New age May 22, 2007

A better beginning than expected

A clean sweep of this series would have been an unimaginable result--and so it turned out. Sri Lanka are a formidable one-day team even without their premier bowler. This series was a trip too far but today they roused themselves to give Tom Moody a happy send off.

Pakistan made mistakes. Malik made mistakes. There is much work to be done to polish the skills of this young team. But nobody should have expected a perfect performance so early. Each new formation requires some time to settle. New responsibilities bring new roles, and new roles take a little getting used to. If these players are to challenge the world's best they will have to advance their skills quickly.

But there was enough spirit and verve on display over this series as a whole to conclude that Shoaib Malik's captaincy has begun successfully, better than might have been expected. He was probably helped by the absence of Younis Khan and Shoaib Akhtar, which allowed him to rule outside the glare of captains-in-the-wings. Pakistan must build from this pleasant beginning and hold the thought that they defeated the World Cup finalists. The new age already offers much to fascinate.

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