South Africa January 12, 2007

Hook, line and stinker

155

Pakistan's attempt at measured aggression was a sensible approach in the first innings but half the team perishing to hook or pull shots was a display of misplaced ambition. Australian batsmen showed admirably how it is wise to eschew this exhilarating stroke in favour of longevity, even on home bouncy wickets that they are familiar with.

Pakistan may have done enough in the first innings to dominate from here on--and Mohammad Asif helped spare the blushes of his batting colleagues--but this obsessive compulsion with the hook shot cost Pakistan a hundred runs or more.

Such sins have often cost players their international careers and the younger batsmen need to rein in their impulses. At least, for them, you might put it down to experience. But from Younis Khan and Inzamam it was almost criminal. No wonder South Africa laughed every time they fell for it hook, line and stinker.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • brunette London on June 24, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    Undoubtfully cool story as for me. It would be nice to read more concerning this theme. Thank you for giving this material.

    Grace TAYLOR

  • Ava FlyingWolf on May 11, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Undoubtfully nice article you got here. It would be nice to read a bit more concerning such topic. Thanks for giving this material.

  • New York West Side escorts on January 3, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    It is rather interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

  • 2cents on January 19, 2007, 16:30 GMT

    I want send these comments to Pakistan Cricket Board and Selection Committee. PLEASE DROP IMRAN FARHAT and KAMRAN AKMAL and give chance to some other players who deserve more. They have been given enough chances but they are don't learn fromm mistakes. Or shall I say they don't even want b/c of surety that they will be in the team regardless of performance. Look at the stats for both the players. Imran Farhat, a slip or gully fielder, how many catches he drops. Don't even check the stats for Kamran Akmal we all see during matches. Thats his primary role "Hold the damn ball in your gloves". I really hope somebody from Pak Team, PCB, or Selection Committee reads this and take some serious considerations.

  • pete on January 19, 2007, 0:17 GMT

    They all should give Ricky Ponting a call, he can give them lessons on how to play a REAL pull or hook shot, because no one in world cricket is even close to him!

  • Pieter Boersma on January 18, 2007, 11:53 GMT

    This South African side are still to play to it's full potential. I am sure if Andre Nel were from Pakistan, he would have played this last test. This is a profesional game, and players should play that way. SA were a more profesional unit. Batting first at Centurion, you have to control the game, bad shot selection, lost Pakistan the game. It were really funny to see profesional players go out to the same shot, when they are in control of things. Stop blaming the coach, the umpires and racism. The bowling attack were also really weak.

  • 2045RadicalMan on January 17, 2007, 0:57 GMT

    Imran Farhat has lots of critics because he is not a good player full stop. The problem is that when Inzi or Yousef are at the crease...you can drive From Melbourne to Sydney and back with a piece of mind that the Paki innings is under control...the issue with Farhat is that your not even at peace from the lounge room to the toilet and back when he is at the crease. He has the shots and talent but the reason why he is critisised all the time is his lack of consistancy and also the urge to smash a stupid shot after making 20 or 30 thats the problem with him and in my opinion there are alot more better batsman to choose from. I mean Farhat keeps on getting chances..why is his father or someone an influence on decisions in the team...and for some reason Azhar Mahmood gets no chances...which is weird considering Bob Woolmers praise of Mahmood when he scored those centuries on debut...Maybe the author of this blog can do some research and find out why Mahmood who plays successfully in England cannot get a go in the Paki team im not saying he should get a go straight away but if we keep on giving people like Farhat who never learn from their mistakes for over 3 years now then surely Mahmood and other players deserve a chance....so common Pak Spin write an article on players who get too much chances against players who seem to not get achance maybe cos some board member has a grudge against them or something..and we can also get that Numbers Game dude to put some stats on how many chances Farhat has had in the Paki team and the method of his dismisals and if he has learned anything at all.

    Pakistan should have a setup like Australia where everybody gets an equal chance regardless of race, religion and background....In Australia if Mahmood was aussie he would have at least been given a few more chances than in Pakistan....i mean Aussies persist with Watson who is nowhere near a Mahmood.

  • Mawali on January 16, 2007, 21:48 GMT

    Kamran sahib, I have to side step you here for a moment.

    Euceph, I have to tell you that was the first post I read from you that had a hint of humor. Hope there will be more to follow.

    Now, I also want to mention that I thoroughly enjoy reading Javed Khans post's for two reasons 1- He never starts his posts saying "Kamran I think... " as if the rest of us were sitting back with a bated breadth just to hear that. 2- His posts are well researched and written.

    I like to post on this forum however, I will refuse to do any sort of research on cricket.

    To my good buddy Khansahab, aray bhai qun naraz hotay hain. Hum to mazak kar rahay thay. But seriously to answer your question whether I was drunk when I wrote my earlier post. Let me ask you Khansahab, why in the world would I be sitting at my computer writing a post on this forum if I was drunk? Heck, I would be doing much better things, need I go into the details.......AMF!

  • Lynel Mendonca on January 16, 2007, 12:59 GMT

    I feel they have to think before hooking and pulling. SA wickets are not flat wickets as those we find in Asia. Probably it might take some time get used to the wicket. And hopefully we can see some controled cricket from pakistani team.

  • Hassan Right on January 16, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    The treatment that Wasim Bari is giving to Asim Kamal should be loathed.

  • brunette London on June 24, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    Undoubtfully cool story as for me. It would be nice to read more concerning this theme. Thank you for giving this material.

    Grace TAYLOR

  • Ava FlyingWolf on May 11, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Undoubtfully nice article you got here. It would be nice to read a bit more concerning such topic. Thanks for giving this material.

  • New York West Side escorts on January 3, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    It is rather interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

  • 2cents on January 19, 2007, 16:30 GMT

    I want send these comments to Pakistan Cricket Board and Selection Committee. PLEASE DROP IMRAN FARHAT and KAMRAN AKMAL and give chance to some other players who deserve more. They have been given enough chances but they are don't learn fromm mistakes. Or shall I say they don't even want b/c of surety that they will be in the team regardless of performance. Look at the stats for both the players. Imran Farhat, a slip or gully fielder, how many catches he drops. Don't even check the stats for Kamran Akmal we all see during matches. Thats his primary role "Hold the damn ball in your gloves". I really hope somebody from Pak Team, PCB, or Selection Committee reads this and take some serious considerations.

  • pete on January 19, 2007, 0:17 GMT

    They all should give Ricky Ponting a call, he can give them lessons on how to play a REAL pull or hook shot, because no one in world cricket is even close to him!

  • Pieter Boersma on January 18, 2007, 11:53 GMT

    This South African side are still to play to it's full potential. I am sure if Andre Nel were from Pakistan, he would have played this last test. This is a profesional game, and players should play that way. SA were a more profesional unit. Batting first at Centurion, you have to control the game, bad shot selection, lost Pakistan the game. It were really funny to see profesional players go out to the same shot, when they are in control of things. Stop blaming the coach, the umpires and racism. The bowling attack were also really weak.

  • 2045RadicalMan on January 17, 2007, 0:57 GMT

    Imran Farhat has lots of critics because he is not a good player full stop. The problem is that when Inzi or Yousef are at the crease...you can drive From Melbourne to Sydney and back with a piece of mind that the Paki innings is under control...the issue with Farhat is that your not even at peace from the lounge room to the toilet and back when he is at the crease. He has the shots and talent but the reason why he is critisised all the time is his lack of consistancy and also the urge to smash a stupid shot after making 20 or 30 thats the problem with him and in my opinion there are alot more better batsman to choose from. I mean Farhat keeps on getting chances..why is his father or someone an influence on decisions in the team...and for some reason Azhar Mahmood gets no chances...which is weird considering Bob Woolmers praise of Mahmood when he scored those centuries on debut...Maybe the author of this blog can do some research and find out why Mahmood who plays successfully in England cannot get a go in the Paki team im not saying he should get a go straight away but if we keep on giving people like Farhat who never learn from their mistakes for over 3 years now then surely Mahmood and other players deserve a chance....so common Pak Spin write an article on players who get too much chances against players who seem to not get achance maybe cos some board member has a grudge against them or something..and we can also get that Numbers Game dude to put some stats on how many chances Farhat has had in the Paki team and the method of his dismisals and if he has learned anything at all.

    Pakistan should have a setup like Australia where everybody gets an equal chance regardless of race, religion and background....In Australia if Mahmood was aussie he would have at least been given a few more chances than in Pakistan....i mean Aussies persist with Watson who is nowhere near a Mahmood.

  • Mawali on January 16, 2007, 21:48 GMT

    Kamran sahib, I have to side step you here for a moment.

    Euceph, I have to tell you that was the first post I read from you that had a hint of humor. Hope there will be more to follow.

    Now, I also want to mention that I thoroughly enjoy reading Javed Khans post's for two reasons 1- He never starts his posts saying "Kamran I think... " as if the rest of us were sitting back with a bated breadth just to hear that. 2- His posts are well researched and written.

    I like to post on this forum however, I will refuse to do any sort of research on cricket.

    To my good buddy Khansahab, aray bhai qun naraz hotay hain. Hum to mazak kar rahay thay. But seriously to answer your question whether I was drunk when I wrote my earlier post. Let me ask you Khansahab, why in the world would I be sitting at my computer writing a post on this forum if I was drunk? Heck, I would be doing much better things, need I go into the details.......AMF!

  • Lynel Mendonca on January 16, 2007, 12:59 GMT

    I feel they have to think before hooking and pulling. SA wickets are not flat wickets as those we find in Asia. Probably it might take some time get used to the wicket. And hopefully we can see some controled cricket from pakistani team.

  • Hassan Right on January 16, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    The treatment that Wasim Bari is giving to Asim Kamal should be loathed.

  • Gunter Gerstner on January 16, 2007, 9:03 GMT

    The problem is not a wider problem in SA cricket.The problem is that the Pakistani's feel that they are untouchable.You can't say a word to these guys then suddenly racism is all the rage.Get a grip on reality mate or stick to playing cricket in your part of the world.Otherwise keep your antagonising supporters at home.If you are capable.As an Aussie I would like to say to Hershelle Gibbs you have our support mate.

  • Dawar on January 16, 2007, 5:46 GMT

    We lost first test against South Africa. We missed some one who could stay on the wicket firmly against the good bowling attack of South Africa.

    Specially, in the absence of Mohammad Yusuf in first test,Asim Kamal was the best choice. But unfortunately he was not selected again.

    In past Asim Kamal has proved to be a solid middle order batsman whenever he is given a chance.

    He scored 99 runs playing against South Africa on October 17, 2003 in his first test appearance at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.

    Though he was not able to make record of scoring a century at test debut but 99 is never a bad score against bowling attack of South Africa. He has played test matches against Australia in Australia and against India as well. He was always there to respond positively when the whole of batting line had collapsed at occasions. Most of his scores are in crucial situations where Pakistan needed to build a partnership after some sort of debacle of batting lineup.

    He is firm in his technique and plays the ball with concentration and treats it according to merit and situation. He is never found in panic and that is a key to success for a middle order batsman. Being left handed batsman his importance increases automatically. There are some world class bowlers who look struggling against a left handed batsman and a left-right combination always puts the opposition in trouble.

    If we consider his over all test record till date then we find he has scored 717 runs in 12 matches and 20 innings he has played. He has scored 8 fifties in 20 innings and 2 out of those eight fifties were 90+

    Another Question is that why he is not given any chance in ODIs. He should be tried there at least. Its been three years after getting test debut now but yet not off the mark with ODIs. So as he has never been a pert of ODI team then why he has been selected now? Our ultimate goal of this tour now should be Preparation of World Cup which is not consisting of Test Matches.

    Dawar Naqvi California, USA

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 16, 2007, 3:57 GMT

    "Mr.Euceph Ahmad", for your uncle Bob's sake, please spare me, I am not "your very own," And I can never be so phony and pseudo like you. But, I am glad that you not only read my posts, you also scream well when someone steps on your tail. I think you must be suffering from acute, chronic and persistent inferiority complex and by making such weird statements that 'Kamran Abbassi is under pressure from me to relinquish this blog in my favour', you confirm the doubts. Wow, I need to laugh here, I wish there were emoticons on this blog to add a touch of animation here, LOL should be OK?. Has Kamran Abbassi or the readers here outclassed and outlawed you? Or is it due to your suffering from ADD (attention deficit disorder) that you are fuming for no reason and leaving behind such a pungent stench!

    Although I don't need to explain it to anyone about the reason why I add the city & the country name, but just for dimwits like you to know that its 'coz some overbearingly enthusiastic nitwit like you impersonated me earlier (like they did for Mawali) and wrote a weird post here using my name. Anyways, you tell me why the HELLO do you spell your name "Euceph" instead of Yousuf? Is it due to the reason that you like to be seen differently with this kinda weird spelling? In that case you are definitely suffering from ADD. And don't tell me that you were never taught at home or at school how to spell a prophet's name in English? How about making it more web friendly and adding electronic touch in it and spell it as:

    "e-soup ah.mate" ?

    Whatever it is e-mate you are a joka! A Monty Panesar "fielding" on this blog :-)

    About your 5 points, I must say that you are really an "intel-actual-chip" to have so much detailed insight about the obvious things which any tom, dick and harry would know and yet you try to prove to everyone that you are the real, original intel's chip in the unbranded OEM hardware who possess this valuable information. No wonder why there is so much niff in your statements.

    Since the 1st test is over and so is this thread, so lets meet at a different venue on a different thread. Until then Au revoir et bien tot or should I say "Jai Ram ji ki" to make you feel more at home? :-)

  • David Furrows on January 15, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    Settle down everyone.

    For a team as under-prepared as Pakistan to score 313 and 302 on their first outing outing on South African wickets is quite acceptable.

    The problems which remain are: 1) The sixth batsman: presumably Yousuf will replace Faisal Iqbal and fix that.

    2) The second and third seamers. There is a major problem here: Shoaib is half-fit but must come in, and Sami hasn't played a first class match for six weeks and is rusty. But in four Tests in four weeks the South Africans have not yet been hurried by any of the Indian or Pakistani pace bowlers, so Shoaib and Sami are now very, very important, especially with Umar Gul unfit.

    3) The spinner: I still maintain that Mushtaq is a better option than Kaneria because Kaneria has no flipper or top-spinner - remember Mushtaq's flipper to dismiss Sidhu in the '96 World Cup? People forget that Saqlain, Shoaib Malik and Hafeez have had no success since Wasim Akram retired four years ago, but their lack of success is precisely because there are no longer a left-armer's footmarks to bowl into. Until or unless Pakistan plays a left-arm fast bowler again there should be no consideration of off-spinners being anything other than a back-up defensive option.

    It is probably also time to acknowledge that Kaneria's terrible strike rate against teams other than Bangladesh may mean that Pakistan could look at playing Afridi as the specialist spinner. That would mean that at full strength the lower-middle order would be 6 Razzaq 7 Afridi 8 Akmal, with Shoaib, Gul and Asif as a shorter tail.

    Again I must hark back to the success of Imran Khan's team in the West Indies in 87-88. Not only did he play a third opener at number three (like Hameed now), but he picked only 3 specialist bowlers (himself, Wasim Akram and Qadir) so that he could play an all-rounder (Ijaz Fakih) as the fourth bowler to insure himself against collapses. Even Akram was half-fit, and not yet world-class.

    Imran's team loaded with batsmen would be the equivalent of playing 6 Razzaq 7 Shoaib Malik 8 Shahid Afridi 9 Kamran Akmal 10 Shoaib Akhtar 11 Asif. Ask yourself the question: which attack is worse? Centurion's Asif / Nazir / Rana / Kaneria or this hypothetical Shoaib Akhtar / Mohammad Asif / Razzaq / Afridi / Shoaib Malik? I would argue that except on a spinning wicket on the final day, the team full of all-rounders is just as likely to take wickets and be economical, but that bringing in Shoaib Malik / Afridi / Shoaib Akhtar for Shahid Nazir / Kaneria / Rana Naved strengthens the batting by at least 60 runs per innings, or 120 runs per match.

    Umar Gul was dressed in white yesterday but could not even walk properly, so his chances of returning look slim. And worst of all, the decision not to bowl Asif after lunch suggests that he may be at risk of a stress factor or other over-work injury.

  • Miten Davda on January 15, 2007, 21:43 GMT

    Needless to say, it was a major tactical blunder on Pakistan's part. Trying to throw South Africa off their game by deploying the Pull and Hook shots when your team is not used to playing on bouncier South African pitches is a plan gone wrong. Not to mention the fact that the field settings were put in place for those exact shots. It doesnt take Einstein to figure out that South Africa had set a counter trap. Dare I say, the ego of the modern cricketer is bigger than his bat.

  • Euceph Ahmed on January 15, 2007, 21:31 GMT

    Mawali, Oddly enough you still haven't figured out that "Khansahab" is just another avatar of our very own Mr. know-it-all, the scholarly, Javed A. Khan, Montreal, Canada. I suspect, for some odd reason, that Kamran Abbasi by now should be feeling the pressure to relinquish this blog in his favor. Scoot over, Kamran, whatda ya know about cricket? You have no knowledge of the Torah, the Talmud, and the Bhagvad Gita. You should consider retirement so we can all benefit from the epic Ramayans of Mr. Khan who never neglects to include his adopted city with his name lest we lesser mortals forget his exotic "daak khana."

    And, now to some lessons learnt from the recent defeat:

    One: Rana Naved-ul-Hasan needs to move to where they sell "Phajjay De Paaye" so he can get a role in a remake of a Munawwar Zareef classic.

    Two: Allah was hiding somewhere when the en masse Hajj party of the PCB was praying for the team's success before the tour started.

    Three: Team unity is not necessarily forged by public huddling displays after every dismissal.

    Four: Javed Miandad and Majid Khan should save us all any further embarrassment by publicly withdrawing Faisal Iqbal and Bazid Khan from the PCB's central contract list now that they are eligible for PCB's pension plan.

    Five: Kamran Abbasi's "young heroes" are fast approaching retirement without any significant contributions to the team.

  • Danish Zaidi on January 15, 2007, 20:59 GMT

    Pakistan Opening Pair: They seem to be getting good starts but are getting out to nothing shots. Hafeez and Farhat always do the hard work but then go into their shell especially Hafeez. I think Pakistan's strategy should beto pick one of the South African bowlers, ie Andre Nel and really take the attack to him. Amir Sohail once did that in a ODI match in SA in 1994 (a la prasad) vs Either way our openers are going to sooner or later get out they might as well do it in an attacking manner rather than getting out to nothing shots..alteast that will put something on the scoreboard.

    M. Asif really bowled well but i heard the commentators saying that close to 50 runs were scored as a result of those no balls and the whole match situation could have been different..imagine chasing a 250-260 score compared to 199. Whole mindset would have been different so uncle Bob really needs to work on that.

    As for the bowlers coming back in place of Rana and Nazir I'd definitely get Shoaib back regardless of how fit he is. Like Bob says even a half fit Shoaib is better than any of the lot. I am not too sure of Gul's fitness. I get a feeling that his injury might re-occur and he might pull a "Munaf Patel " move...well he already has if media reports are to be believed. We wouldnt want 110k /h deliveries. I might take a gamble with Sami but surely not Rana or Nazir. Sami with his speed (quicker thought the air) should be very effective at PE if Inzi can provide attacking fields for him.

    Kaneria really looked out of sorts. His inability to keep things tight at one end I feel is becoming an alarming factor in getting batsmen out. Either Inzi is not setting the right fielding or he's struggling to bowl to his field placing. Kallis was able to pick him from his hand and I'm sure SA will study his footage and work him out so he really needs to come up with something.

    I also get the feeling that while Pakistan were batting (yonis/hameed/Inzi/Akmal...) 2ND innings allowed Smith and Co. with their chirping on the field to get to them and that made them go into their shell. I think the least Faisal Iqbal could do since he's not going to make any runs is help his team mates out in that department since that is just about the only thing he's good at. Mental disintegration is a very important thing vs SA as Steve Waugh put it and Pakistan could do well to use that effectively vs SA.

    Word is that SA are planning to rest their bowlers so Pakistan really has to attack who ever is the new bowler and gain the physchological advantage if they are to win the next test.

  • Arshad Zaidi on January 15, 2007, 20:20 GMT

    I agree too much hooking and pulling was one of the factor for the defeat. However, who is the main culprit? I firmly believe it is Kanaria who is very often regarded as trump card. He always and always fail to deliver when it really matters. His record shows he is well below an ordinary bowler when bowling to good teams. His bowling average is 37 in Australia, 50 in England, 37 in India, 74 in New Zealan and 52 in South Africa truly reflect his class. Do you guys agree? All we need is a class spinner like Saqlain Mushtaq.

  • khansahab on January 15, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    it's encouraging to see my comments are being read.

    mr mawali, i recommend that when you next attempt to post on this or any blog, please ensure you aren't under the influence of alcohol. do you know even know what you're trying to say?

    i have been an ardent follower of pakistani cricket for many years and i feel extremely passionate about the game. i don't see any harm in posting logical and reasonable comments in my best efforts to educate people about where pakistan cricket gets it wrong.

    i hope mr abbasi can help to make our views known to some authoritative figure in PCB.

    someone criticised my differences with farhat. to this end, i will only comment that at the end of the day, test cricket is not twenty20 cricket- it matters in test matches how the runs come. if an opening batsman throws his wicket away all the time playing the same silly strokes (unseasoned hook, edge to slips/keeper or slash to gully/point), that must be highlighted.

    farhat is a lucky man, but he isn't a divine being, hence luck will not always stay with him, just like how time never stops for anyone.

    just to get back at mr mawali- stop having a go at inzi that way.....don't criticise his weight/eating habits because it is an impolite and unsophisticated thing to do. grow up kid!

  • Glen Barrett on January 15, 2007, 18:34 GMT

    I agree that the pakistan Supporters drag the team down, however having said that they do get tremendous support all over the world and so they should, they are a good team and have the potential of beating any team in the world on the day. And as for the ICC being harsh on Racism...what a Joke...Look at Zimbabwe! Racism is what tore the players and the board apart and Percy Sonn and Malcom Speed sit back and do nothing as they are scared or intimidated by Peter Chingoka? I think that the ICC may be calling the kettle black by banning players for racial slurrs and doing nothing about the racism that goes on in South Africa and Zimbabwe Cricket.

  • Qasim on January 15, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    I think Pakistan loss because of their bowling and not batting performance.

    Hats off for M.Asif, after a lay-off, he came back superbly and got 5 top class wickets (two tails) which is superb.

    As I expected, Rana Naveed > (over-rated) got what he deserved. Asif alone bowled as many overs as Rana and Nazir bowled togather in the match. Nazir has control but he lacks pace, if the batsmen are playing with patience and keep their eye's on the ball, they can play Nazir without any danger.

    For Pakistan to win the series, they need Akhtar and Umar Gul who both are far better then Rana and Nazir.

    Its actually funny to see Younis Khan trying to play like Ponting and Lara, this is atleast the 3rd of 4th consecutive time I have seen Younis getting out while trying to Pull/Hook like Ponting.

    Ponting/Lara have the natural ability and not to mention tons of talent to bat like they do and forget talent, the only thing that Younis Khan has is the support of Imran Khan and his ever-good attitude. I hope Younis stops wasting his wicket while trying to bat like others and can play his natural game.

    I do not understand the reason behind Imran Farhats selection. He plays 3-4 Innings in every match (catch drops) and still scores poorly. M. Hafees's strike rate is getting slower every innings for some reason aswell. Both our openers play 100 balls each, score 30-35 runs and then loose their wicket. I thought the whole point of playing slow at the beginning of an innings was to set your eye in and then play your shots. They both are setting who knows what in, only to get out to the most stupid and unrequired shots ever.

    There are better players then Faisal Iqbal and even Asim kamal in Pakistan who deserve a chance. Am sure, even on their debut or return, they will not do as bad as a 21 ball 1. A first ball duck would have been better then Faisal Iqbals mamoth effort of a 21 ball 1 out to a stupid stupid stupid shot.

    I hope PCB stops considering references for team selection and starts giving some much more talented and deserved youngsters in Pakistan a chance to show their abilities.

    Pakistan has always produced legends when most required. Woolmer says that he has never seen as much talent anywhere else then he has seen in Pakistan. When other playing nations are loosing genuine pace bowlers, Pakistan is producing youngsters like M. Asif and Umar Gul. Two of the finest bowlers competing against the world's best while they are only in their early 20's. They both will only get better with time.

    As for Inzi, he seriously needs to consider his career because it seems that he is loosing his reflexes. I would not be surprised if we see the last of him in the World Cup. Although, he still is a legend and a great player out of form is always better then an average player in form.

    Conclusion >

    Pakistan with Yousuf, Akhtar and hopefully Umar's return would most likely win. Although with Farhat and Hafees opening, the game is balanced at 50-50.

    And Finally, our reply to Kallis will be playing the second test (M. Yousuf) :D

  • Zaheer Gorsi on January 15, 2007, 16:35 GMT

    You are absolutely right Rext. It is the Pakistani supporters who drag their team down. The way they express themselves, they should not not be even called "supporters". Every one sounds like a coach, captain and selector, or they just criticize for the hell of it. And thanks for taking some time out and telling us that.

  • sam on January 15, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    hey guys why is everyone so againstt Imran Farhat i dont get it...i mean look at his record over the last year he has done quite well actually.. well ok maybe he has had a little luck but thats not his fault... how can he be dropped??? the man just scored a few runs in the first test and he has been quite consistant over the last 12 months...so just lay back..hes the best man for the job rite now

  • Shiraz Asad on January 15, 2007, 15:36 GMT

    We all know bout the controversy in the first test caused by herschelle gibbs's remarks. He says that those remarks were not intended for the Paki players. But i would like to bring everyone's attention to 2 other events which werent noticed by anyone or maybe they wouldnt like to talk bout it

    1) on the third day, few words were exchanged between younis khan and paul harris 2) Again on the 4th day, some South african player was like abusing the Pakistanis

    Now if those comments dont deserve a ban, then i dont know wat does, and i would also like to appreciate the role played by the 2 umpires who chose to ignore those comments.Had some Paki player said all that, he would have been banned for a number of internationals, a fair world it is.Well done steve and billy and chris broad!! All i can say is SHAME on u south african players

  • Ashaq on January 15, 2007, 15:35 GMT

    Re:Steve your comment about Australian teams superior work ethic is indeed accurate.I find it difficult to disagree with any off your assesment.

    AS a teenager I attended A local Amateur boxing club.The old Irish Trainer taught something that he called the three D of success Desire,Dedication and Discipline.

    The Burning Desire too succeed.The Dedication too Learn and Improve Technique The discipline too carry it out. Pakistan have consistently shown themselves lacking in both dedication and discipline.

    As for Pakistan being the most talented side it is true.But it has also has become a cliche.In the words off Imran Khan "The mind is the most powerful weapon you have.Mental strenght is far more important than physical talent alone.

    Prime example off this is former England captain Nasser Hussain. Not the most naturally gifted off players but he did have that solid work ethic.That helped bring him great success.

  • Zahid on January 15, 2007, 14:53 GMT

    SA's attack is very mediocre, Ntini apart. Nel is more concerned about intimidating batsmen instead of bowling them out, Pollock is medium pace line and length that and a good batting team such as Australia will surely put him into retirement once and for all. Harris is okay but doesnt turn more than 1 ball an over (more than enough for guys like Iqbal and Farhat mind you). Surely Afridi should have been at number 6 to counter attack, but with Mo Yo, Gul and Shoaib back for the next game all is not lost yet...

  • Mawali on January 15, 2007, 14:32 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, this blog of your's is a good reflection of how our cricket team plays and thinks. What a bunch of absolute nonsensical farce. We have posters who are blaming everything and the kitchen sink for the failure. A poster in responding to the post by an Aussie blames everything from our political system, the culture, the lack of sanitation facilities, and the players modest backgrounds. In essense we cannot win when we have such odds stacked against us. BTW, the win in 92 was just a God Send and a miracle because the players (all hired) just prayed extra hard than everyone else. Then we have David Furrows waxing philosophical and saying hey don;t blame the coach he is a good guy, then in the same post comes back and says yea but Inzi and Woolmer are too timid. Hello! However, I do agree with the fact that Shahid Afridi was taylor made for this match and perhaps the series. How about Inzi bhai declaring himself unfit on account of severe indigestion due to over eating the left over biryani and then recalling Shaid Afridi back into the team. Just a thought. Then ofcousrse we have this Khansahab guy, who is on a mission to write his life story on this board and along the way giving us some lessons in morality. Save it for another day; please! Thank you to the poster who qouted Bob(fat paycheck) Woolmer saying in essence that the players are inconsistent because that's how the system is, the politicians are inconsistent, and so on.., Now this is quite refreshing an idea, politicians and consistency, Oh yes, someone might wish to ask Bob Bhai if the paychecks are consistent?

    The fact of the matter is we are a bunch of lazy excuse makers. Here is a new line "God helps those who shop at.....!

    BTW, nice touch there Javed Khan, you may have saved the day by quoting Mir. Also quoting from the bible and the Quran was a nice touch. Next time could you also mention those folks residing a top Mt. Olympus. Many thanks in advance! mazel tov,AMF!

  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on January 15, 2007, 13:41 GMT

    Another shambolic defeat! A product of another shambolic system! Lets no forget this is probably the poorest side South Africa have fielded since their re-dmission to the international arena. Their are currently ranked sixth!

    I think the worst is yet to come! This is a very average Pakistan side. For anyone watching Asutralia in the ODI's will notice that professionalism with bat, bowl and field is reaching a new level! A level that cannot be expected to be surpassed by the lousy current crop of Pakistan players.

  • KHANSAHAB on January 15, 2007, 11:59 GMT

    people, don't blame the coach. bob is a sensible man and he really can't do more. PCB shouldn't employ someone whom the players can't understand.

    players only listen to inzi who can't say more than "go out play positively", "i want two quick wickets this session", "believe and you will win" etc etc. i am not here criticising inzi, i believe at the moment he is the best man to lead pakistan (or the only man i should say). bob's focus is on technology, mental strength and converting weaknesses into strengths. but unfortunately pakistan keep repeating the same mistakes.

    its the fifth day and farhat has walked off the field, i hope he has injured himself so severely that he is ruled out of this series and for the world cup as well. he is an example of a player who still hasn't learnt, despite being played regularly FOR A LONG TIME. he has no excuses.

    the reason most logical/sensible people who use their minds rather than their heart are angry with this match, is because of the first innings hooking and pulling spree. that lost the match for pakistan. and for once, i hope people stop making comments like the inclusion of nazir and naved means that pakistan have a world class bowling lineup, because as you have seen in this match, that is untrue. someone as inconsistent as naved cannot be a good bowler.

    had it not been for pakistan openers' incapacity, their middle order's stupidity and most of their bowlers' incompetency, they would have won. but that is a significant list and i don't believe it can be corrected in this series.

    i believe more runs will be seen from smith and kallis in these upcoming matches. i also think that provided de villiers is played, he will contribute with a useful knock.....BECAUSE UNLIKE PAKISTAN, ALL OTHER TEAMS LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.

    that is the moral of the story.

  • khansahab on January 15, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    in response to Omar B, first of all thanks for the acknowledgement.

    secondly, you're right in saying that farhat won't be dropped (alas) but a man's luck can't run for long. i believe luck will stop favouring him soon enough, he really isn't the future of pakistani cricket. let's see how long his sources can stand.

    well, you think you can do a better job than sami, but if you want to be considered for the second test, have you sorted out your sources? you in pakistan only politics and sources work.

    i suggest you contact your politician/big landlord/big businessman/famous sportsman uncle and ask him to do you a "reference"

    see you in the second test!

  • khansahab on January 15, 2007, 11:26 GMT

    in response to steve....

    i think you're right- nice to see an english name there showing concern. i can see that what you have said reflects what the outside world thinks about pakistani cricket. you are absolutely right they lack the working ethic. unfortunately most of them also lack cricketing intelligence and gameplan skills (what we saw in pakistan's first innings- everyone trying to be a hero with pulling and hooking), which in today's sport are ever the more significant.

    perhaps you could add that to your list?

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 15, 2007, 9:29 GMT

    Steve, you are absolutely right about the attitude of Pakistani cricket team and your analysis of: "would have, could have, should have", theory is also true. This is an age old problem which is imbued in our psyche. In this context, one of the greatest poet of Urdu, Mir Taqi Mir (1723-1810) said:

    Tajahul, tasahul, taghaful, kiya hoa kaam mushkil tawakul kiya

    The beauty of the verse would be lost in translation, but I have to explain it to you. It means: "in dealing with any problem, first we act ignorant and uneducated (as if we don't understand it), then we pretend (that the problem is not there and act lazy, its more a sense of complacency), and we neglect it, (assuming that it is beyond our means and capablity to handle it) and when it becomes a real big and unsolvable problem, we leave it for God (to resolve it for us)."

    The bible says: "God helps those who help themselves." (Hezekiah 6:1)

    The Quran says: "Allah changes not what is in a people, until they change what is in themselves." (Surah Al-Rad or The Thunder Qur'an 13.11)

    How naive of our people to act like ignorants, lazy bones and indifferent blokes, especially since they are so gifted, talented and capable of beating any team in the world! The problem is they are disorganized and inconsistent and we all know that. The lack of effort in resolving this issue is more of an attitude problem than anything else.

    The general belief is personally or individually you can't do anything about it. Because, there is too much politics, and an individual cannot change the whole system that involves revamping and overhauling or organizations like, the PCB, the selection committee mafia that is controlling it. Indeed it is difficult, but it is not impossible. However, right now this should not be at the forefront of the player's agenda, but as a "phase two" of the progamme.

    The "phase one" is more important and that is about what a player can do personally and individually to achieve success as an individual, and collectively as a team. Learning from the past mistakes and not repeating the same mistakes is very important, even animals have this instinct. Secondly, concentrate and believe in your abilities and stay focused. Thirdly, feel it as an essence that invokes your internal belief system (not talking of the religious belief) and strengthen it by reminding yourself that, this is achievable and "I can do it" and "I will do it." It is called awareness of yourself and your inner being.

    So, the first step towards the feeling essence of our belief system is through awareness. There can be no purposeful growth or purposeful improvement without awareness. And with awareness comes our belief system, our habits, preconceptions, biases, assumptions and expectations, our talents and capabilities. I can write a book on this, but that is not my intention here. What our team needs is not just a coach and his assistant to analyze the data and the processing of it, a bowling coach, assistant bowling coach, a physiotherapist so far we have them in our team and which is good.

    Like Australia, we need a psychologist who can listen to the players problems and help them. A professional motivator who can instill motivation in the player and help them improve their psyche. This could be sought later when we come to the stage of revamping and reorganizing the cricket structure in Pakistan. But, right now its only for the players to focus on their game and on their strengths and weaknesses and how to capitalize on whatever resources that are available right now. The way the tail-enders batted and added 104 extra runs on the 4th day is an example of their self belief.

    Finally, lets not hope that rain Gods will help us for a draw and be complacent and happy with that. The conditions now favour the bowlers and we should make use of this killer instinct and get SA out and win the match rather than going to the second match with 0-0. The play is about to resume and I am hoping for an exciting finish. A win for Pakistan!!! :-) I wish.

  • dugez on January 15, 2007, 9:08 GMT

    The other night on Inside Edge they had an interview with Bob Woolmer. One of the questions they've asked him was, Why isn't Pakistan consistant. The answer he gave was that it is the nature of Pakistani's. That's the way they grow up, there's no consistancy not even the politicians are consistant, so how can you expect the cricketers to be consistant if the whole nation is not consistant in whatever they do. that to me summed it all up, and now I'll never ask myself that question again.

  • Mustafa Rizvi on January 15, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    I think Pakistan should send back extra players from their tour party. Since the Domestic Season is at peak right now, players like Faisal Iqbal, Shahid Nazir, Asim Kamal,Kamran Akmal can really get benefited playing Domestic Cricket. Look at the Australian team. If the Australian team doesn't need a palyer then they straighaway send the players to play the Domestic Tournament. That way, the players remain in match practice and when they called up to perform in the International matches they deliver. Same happened to Faisal Iqbal (the last time he played for Pakistan was like 7 or 8 months ago). I am not saying that he is not a good player but I thought he was short of match practice and that really proved to be a difference in the match. Lastly, Inzamam should decide whether he wants to continue as an International Palyer after this tour or not. There are lots of young players waiting for the opportunity. My advice to PCB is to make wise decisions.

  • Zuhair on January 15, 2007, 8:03 GMT

    Indeed some of r men r compulsiv hookers. They just cant help it. Younis khan isnt a good hoooker, he was just trying to be a bit showy and over agressive and he a paid the price. Inzi pulls to perfection mostly, v can spare inzi for one mis timed stroke. But, others who tried the shot didnt help the cause, because they ar not good hookers n pullers.

    Yousuf is not a decent hooker, and he resists his temtation, inzi is very good therefore he goes fort it. But, others now have 2 show some resistance in this regard.

    I djust dont understand how the hell can v leave asim kamal in the hut n play with faisal iqbal. Faisal is just a blocker with a poor poor technique and temprament.

  • ian on January 15, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    All those people calling for Shabbir Ahmed to be recalled would do well to remember that he blatantly throws the ball, having been 'called' four times in an extremely short career!

  • rext on January 15, 2007, 7:19 GMT

    As an Australian I would suggest that Imran Mir might care to check his facts before he makes a fool of himself again!! Lehmann was unanimously criticized, heavily fined AND suspended for his stupid comments!! Australians ARE NOT South Africans. Racist insults against non Asians seem very common in these blogs but as always racism is born of ignorance and stupidity! Australia does not have the origins, culture, history or entrenched racism of South Africa and we are in fact the most multicultural Nation on Earth. Many Pakistanis live here so why not ask them if we live in peace together or not? We have our fools such as you also and we ignore them as they don't represent the broad Australian character. And on another level, why don't you give your team some support instead of dragging them down to your own level of small mindedness. Show some pride that your Team is doing the very best it can and accept that sometimes their best will not be good enough!! Every single aspect of Pakistani cricket is constantly subjected to childish criticism and then extended to Umpires, other "racist" Countries and so on!! If the attitude of the team reflects the general attitude of the supportsers in these pages, I'm not surprised they under achieve!! However, you don't know how lucky you are, after all they could be England!!

  • Zaheer Gorsi on January 15, 2007, 6:06 GMT

    Steve, it is the Pakistani supporters who resort to would have, should have, could have and many ifs and buts. And there is nothing wrong with it since we as a nation are very passionate about this game. But your comment that Pakistan will keep on losing is very derogatory and uncalled for. For one, Pakistan team is not a loser. It wins some and loses some just just like any other team on the test circuit. True that team Australia has been a league apart from rest of the cricketing nations for more than a decade. But it does not mean Australians have always been winning and will keep on winning. We all know how West indies kicked every ones behind in 70's and 80's. We respect our cricketers for their hard work and talent. These are the boys who are predominantly from a middle class of a developing nation, and had to work extremely hard to get to this level. Imagine if Australians kids had learn their cricket by playing in the streets at nights, no physical training programs, no nutritionists, and on top of all that poorly managed cricketing institutions with an Ad hoc cricket board. With all these odds if our cricketers are managing to represent our country as a formidable cricket team then people like you should(had to use "should" here)appreciate for what our cricketers are contributing to this game. Our cricket team has not developed the habit of consistently winning the contests, but they are good enough in terms of their talent, hard work and mental strength to win the coming world cup. If they could do that in Australia then conditions in West Indies can make it even more easier for them.

  • Leshu on January 15, 2007, 5:22 GMT

    Re: Steve. I agree with steve. Pakistan's batsmen lack professional approach to the game and also patience. If Australia was batting in Pakistan's situation, they could have easily posted 500+ in the first innings. A commanding first innings total could have chahged the course of the game. But look what the Pakistani batsmen have done so far. There was no application the batting, no game plant. They were thinking someone else will probabaly do the job for them. A huge opportunity was wasted. Umpiring was not up to the standard. The Indian also had to go though poor umpiring in the whole series. But this should not be an excuse for poor batting display.

  • Nuruddin Lakhani on January 15, 2007, 5:04 GMT

    I can see that few people's comments have deviated away from the topic. We have been discussing the compulsive hook and pull shots played by the Pakistan batsmen that resulted in at least 100 less runs that they could have managed in the first innings.

    Historically, loose and reckless shots are part of Pakistan's batting and we have seen them sinking their own ship by flashing out the off stump line balls at the critical stage of the game. So, there is no way we can blame the coach for this. I am sure Bob Woolmer is discussing the issues with the players and the captain and we have seen the difference in the second innings. The natural weakness of playing loose shots is something that even an ordinary bowler from the opposite side exploits against Pakistan and is rewarded most of the time.

    If batsmen are guilty of playing bad shots, then bowlers are guilty of bowling NO BALLS. Asif bowled well in the first innings and he is an awesome bowler but deserves a soft slap on the wrist for bowling too many no balls. One of these days these no balls will cost him and the team big. People mentioned Waqar Younis absence as the cause of these no balls. I don't think so . . . Waqar is where he should be. It was his own decision to leave the team so be it.

  • Raza-e-Mustafa, Gujranwala, Pakistan on January 15, 2007, 3:45 GMT

    Let's come back to the topic - Why Pakistanis cant hook or pull. Street cricket in Pakistan is the biggest contributor in destroying the serious cricket of the youngsters and setting their basics wrong. Pakistanis are not natural hookers or pullers, they are instead good players in the V area, it is because the only scoring area available in street cricket which they play as kids is over the bowler's head. The moment you try to hook or pull, your neightbour will come out with a stick and pieces of broken window panes. Even if you play in a ground, the cemented pitch you use will be another hinderance in your hooking or pulling. The ball tends to skid and keep low on cemented pitches and you can do well by lobbing even the shorter balls over the bowler's head. The ball doesnt rise above your chest. The batsmen on these pitches wait for over-pitched balls to hit them straight over the bowler's head or just play cross batted slog shots on relatively shorter stuff. As the players grow old, these habits are so ingrained in their systems that they are difficult to unlearn. Therefore Abdul Razzaq hitting short balls in the mid-on region and other established batsmen perishing while hooking on even normal pitches is a common sight. Nothing to be so amazed at.

  • David Furrows on January 15, 2007, 2:13 GMT

    Almost everyone is missing the point here in criticising the batting.

    The team has scored over 600 runs, and history shows that there should be less than a 1% chance of losing after batting first and posting 600 runs across two innings.

    The problem, and it has been disastrous, is that Shahid Nazir and Rana Naved have bowled far too inconsistent a line and length.

    Rameez Raja continues to embarrass himself by saying that Rana needs to experiment more "like he does in ODIs". Wrong, Rameez. The problem is that with scattered fields in ODIs his mixing up of multiple lines and lengths unsettles the batsman. But that doesn't work in Tests, where the fielders are concentrated in the slip cordon: he should be bowling every single ball at the top of off-stump, and he isn't accurate enough to.

    If ever Pakistan needed the speed of a Sami it was in this Test. They lost in England with a medium paced attack and then deceived Woolmer by beating a pitifully poor West Indies without any express pace bowlers. But on hard wickets you need a variation in both the height and speed of the bowlers, and Pakistan has been caught out here.

    One last comment about the batting. Woolmer is the best coach Pakistan will ever have, even if he is a little conservative - and goodness knows, that is a good thing for Pakistan. Woolmer has seen that to win in Australia and South Africa you need batsmen who can play the horizontal bat strokes (pull, cut, hook). Any fool knows that Salman Butt is the best opening batsman in Pakistan, but Farhat and Hafeez are good horizontal bat players, and their selection makes sense.

    In fact, Pakistan scored most of their runs in the first innings and at the end of the second innings when they attacked the bowlers with cuts, pulls and hooks and took risks. So what if they got out hooking? Where it went wrong was from 102-2 to 199-7 in the second innings, when they made the same mistake England and India have made recently by cutting out risky strokes and letting the bowlers dictate terms and put them under pressure.

    Faisal Iqbal shouldn't have been there, but every other batsman has done just fine in this Test. And you know, when Faisal came in yesterday I surprised myself: I didn't think "I wish it was Asim Kamal" but rather "South Africa must be glad it isn't Shahid Afridi, because one hour from him and they would risk losing the match, and he could bowl well on the final day too". Iqbal came in at 154-4 in the 56th over, and the innings lasted 40 more overs. If Afridi had been there and had done well we would have been looking at a score of around 380 all out for a target of 280, and almost certain victory for Pakistan. And if he had scored 1 and 9 in the match he would have contributed no less than Iqbal, even before considering what his bowling brings to the team.

    Imran was a better captain than Miandad because he never stopped attacking. Inzamam and Woolmer have made some timid selections and allowed the innings to drift yesterday.

  • RadicalMan on January 15, 2007, 1:49 GMT

    Lay Off Kaneria. Ive seen this before....Kaneria is a wonderful bowler and great cricketer and always gives 110%...people critisise and give him extra harsh treatment cos he is a Hindu..much the same when Yousuf was christian i remember everyone having a go at yousef and then when he turned towards Mecca everyone jumped on the yousef bandwagon and this is not only people on here but alot of media and ex paki cricketers too...so lay of Danish...he is our number 1 spinner and he is a great bloke....i think Farcrap should be dropped before Danish is.

  • Steve on January 14, 2007, 23:19 GMT

    Re: Ashaq's comment about Pakistan taking Australia's mantle. Ashaq, I honestly believe that Pakistan have the talent to achieve this, but they never will actually do it because they lack the key ingredient the Aussies have - the consistent work ethic. Pakistan want to cruise through their matches rather than play with the intent and killer instincts of the Aussies. In the last 20 years, Pakistan have had some of the finest cricketers the world has ever seen, like Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Mustaq, and Zaheer Abbas. Pakistan's cricketers and supporting public need to stop coming up with excuses for poor performances. Pakistan have lost, are losing, and will continue to lose because they will not work hard enough to achieve what they are capable of doing.

  • Steve on January 14, 2007, 23:07 GMT

    Would've, could've, should've. IMHO these are the 3 words that describe Pakistan best. I am an Aussie who cannot understand why Pakistan consistently fails to deliver on the field (where it counts) given their extraordinary talent as individuals. It's the same old story. This is history repeating itself again and again. They either have no real interest in winning, or they do not have what it takes to be a cricketing powerhouse. Perhaps the Pakistani cricket team needs to relocate to the Philipinnes. They could then be called the "Manila Folders".

  • Imran Mir on January 14, 2007, 21:25 GMT

    KAMRAN, YOU MUST Address the racist insults thrown at the pakistan players. Why must the Asian teams have to feel the wrath of the ICC every single time, but teams like South Africa and Australia, who hurl ugly comments towards their opponents no one cares. I remember jayasuria being called a "monkey" by Darren Lehman. Admitedly, no one has every accused the Aussies or South Africans with a drop of class. Their respective histories, Australian and South African really explains a lot where their hatred and comments stem from. These facts however do not make it ok for them to make such comments. I personally dont mind sledging in the game but this is just too FAR! "send them back to the zoo??" that was horrible!

  • Danish Zaidi on January 14, 2007, 21:10 GMT

    After the 4th Day's play.. It looks like Pakistan could have been in a better position had they captialised in their first innings. I hope they learn from this.

    The PCB management needs to send Faisal Iqbal out on the first available flight like India did with Irfan Pathan because this guy is a major liability to the team looking at MoYo coming in tomorrow.

    As for Andre Nel....hahahah..that was a good one Javed...on nel's 125 km quick ones which are measured as Afridi's quick ones...haha. Our tailenders really took care of him and gave him a hint of whats to come in the ODI's. Sreesanth really showed him where he belongs with that famous dance.

    Tailenders were unbelievable with their hitting...out of all people Danish Kaneria showing no respect for "Mr. Scrooge" and pulling him for a huge SIX over MID WICKET WoW! that was unbelievable. Had Had Inzi and co. attacked before all the late fury this match could have had a different bearing altogether.

    However i still think Pakistan are going to need more than ASIF/KANERIA to bowl out SA for less than 199. Kaneria's struggling to bowl DOT BALLS singles are being pinched very easily. I think Hafeez *sniff sniff* might be the surprise package if Pakistan managed to win but I still reckon it will be a tight game and the difference in the end will be a few more runs that pakistan will ponder

    they could have gotten in the first innings or umpiring decisions that went against them

    or had Inzi been a little more attacking.

    I wonder who's going to miss out in the bowling dept for Pakistan in the next test? Nazir for sure... Shoiab would come back for him... Rana impressed with his batting and you'd like to think he can take something from this test and improve in the next or would you play Sami? Next test at PE is reknowned for having lots of moisture on the first day then flattening out mind you all the wickets have been different to what they traditionally are this season so it will be interesting.

  • Omer Admani on January 14, 2007, 20:53 GMT

    In my last comment, I forgot to mention the ridiculous umpiring decisions that went against Pakistan. And despite that too...

  • Omer Admani on January 14, 2007, 20:48 GMT

    I think lots of criticism directed at the team and the coach is unfair just yet. Firstly, we are missing three key players, are playing in SA, and yet showing a fight. We can't blame Woolmer because since he has come no doubt he has improved the team a lot. Who would you rather have? Javed Miandad the politician now? Talk about Pakistan cricket in quagmire... Firstly, look at our batting. Is it Woolmer's fault that Faisal Iqbal is selected? Or is it his fault that Inzamam fails yet again in SA after playing more than 100 tests? Besides that, some of the criticism directed at Younis is unfair. In the frst innings, though we got a start of 50-odd, we were bottled down and lost two quick wickets. It was only because Younis came and played positively-- as he usually does-- that we ended up at 313. I think Younis's attitude is invaluable to the team because he fights. Contrary to what is said, he wasn't bad in England either. Apart from that, with the pulls and hooks, the intent was right but the execution was lacking. Nel was bowling 3,4 bouncers an over, if the batsman ducks each time no runs are scored not to mention the pressure thier bowlers begin to apply when we go in such a defensive mode. With bowling, it wasn't Kaneria's fault that he was expected to take more than three wickets on a second-day pitch. He is no magician, and he actually bowled well considering his economy and the thought that if he weren't there, then Rana and Nazir would have made sure that SA didn't bat twice. Lastly, without the three key players, without adequate preparation in alien conditions, despite our "great" batsman Inzamam failing yet again, we are giving the saffers a fight? What else would we want... I think Pakistan start as favorites in the second match with a full-strngth team. I am actually feeling more positive after our performance in the first test since we crossed 300 twice and got SA out about 400 despite having 2 mediocre bowlers--or at least their bowling on this pitch if not them-- out of four. I have my fingers crossed for tomorrow, you hold your breath!

  • mat on January 14, 2007, 20:28 GMT

    South African team should learn some morals from pakistan team. Why would you play for five days when you can win in four days and still get full pay. Our great team tried their best to lose the match today but South Africans dropped five catches hence let the match go into the fifth day. I feel sorry for pakistani team that they have to cancell their shopping trips they must have planned for the fifth day..I hope South Africa get punished for their disregard for Pakistani team's wishes and lose tomorrow. As for pakistani team, we need some general(not retired) to take over and put them on the right course as they done to our pakistan. It would be even better if they have some good looking lady as a manager. Best way to tell our western masters how roshan khyaal we are now. Aik teer se do shikaars.

  • Arsalan Khan on January 14, 2007, 20:17 GMT

    Tomorrows' game is ON.

    We've seen Kaneria destroy attacks in less than thirty minutes - so many times.

    Go green go!

  • Avais Khalid on January 14, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    Imran Khan at his inauguration as the Chancellor of Bradford University said that the reason why he was more successful than others was because he was better at analysing his mistakes and eliminating them. A thinking and positive frame of mind is just as important as skill, experience, application and commitment. I am afraid each batsman in our current line up lacks one or more of these qualities. A batsman's job doesnt end with making a decent start or scoring a 50 or even a 60. The job ends when the batting line up has given their bowlers something to fight for or when they've secured a victory as the case may be. In English League cricket the batsmen are told to hit the bad ball and keep the score board ticking by taking singles and doubles. The players in the league are far from being professionals however they do know what they need to do and what is expected of them unlike some players in the Pakistan Squad.

  • Asif Ahmed on January 14, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    For the record, I think that if anyone should be sent home, it has to be Faisal Iqbal. He needs to be sent home, banned from test cricket, and then castrated, because he does not know how to play like a man.

    This batsman has been given far too many opportunities and looks completely at sea. I don't care whose nephew he is...

  • ashaq on January 14, 2007, 19:17 GMT

    The players seem to have relapsed in to the old habits.If you fail and continue to do the same thing you will continue too fail it is something that does not seem to register with players.

    I think the biggest draw back to Woolmers coaching has been the language barrier.A large part of any sport is mental.A coach needs to be able too motivate players explain strategy iron out all technical deficiencies e.t.c. All these things become Nigh impossible if you cant communicate effectively in the same language.

    I think all talk off pakistan taking the mantle from the australians and becoming a dominant force seems like wishful thinking.

    What happens after Woolmer leaves.I dont see foreign coach having any greater impact. As for domestically the only world class coach is Miandad.But He seems too have a very abrasive personality and an uncanny ability too rub people the wrong way therefore losing the respect off both players and administrators.The chances off Miandad coming back as coach are slim and none.There seems too be nobody else out there.

    The continued selection of faisal iqbal seems strange.I think the way that Asin Kamal has been handled over the last few years is criminal.Kamal has stepped up to the plate everytime he has been int the playing 11.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 14, 2007, 19:05 GMT

    FOURTH day bottom line is not a surprise. As expected Younis and Inzamam did not stand up to meet the challenge. Au contraire, the bowlers who knew that they have to face the SA music, thought might as well we score some runs and defend the total. Shahid Nazir, Rana and Kaneria rolled up their sleeves and showed Makhaya Ntini and Shuan Pollock and the rest of the Pakistani batsmen that they can play better pull and hook shots than them. What a shame, the senior players did not contribute much and yet they consumed so much time. Faisal Iqbal may have to say good bye to international cricket now, first he played a poor hook shot and was dropped by Boucher and then after hitting a boundary he went on again, trying to hit over the fielder's head and was out for 6.

    The second innings score of 303 is not bad, its only in the first innings they couldn't capitalize and couldn't score 400 plus runs and allowed the opposition to do that. However, the chances of Pakistan's winning are extremely slim and that is IF and only IF Kaneria and Asif get them all very early before lunch. Otherwise, the writing is on the wall, loud and clear.

    Whatever mistakes made in this match should not be repeated in the next one, but who can stop Imran Farhat to play loose shots? Someone asked here in this blog who is his father in law? I think it is Pakistan's ex-test player Mohammad Ilyaas? But, what is he now? Is he so influential to get him in the playing 11? I think, its more than his father in law, his luck is favouring him that he is scoring 50+ runs in a couple of matches when others have failed.

    As regards Andre Nel's big mouth, I agree with the views of Daniyaal Masum. Yes he is not only a big mouth, but he is a crude, uncouth, uncivilized, dumb arrogant player who needs to go back to school and learn some basic lessons on ethics and morals. He should be ashamed of his big frame and for bowling such pathetic medium pacers around 125 km. which are measured as the same speed as Shahid Afridi's faster ones.

    Shouldn't the PCB, Inzi and UNCLE Bobby think of calling Shahid Afridi for the ODI matches?

  • mohidin gundroo on January 14, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    I hope we have seen enough of Faisal now.Still cannot believe Asimal Kamal was not given a chance.I hope they dont play Farhat in one days and certainly not for Worldcup.If he is chosen only because being a left hander,Salman Butt is better choice both in one days as well as world cup.only plyers most likely to be selected for worldcup should be tried in one days.Pakistan needs along batting line for worldcup, even no 9 needs to be match winner.Previous records will confirm ,it has always been batting failures that have lost vital matches for pakistan.WE simply cannot afford too many specialist bowlers.It is my view on west indian pitches alrounders will deliver as well as.Again azhar mahmood with his consistant performance both with bat as well as ball with surry should have been tried in SA atleast in one days.you simply dont get better match winners than Azhar.For worldcup if i have to choose a specialist spinner for my money it will be no other than Mushe even at the age of 36.He has been in excellent form for sussex for last couple of years,can score few runs and is a better fielder than danish kaneria.As a non Pakistani i still think if pakistani's field well tomarrow , the victory is theirs.

  • jadi on January 14, 2007, 18:40 GMT

    Well world cricket should be divided into tiers or divisions like soccer.DIV 1 with Aus and SA,DIV 3 with all the minnows and DIV 2 with all the others and then they play only amongst each other. Its unfair to pit rogue talent like ours to a professional unit with character and more depth.If Wasim and Waqar were at our disposal fith day would have been theirs.Asif can do only so much and the support is shambolic.Kaneria bowls a marathon and then gets 2 tailenders out,what an achievement!!!.Barring a storm,earthquake or any natural calamity Pakistan is alreay as usual One down in this series.Can we ever win a series in SA?.Its so disappointing.

  • Rauf on January 14, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    Re: my earlier comments along with comments by ardent followers of the game - many of whom should honestly be on the selection comittee. My suggestion of returning Imran Farhat to Pakistan stands. But dont send him alone. Have Danish accompany him. There could be potentially more passengers. And Inzi has taken it all for granted. Inspite of his class is it time to say good bye? Sadly this game is over.

  • Monty on January 14, 2007, 16:57 GMT

    As a pakistan supporter, im hoping that pakistan does lose this series 3-0, politics have gone too far in pakistani cricket, Haq is Destroying Pakistani Cricket. Lets hope they dont play Akhtar in the second test either.. and South Africa needs to Bring another paceman, Steyn instead of Harris,

    These Pakistanis are used to playing on those dull/dead pitches only found in pakistan and india.

    Best of Luck to South Africa, Inshallah South Africa will Prevail.

  • Omar B on January 14, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    I agree with Khansahab's analysis of Farhat being a dodgy customer. However both openers have performed decently compared to previous adventurers. Hence a sack for Farhat is unlikey. Great effort by the tail though. Regrading Faisal Iqbal, I can say the best thing about him is the genetic material he shares with Miandad (missed out on the batting chromosome). My advice to him is that it is still not too late to change his profession. For those wishing to get Sami back in the team; Hey why not consider me instead ? I used to bowl decently at school, dont think I'd perform any worse than Sami, and if not playing in the team visit foreign countries on PCB money and sit on the bench !!

  • Omer Admani on January 14, 2007, 16:44 GMT

    Good to see Pakistanis fight back. I think the match hangs in balance-- it is where it started, 60-40 in South Africa's favor. Ironically it was Nazir's and Rana's batting that gave Pakistan hope-- though it could be easily said that Pakistan would have been much better off if they had stuck to their first task of bowling during the first innings. I still feel Waqar should be back as a coach-- clearly our bowlers would have been much better off with him with the team.

    Secondly, it is about time Inzamam plays in South Africa and Australia if he is ever to be remembered as a great batsman. He has been dissapointing. For the second match, Shoaib and Gul should be coming in for Nazir and Rana, while Yohana for Faisal and Kamal for Hameed. Faisal has been terrible asn usual, though Hameed played well and could be looked upon in future. I feel we need depth down the order for which Kamal is ideal. Farhat would be in the team as long as his luck is with him.

  • khansahab on January 14, 2007, 16:25 GMT

    to answer your question, Khan, farhat's father in law is Mohammad Ilyas, a former test cricketer who played in 1970's. farhat has strong sources- sport runs in his family and hence he keeps getting selected. he made 68 but he could have got out on 3 and 15, if SA would have held their catches. he is always streaky and edgy. he only scores when his luck assists him.

    one commentator said "farhat likes to live on a lose edge" and another (english) commentator said...."you just have to bowl at his off stump or just outside, and you will eventually get him"

    farhat should be permanently sacked. i just hope to see more of asim kamal, fawad alam, taufeeq umar, yasir hameed in the team. taufeeq and yasir came around the same time and have around the same averages.....i really think umar and not farhat, should open.

  • Mawali on January 14, 2007, 13:42 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, as I mentioned in my earlier post, we indeed have a stinker in the making. I genuinely believe the criticism meted out to the Pakistani players is quite justified. As I sit here and write this manuscript, our Inzi heroes are choking to the disciplined bowling of the South Africans. To call the irresponsible selection of shots by the Pakistani batsmen; aggression is in my opinion complete hogwash. I have said it before and will say it again aggression is a good thing; however, it has to be controlled aggression based on a game plan. To add insult to injury, the 2 senior batsmen who should be leading by example have played with a reckless abandon. In fact the so called juniors have shown more patience and resolve. Our esteemed Capitaan’s performance has been the usual nonchalant display of time on the crease. Now I just read a post extolling the virtues of Bob(fat paycheck)Woolmer. This is my question to the esteemed gentleman; forget the intangibles, cause sure as heck I fail to see the tangibles. Aside from making backyard bullies even more brazen, on the docile South Asian wickets what has Woolmer brought to the table? Yes, I would be a believer if Pakistan had convincingly defeated England on their own soil. The same England team that was thoroughly and convincingly HUMILIATED in the recently concluded Ashes series. Good teams should and must produce results regardless of the venue, and likewise should be COACHED with the same goal in mind. Look, I am not about hating the “chitaas”, nor do I propagate any sort of protectionism, I do however believe if you are paying someone to do the job, it is only reasonable to ask for results. So far those results have eluded the Pakistani nation. Bob Woolmer comes across as a pretty decent and a smart fella. He is smart and wily enough to know not to rock the boat and to simply ride the gentle wave. He knows all too well that to keep the PCB happy he has to get along with the tableeghi order period. Its one thing to be a gentleman its yet another to be able to articulate your opinion or dissent regarding team matters. I am yet to hear a voice of dissent from Bob about anything on the team from selection to player discipline. Please don’t tell me that all that has happened around Pakistan cricket regarding team matters have Woolmer’s blessings. I refuse to believe it. What I do genuinely believe is that the Pakistani players need a leader with the attributes of the great Khan. We all need a swift kick in the tookhus to keep things in perspective.

  • Khan on January 14, 2007, 11:38 GMT

    Can anybody plz tell me who is the Father-in-Law of Imran Farhat?

  • atta subhan on January 14, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    I dont know why faisal iqbal is bee given a oppurtunity to play we have given him lots opprtunities before but he is fail except scoring agains bangladesh he shpuld feel shame and sit at home with miandad and quietly see the others who are playing. I dont know whats wrong with PCB that why they didnot give chance to very good and proven crickter who had shown his class and even skills to bat with lower order "Asim Kamal" i think he is little black doesnt look beautiful in color also like afridi and not papu like hafeez thats why he is not been given the chance. Bloody pakistani team they will never learn from mistakes they will repeat the same hooking maistake n will give catching practice to SA sweepers, bloody dogs tail.

  • Danish Zaidi on January 14, 2007, 11:11 GMT

    Day 4 - Lunch

    It looks as if Pakistan's grip on this match is slipping away. Couldn't believe how Imran Farhat after getting 3 lives gave it away to such an easy ball just before Lunch.

    From here on in, Inzi really needs to play a big one...nothing less than a 100 which seems highly unlikely because SA have been very tight with their bowling. Faisal Iqbal from what we saw before lunch doesnt look like he is going to last too long. I think the only way he can really get out of the rot is to attack.

    If Pakistan even get a lead of 180-200 from here on in I think they would have done extremely well.

  • Jamali on January 14, 2007, 8:43 GMT

    I think Kamran and other people on the forum are being a touch too harsh by taking Pakistani players to task for playing the hook shot. Today's test cricket is not about playing safe, it is about being aggressive. Only the teams that play aggressively win test matches these dasy. So Pakistani batsman adopted the right strategy by taking the attack to the SA bowlers. However, there were flaws in the execution of the strategy, in particular their choice of which ball to attack and which one to leave. While there may have been flaws in the tactical aspect, the overall strategy is the right one and it will stand Pakistan in good stead. And plz stop criticizing Bob Woolmer. Had it not been for Woolmer's patience and efforts to make Pakistani players mentally and physically tough, we wouldn't even stand a chance against South Africa, who are the next best team after Australia and are particularly difficult to beat on their home ground. Lest people forget, even when Pakistan had all those star players in their midst, they rarely managed to beat SA on home soil. That this team is putting up a stiff challenge to SA with very few star players in their midst is testament to the courage of this young team and the work ethic that Bob Woolmer has inculcated in them.

  • Abdullah Basha on January 14, 2007, 8:25 GMT

    I only wish, the so-called Pakistan opener Imran Farhat reads the comments by Euceph Ahmed and retire himself from playing international cricket before the selectors open their eyes and put their mind behind it to realize what quality of players they select to play international matches. Imran Farhat doesn't even seem to qualify for a first class match. His selection only reflects the bad quality of the selection committee or there is a dearth of good players to represent their country in the global araena. It is a real shame that a country like Pakistan which is as old in cricket as the game itself, could not take care of the breeding process to groom good openers. Same view applies to the so-called front line bowler Naved-ul Hasan. I don't know how much of further hammering he would enjoy from class batsmen of the world. Can't selectors learn a lesson from their poor selection of players?

  • Raheel Hashmi, Riyadh on January 14, 2007, 8:24 GMT

    Pakistani batsmen are not capable of hooking and pulling the ball. It is not for the first time that they threw their wickets in this ridiculous fashion. Remember Pakistan’s tours to Australia when Australian bowlers were unable to take wickets for longer times they used the same technique which SA bowlers used in the first innings.

    I think Bob Woolmer should be wise enough to tell his men not to try their batting skills on short pitch balls. Especially Imran Farhat got out in this manner a lot many times and whenever he goes to bat I tell my acquaintances to see him getting out in the same way.

    As far as umpiring is concerned, Steve Bucknor has played a long inning and his retirement is far overdue. He is a respectable figure but for the last couple of years, he has not been up to the mark.

    No comments on Billy Doctrove.

    Regards

  • Kashef on January 14, 2007, 8:23 GMT

    I have been ardent follower of cricket and I don't feel ashamed in saying that except for the Pre-Imran captaincy and Post-imran captaincy era, Pakistan cricket has always been disorganized and close to shambles. We keep on bragging about raw talent what it takes common sense to nourish and flourish the talent. You can find immense talent in street cricket of Pakistan but how do those cricketers make it to the next level? They had to polish it. Unfortunately, once our cricketers make it to the national level they start resting on their laurels and take everything for granted. I remember the days when Wasim was leading the side and he kept on boasting on the fact that Mushtaq is the best leg spinner in the world and Pakis are the best despite being clubbered down under several times. Modesty is no longer prevalent in Pakistan cricket. Look at cricketers like Sobers, Botham, Imran, kapil, Miandad, Amarnath, Qadir, Vengsarkar, Richards, Waughs, Gooch, Greenidge, Haynes, Marshall etc,. The elite list goes on.............but I have yet to come across an incident or an article when these super stars claimed that they are the best. Their performances did the talking. Unfortunately, we have overrated cricketers...........Most of all is Danish kaneria!! he can't even spin the bowl, let alone taking wickets. You could bring on Warne, Qadir, Kumble anytime and they would get a wicket. Mr. danish goes for 100 odd runs in every innings and claims a couple of scalps........Hellalujia......that's breathtaking. What Pakistan needs is fighters that's what won Imran's tigers the world cup. Aqib was an average bowler but a fighter.......Rameez was an average batsman but a fighter, Moin was an average keeper but a fighter. Most of all the greatest batsman pakistan has ever produced (Miandad) never had the right copy book technique and raw talent but he was a great fighter. The only fighters I see in the team right now are Younis, Akmal, Gul & Asif. You can feel their presence in the field. That's why i believe players like Afridi & Razzaq should be in the team. They are fighters.To give you an example Shoaib malik has limited talent but he has won several games because of his fighting abilities. Asim Kamal is a fighter who is unjustly out of the team. Having said that, Mr. Woolmer should definitely give the batters a piece of his mind for the way they batted. In my personal opinion, I still feel that Pakistan can clinch the test series against the Springboks but we should not fool ourselves by thinking that this team will lift the coming World Cup.

  • Zafar on January 14, 2007, 7:25 GMT

    Posted at end of third day's play:

    Pakistan should immediately lodge a strong complaint against sledging and several critical umpiring decisions which went against them as usual. In fact they should now start considering boycotting coming fixtures and tournaments unless continuous umpiring bias and injustices against them are addressed without further delay and aggravation.

    The mismanagement of ICC's Percy Sonn and Malcolm Speed as regards falling umpiring standards should also be put under the microscope and qualified and able personnel with honesty and integrity should replace them.

  • A. Naseer on January 14, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    I just wonder why people call the Heraphiri that Pak middle order displayed aggression, I think it is totally defensive approach. becasue when you are failed to bled the runs from ur hositle throu classical fashion, then u go for such unproductive shots. I think the S. African have jsut put up a simple plan in which they have completed succeeded, they have made Pak batesman to struggle for runs, therefor the short ball was just like an hunt in hand for them to go for. but as a professional, solid and strong minded batesmen they could have easily perished their plans by avoidng pull or hook, there would have been a big chance for the youngsters to approve their skills by converting a paltry total into a big advangegious total

  • Daaniyal Masum on January 14, 2007, 6:26 GMT

    For the love of all that is holy will someone please tell me what in damnation is wrong with Andre Nel? I mean I love Fast bowlers and like to see them have a bit of verbal sparring with the batsman ...am all for an occasional walk down the pitch for a deathly stare and a chirp after a short one... but Andre Nel's verbal Tirades remind me of a full fledged Fidel Castro speech...dramatics and all...and to be quite honest he is not all that quick...his bowling is fast meduim yet he talks like he's lillee/thommo/wasim/wasqar/holding all rolled into one.... and the Umpires never caution him..never caution the captain...and bully for Younis Khan for making Nel look like an idiot by laughing at him...

    how about some comments on what the consequenses would be if a Pakistani bowler say Shoaib or an Indian bowler say Harbhajan did the same..? I think they'd be drawn and quartered by the match ref and docked their entire match fees... am sick to death of seeing this total tosh!

  • Syed Akif Shoaib on January 14, 2007, 6:19 GMT

    Oh come on people.things happen in cricket.Crickets a game of chance. THey all got out hooking or pulling. So what? The brighter side is that green are playing very well as all their outs were due to bad hooking. They were responsible for their dismissals themselves.

    And that gives us another point. Proteas bowlers haven't done much except bowled intelligently and make Paki batsmen go for da pulls and hooks

    EItherway, the match is poised very nicely.Inzamam and YOunis have to play well. One of them has to get a century..

    Au Revoir

  • riaz_husain on January 14, 2007, 6:00 GMT

    Why not have a blog on happy driving?

    Many batsmen, time and again, match after match, get out driving.

    Why not cut that shot out. Once that is done, we can line up the other shots and start having them eliminated!

    There is NOTHING wrong in principle with hooking or pulling. On bouncy tracks in particular it should be a highly productive shot and often is. Much better than ducking / weaving running away to square leg etc.

    The decision to hook and pull, if that was taken collectively is a good one. As the series progresses and a little more experience gained on its safer execution in SA conditions (which can only be gained by playing the shot)its returns will be higher. The problem is not playing the hook and pull, the problem is not having enough games prior to the Test to hone the technique for SA conditions.

  • Arsalan Khan on January 14, 2007, 1:19 GMT

    Most comments are non-sensical, emotional.

    An aggressive approach towards any weakness means to "counter-attack". Imagine all of them getting out "trying" to defend the short ball.

    They just need a far better shot selection that's all.

    Rembember, they just got to play a three day match before this game - which means they had no time to adjust and they've been adapting on conditions right from the word GO.

    It's so damn easy to sit there and critisize but when you face the music, trust me, it's a lot different than just writing the ooh's and aah's.

  • SOHAIB,UKRAINE on January 14, 2007, 0:42 GMT

    Imran farhat living dangerously i think he wont last long when the fourth day starts .Well we need younis khan to stay at least till lunch, inzi is in bad form cant xpext from him to flourish 100% .It would be great if Pak ll be somethink like 275/5 till tea .But it also remind me couple of words i.e batting collapse.Any way lets hope for the best that pakistan will come out strong .

  • Blue Devil on January 14, 2007, 0:21 GMT

    I agree with the earlier post about Inzi not even being in the same league as Miandad. The latter was a shrewd warrior, and could adapt to any situation. Enough is enough. PCB needs to hire coaches to help players develop their aptitude, mental tougness, and decision-making skills. It is essential to train future players who can think intelligently, adapt to changing realities, and take advantage of their opponent's weakness. The current paksitani batting order is clueless in this regard.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 13, 2007, 23:10 GMT

    ONE of the worst umpiring decisions in the recent times. Definitely the umpiring was below par. I would give Steve Bucknor the benefit of old age, the old man still tries his best to consult the second and the third umpire when in doubt. But, Billy Doctrove, the accomplice of Daryl Hair, who zipped his lips after the hair raising issues to save his own skin, is 'disgustipatingly pathetic'. Apart from the few LBW decisions he denied a straight forward catch of Makhaya Ntini, the second ball Ntini faced from Danish Kaneria he was out. How could Billy not see the ball hitting the pad, bat and the simple, straight forward catch? If he thought it was not from the bat, the replay confirmed that he was plumb LBW and the SA commentators were saying this is too much. Three plumb LBW decisions, two catches denied by the umpires is really poor and below par umpiring.

    On wickets like this where its hard for the bowlers to get a batsman out, a few instances like these by the umpires adds frustration to any bowler and the feilding side. In this case whether Inzamam was feeling the pain or not, only he knows that, 'coz he is such a poker face, lazy, lethargic, slow motion character who can only scratch his beard or pick his nose and then do nothing more than sitting on his haunches. When Ntini arrived he should have removed Rana and brought back his best bowler Asif from the other end with Kaneria, which he ultimately did and Asif got his 5th wicket, but after a loss of 28 odd runs for the last wicket partnership and that could prove costly in the end for Pakistan.

    Kaneria bowled well and I think he would be more difficult and dangerous in the 4th innings on this pitch as he was able to make use of the rough patches, especially the way he clean bowled Harris from behind his legs . But, to be more effective he needs aggressive field placement and to do that you need a lead of at least 270-280 runs. Is Pakistan capable of taking that lead? Its yet to be seen. Based on the law of averages it is very easy to predict a few Pakistani players performance and I wasn't expecting another 50 plus score from Yasir Hameed, he played and missed a hook shot before opening his account and immediately realized his mistake, but after pulling a successful shot for 4, he forgot that he needs to control his aggression until he is fully settled well and threw away his wicket needlessly by playing a poor shot. So did Hafeez, I don't reckon Hafiz as a consistent player. He took too much time and yet scored 19 and 15 runs.

    Rameez Raja on both accounts (1st innings 48 runs; 2nd innings 41 runs) when the opening pair put on a score of 40 he said, this is an outstanding performance from the Pakistani openers! And that was, what they call it "a commentator's curse". If you say a 40 plus score from an opening pair as 'outstanding' then it is a shame and a disgrace to Pakistan team. In my opinion it should at least be 80 or a 100 to be called as a decent opening partnership and one of the openers must carry on to score 70 - 80 runs if not a 100. If Pakistan needs to save this match, they have to play all day on the 4th day and build up a lead of 280. I am not sure whether they will do it, but certainly they are capable of doing it if they apply themselves like Prince and Gibbs and also the umpires remain equally consistent with their LBW decisions. I think Faisal Iqbal has this one last chance to prove his worth by scoring big runs here or else he will go into oblivion like Bazid Khan and others. No hopes from Younis to go on and score a hundred or from Inzi to score even a 50 in the second innings. But, Farhat, Kamran and Faisal MUST score and that will make the difference. We need the youngsters to perform before the World Cup..... and that will build up their morale and increase the team confidence.

  • Syed M. Hasan on January 13, 2007, 20:55 GMT

    I honestly think Pak team should hire an interpreter for our players. I guess they could also hire a teacher. Most of our players can't speak english. Hows Woolmer to communicate when they can't understand him. Woolmer probably said don't play the hook shot, but our idiots probably thought that he told them to play it.

  • Rahman on January 13, 2007, 20:30 GMT

    MR Bob since his joining to pakistan team never give a single member to pakistan team which has bright future in the team nor he improve any technique fault batsmans like Imran Farhat, Shoib Malik, ABdul Razzak, Faisal to be mentioned. All the players like Yasir hameed, Salman BUtt,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. Yasir Hameed and asim kamal was thrown out from the team just to accomodate shoib malik as opener , Shahid afridi and abdul razzak down the order. And much more to add Shahid Afridi Batted more decent when Javed Miandad was coach of Pakistan team u can see the stats for this. As coach Javed Miandad has far more better percentage of winining than Bob Woolmer and that to with the young team. 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.

    Lots of people talk about faisal iqbal nephew of javed miandad thats why he is in team but i have different opinion he is in the team because inzamam and woolmer all scared if asim kamal plays well than there will be no place for shoib malik and abdul razzak ( both mentioned as future captain of pakistan team hahahahahahahahaha) in the test ( not in odis) so they continue with faisal iqbal in the team who is not good as asim.

  • Nightwatchman on January 13, 2007, 18:41 GMT

    Every now and then, people tend to compare Inzi with Miandad. Some have argued that Inzi is more accomplished than Miandad. To me howevr, Inzi's dismissal in the 1st innings was another example why he could never be compared to Miandad. I would have expected him to spend Thursday night tossing and turning ib his bed, agonising over the way Younis and Yasir threw away their wickets after taking Pakistan to a comfortable position. I am sure there would have been a team talk and people would have realised the folly of playing hooks. Inzi, hopefully, also would have realised at the end of day's play how much the team depends upon him. The fact that he went for the shot so early on day 2 and got out just shows a glaring deficiency in his batsmanship. He can not adjust his game according to the needs of the hour. During last summer's England series, on the last day of 3rd test, he did not apply himself to try and play out the last 2-3 hours with the tailenders. With 7 wickets down, he threw in the towel, did not shield tailenders from the strike and started throwing his bat at every thing. The question is not if would have succeeded if he tried but why did he not try at all. For people like me who grew up watching Asif Iqbal and Miandad fighting epic battles with tailenders at the other end, Inzi too often fails to rise to the occasion.

  • Daniyal on January 13, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    The Super Sport commentary team interviewed Bob Woolmer the morning of the match wondering what the team's plan should be against the short stuff. Woolmer responded "We'll be ducking." So the question I would like to pose here is what went wrong?

    Did the batsmen mysteriously forget the plan when they strolled out to bat? Imran Farhat consistently hit pulls that weren't off the middle of the bat but luckily landed away from the fielders and yet he persisted. I'm wondering how well the communication within the team is. Wasn't there a time when the dressing room sent messages to the batsmen? Why doesn't the present management remind the players not to hook or fall for a certain trap when it is evident that they're a little too trigger happy? If such messages are being sent to the players but are being ignored they should be thrown out of the team to set an example. How can you expect to pull or hook the ball from wide outside off stump? Do our players even know how to play a hook or a pull much less when it should be employed?

  • Ali Khan, Cambridge UK on January 13, 2007, 18:09 GMT

    This is tyical Pakistani mentality! One bad performance and Nazir comes under fire. How can you people overlook his consistency over the last couple of series? Before calling for the inclusion of Sami and Afridi let's not forget that they have been pathetic throughout their careers. We keep persisting with them just because they look 'glamorous' on field. Matches are won by performance not by face value. Stuart Clark is a prime example of this fact. I agree that Rana probably needs to focuss on the one dayers more as he is better suited to the limited overs version of the game. Inevitably Akhtar should replace him for the next match. On the other hand Gul can be considered for Nazir only if he is hundred percent. Kaneria has been unlucky throughout the season so my sympathies to him. Overall our batting is doing better than we have ever done in SA. Farhat and Hameed have come good with the bat. They only need to apply themselves more and convert those fifties into big hundreds. This would only happen with experience (look at Yusuf's transformation). I sincerely hope the selectors stick to Hafeez, Hameed and Farhat for the World Cup and beyond. The 'Hook or Duck' dilema poses a problem but it should not take long to sort it out.

  • Abu Hamza on January 13, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Woolmer has to share the blame along with Inzi & Yunis... half of the team got out playing the same shot, aggression is one thing and stupidity is another.

  • Danish Zaidi on January 13, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    After the end of the 3rd Day's play

    Shocking decisions from umpire Bucknor and Doctrove. Like Robin Jackman said to Rameez….”Did your boys (the paki team ) refuse them a lift to the ground or what? Abosulte shockers…the last 2 to Ntini And I also agree with Javed Khan’s assessment of the inefficient technology being used in South Africa to identify 3rd umpire decisions. SA have been known to be ahead in this dept. but this season really there is something seriously wrong. Australia indeed seem to have really taken it to another level with the techonology Super slow mo, utra motion etc..

    After looking at the final score today Pakistan seem to have wiped out the deficit and really it will be up to Inzi especially and karam akmal to really make it count this time and set SA a target of 250. Younis Khan I feel also needs to score a big one. Anything faisal iqbal scores will be a real bonus. I am not even going to expect him to make many runs.

    Cant seem to understand Aamir Sohail’s two faced opinions. At times he can really be an embarrassment to Pakistan with his views and cricketing knowledge. Seems to be very stubborn with his views even though he knows they are wrong. Many examples like Junaid Zia whom he picked to play for Pakistan because tauqir Zia appointed him as the head of PCB and we all know he wasn’t up to the standard but Sohail still seems to believe he is one of the best. Same with Faisal Iqbal and only today he was telling everyone how is going to get out in the 2nd innings before he has even come to bat. However the most embarrassing piece of commentary was during the SA vs India test series when Shaun Pollock came in to bat and Aamir Sohail was commentating and started telling the public when he (sohail) was the captain of the Pakistan side he would always confer with Ian chappel his advisor about Pollock being THE BEST SOUTH AFRICAN BATSMEN……common…if he said the best bowler we might have agreed but best BATSMEN and BEST TECHNIQUE…like hello…we know you’re trying to be popular with the south afriacan public .. but please for goodness sake stop singing/licking the laurels of the SA team without proper knowledge of each player. I don’t mean to take anything away from Pollock batting wise as he is a good player but certainly not the BEST batsmen. Even the other commentator commentating with Sohail had to change the subject. Even ended up fighting on air with Mike Huysman a few years ago and had to be kicked out.

    Looking towards the 4th day;s Pakistan will need all the luck they can get provided the umpiring decisions don’t go against them. I feel that those umpiring decisions that went against them (last wicket -runs) might make the difference between pakistan wining and loosing so Inzi, YK and Farhat really have to make it count this time with the runs as Paki has a long tail.

  • asif on January 13, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    I know everyone is busy getting on the case of Rana & Nazir. Rana did get few wkts once he found his radar, and as for nazir, with a bit of luck (or should i say proper umpiring) he could have got 2 or 3 wkts. I think nazir will make way for shoaib in next match & if Gul is fit then Rana will be on the bench. For those people who are pushing a case for Sami, well what can i say, they have incredibly poor memory. We just dont need the return to bad ole days. Lets face it Sami is not an international player, period! He delivers buffet balls and a buffet ball is just that, with or without pace, and gets the same treatment.

  • asif on January 13, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    I was quite heartened by the application & concentration showed by pak batsmen in the final session esp Farhat. Conditions were awkward with lightening and constant drizzle, but they showed a bit of fight which is what test cricket is all about. Prince & Gibbs batted well but a number of umpiring decisions didnt go pak way. One can excuse the on field umpires as they are allowed to give the benefit to the bastman, if in doubt, but i fail to understand the TV umpires decision when nazir caught Prince, one particular angle clealy showed that he got his fingers underneath the ball and even the SA commentators conceded that much. I dont particuylarly think there are great demons in SA bowling but Pak need to bat sensibly. I dont think they should shelf the pull shot completely, as it will clearly send a defeatist message to the opposition, but they need to be much better at their shot selection. Being trigger happy, as they were on day 1, is just being reckless and that is no way to win the test matches abroad.If they can somehow muster a a lead of 230-250, then on a turning pitch with unpredictable bounce batting on day 5 could be a bit hazardous. Kaneria, for crying out loud, needs to stop leaking 4 balls in every over, try to land on the same spot 6 times at a trot, thus dry up the scoring opportunities, apply pressure and results will come, none of this overexperimenting nonsense.

  • Nasar Farooq, Leicester.UK on January 13, 2007, 16:37 GMT

    Anyone who does not admit their mistake does not learn from it.I wonder if Younis Khan and co. know this-or are simply too cocky and arrogant to admit that.When the opposition are setting a trap that you know you cannot overcome, why play into their hands-literally!The Pakistani batsmen must have been coached and informed of the bouncy nature of the S.African pitches before they set off on this tour and no amount of practicing on 'marble slabs' is going to help you in the middle when you are taking on the pull shot to excessively bouncy deliveries from outside the off stump-especially risky when fielders are placed for suicide.But then again when have pakistan played according to the situation (the pitch, bounce, quality of the oposition, their own weaknesses and strengths-all this summed up in two words: discipline, professionalism.Always lacking in Pakistan teams-something that i hope is being drummed into future Pakistan players in the academies.If they can sort that out then, i believe, could be world beaters.They certainly have ability and outrageous talent in abundance!

  • Omar B on January 13, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    Gosh no one else but the Pak team could have achieved such a feat. Hook after hook, guys this was not a practice session on playstation 2!!!

  • khansahab on January 13, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    sorry to make so many comments, but after watching hafeez get out in the 2nd innings, i am beginning to have doubts about him.

    in the 1st innings he scored 19 from 80 balls, in the second he's scored 15 from 48. there isn't any point trying to occupy the crease when you cannot get on top of the game.

    aamir sohail once commented that batsman from karachi are more mature than batsman from lahore/punjab. i am beginning to realise that, that comment holds in the case of openers.

    look at pakistan's 2 most renowned openers- saeed anwar and hanif mohammad- both are from karachi. most of the renowned specialist batsman have also been brought up in karachi or trained majorly in karachi, such as miandad, zaheer abbas...and now i am thinking about asim kamal.....

    is that the solution to pakistan's problem? getting more batters from karachi who will have the maturity to occupy the crease, but also to make inroads with shot selection. both concepts are equally important.

    faisal iqbal, though, is proving aamir sohail wrong.............

  • Akhter Khadeer on January 13, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    Not only South African team was laughing. The whole world was laughing with them at the stupidity of the Pak captain & his team. PCB should Appoint an Academic coach to teach english & aptitude to the team, so that they can understand the strategy of Bob woolmer and as well as of opposite team. What an embarrasment!

  • Daaniyal Masum on January 13, 2007, 12:46 GMT

    How about a few comments on today's umpiring by m/s doctrove and bucknor...bucknor is now just too old and doctrove never belonged in the elite panel anyway...what a load of tosh!!! pakistan has taken 16 wickets in an innings!!! imagine that.... exemplary behaviour by pakistan considering the ludicrous umpiring desicions....

  • Mohd Saleem on January 13, 2007, 12:39 GMT

    Lack of Cricketing Intelligence, nothing else. Need to educate the players especially Inzi, the captain.

  • khansahab on January 13, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    pakistan have 6 pacemen in this squad, provided that gul is still unfit for the second test, should sami be included in the playing XI because naved and nazir have been unimpressive?

    then the pace trio would consist of shoaib, asif and sami- at least we have experience there. at the moment pakistan have bowled 104 overs, nazir has bowled twenty with an economy of almost 5, naved has bowled 12 with an economy of 6....both havent taken any wickets!!!

    disgraceful!

    anyone agrees?

  • suleman on January 13, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    I have been a follower of Pakistani cricket since the heady days of Hanif and Fazal. In all these years one thing stands out - Pakistanis never learn from their mistakes, whether it is the pull/hook shots or the number of extras they give away. You go through past scores and one thing that stand out is the number of extras conceded. Only the names of the bowlers dishing out no balls and wides change - Wasim, Waqar, Imran, Shohaib, Sami, Asif - take your pick!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 13, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    3rd day pre-lunch session:

    FINALLY, Kaneria had some luck for bowling persistently and beating the batsmen on several occasions and was rewarded with the prized wicket of Ashwell Prince. I was keeping my fingers crossed when the stumping decision was referred to the third umpire. I have a feeling that Kaneria can change the game in favour of Pakistan, but thats only my own "fishful" thinking. Shahid Nazir and Asif were not so lucky today, especially Nazir's two plumb LBW appeals and a straight forward caught and bowled appeal and one of Asif's LBW appeal turned down by the umpires.

    For the second time in this match Steve Bucknor had to go to the second umpire to consult him for a catch appeal and then to the third umpire. I think for the BB's (Bucknor and Billy) of Caribbean, the SA heat is too much to make a decision on their own. Shahid Nazir took that catch and Prince knew he was out, despite being a good promising player, Prince was not showing any sporting spirit and behaved like, Gavaskar. He used to say, why should I walk? The umpire is there to decide and give a decision, so let him do the job.

    Now, even with the new (inadequate) technology they were unable to make a conclusive decision for the catch that Shahid Nazir ,and using the old rule book the umpires gave the benefit of doubt decision, which goes in favour of the batsman.

    Its a shame that when the latest technology is available, it is not being used in SA. There is no tracker, also there is no 'negative imaging' facility, the one that is being used in Australia which shows in black and white with a bright spot where the ball had hit. In yesterday's ODI at MCG, Darlrymple was given out by the umpire at the bowling of Glenn Mcgrath whereas the 'negative imaging' clearly showed that the ball had hit the batsman's helmet. Why is it not being used in South Africa? (that would have helped in judging the catch in Gibbs case, yesterday)

    With so much cricket being played these days and so much money is made from it, it is ICC's job to ensure that the use of technology should be the same in all the ODI's and test matches. This is another issue that needs to be discussed separately.

    However, it is very obvious from the current situation how helpless Inzamam is looking now without his main strike bowlers. It was either his own sinister motives to leave Shoaib Akhtar behind, if it was true then its a shame on him for being so biased or he is so naive and ineffective in convincing the selectors that he can go to SA with whatever team they choose and ask him to lead. In the later case he does not deserve to be a captain.

    If Umar Gul and Shoaib comes in for the second test, then Rana and Nazeer are out. They should send Rana Naveed back home ASAP. If MOYO joins the team for the second test then Faisal Iqbal is out too or else, Asim Kamal be given a chance. If the pitch for the second test helps the fast bowlers then, Sami should get in to strengthen the 4 pronged pace attack. That would be a formidable force to match the SA team.

  • farash on January 13, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    I think pak r going to loose this test but i am sure they will learn lesson and will be able bounce back.M.y is also going back for next match and if Akhtar is also in then pax r strong enough to get back in this series. I wish them all the best.

  • Muz on January 13, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with agression or deciding on a tactical approach to attack as a team. However in this instance, like most other games they play, Pakistan consistently show that the batsmen appear to lack for want of better words the intelligence or vision to assess the situation and adapt to it. There was a lemming like approach to their batting in this innings at least. One might hold of being scathing but the shots that caused the demise of so many was on more occasion then not poorly executed. Overall very poor.

    Muz

  • Faisal on January 13, 2007, 9:50 GMT

    The duo of inzamam and woolmer have got to be the most defensive combination out there in cricket. Shahid Nazir comes in to the team because he took 5 wickets in an irrelevant tour match. Rana is selected on the basis of his one dayy form. This is yet another case of uninspired selection. The team management needs to understand that sport requires inspired decisions..you need to have balls and select ppl who look like they can do the job..not on the basis of their stats...otherwise you are no better that wasim bari. For me the ony bowler worse than sami in test matches is rana...at least sami ends with a 4 - 120...rana is more like to be 0 - 120. For me inzamam will sully the legacy of imran khan..we are no cornered tigers anymore....what a shame, to have such attacking players and then to fill the team with defensive rubbish like hafeez, nazir, shoaib malik, and faisal iqbal (scared of short pitch bowling) Oh btw why is taufiq not in the team..he had the highest runs aggregate last time pakistan toured south africa..when guys like inzi, yousuf, and younis wilted under the pace barrage.

  • Shehzad Ghani on January 13, 2007, 9:29 GMT

    Here it is: Pakistan lost to England in England when Woolmer is well acquainted with English conditions. Pakistran is doing horrible in South africa, another place Woolmer is well acquainted with. First West Indies, then England, now S. Africa, all reasonable weaker teams, we haven't managed to beat them in last tours when we could have. Alas, golden lost opportunities.

  • vishal on January 13, 2007, 8:54 GMT

    Pakistan Should Bring Back Shahid Afridi In To Side He is Good All Rounder . He is Kind of player who can always be handy for the side with his attcking batting as well as is leg breaks

  • Umar Faruqui on January 13, 2007, 8:46 GMT

    Hook line and stinker is right! I can't believe seven batsmen fell to the pull shot. Apparently, common sense is in short supply. The pitch has uneven bounce, and there were enough mishits to indicate hooking would be a bad idea on this pitch. The first two hook dismissals were pathetic enough, but Iqbal, Inzi and Akmal apparently did'nt learn anything. Perhaps a case of Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest? They seem to have a combined intelligence of a three year old. Even Pavlov's dog was smarter!

  • Raza on January 13, 2007, 8:35 GMT

    Firstly, credit should be given to the team when it's due, who would have expected Pakistan to reach a score of 300+ ? I mean, we were all probably expecting a 100 run collapse or something, right? However, our players should learn that after getting of a decent start and having plenty of runs, the hook shot isn't the only scoring option available. I just fail to understand the strategic plans of the team, there are like fielders covering the outskirts of the on-side boundary and yet they seem invisible to Pakistan. And Pakistani batsmen continue to take on the challenge of hitting every bouncer for a six...what is going on? It seems as if the whole team was all of a sudden influenced by Afridi's batting style.

    On a side note, Pakistan should not have let Waqar Younis quit, our fast bowlers need assistance. Just look at yesterday, there were all of a sudden so many more no-balls bowled. I don't really think Mushtaq Ahmed will be of any help to the fast bowlers, after all common sense tells us that fast bowling is not his art.

  • iftikhar bhatti on January 13, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    shame for inzi and co the way they throw away their wickets buy hooking and pulling.not a single batsman was bowled or lbw.this shows that south african bowlers or pitch did nothing except planning.i think our batsman should learn a lesson from hashim, gibbs and prince batting and should play for county s pride and not for croud s clapping.

  • Iftikhar Qamar on January 13, 2007, 8:01 GMT

    I think idea of being aggressive is ok but the execution was not as good as the idea was. Pakistani need to realize that they cannot pull or hook SA out of the test match with this kind of selection of shorts.....Any ways best of luck and Faisal Iqbal should be replaced by Asim Kamal for sure. I dont know what is the mistake of that fine young batsman, why he is not in the slot. He deserves his place in the side in the presence of any greats in the team.....

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on January 13, 2007, 7:24 GMT

    I agree that our batsmen seemed to suffer from "hookitis". The main problem is that they all got starts and couldnt capitalize on them. I think the South African bowlers were persistent, and that is what got them wickets. However, only Asif from Pakistan has looked threatening .

    However, one should keep in mind that 300+ in South Africa against their bowling line-up is not quite bad. I think we are still in the game , so there is no need to get overboard with criticism. Mistakes are what make us human , right?

  • Omar on January 13, 2007, 6:30 GMT

    Well i think kaneria bowl stupidly. When a just a two day pitch in givin you soo much assistance. You must as the batsman to play against the spin while kaneria all together didn't know how to adjust to that pitch. Which may be a failure of captain or the thinkin of the bowler himself. Now after shane we all have eyes on our this talented bowler. He must act maturly now having played 4 years of international cricket. He must know how to adapt to the conditions quickly.Plus Hats of to Asif again he will be a legend soon.

  • Ehtasham Usmani on January 13, 2007, 6:12 GMT

    I think Pakistan started the bowling v good but asif was the man alone. Kaneria is used by Inzi as a defensive option which he is not, I felt that Kaneria lacked game plan. If early heroics on day 3 can limit SA to a lead to lead of 60 - 80, Remember!! the pak batsmen were out by their own silly mistakes not by brilliance of SA bowlers, if they can dicipline themselves, still a positive result for pak is possible.

    But some got to suppot asif, Pak Missing shoaib & Gul badly.................

  • Asim on January 13, 2007, 5:48 GMT

    I believe, the current crop of Pakistani batsmen are the most ill equipped hookers in the game right now. Hook shot is simply not their cup of tea. Hook shot is a natural reflex shot that needs a very good eye. Unfortunately, except for Inzi in the current lot, no one can play a technically correct hook shot. They all can pull short balls, but hooking requires a better eye, correct body position and quick reflexes. To my mind, the only good hookers Pakistan ever produced were Majid Khan and Imran Khan. Even Inzi wasn't bad in his younger days and Aamir Sohail was also okay, though, not in the same league as Majid and Imran. Thus, the bottomline is forget hooking and try to duck. Sorry to say, i have seen a few Pak batsmen like Abdul Razzaq, closing their eyes at the shirt balls. If one can not play a hook shot, it is acceptable, but to be clueless at short balls is very childish.. Come on, batters, you are not going to get your favorite half volleys and longhops against good teams like Aussies and the Proteas, so be prepared to tackle the short stuff as well....

  • ali on January 13, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    One can only say about our team's hooking/pulling ability - thank those awful home pitches that we make against world teams.

    Its no secret about Pakistani batsmen inability to play short and fast balls. Repeatedly have we failed in Australia and SA. The lessons from world cup 2003 at SA should have been learned by now. Instead of going with this short term vision of wining home series, a focus should be on long term . I believe Majid Khan in his time tried to make bouncy wickets at home, but once he's gone its back to old tactics.

    On the bowling front, Pakistan needs to step in. Its been unbelieve why Rana keeps struggling on away pitches. I guess the mistakes on letting go Waqar is already showing as Pakistan bowling seems to show cracks.

  • Syed M. Hasan on January 13, 2007, 5:15 GMT

    I wish ppl would stop picking on farhat. He's been god as of late. Maybe he knows what he's doing when he plays risky shots. In his last 5 matches he averages 44.87. As for Faisal, i think he needs to go. Asim Kamal should play. Kamran also hasn't been lookin' great. We should give Zulqernain Haider a chance.

  • khushal on January 13, 2007, 5:09 GMT

    i agrre with u kamran youd think batsmen of such class like inzi and younis would be able to pull or hook the ball but the bounce on the wicket is quite good and and trying to hook or pull a ball to high could risk in ur wicket. inzi should have learnt from yasir and younis that the pull shot might not be a good weapon here.

    khushal khan

  • A.R.Zaidi on January 13, 2007, 5:07 GMT

    Unpardonable! how could all 7 be so fond of hooking suddenly in the first test? Abdul Qadir on PTV said they should all be packed home . Since they r professional cricketers, don't they know how shot pitch deliveries r played? I think Pakistan spoiled a chance to score beyond 500 runs in first innings. Only Asif is bowling well with no support from any other bowler. Rana Naved is not a test match stuff as proved by him. So is it a lame duck attack which Inzi selected for winning this test? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh how much i miss Shoeb in the team! And more i m missing Waqar Younis as bowling coach too after watching our bowlers sending so many no balls. I can simply say it is lack of desipline and net practice. Match visibly is going out of Inzi's hands at the end of second day with wicket easing more and more.

  • Aamir Yunus on January 13, 2007, 4:47 GMT

    Pakistanis are not good hookers. I think we need to get some hookers from England and Australia. Hookers from India are not good. They should pratice with hookers, to go out and try.

  • ali on January 13, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    inzi is the man who resurrected pakistani cricket after the ashes of the world cup. i love the guy. but when hameed is mistiming hook after hook can he go have a chat. oh yeah can the coach who i also like tell the players that there is a fielder there waiting for the catch. why play the shot when there is a fielder there waiting. farhat and hafeez played a few but the fielder wasnt there making it safe.

  • SOHAIB,UKRAINE on January 13, 2007, 2:44 GMT

    only one bowler cant prevent the lead ,it would be obvious that SA ll pass 350.Especially on the SA pithces fast bowlers are more useful, there is no piont of danish kaneria being in the side .About hook shot selection just we need to forget that because pakistani batsmen use to follow the mistakes ,anyway lets hope for the best .Danish kaneria ,rana naveed and faisal iqbal they must be replaced before the second test starts .

  • Rizwan on January 13, 2007, 2:02 GMT

    I think everyone is missing a very important point here..it is a tried and tested tactic against batsmen from the subcontinent when they go to places like South Africa, Australia or England..usually the host side pitches the ball up consistently to invite flashing cover drives that subcontinental batsman are so used to back home..the high bounce and extra seam movement more often than not takes the edge..i think we should give credit to the Pakistani batsmen that none of them got out by lunging the front foot forward and nicking the ball while attempting a cover drive..it has happened so many times in the past..I think their plan was to go after the short-pitched stuff..however, they got too much carried away with it..their plan was right but I guess they have to be more careful in choosing which balls to hook rather than going after anything thats short..

    in all the hooking melodrama we forgot one thing..there were no edges..it is an accomplishment..

  • Aslam on January 13, 2007, 1:25 GMT

    Just wonder what does Asim Kamal has to do to be playing for pakistan again..the guy ave 37 compare to 27 by Faisal Iqbal and he is overall a better cricketer and offer more quality to the batting line up with coming in at number 6 and being a left hander...Mr Bari is keep saying that he is a test player and not odi...had he been given a chance in a odi yet?how does he know that he can't play test? and he is not even in our test 11 either... back to the test match..i think Pak will do just fine ..DK will be huge in the 2nd innings..he is a much better bowler bowling in the 4th innings then in the 2nd of a test match..i just wish Asif had some support from the other end and things would have been a lot different. with new ball due in 5 overs tomorrow and Asif coming fresh i think we will get them out soon inshaallah ....i dont think their lead will be anymore then 50-60 runs.... also agree with a lot of you on Imran Farhat..i hope when MoYo is back he is dropped from the team and replace with Yasir Hameed at the top with Asim Kamal coming in at number 6... GO Pak....

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz on January 13, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    It was heartening to see Asif stage a comeback to the international arena and he has done it in style. If Pakistani batsmen learn to avoid the hook and pull stroke then they will be the only team to challenge Australia in test cricket. Asif, Umar Gul and a disciplined Akhtar means that its the best pace attack and Kaneria is a very good leg spin bowler. Hafeez is a very good opener and Yaseer Hamid has done well to cement his spot and it would be unwise to drop him when Mohammad Yusuf returns. Only Faisal Iqbal is the weakest link with a test average of 27, so we should keep Yasir Hameed regardless. As Imran Farhat can not be relied upon to score a 50, Yasir Hameed has to play virtually as our 3rd opener like Ian Bell had to do for England. Even Kamran Akmal has a better test average than faisal iqbal and Akmal is more orthodox stroke player and he is good enough to face the 2nd new ball and the best option at no. 7. I hope the team management wont drop yasir and thinking along the lines of dropping faisal iqbal when Mohammad Yusuf returns. Shahid Nazir and Rana Naveed has been pedestrian so Akhtar must play in the 2nd test. If Gul is absent, Sami can be given an opportunity. I am sure he will do a better job then Shahid Nazir. However Rana's 30 means that Pakistan needs to strenghen their tail and thus he should not overlooked ahead of Sami. Its an interesting problem to have. A full strength pakistan XI will be the ideal challenge Australia will be looking for as other teams dont seem to have the batting or bowling attack to outplay Australia.

  • Abdul Rehmani on January 13, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    If a million dollar coach can not eradicate such problem, then it is pretty much clear he is not doing his job. Every Pakistani batsman is a compulsive hooker, it has been known to every opposition team fast bowler & coach that Pakistani batsman don't know how to pick the right delivery to play a safe hook & pull. I am appalled by the team performance, right now Pakistan can only win a test on home soil, Bowling heavily rely on Asif, rest is nothing but a party of "Qawal" just clapping hands. Pakistan will loose this test and probably they will fall apart once the finger pointing and blame game will start. What a bunch of disorganized out of control mob with no self respect.

  • Nabeel Adeel on January 13, 2007, 0:55 GMT

    hi kamran today was basically south africas day.firstly wid inzi on the crease he shd have been more responsible n shd have got pak to 350 plus.its a known fact tht the 2nd and 3rd days of a test match r best for batting n same is the case here.south africa are only 59 behind now wid 6 wickets in hand and if pak dont get early wickets tomm the game mite slip out of hand.so far in 2 days pak has already missed yousuf, shoaib and even gul.only asif impressed today n its quite evident today yy naveed n nazir have not been able to establish themselves as regulars in pak test team.these 2 seamers bowled well below par today n thts y pak finds itself on the back foot now wid boucher n pollock still to come.the only positive is tht the ball is turning but for danish to have an effect on the game pak has to give him something to bowl at in 4th innings.19 no balls in half an innings is also a testament to the blunder pcb has made by forcing waqar into resigning.As far as the hook shot is concerned i cant contemplate as to yy inzi played it at such a crucial stage.i say inzi caz he had seen it happen to 3 batsmen before him.its good to be agressive but nt at the cost of 6 top order batsmen is not the best of results.goodluck pak team but things dont look goodn this test match.

  • Zaheer Gorsi on January 13, 2007, 0:26 GMT

    It does sound bit foolish on part of our batsmen to fall for hook and bait trap by hooking. Given the situation, Pakistan might have made close to 400 if they had abstained from pulling and hooking. But at the same time this expresses the strategic intention of Pakistani team to face off South Africans with aggression and positive state of mind. And this has certainly helped them to cross 300 mark. If they were not as aggressive and positive in their appraoch, they might have gotten out at a score close to 250 by handing over catches in slip cordon at a much slower run rate of 2.4 or some thing. Therefore I just see it as a coincident that most of our front line batsmen went down while hooking and pulling. And it happened just beacuse they were being positive. And this is the only way to prevail in South Africa.

  • Danish on January 13, 2007, 0:12 GMT

    we ned Asim Kamal...the ..job Prince does for south africa...Asim is same kind of player...cant we learn from others?

  • Rauf on January 12, 2007, 23:31 GMT

    Good article and good comments! No the pull, hook, stink and sink is not working. In SA we need a different strategy. We should drop this one and we should start by dropping Imran Farhat.

  • Valavan on January 12, 2007, 23:08 GMT

    Mr.Ghalib Taimur, You want to say that Pakistan gave up themselves. Not at all its always a bowler's tactic to tease the batsman. Its also intelligent and calculated bowling strategy. Pak can flourish against any opponents in dusty, slow surfaces only.

  • Abbas Naqvi on January 12, 2007, 22:50 GMT

    Are we all talking about team Pakistan?? Did team Pakistan ever, ever learn from their mistake. The only reason we are considered among the top ehelons of cricketing nations is sheer abundance of talent, but no common sense.

  • Danish Zaidi on January 12, 2007, 22:44 GMT

    I still think this is one of the weakest SA teams ever that pakistan is playing against. By now they should have had the game by the scruff of the neck but they havnt and only have themselves to blame.

  • Nadeem Akhter on January 12, 2007, 22:41 GMT

    Seriously, I was not expecting that after the blemishes of day one, any of remaining batsmen will loose their wicket either hooking or pulling. Alas, I was wrong :( . Let's see what happens in 2nd innings. My assumption is, as the wicket is expected to grow in pace and bounce, most of them will get out either caught behind or in the slips. :S

  • Danish Zaidi on January 12, 2007, 22:38 GMT

    I just can not believe the way Pakistan got out to the hook shot. 8 dismissals….reminded me of the Pak vs SA one off test Pakistan played in 1995 at the wanderes where all of them got out playing the hook shot except Inzi who got 95

    But surely Inzi should have known better. What on earth did he think he was doing playing that shot and holing out. I thought Inzi’s captaincy today again was very negative to start off with settings defensive fields giving away singles to the new batsmen therefore pressure could not be applied and they were still able to hit boundaries.

    Communication was also very poor…Having said that I thought the only positive aspect was the switch in ends for Kaneria where he got more bite and turn from round the wicket but was still unlucky not to have gotten gibb;s wicket. I would have licked to see the SNICKO on that one. Replays even showed Gibb’s bat change direction after the ball hit his toe and went to slip.

    Like I have said in previous threads and the commentators too said that today that this series could be deicided on # 6, 7, and 8 and SA is way ahead with gibbs, pollock and boucher. This is where I feel Pakistan are missing someone like Afridi at least he would have provided some impetusto the batting and bowling . Azhar did this for them the last time.

    Faisal Iqbal really needs to make way for Asim Kamal or anyone else. I think he's overstayed his welcome really and its high time the Pakistan management get someone reliable because Pakistan already has a long tail and faisal iqbal can only make things worse.

    Shahid Nazir didnt look the bowler he was vs Windies...Rana was even worse with his line but I blame Inzi too..with his field placings.

    Only hope I see is Asif doing some serious damage tomorrow morning to get pakistan back in to the game but from here on i'd say its 65-35 in favour of SA but really that’s asking too much from Asif after he’s already got the top 4? who knows? It’s a tough ask. Even if SA get a 60-80 runs lead like “Javed” there is no way Pakistan are going to score that many to give SA a real total. They’d need a minimum of 250 to challenge SA and by the looks of things you’d expect SA to get 80-100 runs lead which will have its effects on pakistan’s batting mentally leading to them crumbing (typical Pakistan) because there simply isn’t enough support in their bowling right now and Pakistan were 90-100 runs short.

  • Zeeshan on January 12, 2007, 22:33 GMT

    I watched the Pakistani batsmen play, get set and then get out. Even though it can be said that they got out to their folly of being drawn into pulling unneccessarily, I would still praise the South Africans. They played on an obvious weakness displayed by their opponents and cashed in on it.

  • Mawali on January 12, 2007, 22:18 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, Indeed we have a possible stinker in the making here. Someone forgot to tell Inzi's heroes that they are playing a test match and not a 20/20. This is the reason I question Bob (fat paycheck)Woolmer's contributions. You would think, being a batsman during his playing days, and having coached South Africa, shortie might have some handy tips for the lads. South Africa is playing an aggressive game but it is controlled, channeled aggression based on a game plan. Prince and Amla played controlled innings and took South Africa out of a potentially disastrous situation. I hope that the morning session conditions will help derail this current partnership and also hope that Danish Kaneria offers some extra prayers to bhagvan, because as javed Khan pointed out the laddie has been unlucky.

    Not to pick on anyone , but heck its more fun anyway. I loved this post; "what are shabbir ahmeds chances of playing in the wc?". Now I know we have been discussing "why Winston Churchill was a fat slob" right! AMF

    AMF!

  • Shahzad on January 12, 2007, 22:16 GMT

    I just don't know why Shahid Nazir is in the team. Everyone says he'z performing well for the last 6 months and what not. I believe that is just a myth! He hasn't performed well and I really dont know what the selectors see in him. He has no aggression, no pace and is bowling far too short. Moreover, I still say that Kaneria is a very overrated bowler. He jsut takes way too long to take a wicket. This is the aspect of his game that I always hated. He's never going to take a wicket bowling around the wicket. He needs to get over that habit or else we need to look at some new leggies like Mansoor Amjad and co. Mansoor Amjad flights the ball very well and bowls many balls at the same spot. Something we really need..

  • mat on January 12, 2007, 22:08 GMT

    I think we have to be careful to blame bob woolmer. I have been watching pakistan for last 30 years. Bob woolmer is trying to make them prefessionals ways of playing cricket (e.g physical, mental strength) as he had successfully done with south africa and warwickshire. Without all that they will have no chance of competing with teams like Australia. Problem is as someone mentioned before, our players are too dumb, paindoos to learn. A coach can only coach, can't do it for them. Bob woolmer was our only hope to become consistant in world cricket but i am afraid our players would perform miracles once in every few years and live on it thereafter. The way Younis Khan being hothead resigned and took back captaincy showes their mental approach. Bob Woolmer trying to bind them together but I am afraid he would be disappointed. I hope I am forgiven to say that they are shining examples of our national attitudes. When we can burn our own shops, businesses and wreck everything in sight to protest against anything happening anywhere in the world. We as a nation are very good at pressing self distruct buttons and our team represent us. Some of our players need to change their attitudes. Our great nation ( i mean ordinary pakistanis) need something to be happy about. I hope our team use some cool heads and put smile on our faces. Good luck Pakistan

  • omar hussain on January 12, 2007, 21:56 GMT

    I am simply amazed that Pakistan have chosen Faisal Iqbal again.Asim Kamal would be my choice if Yousuf is absent because Kamal is very cool under pressure and can keep one end shored up.As to Pak's hook happy attiude i wonder what has Bob Woolmer been doing out there?Agression is ok. but it must be measured;no one in this team has realy mastered the hook shot or play it well expect perhaps Inzimam but he is at the stage of his career where he has to cut it down.The match is not over yet if just Rana or Nazir can get going and help Asif an exciting match is on the bill.Lastly welcome back Asif and good luck!!

  • Kashif Malik on January 12, 2007, 21:25 GMT

    One of the reasons why MY was so great last year and will continue to be great is because he no longer hooks, and pulls the ball along the ground. This shot selection, or rather lack of, has helped him to convert his starts to big hundreds.

    Our boys are not natural hookers; ducking the short ball will not give SA the impression they are intimidated of it.

  • kamran on January 12, 2007, 20:59 GMT

    why are we playing Rana again. He's not a test blower and we cannot rely on Sami becasue he's wayward so how many wickets has he taken so far !!!

  • Waqqas on January 12, 2007, 20:10 GMT

    Pulling and hooking long hops, fine. otherwise leave it out! the SA bowling was meek generally and the batsmen got themselves out. Whats going on with Rana. he should just bowl a tight line and length and mix up the slower balls and yorkers like he does in odi cricket. none over-trying trash. In odi cricket rana is used as a strike bowler, theres small difference in his role at test level. just take asif as an example, he bowls similarly in both forms of cricket.

  • Sohaib on January 12, 2007, 19:48 GMT

    Oh come on - people fall to different kinds of shots all the time. It happens - it is part and parcel of the game. Obviously we had higher expectations from the players who fell to those shots but this is what can happen! Already people start losing hope - it is so very easy to criticize and point fingers when you are not actually playing the game. These players are doing an excellent job, and give no indication of not trying their best. They will (hopefully) learn from their mistakes and thats that! All we need is for other bowlers to find their grove and support Asif and Danish. It is well known that a bowler has more chances of improving since their mistakes at most cost them boundaries. For a batsman, one mistake can cost them their wicket. So, the bowlers have had enough practice and should try better. Unconditional support!

  • Tauseef Waraich on January 12, 2007, 19:48 GMT

    Nice topic and I hope Bob Woolmer gets to read some of the posted comments, as it would only help building the Pakistani team.

    As far as hook and pull shots are concerned, I remember Ramiz Raja's interview where he described preparations for the West Indian tour under Imran Khan's captaincy. Pakistan was up against the best in the fast bowling business and without the protective gear such as helmets. They practised short ball (wet tennis ball on cement pitches) for hooks and pulls and they had so much success against the bowlers at that time. Current batting line up seems to have no better technique to defend and the only option as a batsman is to try pulling it so that it's off your face. I think Muhammad Yousaf is the only batsman in current Pakistani line up who comes right behind the line of the short ball to defend it or guide it where appropriate. The rest are playing the shots out of defensive mechanism and not becuase there is any strategy for it.

    Lets see if they include Shoaib in the next test match to avoid embarassing after effects of the S.A series.

  • khansahab on January 12, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    i spoke on another topic on this blog about this issue and some people apparently, did not agree with me. i made certain predictions:

    1) that the openers would fail- i said farhat won't go past 20 but he made 26, well he exceeded my expectations but not by a long shot! the solution is to get a mature, 25+ non paindu batsman as an opener. imran farhat is not even close to the calibre of opening batsman pakistan have got who are desperately waiting for a chance. 2. that it would be south africa's middle and lower order that would cause pakistan problems, not their top order. i made special reference to prince, pollock and boucher. some people said that the pakistani bowling attack would bowl SA out because of their weak form. HELLO! prince, pollock and boucher are in the best form of their careers. 3. that the pakistani bolwing attack does not have the spine to penetrate SA. people refuted this saying that naved and shahid nazir have that class. the problem, gentlemen, is that naved and nazir have not played as much international cricket that we can make judgements on them. naved is inconsistent, ever since his debut, he seems to perform in one series and then ruin everything in another.

    asif is like irfan pathan, he can get you the wickets only when the bowl is new and swinging. but i don't think more can be expected from him. i am absolutely disappointed with naved, after his performance today who can call him a good bowler? why does he have so many adaptability/fitness problems?

    and now the main issue of today. hooking and pulling. i almost feel that someone is going to bring up a match-fixing allegation now, saying that the batters wanted to get out and playing those risky shots was the only option, as for once, it seemed that younis/yasir were competent to play a world class attack.

    enough for now, but you shall hear more of my rantings soon, as inzi says, INSHALLAH (i wonder if in the pakistani team huddle inzi told his men....."inshallah" we should hook every short ball because it will go for six......we have to win this match boys and hooking short balls in the region of where fielders are standing is the way to do it!!!!)

  • Amyn Habib on January 12, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    The reason Australia is number one is because they never give up trying, they are focused on extracting that little bit of extra advantage, the few additional runs. Combined with a wealth of talent and experience, of course. Pakistani batsmen, on the other hand, more often than not, squander advantage gained through a good performance. The lack of self discipline and intelligence is disappointing. Although, I must say that the overall batting performance was better than I would have predicted. I am also struck by the fact that Pakistan has only one quality bowler in this team.

    Pakistan cricket continues to be plagued by unprofessional practices and mysterious events. Players strangely become unfit, or regain fitness, selection of players remains fickle (selection of Rana Naved or Shahid Nazir over Shabbir Ahmad). Kaneria continues to disappoint, and his long term place in the team should be reconsidered given his continued mediocrity.

    I am also struck by how little Pakistan cricket has changed since Woolmer became the coach. We were an unprofessional second tier team when he came on board, and it is hard to see much overall improvement. There are two important exceptions, though. Mohammad Yousuf’s improved batting and Asif’s emergence.

  • Syed- USA on January 12, 2007, 18:52 GMT

    Dear friends, Don't get disheartened yet,let me share with you, my assessment of the match so far. Batting: I feel first test,first inning,Pakistan was hpoing to cross 200 mark, anything that came after it was a bonus for them, atleast that's how it appeared, if u remember back home in tests recently against a weaker opposition they showed more application with the bat.I think they still need to figure out meaning of AGGRESSION. Imran Farhat is now becoming a Mansoor Akhtar of the past(who atleast was a far better performer in domestic cricket).He needs to be shown the door quickly not for his batting alone but for the glaring sense of immaturity and lack of responsibility. Bowling: I feel Rana was not able to adjust his length on bouncy pitches(we always talk about batsmen needing to adjust on different conditions) with his round arm action he tends to be more skiddy, where on these pitches u need to bowl just back of length to extract that clever bounce,maybe Waqar could have some input for him if only he was there..LOL... Kaneria bowled well, tried hard,BUT......... quality bowlers don't always need to blame their luck.........they take wickets,if lucky several in an innings. I think the key here would be now to try to dry up the runs ,specially for likes of Gibbs and Boucher, that should bring hopefully some more wickets. I still believe any target ocer 200 in last inning would be challenging(If Pakistan can achieve that).

    ThankYou,

    Syed .......USA

  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on January 12, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    What a shocking performance by Pakistan! Can't hook, can't bat, can't bowl, can't field!

    Gutless! If only Kaneria could turn a cricket ball as much as his tongue. He talks a lot of nonsense!

    What happened to the fiery bowling attack? The truth is we have a very weak team but high expectations as a public.

    The nation expects, but the current lot cannot deliver! I say;

    Shoaib for captain! Bring in Taufeeq Umer, Asim Kamal and Butt.

    Get rid of Faisal Iqbal, Farhat, Hafeez, Sami, Rana, Kaneria. Complete waste of time!

  • Yasir Butt on January 12, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    To those who are blaming Bob Woolmer for the hook/pull shots gone wrong, please think before you start typing nonsense. Woolmer is the coach, not the batter. It's his job to tell the team how to play and form the strategy, but he cannot go out there and hold the bat for them. Younis, Inzamam, Iqbal, Akmal etc have all played enough cricket at this level to know how play in each situation and too put away the hook shot when they see someone else get out to it, for example. However, none of them did that. The fault lies with the players not the coach. Where Woolmer should share the blame is with his and Inzamam's selection of Rana Naveed and Faisal Iqbal. Rana has never looked like a test player in the test matches he has played before, and today was no exception. With Gul and Akhter not available for this test, Inzy and Bob should have gone with Mohammad Sami, who has bowled well recently and has an extra yard of pace as well. Naveed neither has pace not any control, and is like a lamb heading for slaughter. His ineffectiveness may end up being the difference between a win and a loss for the team. As for Faisal Iqbal, his 1 of 28 balls showed how ill-equipped he is at this level, he's there only because he's Miandad's nephew. He has no business being in the team, and if Malik was injured then Bob and Inzy should have gone with Asim Kamal.

  • Ali on January 12, 2007, 17:12 GMT

    Absolutely right, I would also like to include Bob Woolmer being Coach to take partial responsibility of this hook/pull fever. The other aspect of the game i.e. Bowling also needs to be addressed. We have 4 potential match winners and only one is in the team right now. I am talking about Shoaib, Asif, Shabbir And Gul. Ok, Gul is injured but why not shoaib and Shabbir? Good that they have finally decided to sent Shoaib and if he is able to play in the second test then the world would see the difference. But still, why not Shabbir? He is a class Test bowler with 50 odd wickets in around 10 tests. I am sure, with all top 4 bowlers firing, and batsmen not trying to huck/pull every short piched ball, we can think of challenging even Australia. Right now, with this team, I am not very hopeful.

  • Ahsan Karim on January 12, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    The most negative thing about this for Pakistan is that the situation has become more apparent in the last couple of series which doesn't say much for Bob Woolmer, who should have ironed out such flaws before a series on bouncy wickets. Also, it has to say Faisal Iqbal showed that he isn't test quality anywhere other than Pakistan, scoring 1 from 26 balls before perishing, clearly beaten by pace and bounce. In comparison Yasir showed more resolve before he succumbed to the pull shot along with 6 other Pakistan batsmen. The only way Pakistan will come back now is if Rana and Kaneria can come join the Mohammed Asif show or else South Africa look like they will get at least 400.

  • badar muneer raja on January 12, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    what are shabbir ahmeds chances of playing in the wc?

  • Ghalib Taimur on January 12, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    The funny thing is that most of our batsmen fell due to their own stupidity rather than any great bowling from the South Africans!Just shows how much better we could be if we played controlled strokes.

  • Euceph Ahmed on January 12, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    OK, so here they are... the grand strategists. Woolmer, Inzi, Younus and company roll out their complex drawings, maps and tables and roll up their sleeves. Hmmmm... we're going to South Africa, what should we do? sweat, sweat... what should we do? perspire perspire, what should we do? Oh god what should we do? And, after many days and many nights the white smoke billows from the chimney. We have a strategy. Finally, we have a strategy. After endless hours of consultation and meditation we have come up with a very complex approach to South African pitches and their short-pitched bowling. We are not going to be intimidated by them. We are going to hook and pull anything short they throw to us. Wow, what a grand plan! what complexity of approach!!! What an anti-climax!!!

    Over the last couple of days the strategy has been so obvious it's not even funny. Talk about a "paindoo" approach to mind games. If you've decided to dominate the short ball the worst that you can do is to get out off a short ball. There's a thing called shot-selection. The team plan should say: we will TRY and dominate the short ball. This is to say that you will execute the hook or pull if the merit of the ball demands it. The team plan cannot say: we will dominate EVERY short ball. That is downright stupid. But I think that is exactly what Imran Farhat and company thought of the strategy. This time he was dropped off a half-baked pull shot. Next test he should be dropped off the team for good.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 12, 2007, 15:35 GMT

    Kamran, its a very good point to open a thread and I was hoping that this 'pulling & hooking' business needs to be addressed at some time and at some level and this is the best time as the match is still in progress. I wonder whether the techno-savvy coach ever notices the repeated mistakes and their weakness in playing a pull and a half-hearted hook shot and getting out again and again in the same fashion.

    Imran Farhat is one person who would never learn from his mistakes and he plays his risky shots very early but, what made Yasir, Younis and even Inzamam repeat the same mistake? As regards Inzamam, he has never been able to convert his overnight scores into a big innings.

    From the South African players its not their opening batsmen that I am concerned, but, its the second 4, Prince, Gibbs, Boucher and Pollock who have been giving their team the batting boost from the middle order. Since Amla from the top 4 gave a good start, they are going to capitalize and build up a lead. Apart from Asif our fast bowlers are struggling. Kaneria is so far unlucky especially with that Steve Bucknor's blunder to call a third umpire for asking his help to determine whether the ball touched Gibbs's bat or not, that was a wrong call and as per the books he could have only referred it to the third umpire to ask whether Younis Khan took the catch neatly or grassed it?

    If, SA takes first innings lead (even 60-80 runs) there is no way that Pakistan can win this match as the openers have done their job in the first innings and there is no hope to expect the same from them. Despite the fact that scoring in the fourth innings would be very difficult and playing Kaneria would be even more difficult. But, there has to be a total to defend and I don't think that Pakistan is going to score much in the second innings. They failed to capitalize a good start and cross 400 mark.

    What I don't like about Inzamam's captaincy is, he has suddenly gone defensive after Gibbs onslaught on Shahid Nazir (4x4) and another four to Kaneria. You cannot get wickets with defensive field placements and SA players are not going to repeat the same mistakes as Pakistani players did i.e., playing half hearted hook and pull shots.

    I don't think Rana is going to contribute anything with the ball, his 30 odd runs are a bonus but thats not what is expected from a front line bowler.

    Still there is a lot of time left after the tea break and there are many a slip between the cup and the lip. Lets see what happens next, I would like to see Kaneria attacking, he is luckless so far.

  • nasir on January 12, 2007, 15:17 GMT

    Learning from previous mistakes is not what the Pakistan team does very well. It was evident that they did not care too much as batsmen after batsmen perished to that stroke and Younis defended their tactics rather than admitting mistakes. Worst still day two we lost two more trying the same silly shot. We have let this match slip and coupled with poor bolwing except kaneria and asif, this match looks lost.

  • eddy on January 12, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    sorry Kamran i know this is not related but i just stumbled on a fasinating piece of stats. With W Indies and India touring england this summer and Australia just in 2005 i was surprised to see that Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting have never made a 100 at Lords, the mecca of cricket. Lara has played 3 test matches-6 innings(another match this summer?)Tendulkar 3 matches -5 innings (another match this summer?)and Ponting 2 matches- 4 innings. ONE score of fifty in 15 innings from these giants,Lara's 54 in 1995. this would suggest that England have had the upper hand at Lords over the recent years....or does it? ; )

  • Ali Khan on January 12, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    Agreed. Aggression is good but it has to be calculated aggression. Had Inzi and the Y's been more selective Pakistan could have easily crossed 350. However I do believe Pakistan are well-placed. If Nazir and Naveed-ul-Hasan can find their radar and support Asif we have a great chance. I think as the ball gets older Nazir and Rana would come into their own.

  • eddy on January 12, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    i agree totally, some players continue to perish to hook or pull shots not knowing when or if to play them.Strauss was out sevaral times during the ashes, Sarwan was dropped recently because he didnt learn from his mistakes. Steve Waugh took the pull and hook out of his game and look were it got him and his team. its a shame because these types of shots are the most exciting and thrilling in the game. masters play the pull and hook very well, such as Richards,Greenidge and Bradman. But you just dont see it played very well in todays game.

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  • eddy on January 12, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    i agree totally, some players continue to perish to hook or pull shots not knowing when or if to play them.Strauss was out sevaral times during the ashes, Sarwan was dropped recently because he didnt learn from his mistakes. Steve Waugh took the pull and hook out of his game and look were it got him and his team. its a shame because these types of shots are the most exciting and thrilling in the game. masters play the pull and hook very well, such as Richards,Greenidge and Bradman. But you just dont see it played very well in todays game.

  • Ali Khan on January 12, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    Agreed. Aggression is good but it has to be calculated aggression. Had Inzi and the Y's been more selective Pakistan could have easily crossed 350. However I do believe Pakistan are well-placed. If Nazir and Naveed-ul-Hasan can find their radar and support Asif we have a great chance. I think as the ball gets older Nazir and Rana would come into their own.

  • eddy on January 12, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    sorry Kamran i know this is not related but i just stumbled on a fasinating piece of stats. With W Indies and India touring england this summer and Australia just in 2005 i was surprised to see that Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting have never made a 100 at Lords, the mecca of cricket. Lara has played 3 test matches-6 innings(another match this summer?)Tendulkar 3 matches -5 innings (another match this summer?)and Ponting 2 matches- 4 innings. ONE score of fifty in 15 innings from these giants,Lara's 54 in 1995. this would suggest that England have had the upper hand at Lords over the recent years....or does it? ; )

  • nasir on January 12, 2007, 15:17 GMT

    Learning from previous mistakes is not what the Pakistan team does very well. It was evident that they did not care too much as batsmen after batsmen perished to that stroke and Younis defended their tactics rather than admitting mistakes. Worst still day two we lost two more trying the same silly shot. We have let this match slip and coupled with poor bolwing except kaneria and asif, this match looks lost.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 12, 2007, 15:35 GMT

    Kamran, its a very good point to open a thread and I was hoping that this 'pulling & hooking' business needs to be addressed at some time and at some level and this is the best time as the match is still in progress. I wonder whether the techno-savvy coach ever notices the repeated mistakes and their weakness in playing a pull and a half-hearted hook shot and getting out again and again in the same fashion.

    Imran Farhat is one person who would never learn from his mistakes and he plays his risky shots very early but, what made Yasir, Younis and even Inzamam repeat the same mistake? As regards Inzamam, he has never been able to convert his overnight scores into a big innings.

    From the South African players its not their opening batsmen that I am concerned, but, its the second 4, Prince, Gibbs, Boucher and Pollock who have been giving their team the batting boost from the middle order. Since Amla from the top 4 gave a good start, they are going to capitalize and build up a lead. Apart from Asif our fast bowlers are struggling. Kaneria is so far unlucky especially with that Steve Bucknor's blunder to call a third umpire for asking his help to determine whether the ball touched Gibbs's bat or not, that was a wrong call and as per the books he could have only referred it to the third umpire to ask whether Younis Khan took the catch neatly or grassed it?

    If, SA takes first innings lead (even 60-80 runs) there is no way that Pakistan can win this match as the openers have done their job in the first innings and there is no hope to expect the same from them. Despite the fact that scoring in the fourth innings would be very difficult and playing Kaneria would be even more difficult. But, there has to be a total to defend and I don't think that Pakistan is going to score much in the second innings. They failed to capitalize a good start and cross 400 mark.

    What I don't like about Inzamam's captaincy is, he has suddenly gone defensive after Gibbs onslaught on Shahid Nazir (4x4) and another four to Kaneria. You cannot get wickets with defensive field placements and SA players are not going to repeat the same mistakes as Pakistani players did i.e., playing half hearted hook and pull shots.

    I don't think Rana is going to contribute anything with the ball, his 30 odd runs are a bonus but thats not what is expected from a front line bowler.

    Still there is a lot of time left after the tea break and there are many a slip between the cup and the lip. Lets see what happens next, I would like to see Kaneria attacking, he is luckless so far.

  • Euceph Ahmed on January 12, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    OK, so here they are... the grand strategists. Woolmer, Inzi, Younus and company roll out their complex drawings, maps and tables and roll up their sleeves. Hmmmm... we're going to South Africa, what should we do? sweat, sweat... what should we do? perspire perspire, what should we do? Oh god what should we do? And, after many days and many nights the white smoke billows from the chimney. We have a strategy. Finally, we have a strategy. After endless hours of consultation and meditation we have come up with a very complex approach to South African pitches and their short-pitched bowling. We are not going to be intimidated by them. We are going to hook and pull anything short they throw to us. Wow, what a grand plan! what complexity of approach!!! What an anti-climax!!!

    Over the last couple of days the strategy has been so obvious it's not even funny. Talk about a "paindoo" approach to mind games. If you've decided to dominate the short ball the worst that you can do is to get out off a short ball. There's a thing called shot-selection. The team plan should say: we will TRY and dominate the short ball. This is to say that you will execute the hook or pull if the merit of the ball demands it. The team plan cannot say: we will dominate EVERY short ball. That is downright stupid. But I think that is exactly what Imran Farhat and company thought of the strategy. This time he was dropped off a half-baked pull shot. Next test he should be dropped off the team for good.

  • Ghalib Taimur on January 12, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    The funny thing is that most of our batsmen fell due to their own stupidity rather than any great bowling from the South Africans!Just shows how much better we could be if we played controlled strokes.

  • badar muneer raja on January 12, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    what are shabbir ahmeds chances of playing in the wc?

  • Ahsan Karim on January 12, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    The most negative thing about this for Pakistan is that the situation has become more apparent in the last couple of series which doesn't say much for Bob Woolmer, who should have ironed out such flaws before a series on bouncy wickets. Also, it has to say Faisal Iqbal showed that he isn't test quality anywhere other than Pakistan, scoring 1 from 26 balls before perishing, clearly beaten by pace and bounce. In comparison Yasir showed more resolve before he succumbed to the pull shot along with 6 other Pakistan batsmen. The only way Pakistan will come back now is if Rana and Kaneria can come join the Mohammed Asif show or else South Africa look like they will get at least 400.

  • Ali on January 12, 2007, 17:12 GMT

    Absolutely right, I would also like to include Bob Woolmer being Coach to take partial responsibility of this hook/pull fever. The other aspect of the game i.e. Bowling also needs to be addressed. We have 4 potential match winners and only one is in the team right now. I am talking about Shoaib, Asif, Shabbir And Gul. Ok, Gul is injured but why not shoaib and Shabbir? Good that they have finally decided to sent Shoaib and if he is able to play in the second test then the world would see the difference. But still, why not Shabbir? He is a class Test bowler with 50 odd wickets in around 10 tests. I am sure, with all top 4 bowlers firing, and batsmen not trying to huck/pull every short piched ball, we can think of challenging even Australia. Right now, with this team, I am not very hopeful.