South Africa January 30, 2007

The Test verdict on Bob and Inzy

It is hard to imagine that the substantial partnership of Bob Woolmer and Inzamam-ul Haq will see another Test match

It is hard to imagine that the substantial partnership of Bob Woolmer and Inzamam-ul Haq will see another Test match. One or both will certainly be gone before Pakistan rejoin the battle later this year.

Now is the time for a verdict, and it is this: Pakistan have improved steadily under their leadership, from a position of near free-fall Pakistan are battling for second place. The home citadel--overrun too frequently in the past--has been strengthened once more. Indeed, the subcontinent has become a field of success for Pakistan. Great work.

But the litmus test of any Pakistan side is how it fares in Australia, England, and South Africa. In all three arenas Pakistan have failed--althought the failure in South Africa was a narrow one. The biggest cause for concern is the one that Imran Khan loves to trot out and that is the failure of openers.

This is a harsh judgement--and I have great fondness for both of them and many of the failings are not theirs but the system--yet in the eyes of history the bare unmitigated results will stand out and shout their verdict: great job, could have done better.

Having said that, a World Cup win will mean this record is forgotten.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on February 7, 2007, 12:31 GMT

    This test series has clearly shown one thing that Mohammad Yousaf is not as good or as great a batsman as his averages suggest. I personally was looking forward seeing him pile runs against a good team with a decent bowling attack unlike the other teams against whom he scored so heavily last years, but the south african promptly and justly cut Mohammad yousaf back to his size. He gave decent chances while reaching his top score of 87.

  • testli5504537 on February 5, 2007, 23:59 GMT

    I think Inzy brought too much religion into game. He has his own group within the team that supports him whole heartedly.......Tablighi Jamaat. Inzy, the best batsman Pakistan ever produced, was never a good (let alone great) captain. He is too laid back and defensive in his approach. He is the one who got dea

    Bob is fine except that we have not seen much from this team. Of course, we should have a foreign coach.....Minadad should have nothing to do with Pakistani team. Let us NOT give another chnace to Miandad

  • testli5504537 on February 5, 2007, 21:51 GMT

    The Woolmer / Inzy era gave the team the stability it needed.

    It is true that both are rather conservative, and the result has been just the same as during Australia's conservative Simpson / Border era: the team rose to second or third place on the rankings, but lacked the final element to rise to the top, which is a period of stability in selection combined with attacking captaincy - which is what Mark Taylor brought to Australia.

    People talk of a bad final year, but I see a 2-0 home victory over England, what on the pitch would have been a 2-1 away loss, a 1-0 win over India, a 1-0 win in Sri Lanka (which is a magnificent result), a 2-0 home win over the West Indies and a narrow 2-1 defeat in South Africa. That looks pretty good after what we have been used to in recent years.

    If Pakistan can go back to the Salman Butt / Shoaib Malik opening partnership it will be well placed for future Test success, especially if Yasir Arafat can work on his batting hard enough to improve to be a Test class number six, like Shane Watson.

    Pakistan is only three elements short of success for Test cricket in the period 2007-2011. It needs a settled opening pair, it needs Yasir Hameed to grow into Inzamam's role at number 5, and it needs a genuinely fast bowler to back up the medium pacers Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul.

    Beyond that, only minor refinements are needed: Akmal needs to remember how to catch, Kaneria needs to develop and Asif needs 10 km more pace.

    And, last but not least, the team needs a World Class coach. My preference would be for Steve Rixon, but if he's not willing to work in Pakistan - and it's probably the least attractive location for westerners in the Test world - then I would look at Bennett King. My personal preference, though, is Ray Jennings, because he would make the team as tough a Javed Miandad!

  • testli5504537 on February 5, 2007, 15:32 GMT

    i think the major cause of failure of pakistani team is that team is not selected on the basis of merit. Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi all are mindless and rubbish players who have no sense of cricket. why not cricket board provide chances to new talent on the basis of merit. and yes i agree that all players are not naturally perfect, then what is the job of coach. but yes, the coach also can trained only those players who have already a lot of talent not those who does'nt know about cricket like Faisal Iqbal, shahid afridi, kamran akmal, and some other 'sifarshi' players. for example, Asim kamal is a very good talent then why board consistantly ignore him and preffering other rubbish players on him such as afridi,faisal iqbal etc. who batted at no. 6. ok if he has some defects then why not coach and board pay attention to him and i'm sure there are many 'asim kamals' which are ignored by the board because they have neither 'sifarish' nor 'maal'. Then why the board blame on coach, captain and players while the board itself responsible of Pakistani decline. This time Pakistani team has really lack of good players, here’s my recommended list of Pakistani team and various empty places on different numbers have to be fulfilled,

    1) Shoaib Malik ( Though not the best choice but can improve if to train him, can be useful for both one-days and tests) 2) (require some good wicket keeper batsman) 3) Younis Khan ( only useful for test matches, in one-days a no. 3 technician aggressive batsman requires like Yousuf) 4) Mohammad Yousuf ( the best No. 4 batsman of the world) 5) Inzamam-ul-Haq ( the best No. 5 batsman, but here, also a player of his class atleast in talent requires as his retirement is near) 6) Asim Kamal ( Best no. 6 batsman in tests, and can be useful in one-days at the same position if to train him according to one-day environment and he can play the role of “Micheal Bevan”, the former Australian Crickter. 7) (require a good technician aggressive all-rounder, Abdul Razzaq can also be the choice if he wants to learn something and have to be consistent) 8) (require a good spinner either a leg-spinner or an off-spinner inplace of rubbish Danish Kaneria “4 / 150 specialist”) 9) Shoaib Akhtar ( Good Choice but require some fitness and consistency) 10) Umar Gul / Shabbir Ahmad ( I prefer here Shabbir Ahmad for test and Umar Gul for One-days. Infact Gul is useful for both tests and one-days but in tests he can only be selected if Shoaib Akhtar be unfit. And as Akhtar remain unfit mostly throughout the season, so in place of Shoaib, Gul is the best at no. 9 both for one-days and tests. Shabbir Ahmad is a pure test bowler. 11) Mohammad Asif ( Best for the tests, the only thing he must need to have variation in deliveries in one-days for wicket-taking besides run-saving)

    Now, it’s upon to cricket board to let the new talent come forward without recommendation otherwise, tragic period of Pakistani cricket will continue as it is now.

  • testli5504537 on February 5, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    I have read all the above comments and really do agree to some. To me Bob is an excellent coach but his stint with PCB can be best termed as "the right man for the wrong job", because in Pakistan cricket is not just playing the game its also politics and if u want to excell then you must be very strong in both, rather even if yr cricketing ability is a lil bit below the level but yr policical connections and acumanship is sharp then you are bound to reach the top. In this area Bob has always looked wanting and at sea during his tenure as the Coach. The other factor which really didnt help him was his gentlemanly approach for in Pakistan if you are a gentleman the you will only be seen as a POOR GENTLEMAN and nothing else. I feel that the BOB - INZY partnership has only helped Inzamam become much bigger than his shoes, call it positive or negative....I will leave it fr the readers to judge. Cricket in Pakistan how ever has suffered and I for one will not blame Bob for that because he has a very good track record of Coaching and you only have to be too good to have such a record. I have heard many ppl say that Bob faces a communication problem with the players and we tend to think that it is reffered to the lack of his understanding of Urdu or the players understanding English. Well such comments are not directed to the language barriers, instead it is reffered to the language of politics at which Bob is a novice and so he faced communication problems. I am sure many would agree with me.

  • testli5504537 on February 5, 2007, 1:23 GMT

    I find it very hard to understand why Pakistan presist with players who have been failing for years! AFRIDI and SAMI MUST BE DROPPED AND NEVER SELECTED AGAIN. It's very hard to believe Yasir Arafat and the left handed bowler Samiullah Niazi continue to be ignored. What do pakistan have to lose by playing these players, especially Arafat who has preformed well every time he has played!

  • testli5504537 on February 4, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    After seeing today's match.

    Younis seems in capable of performing in modern oneday cricket. Get Yousuf to bat at no 3.

    Abdurrazzaq has to be dropped, his bowling is not worldclass any more. With the bat he's not consistent at all.

    Rana might prove to be the biggest failure in our bowling lineup during the worldcup, I don't think we have a backup strategy for that: Hafeez, Malik & Afridi can't be used in the end overs regularly.

    Our graduate assembly has to pass a bill stating "Afridi is not allowed to bat on position 1 - 5 for the worldcup".

    Last but not least get dr nasim out of the dressing room

  • testli5504537 on February 4, 2007, 19:41 GMT

    Waqar has to come back as bowling coach

  • testli5504537 on February 4, 2007, 18:50 GMT

    I have been proved right agian. This team has NO future-with players like Younis, Rana Naveed, Sami, & Razzaq. There should be an enquiry into why Younis has failed to deliver-in a crunch match once!Rana Naveed is too crude. He has no movement in the ball. Razzaq is a OK-but he too can be very expensive. There is nothing special about him.Sami-is sama as Rana Naveed.He is failed to improve. The bad performance then affects even the better players. I want Younis out of the team.He is pathetic to watch with that silly grin on his face all the time(when he thinks he is doing well!)

  • testli5504537 on February 4, 2007, 16:37 GMT

    Another big loss today at Centurion by 164 runs! Who told Inzi to put SA in after winning the toss today? Was it Woolmer? I think SA proved to be too good today at Centurion in first ODI proving my contention that this pair is a total failure. I dont see any hope of winning the cup under these two. Good luck Inzi but Barry Richards today said on TV that there seemed no cohesion in Pakistani team. He did mention Shoeb's brawl with Bob and his differences with u. It means u have failed to unite 11 players. For God's sake throw petty politics out of window and play for country. Pakistani can't afford such controversies at this time.

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