crossed 20 centuries and it looks as if hes jus warmed up!

  • Gary Niblock on November 21, 2006, 15:48 GMT

    I could go on and on but I'll get to the point. Most good FC batsmen will score test runs on home pitches. The real test is how one does abroad - therefore the combination HAS to be Salman Butt and Taufeeq Umar.

  • Qasim on November 21, 2006, 11:27 GMT

    See, thats what I was afraid of.......... Pakistani bowling attack and yes the same one that you people were going on about... about how Shahid was ignored and should have been in the team........ can not get Lara out... he's scored a double century with an astonishing strike rate of 90+........... We need, Akhtar and Asif with Gul.... thats the only recipe for winning at current.... PCB would be stupid to ban them!!

  • JAVED A. KHAN on November 21, 2006, 10:04 GMT

    In my first post above, I wrote this: "I have a feeling that Gayle could break all records on a flat Multan track and then Lara will do the rest."

    I HATE MY PREDICTIONS coming true, especially when they are against Pakistan team. Gayle and Ganga did the early ground work which our openers couldn't and then LARA is doing the damage, he is still not out at 154....and no one knows when he will stop.

    He wanted to tell Kamran Abbasi that "Kaneria May Not Fly" the way Kamran and Pakistani's wanted him to fly but we certainly witnessed Kaneria's balls flying everywhere over the ground.

    If Pakistan can hold on to their nerves and do not play negative cricket for a draw then there are chances of saving this match. Razzaq's 16 runs not out in 92 balls is a pathetic performance from a player of his class. I wonder whats going on in his head and he does not play the same kinda innings again! I don't expect anything from Mohammad Yousuf, he cannot be scoring a century in every innings, but Inzamam should do something on his home ground and show Lara that he can match his wits.

    Good luck to Pakistan, the worst that can happen is they will loose this match BUT the Karachi test would be more exciting to watch.

  • Raza on November 21, 2006, 8:05 GMT

    Salman Butt still remains my choice for that openers position, he is much more reliable than Imran Farhat. It's true he has an average of just 30, but gradually that would have improved. It was unfortunate seeing him removed after one bad series. We all know he had the talent when he went and made a hundred against Australia. More importantly he had the Opener's temperament, which to be honest, Imran Farhat does seem to lack at times. He did have a very bad England series, but the selectors should have placed trust in him. And as for the other opener, I think Mohommad Hafeez deserves that spot.

    I think its time that two definite openers are picked, and the team management should place full trust in them and carry on with them for long periods of time instead of just dropping them after failure in a series.

  • Zuhair on November 21, 2006, 3:49 GMT

    All those who ar thinking that hafeez has established himself in the tea are sadly and badly mistaken i am afraid!! it cannot happen here in pakistan, atleast if u r an opening batsman. We have had previous example of Imran Nazir and one not so long ago of yasir Hameed, no one ever thought that these two players woill ever be dropped from the team!! but Imran Nazir is history now and unfortunately Yasir has been dealt very poorly, it his just ruining his career. Yaisr still has the best technique among all the available openers ( farhat, Butt and Hafeez). Therefore he must play in Test and One days both. While his partner in ODIs can be Hafeez , as he provides the bowling dge, though he is not more than a 25 plus run batsman!!! While in tets matches, Yasir and taufeeq make th best couple. and they have proven it in the past!!!

  • Paul on November 21, 2006, 1:13 GMT

    It's important to remember Kamran how brightly Pakistan openers have shone in the beginning and then failed very quickly and faded from view. So i think it's far from time to start pencilling Hafeez in yet.

    Personally i don't think you should have utility openers. Butt really needs to be given a strong and long chance to get himself in-his work against the Australians showed his class. Probably currently Hameed deserves the chance to be given the chance to partner Farhat, although it's a lottery-a number of players could get a look in.

    Whoever it is, the management needs to pick one pair and give them a run for 12 months and then decide after that. This current chopping and changing won't work.

  • asam on November 20, 2006, 22:18 GMT

    salman butt thats all you need my friends he has been the most talented after saed anwar

  • Zuahir on November 20, 2006, 4:10 GMT

    Well. I don’t agree with the idea of Imran Farhat being played a s a test opener. I still believe there are better players available to open the innings at least in the test matches. The duo of Yasir and Taufeeq looks the most accomplished. Imran Farhat is no where near the most accomplished of the lot, he might look stylish, but he certainly lacks the sense of responsibility to carry the innings. Moreover, his weakness outside the off stump can never be a discussion point for a Pakistani left handed opener, but he is also weak at short balls, he is a compulsive hooker and misses a lot of lose deliveries which should be hit for boundaries. A batsman with these many flaws I am afraid must not play ahead to more accomplished Yasir and certainly Taufeeq. As far as Hafeez is concerned, play him in ODIs ONLY!! He too has one flaw too many in his batting techniques to be a test opener!! He is a useful one day player!!

  • Amyn Habib on November 19, 2006, 21:55 GMT

    It may be premature to declare that Hafeez has established himself as a more secure Pakistani opener. The tour to South Africa (and the World Cup) will be his test, as it will be the test of Yousuf, who may be maturing into a truly great batsman. Farhat’s streaky 74 will mean that Hameed will have to wait. Although, Farhat is a stylish and attractive batsman to watch, unfortunately he seems to lack the self discipline to deliver consistently as an opener or indeed as a batsman. I hope he proves me wrong. If it is decided that Hameed should be given a chance, it is critical to give him an adequate run.

  • AHSAN KHAN on November 19, 2006, 21:40 GMT

    well well well ..here we go ..a pakistani opener ahs made an impressive comeback or shud we say an impressive begining (HAFEEZ)...but we should not get too excited about this recent development because we have had young openers in the past making there way into the team ,only to loose there form after an impressive showin,so i guess we should wait and hope that hafeez keeps up the goodwork atleast till the world cup,as for yasir hameed i dont think so he has got enough time to come back and cement his place in the team now since march is fast approaching ...no matter how gud the openers perform in this series there big test will come against the south africans ,and an even bigger test will await them at the world cup(AUSTRALIA)....so i guess as far as our opening problem is concerned team management can do nothing but.......HOPE .....ROCK ON TEAM PAKISTAN

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on November 19, 2006, 20:50 GMT

    AND FINALLY the openers gave a decent start this time. Imran Farhat has dimmed the hopes of Yasir Hameed by scoring a good knock. I wonder when Samiullah Niazi would get a chance to get in? I thought he would replace Razzaq but seniority and past record went in Razzaq's favour. Younis Khan, like always is lucky to retain his spot by scoring a fifty plus after numerous poor shows and will continue to be an important dummy in the team. I wonder why people think that a captain must be more animated in the team only then he is a good captain otherwise he is not......that is when they compare Inzamam with Younis or Inzamam with other captains. Inzamam is cool guy whose influence in the team is because of his presence and not when he is trying to be animated. Poor Inzi when he clenched his fists and shrugged his shoulders (in Bangalore Test) against a caught behind appeal turned down, he was banned from two test matches. Au contraire, Ponting told Mark Benson (when the umpire called back Tendulkar and reversed his decision) that this is a disgrace to umpiring! He got away after making this rude comment, just because Mark Benson did not report to the match referee. C'est Cricket!

  • Ghalib Taimur on November 19, 2006, 17:21 GMT

    I would say first of all this is a great blog...very interesting.I think Pakistans current openers are doing an adequate job.However we require more consistency from these guys.I think the Pakistan think-tank should tell them look we are going to give you huys a go for about 4 series and then we will decide whether you guys are the ones to stay for Pakistan.Openers in Pakiistan are most of the time trying to cement their place in the team.They should be given confidence by the team management.

    As far as the best openers are concerned.I thought Hafeez was very mediocre when he earlier came onto the international scene but since playing a major role in Pakistans Twenty20 side he has improved his shots as well as strike-rate.

    As far as Farhat is concerned he has shown he has an irrensponsidle head on his shoulders and gives away the best of starts.He has been given plenty of opputunities and must start producing results.

    To me Salman Butt is the best opener as he has always given Pakistan atleast a score of 20+ and his centuries standout against others in the sense theay have been match changing centuries against some of the best oppositions.

    However for the time being let's stick with Farhat and Hafeez.

  • Amir Hussain on November 18, 2006, 23:00 GMT

    What Pakistan has been doing for the last so many years is "looking" for openers,and honestly they have failed miserably.Glimpses of brilliance are seen from time to time.But never has Pakistan been able to replace players like Aamir Sohail or Saeed Anwer.No Pakistani player who has been tried at that position has had the "personality" or the character to open the innings. Opening the batting is no joke at any level.Apart from having the correct technique and temprament an opener should also have an confidence in himelf.He should give the impression to the opponent that he is there for the job and he will finish that job no matter who is there to stop him. Pakistani Opener's are timid.They do not believe in themselves.They go out there hoping that they will score.They have no self belief at all.They almost give an impression that they are ashamed of being out there to bat... What Pakistan needs is to get people to help the self esteem of their player's in general and their opener's in particular. It seems that in Hafeez Pakistan may have found someone who atleast has the patience and the temprament to scrape it out there.now who should be the other opener? If you look at Pakistan's history, opener's go out to bat only a few over's. They have become "breathing" space for the middle order batsman to get ready.So why does Pakistan not groom a middle order batsman to open the inning's? what's wrong in that.Shoaib Malik has been tried,and even though his statistic's have been impressive by Pakistan standard's he is still not the right person to open the innings. I beleive that Faisal Iqbal should be given some mathces to open. Correct me if I am wrong but the one time he did open an inning's he scored a century in odi's,even though it was against Zimbabwe. He started off as a no.3 batsman in the domestic circle. He has the technique,temprament and the " aura " about himself without being arrogant, to impose himself on the opponent. Pakistan should go back to the old school of thought for a little while and the job discription for the opener's should be to bat out 10 to 15 over's. It should not bother anyone that in that they only score 40 runs , as long as they do not loose their wicket.Once they can acheive their gaol they then have enough firepower in their batting to post a challenging total.

  • Arslan Shaukat on November 18, 2006, 22:28 GMT

    We will never find permanent openers if we keep dropping them after one bad series. In recent years, both Imran Nazir and Salman Butt made impressive debuts with Imran scoring century against Ambrose&Walsh and the later against Australia. Then Imran was dropped in the next test series against Sri Lanka. It still baffles me. Only reason I can think of is that “lets not give him too much confidence as he may become the next super star of world cricket; successor to Lara & Tendulkar. We don’t want to play him right after he has blasted two of the best fast bowler the world has ever seen in their own back yard, do we?” After being a revelation against Australia in the test series, Salman was dropped in India only after failing in one test match. One of the most vital traits of an opener is temperament, which in my view is directly proportional to confidence. They failed because any confidence that they had was sucked out of them by the team management.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on November 18, 2006, 17:06 GMT

    Two H's doesn't guarantee two G's (too good. Yasir Hameed knows that this is his last chance and with that pressure he has to face the WI fast battery. He too has a weakness of playing shots on the 'on-side. Indians realized that and did not give him any width on the off side to play his cover drives and cut shots.

    Like, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat too slashes at every ball that is flying away from the off stumps. Like, Shoaib Malik has this tendency to chase a wide one outside the off stump and throws away his wicket.

    It is not that all these players are not capable of scoring runs in the opening slot. It is the unnecessary sense of urgency that they feel in keeping the run rate ticking. They need to change this attitude of playing casual strokes like Younis Khan. He has scored a couple of big test hundreds mainly against India and England. Other than that he hasn't done much but that is so typical of Pakistan that once you score a double hundred you are a hero and if you score a second double hundred your berth is guaranteed for 20 matches. These young players should look at the way Mohammad Yousuf plays, one may call him lucky to have scored 192 in the first test, but who has scored a chanceless century all the time? Sehwag scored a triple century in Multan after he was dropped 5 times by three different players but for the record its a triple century and he is still in the team for scoring that triple century a double and a few other big hundreds ALL against Pakistan. His average in the past 20 matches is pathetic.

    Coming back to the opening slot, it is the coach's responsibility to give them the mental strength and tell them to curb their natural instincts of chasing a wide one or getting panicked after a madien over or too. A test is a test and not an ODI, so play with patience and endurance and no need to play hurried shots or score runs on every single ball. It is the duty of the coach to keep reminding them, rather than sitting in front of a lap top. I have a feeling that Gayle could break all records on a flat Multan track and then Lara will do the rest. Pakistan should not be complacent with the first test win, they are depending too much on Mohammad Yousuf. It is good to see him at his best, but no one call always be at their best ALL the time.

  • Aasim B on November 18, 2006, 17:05 GMT

    I believe aggression in the opening slot is overplayed. The Pakistani batting order comprises of players who are all capable of hitting out and clearing the ropes with ease. What we do need is a player who can apply himself...set the course of an innings. We don't need a Gilchrist or Jaysuria. We need someone in the Attapatu mould. A player whom I personally was very impressed with was Mohd Waseem. He had a solid defense, beautiful stroked down the ground and preferred playing with the straight bat. Sadly, he was yet another case of negligence from the Pakistan board. We need to unearth a player of such traits. Hafeez looks ready to graft it out. But he does not look like the most technically sound batsman. Hameed, Butt and Farhat are all too flashy. Is their anyone in the first class circuit?

  • Kashif Malik on November 18, 2006, 16:51 GMT

    Good openers have eluded Pakistan cricket in recent times. Then one day a very young stylish left hander comes along and strokes a magnificent hundred against the old enemy in front of a vocal partisan crowd. Was this a fluke or beginners luck?

    When we were being humiliated by the Aussies he was standing tall and alone (apart from MY's contribution)and displayed his talent and ability in crickets most difficult environments. His fifty and hundred against the worlds best bowling attack surely was no fluke. One bad series in England, (as I recall apart from YK & MY-every one had a terrible series)he is now out of the squad.

    Hafeeez, farhat, malik & hameed are good but BUTT is better. Mr Abassi is right he has alot of time to play his shots, he is very young and will be back. But I can't understand why he, at the very least, is not in the squad.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 18, 2006, 16:47 GMT

    Well, first of all, thank you for returning to cricket rather than talking about the politics of cricket.

    It seems to me that the "footing" (left or right)of left-handed batsmen also plays a great role in their batting. Left-handed batsmen who are also left-footed seem to have footwork problems. Of course I don't know this for sure, but Brian Lara seems to be right-footed to me. He has excellent footwork, and if you notice, you'll see that it is because his right foot is not frozen in one place like most lefties . Inzamam is the opposite case - bats righty, throws leftie - which could be the reason why he has good footwork and reflexes even at this age. Saeed Anwar, on the other hand, seemed to be left-footed - the only thing that diminished his greatness to some extent. Like most lefties, he was prone to getting caught-behind or in the slips because of little foot movement. This could be a problem with most of our leftie openers which needs to be looked into.

    Apart from technique, of course, the main problem lies in the temperament of our batsmen. This reminds me of Mohammad Yousuf's recent no. 2 ranking (KAMRAN, THAT DESERVES A FULL DISCUSSION). Hats off to this cool, serene cricketer and his silent but significant contributions to Pakistan cricket. I hope our openers learn a thing or two from him rather than trying to be the next Shahid Afridi. I feel for him because I can sense that he'll probably never get a chance to captain Pakistan - an honour he truly deserves.

  • sadaqat ali on November 18, 2006, 13:56 GMT

    i believe we have very less time left for world cup its not the time to do experiments i will suggest that pak team should continue with imran farhat and m.hafeez till world cup.they will have ample time to prove their position at 1,2.i am sure they will perform well. imran farhat:he has very good shots in his book but dont know te art of converting his starts into big knocks.he should learn this art. m.hafeez:he hsa good shots but feel little pressure when he bats he become too concious in the start of his innings.but he is a utility cricketer he will have to get confidence than will perform much better.

  • Talha Ahmed on November 18, 2006, 13:50 GMT

    When one watches that innings from Yasir Hammed in the semi-final of the previous ICC trophy when he held up a fight against WI while the rest of the team crumbled to nothing on a seeming track under heavy conditions, one should have no doubt about the class he has got. I thought he could have earned the emerging player of the year award the same year Irfan Pathan stole it from him. But as it turns out this decision was correct, as his ungainly shuffle across the stumps and his unfitting aggression in relation to his hitting talent made sure that he crashed out to the illustrious list of Pakistani test discards. If they would have persisted with him at that time, he could have gotten better, but at this time i am not very excited about his return.

    I find Imran Farhat a more exciting prospect despite his overwhelming stupidity and his nepotistic in-laws. He does not move around the crease much, keeps his head still and can play all kind of shots. He just needs to know that he is no Sanath Jayasuriya or Adam Gilchrist, and to be selective in his shot making. I hope that the coach is putting special attention on this guy. I hope this man comes through in international cricket on Saeed Anwars model (An example that has not been overstressed).

  • Sunny on November 18, 2006, 10:32 GMT

    its really doesnt matter u have left handed combination or right handed. The thing is the players shud be given enuff chance to perform. There should be atmost 4-5 players for the opening spot. The players who are not on international side shud play for A-Team. PCB shud now start developing players by giving them confidence and media should back them.

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  • Sunny on November 18, 2006, 10:32 GMT

    its really doesnt matter u have left handed combination or right handed. The thing is the players shud be given enuff chance to perform. There should be atmost 4-5 players for the opening spot. The players who are not on international side shud play for A-Team. PCB shud now start developing players by giving them confidence and media should back them.

  • Talha Ahmed on November 18, 2006, 13:50 GMT

    When one watches that innings from Yasir Hammed in the semi-final of the previous ICC trophy when he held up a fight against WI while the rest of the team crumbled to nothing on a seeming track under heavy conditions, one should have no doubt about the class he has got. I thought he could have earned the emerging player of the year award the same year Irfan Pathan stole it from him. But as it turns out this decision was correct, as his ungainly shuffle across the stumps and his unfitting aggression in relation to his hitting talent made sure that he crashed out to the illustrious list of Pakistani test discards. If they would have persisted with him at that time, he could have gotten better, but at this time i am not very excited about his return.

    I find Imran Farhat a more exciting prospect despite his overwhelming stupidity and his nepotistic in-laws. He does not move around the crease much, keeps his head still and can play all kind of shots. He just needs to know that he is no Sanath Jayasuriya or Adam Gilchrist, and to be selective in his shot making. I hope that the coach is putting special attention on this guy. I hope this man comes through in international cricket on Saeed Anwars model (An example that has not been overstressed).

  • sadaqat ali on November 18, 2006, 13:56 GMT

    i believe we have very less time left for world cup its not the time to do experiments i will suggest that pak team should continue with imran farhat and m.hafeez till world cup.they will have ample time to prove their position at 1,2.i am sure they will perform well. imran farhat:he has very good shots in his book but dont know te art of converting his starts into big knocks.he should learn this art. m.hafeez:he hsa good shots but feel little pressure when he bats he become too concious in the start of his innings.but he is a utility cricketer he will have to get confidence than will perform much better.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 18, 2006, 16:47 GMT

    Well, first of all, thank you for returning to cricket rather than talking about the politics of cricket.

    It seems to me that the "footing" (left or right)of left-handed batsmen also plays a great role in their batting. Left-handed batsmen who are also left-footed seem to have footwork problems. Of course I don't know this for sure, but Brian Lara seems to be right-footed to me. He has excellent footwork, and if you notice, you'll see that it is because his right foot is not frozen in one place like most lefties . Inzamam is the opposite case - bats righty, throws leftie - which could be the reason why he has good footwork and reflexes even at this age. Saeed Anwar, on the other hand, seemed to be left-footed - the only thing that diminished his greatness to some extent. Like most lefties, he was prone to getting caught-behind or in the slips because of little foot movement. This could be a problem with most of our leftie openers which needs to be looked into.

    Apart from technique, of course, the main problem lies in the temperament of our batsmen. This reminds me of Mohammad Yousuf's recent no. 2 ranking (KAMRAN, THAT DESERVES A FULL DISCUSSION). Hats off to this cool, serene cricketer and his silent but significant contributions to Pakistan cricket. I hope our openers learn a thing or two from him rather than trying to be the next Shahid Afridi. I feel for him because I can sense that he'll probably never get a chance to captain Pakistan - an honour he truly deserves.

  • Kashif Malik on November 18, 2006, 16:51 GMT

    Good openers have eluded Pakistan cricket in recent times. Then one day a very young stylish left hander comes along and strokes a magnificent hundred against the old enemy in front of a vocal partisan crowd. Was this a fluke or beginners luck?

    When we were being humiliated by the Aussies he was standing tall and alone (apart from MY's contribution)and displayed his talent and ability in crickets most difficult environments. His fifty and hundred against the worlds best bowling attack surely was no fluke. One bad series in England, (as I recall apart from YK & MY-every one had a terrible series)he is now out of the squad.

    Hafeeez, farhat, malik & hameed are good but BUTT is better. Mr Abassi is right he has alot of time to play his shots, he is very young and will be back. But I can't understand why he, at the very least, is not in the squad.

  • Aasim B on November 18, 2006, 17:05 GMT

    I believe aggression in the opening slot is overplayed. The Pakistani batting order comprises of players who are all capable of hitting out and clearing the ropes with ease. What we do need is a player who can apply himself...set the course of an innings. We don't need a Gilchrist or Jaysuria. We need someone in the Attapatu mould. A player whom I personally was very impressed with was Mohd Waseem. He had a solid defense, beautiful stroked down the ground and preferred playing with the straight bat. Sadly, he was yet another case of negligence from the Pakistan board. We need to unearth a player of such traits. Hafeez looks ready to graft it out. But he does not look like the most technically sound batsman. Hameed, Butt and Farhat are all too flashy. Is their anyone in the first class circuit?

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on November 18, 2006, 17:06 GMT

    Two H's doesn't guarantee two G's (too good. Yasir Hameed knows that this is his last chance and with that pressure he has to face the WI fast battery. He too has a weakness of playing shots on the 'on-side. Indians realized that and did not give him any width on the off side to play his cover drives and cut shots.

    Like, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat too slashes at every ball that is flying away from the off stumps. Like, Shoaib Malik has this tendency to chase a wide one outside the off stump and throws away his wicket.

    It is not that all these players are not capable of scoring runs in the opening slot. It is the unnecessary sense of urgency that they feel in keeping the run rate ticking. They need to change this attitude of playing casual strokes like Younis Khan. He has scored a couple of big test hundreds mainly against India and England. Other than that he hasn't done much but that is so typical of Pakistan that once you score a double hundred you are a hero and if you score a second double hundred your berth is guaranteed for 20 matches. These young players should look at the way Mohammad Yousuf plays, one may call him lucky to have scored 192 in the first test, but who has scored a chanceless century all the time? Sehwag scored a triple century in Multan after he was dropped 5 times by three different players but for the record its a triple century and he is still in the team for scoring that triple century a double and a few other big hundreds ALL against Pakistan. His average in the past 20 matches is pathetic.

    Coming back to the opening slot, it is the coach's responsibility to give them the mental strength and tell them to curb their natural instincts of chasing a wide one or getting panicked after a madien over or too. A test is a test and not an ODI, so play with patience and endurance and no need to play hurried shots or score runs on every single ball. It is the duty of the coach to keep reminding them, rather than sitting in front of a lap top. I have a feeling that Gayle could break all records on a flat Multan track and then Lara will do the rest. Pakistan should not be complacent with the first test win, they are depending too much on Mohammad Yousuf. It is good to see him at his best, but no one call always be at their best ALL the time.

  • Arslan Shaukat on November 18, 2006, 22:28 GMT

    We will never find permanent openers if we keep dropping them after one bad series. In recent years, both Imran Nazir and Salman Butt made impressive debuts with Imran scoring century against Ambrose&Walsh and the later against Australia. Then Imran was dropped in the next test series against Sri Lanka. It still baffles me. Only reason I can think of is that “lets not give him too much confidence as he may become the next super star of world cricket; successor to Lara & Tendulkar. We don’t want to play him right after he has blasted two of the best fast bowler the world has ever seen in their own back yard, do we?” After being a revelation against Australia in the test series, Salman was dropped in India only after failing in one test match. One of the most vital traits of an opener is temperament, which in my view is directly proportional to confidence. They failed because any confidence that they had was sucked out of them by the team management.

  • Amir Hussain on November 18, 2006, 23:00 GMT

    What Pakistan has been doing for the last so many years is "looking" for openers,and honestly they have failed miserably.Glimpses of brilliance are seen from time to time.But never has Pakistan been able to replace players like Aamir Sohail or Saeed Anwer.No Pakistani player who has been tried at that position has had the "personality" or the character to open the innings. Opening the batting is no joke at any level.Apart from having the correct technique and temprament an opener should also have an confidence in himelf.He should give the impression to the opponent that he is there for the job and he will finish that job no matter who is there to stop him. Pakistani Opener's are timid.They do not believe in themselves.They go out there hoping that they will score.They have no self belief at all.They almost give an impression that they are ashamed of being out there to bat... What Pakistan needs is to get people to help the self esteem of their player's in general and their opener's in particular. It seems that in Hafeez Pakistan may have found someone who atleast has the patience and the temprament to scrape it out there.now who should be the other opener? If you look at Pakistan's history, opener's go out to bat only a few over's. They have become "breathing" space for the middle order batsman to get ready.So why does Pakistan not groom a middle order batsman to open the inning's? what's wrong in that.Shoaib Malik has been tried,and even though his statistic's have been impressive by Pakistan standard's he is still not the right person to open the innings. I beleive that Faisal Iqbal should be given some mathces to open. Correct me if I am wrong but the one time he did open an inning's he scored a century in odi's,even though it was against Zimbabwe. He started off as a no.3 batsman in the domestic circle. He has the technique,temprament and the " aura " about himself without being arrogant, to impose himself on the opponent. Pakistan should go back to the old school of thought for a little while and the job discription for the opener's should be to bat out 10 to 15 over's. It should not bother anyone that in that they only score 40 runs , as long as they do not loose their wicket.Once they can acheive their gaol they then have enough firepower in their batting to post a challenging total.

  • Ghalib Taimur on November 19, 2006, 17:21 GMT

    I would say first of all this is a great blog...very interesting.I think Pakistans current openers are doing an adequate job.However we require more consistency from these guys.I think the Pakistan think-tank should tell them look we are going to give you huys a go for about 4 series and then we will decide whether you guys are the ones to stay for Pakistan.Openers in Pakiistan are most of the time trying to cement their place in the team.They should be given confidence by the team management.

    As far as the best openers are concerned.I thought Hafeez was very mediocre when he earlier came onto the international scene but since playing a major role in Pakistans Twenty20 side he has improved his shots as well as strike-rate.

    As far as Farhat is concerned he has shown he has an irrensponsidle head on his shoulders and gives away the best of starts.He has been given plenty of opputunities and must start producing results.

    To me Salman Butt is the best opener as he has always given Pakistan atleast a score of 20+ and his centuries standout against others in the sense theay have been match changing centuries against some of the best oppositions.

    However for the time being let's stick with Farhat and Hafeez.