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January 27, 2007

Team sheet

Shock, awe, and possible implosion

Kamran Abbasi
Abdul Razzaq celebrates victory, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd match, Jaipur, October 17, 2006
 © AFP
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With injuries and poor form asking fundamental questions about Pakistan's one-day squad for South Africa, the selectors have answered with a vote for thrills--and probably quite a few spills and missed heartbeats.

The recall of Abdul Razzaq was expected. When fit, Razzaq is an ideal one-day player even if his place in the Test team is worth challenging. Shabbir Ahmed's return was inevitable too given Pakistan's injured fast bowlers, but it's hard to see how he can have been unfit last week yet fit now.

Razzaq, of course, is a lower middle-order whirlwind. In combination with Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir--who have both made surprising returns--Pakistan's one-day team has just adopted the shock and awe strategy.

Afridi did well in his season of domestic cricket in South Africa although he looks to have opted out of domestic cricket in his own country, something we were told he would have to succeed in to win selection. Nazir, by contrast, has performed due diligence by rebuilding his reputation at home and it is a surprise that the selectors have resisted recalling him until now.

Whatever the machinations, I'm all for this daring approach. Now is the time to get these big-hitting players in form before the World Cup. They add an explosive capability to the more trenchant qualities of Pakistan's classy middle-order. There is a risk though that these bombers will inflict more damage on their own men than the opposition.

Call me reckless but I'd have it no other way. The Pakistani cricket team has been most successful when it has attacked, and with Afridi, Razzaq, and Nazir in your batting line-up, attack is turned into all-out assault. Hold onto your sun-hats.

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

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Posted by Best Registry Cleaner on (June 13, 2010, 18:42 GMT)

Hello everyone thanks for

good information.

Posted by Khalid Arif Siddiqui on (February 3, 2007, 11:25 GMT)

I read the comments of Mr. Javed A. Khan from Montreal and agree to all what he has written. I would like to how ever add that the inclusion of Zulkarnain was ridiculous. One fails to understand the logic of having 2 wicket keepers in a playing eleven, we could have added another batsman instead of him. This also shows the lack of planning by the tour management. As regards the post match comments of Younis Khan well i think it definately is a wake up call but not for Inzi as stated by Mr. Javed A. Khan, i think it is for the sellectors to have a second thought about his captaincy, for he has clearly failed in this area and looks under pressure when leading the team. His batting also shows the effects of the captaincy burdon and i personally feel that PCB should try and find an alternate and the sooner the better.

Posted by Khalid Arif Siddiqui on (February 3, 2007, 7:10 GMT)

"Pakistan restricted to 139 in difficult batting conditions"....was quoted in a leading english daily of Pakistan covering the Twenty/20 match between Pakistan and South Africa. Hillarious indeed as South Africa scored the same number of runs in 10 overs only in the same conditions. Pakistan batted badly and without any planning and that is why they couldnt put up a reasonable score that is the only reason.....conditions were perfect as was proven by Smith & Co. I think the captaincy also has to be probed a bit because the team which represented Pakistan in the Champion's trophey also performed similarly and I some how or the other cannot avoid feeling a wee bit etchey about his leadership qualities.

Posted by Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on (February 3, 2007, 5:03 GMT)

Pakistan's total capitulation in 20/20 game, a precursor for things to come (hope not!)

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Why is Kamran Akmal being persisted with and not rested when it is the need of the hour?

Its mind boggling and difficult to comprehend.

The conditions changed so swiftly and South Africa made it look so easy.

We hope that in the ensuing O.D.I series, team Pakistan can turn things around with better approach and a bit more composure. The innings needs to be planned and built in a systematic manner. Lack of application was evident from the opening pair, all the way down.

The team needs to get its act together pretty quickly to make a match of the gifted South Africans who apparently excel in all departments of the game, be it bowling, fielding or batting - more so, in the shorter version of the game.

There seems to be discord amongst rank and file of the Pakistan team and this is playing on the minds of the players.

By persisting with Kamran Akmal, Pakistan is erring like India did by continuing to take chances with out of form Sehwag.

If Akmal thinks that a come back would be difficult for him, so be it. This kind of pessimism and apprehension on his part is not good. He has strong potential. The team management needs to take him into confidence. The handling seems to be out of sync and not in tune with reality.

In this game, team Pakistan just dissipated and were shred to pieces.

Win or loose but do show some guts and fight it out in the middle - not like this spineless performance, its demoralizing all around.

Now go one better in the first ODI.

Mohsin Malik

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (February 2, 2007, 19:27 GMT)

South Africa LOST this twenty10 match against Pakistan! They threw the gauntlet at Pakistan that you play a twenty over game and we will do it in 10 overs. Ah, that was a bit over 10 overs without any loss and they blitz through the innings in style. Probably the biggest margin ever in a twenty20 match. Right from the word >>>>GO it was a loot on runs from Loots Bosman, and Graeme Smith was no less hammering the weak Pakistani bowling attack and created a new world record for himself by scoring three individual 50's to his name in the twenty20 arena.

So, Mr. Kamran Abbassi, your "Shock, awe, and possible implosion" prediction actually happened in this game and that is very demoralizing for the 5 match ODI series starting Sunday. Pakistan's batting, bowling and fielding was pathetic. Kamran Akmal showed that whether he wears his gloves or not, he can still drop sitters. Not a single Pakistani player played well, they looked like they were lost in the crowd of Johannesburg which was bustling with live music, drums, dancing and sixes galores.

Pakistan's unplanned and hasty decisions are always going to cost them heavily. There was no need for them to dispose off with Kaneria in such urgency. He was more attuned to the SA conditions and was bowling a better line and length, whereas. Abdul Rahman was not only hammared for 36 runs in 3 overs but, even before he bowled the first ball, he was looking frightened, insecure and unsettled.

Younus Khan thinks that it is a wake up call, I am not sure if his comment was directed towards the sleeping giant Inzamam or for the rest of the team?

Posted by Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on (February 2, 2007, 8:15 GMT)

Dear Mr. Abbasi: Keep the good work up! It's doing Pakistan cricket wonders and much more would follow soon. Its just a matter of time.

May I suggest that you please post a new blog now or a little later with the ODI series versus South Africa set to start shortly.

The first of many apt titles highlighting the Pakistan team compaign and leading up to the coveted Cricket World Cup set to commence in the West Indies from March, 2007 could be the following:

1. Kaneria makes way for Abdul Rahman 2. BCCP Constitution Delays harmful for Pakistan Cricket 3. BCCP chief should be elected and not selected.

I have a strong gut feeling that Abdul Rahman would shine not only in this ODI series by making positive contributions but go some distance in proving more than a useful restrictive bowler during the World Cup compaign and provide Pak team supporters with a lot of interesting trails and traits to follow.

Here is my initial post about this blog to set the ball rolling.

-----------------------------------------------

Thursday - February 2, 2007 12.15 AM - Pacific Standard Time

Kaneria makes way for Abdul Rahman:

After the conclusion of the test series, many would be still wondering about Kaneria's wicket less returns on the final day of the 3rd test match. The story was no different on the last day of the 1st test match. Pakistan lost both these matches with Kaneria failing to take any wickets on the final mornings when it mattered most.

In the 3rd test match, Asif did provide vital breakthroughs early on the last day by removing Smith and Amla in succession raising hopes in the process of a likely Pak series win. Furthermore, in partnership with Kaneria, he kept the scoring rate in check.

For his part though, Kaneria did his best and extracted sharp turns with his conventional leg breaks. He went further a field and tried few other tricks of the trade known to him. No one would question the hard work and persistent effort put in by him. But yet one more time, when it mattered, the statistics evaded him and he failed to make his mark in that the score sheet for him on the final day remained blank. If Kaneria had somehow, added a scalp or two before the lunch break, the story and the end result would have been different.

In the ultimate analysis, this was just one of the factors that made a difference for the team during key stages of the series as it progressed.

But as it turned out to be the case one more time, and as the experts have been calling it for long, Kaneria perhaps does not have in him for the big occasion. He has rarely shown this ability to run through the top batting line up.

Rightfully, now comes the turn of a promising left arm spinner, Abdul Rahman.

Watch out for him as he is set to make his mark. He impressed many a team supporters with his brief stint in the home series against the touring West Indies side.

Many are banking on this new find to fill in this gaping hole in the spin department. His performance and ability to restrict the opposition batsmen would be watched with a keen interest by all. There is an opportunity to be grabbed here for the forthcoming 'Cricket World Cup' and beyond.

If Abdul Rahman fills in the role of a front line spinner with a degree of success and contributes positively towards the team effort during this forthcoming one day series in South Africa, he would naturally get the nod of everyone including the team captain and the management and become the natural choice for the big event commencing in March, 2007.

Kaneria along with many others would then, have to accept the reality check. Let's keep our fingers crossed, meanwhile and wait for the start to this absorbing ODI series.

Mohsin Malik San Francisco Bay Area Cell: 925-487-5128

Posted by Khalid Arif Siddiqui on (February 1, 2007, 17:09 GMT)

This has reference to Mr. Nadir Dawood's letter of 29th Jan regarding Asim Kemal. I would like to request Mr. Dawood to send his comments based on facts. Asim Kemal did play at Nbr 3 spot against South Africa on his debut and scored 99 at lahore. He has a very decent test average of 37.70 (with a strike rate of 47.23 decent enough for test match level)having 8 fifties in his 12 tests so far spanning over a period of 4 years. This shows that he has carried his form over a long period, and he is the best suited player to play with tail enders as he proved at Rawalpindi against the Indians, again in Australia against the mighty Aussies, also in India and West Indies. Now if he is not included in the team how on earth can he prove some thing. His is a mystry that no one can understand and one feels that the sellectors and otr team management are at fault by not letting him play in the test matches. In 12 matches he has scored 8 fifties and that is proof enough that he has potentials but the Blind bosses of PCB keep ignoring him. I feel that he is an ideal choice at number 6 spot and it is useless to include Yasir in the team and shuffle the batting order as was done in South Africa....and God knows why...maybe another compromise between the chief of PCB and the Inzamam. Can some body shed some light on it please.

Posted by Ashaq on (February 1, 2007, 13:36 GMT)

Mr.Javed.A.Khan. You were presenting fairly deceptive statistics to show that Inzi had a better average than inzi. In 2006.

Now when some one presents statistics to prove that Afridi is nothing more than a glorified club fighter. You claim the statistics are irrelevant.

Posted by Asad Ashraf on (February 1, 2007, 0:56 GMT)

Ass'alaam Alekum

I've always read, but never commented much on remarks made by some fans on this forum. With the World Cup due, I think it it fair to say the likes of Rao Iftikhar etc are not in the plans of the Inzi and Woolmer.

As far as I see there are one, possibly two slots available for the first 11. Depending on whether Pakistan play a spinner. That in it self is an argument worth mentioning. Does Danish worrent a place in the team. To be fair he is not the most explosive of wicket takers, and niether has he been consistant enough to be ear marked as a stock bowler, that position lies firmly in the hands of Abdul Rehman who has impressed of late in ODIs. However neither can bat, and with Pakistan being notorious in failing uptop, I don't believe a specialist spinner, what ever the pitch is required.

Mr Abbasi mentioned that he is excited by the attacking line up and it is the way Pakistan should play. And I totally agree. But Pakistan should not go on a kamkazee mission. They must time their innings through out.

For me the only position available is the number one slot.

With Younis, yousuf and Inzi in the middle followed by Afridi and Razzaq you;d imagaine one of either Akmal or Shoaib Malik would open, with the other in at number 8. giving Pakistan a healthy batting line up. That leaves 2 specialist bowlers, being in order Shoaib Akthar, Mohammad Asif and Umur Gul, with Rana, Sami, Danish, Rehman and Shabir as back up.

So gets the number one is what Pakistan must focus on in this forthcoming ODI as well as preparing a World Cup winning 11.

Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, and ever Yasir Arafat (highly unlikely) are all due to commence battle for that one remaining slot. On paper,Pakistan have a strong squad, possibly the best squad in the world. On the field, in the middle of the square, we all know, Pakistan can win or go bust. Insh'Allah this team can bring some excitement back into the world of cricket, something it has lacked for many a year.

Posted by AFRIDI on (January 31, 2007, 14:40 GMT)

I don’t hate him. And (definitely) I am not his admirer. I was just giving you some facts.

First of all READ everything and than write yur replies, and it would be great if you did some research before saying anything. Most of the things you mentioned in your post make no sense. For that read my previous post. Let me summarize some points again for you.

- His performance at WI: Played 9 matches… highest is 69 (against Zim); avg is 26.22; took 12 wickets; econ 4.69 -His avg. outside subcont. is 18.96 (batting)

“his last hundred was not in April 2005 but the last two 100's were in January 2006 and both against India in Pakistan.” - he didn’t score ANY 100 (ODIs) in 2006. He did that in tests, and that’s a different topic. - Last time he scored a century was in April, 2005 against India, in Canada (no wonder)

“About records and statistics, neither Inzi nor MOYO ever got a 100 against SA in SA. So,” Please do me a fav. DON’T COMPARE AFRIDI WITH INZI or MOYO! (period)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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