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January 8, 2007

South Africa

Will new heroes crown Woolmer's progress?

Kamran Abbasi
Bob Woolmer speaks to the players, Headingley, August 3, 2006
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Pakistan's embarrassment of riches has quickly turned into a poverty of resources. Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Gul were the best batsman and best bowler of 2006, and losing them is a major blow to Pakistan's hopes of winning their first ever series in South Africa. After India almost pulled off a memorable surprise, Pakistan must have been brimming with confidence. Yousuf's loss will be the greater since his phenomenal run of last year earned him the status of Pakistan's most dependable batsman.

Pakistani batsmen have historically struggled in South Africa and this series promises to be a fascinating test of their consistency. Memories of outings at Old Trafford and Mohali will fill Pakistan fans with dread. The pressure will now be on Inzamam to carry the batting and prove his stature with a first successful series in South Africa. A career devoid of achievement in Australia or South Africa will be a career that will not be properly celebrated.

Yousuf's absence--and that of Shoaib Malik--will, however, be an unexpected opportunity for Pakistan's next generation of batsmen, Faisal Iqbal and Yasir Hameed--it is hard to see Asim Kamal nudging his way in front of them. Pakistan's top six suddenly looks light on experience but this is exactly the kind of step that players need to take on the path to a bigger career. As much as anything, it will be a test of character for the younger batsmen, particularly the two openers.

The bowling cover is less bothersome. Gul will be missed but an attack of Mohammad Asif, Rana Naved-ul Hasan, and Shahid Nazir looks the most likely combination, with a toss up between Danish Kaneria and Mohammad Sami for the final spot depending on the pitch. Despite Shoaib's summons, following his destruction of mighty Abbotabad, I'd be surprised if he were risked in the first Test, possibly at all.

Pakistan might have begun the series as favourites but the loss of key players means that South Africa now have the upper hand. This series, perhaps more than the World Cup, will be a measure of Bob Woolmer's progress with Team Pakistan.

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

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Posted by Ahsan Malik on (January 16, 2007, 13:53 GMT)

I have a question for Bob Woolmer; what will it take to drop Faisal Iqbal from Pakistan Team? How many more tests are we to loose before that happens? It may be that he is the nephew of Javed and a 'brother' but please and fro God's sake get rid of him if we are to go anywhere in world cricket!

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (January 12, 2007, 22:18 GMT)

LOL @ "you only want your people to participate in the team" ....

Mr. Waleed, who are my people? For me, ALL the Pakistani people are my people, my countrymen (including yourself) :-) And, I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings by saying something against your "Uncle Woolmer". But, isn't it very strange that he "choosed" Faisal Iqbal over Shahid Afridi? I think this Javed Miandad guy must be giving him threats to include Faisal Iqbal in the team! Oh please Mr. Waleed, the brighter side is not the white board on the wall, the fact remains that, Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup without a foreign coach. I am not sure who was Sri Lanka's coach in 1996 when they won the world cup, but definitely India's coach was not a 'gora saab' when they won the World Cup in England. It is the players, P-L-A-Y-E-R-S yes players who win matches, and its the captain on the field who leads, motivates and instill energy in the team that makes a winning team. The coach's role is limited to the dressing room or before that i.e., during the training sessions. I wonder if he ever makes an effort to express his views in "plain and simple" English without using his cockney accent and he makes sure they have understood what he wants, I doubt it. And whatever he is doing, i.e., sitting behind his laptop, is really pathetic I don't think we need to discuss him anymore in this thread ...........Oooops.......sorry again!

Posted by Rahman on (January 12, 2007, 21:25 GMT)

Mr. Waleed , MR Bob since his joining to pakistan team never give a single member to pakistan team which has bright future if u talking about Yasir hameed, Salman BUtt, Imran Nazir,Asim Kamal, Umer Gul, Muhammad Asif, Rana Naveed , Muhammad Hafeez , Kamran Akmal and others apart from shoib Malik ( which i never think a player who plays for the team got injured whenever pakistan tour outside) , all these player came to team when pakistan coach was javed miandad and Selector was Amir sohail. And much more to add Shahid Afridi Batting more decent when Javed Miandad was coach of Pakistan team , and if u want to go on Statistics Javed Miandad has far more better percentage of winining than Bob Woolmer. And even he has far more winning percentage than all captain pakistan had. Javed Miandad 34 matches 14 wins 6 loss Imran Khan 48 matches 14 wins 8 loss. I am not saying that foreign coach not good but i still believe that local coach is far better than foreign coach.

Posted by Dawar on (January 12, 2007, 17:20 GMT)

Some one above trying to put down grate Javed Miadad by saying he was not a match winner player. I respect his love for Inzi Bahi but its not mean to put down others in the wrong manner.

By statistics Pakistan won only five one days in the 92 world cup . In all those five one days Miadad scored fifties.

Miadad scored many runs against the best teams in his time (include centuries & double centruies). Against west Indies, India, Ausrlia & srilanks.

Inzi scored only one century against Austrlia. Still I have a big respect for Inzi. he still is a very good player specially in Pakistan soil and in the slow wickets.

Posted by WALEED on (January 12, 2007, 14:44 GMT)

MR javed a khan ........narrow minded people like u have been a trouble for pakistan .....u only want ur people to paticipate in the team n nothin else.......u guys never look on the brightest side that since woolmer has arrived pakistan has been a much better team than it was in the past......bcos of javid miandad faisal iqbal is always choosed n today i heard the commentator say that its better if he plays dodgeball........what an insult to the paki side ......i agree that miandad was an excellent batsman but also agree that every person is not perfect in every thing(COACHING)......hope i answered ur question!

Posted by Zwelakhe on (January 12, 2007, 11:49 GMT)

I can understand the reason why the masses think Pakistan will win the series. South African top order batsmen are off form. It is also important to note that South Africa managed to score a series victory against India despite them winning the 1st test. SA managed the series victory because they have depth in their squad that Pakistan does not have. It is also important to mention that all the Pakistani batsmen do not perform against RSA at home and away. Even Mohammad Yousuf that everyone is making noise about, has a very abysmal avarage against RSA. Frankly even if he was playing, I do not see how he would have coped because the South African seamers are on the top of their game, ask Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag. South Africa's pace attack is amongst the best, but the Pakistani batting line up is not. As one guy said, what is the user of bowling RSA out for 220 and get bowled out for 110? Pakistan does not have what it takes to win a series against RSA, they lack expirience and ability in their batting line up, coupled with their avarage bowling line up.

Posted by Farrukh Touheed on (January 12, 2007, 5:48 GMT)

This is a forum for discussion on cricket not on religion so please be calm. We are here to represent a country or a team not religion so please cool down.

Posted by Rashid on (January 12, 2007, 5:16 GMT)

I wish they included Salman Butt , since his record is good against Australia where most of our batsman floundered.Why not give him more opportunity when in World Cup if we loose we most likely will loose to Australia.S Africa have kind of similar bowling attack like Australia

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (January 12, 2007, 3:43 GMT)

Whether Pakistan wins the series in SA or the World Cup, the credit must NOT go to Woolmer. He cannot take away the credit from the players. By sitting behind a laptop doesn't mean he is providing any modern coaching techniques. He is a cricket mercenary and have no loyalty for any team. At a time when he was supposed to be with the team, he spent two weeks in South Africa.

During the Inzamam / Hair incident, Woolmer wanted to resign! Why and what kinda coach he is? Some Pakistanis have this habit of praising anything and everything that is foreign and dumping and insulting their own. Look at Miandad, Zaheer Abbass and now Waqar Younis, they all have been dumped, insulted and blamed. We never respect our heroes, not a single ex-test player gets any respect. From the days of Kardar till date, every single player has been criticized and insulted in one way or the other. Whereas, Woolmer is being worshiped, may I ask why? Waleed and his likes please get over with this inferiority complex. If you think a foreign coach is so important in achieving success for Pakistan's cricket team, how about hiring ALL FOREIGN PLAYERS from Australia and South Africa to play for Pakistan?

This is the same kinda mentality that I have come across when dealing with some overbearingly frustrated nitwits who say; "there is so much dirty politics in India and Pakistan, the conditions were much better, peaceful and pleasant during the British Raj and this whole business of creation of Pakistan and division of India is a big mistake". So, I ask, should we invite the British to come and rule again?

Gimme a break, get over with this slave mentality and stop using crutches and stilts, be on your own foot, be a MAN and learn to respect your HEROES.

Posted by WALEED on (January 11, 2007, 20:52 GMT)

pak have a great team to win the world cup with especially bob woolmer who has given loads of trainin to the paki side.....javed miandad was a pathetic coach .....woolmer on the other hand is a coach with talent n is providin the modern coachin to our team ......n javed miandad is all ways insulting him for no reason.....hope woolmer shows him in the WC.....WAY TO GO WOOLMER

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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