Twenty20 World Cup 2007 September 18, 2007

Misbah the unfancied turns unflappable

Misbah the unfancied has become Misbah the unflappable, and in a madcap batting order a touch of unflappability is exactly what is required
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Pakistan's selectors conjured some surprises for this tournament not least the selection of Misbah-ul-Haq, a senior cricketer who has been incorrectly identified as a youngster. When he was indeed a youngster, Misbah was discussed as a future star of Pakistan's middle order. Those observers must have been stupendously far sighted because that future has taken many years coming.

Misbah's temperament has been a surprise as has his assured strokeplay. But the boy can play and his fighting innings against India may have just encouraged him to secure his future in Pakistan's first XI. Misbah the Unfancied has become Misbah the Unflappable, and in a madcap batting order a touch of unflappability is exactly what is required.

The other rabbit out of the selectorial topi [hat] has been Sohail Tanvir, a wrong-footed inverse-swinging rookie whose introduction has helped revive Pakistan's traditional strength as a varied and penetrative bowling attack. The last few overs of Australia's innings was probably the phase that turned the match and allowed Misbah and Shoaib Malik to resurrect a floundering innings.

Pakistan might be through to the semi-finals with a refreshing spirit but they still have an unshakable problem at the top of the order. The first six overs are crying out for Shahid Afridi yet he sticks to the 12-over rule. The Bangladesh match now offers a last opportunity to correct this weakness.

Twenty20 might well be the least important world tournament but for Pakistan fans who have lived through the anguish of inevitable defeat to mighty Australia, this small victory is a sweet one. It is even sweeter still for Misbah the Unfancied, a batsmen whose style carries the 'M' of Majid Khan and the 'Ul-Haq' of Inzamam. He might never reach such dizzy heights again but for what he has done in this tournament and especially today, good on the youngster.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • WASIM SAQIB on September 20, 2007, 15:45 GMT

    This thread is being updated too slowly my earlier post has still not been posted so it has become irrelevent now,Pakistan finally won the game against Bangladesh and now they will stay in Cape Town,I was completely disappointed by their performance the whole team lacked intensity and the result was a lacklustre performance,the only high note of the game was Shahid Afridi's power hitting,the continous failure of Butt and Nazir have left Pakistan with no choice but to open with Afridi and Hafeez,Salman Butt's performance was horrendous in this match,he should be replaced by Fawad Alam. I dont care if Pakistan wins or looses in the semis in my opinion they should not make the mistake of putting Butt in the middle order he will detroy the momentum of the team and will put immense pressure on the other batsmen due to his nervousness or reluctance,if Afridi comes to open then Pakistan needs another Power hitter down the order and I think that spot should go to Fawad Alam and Imran Nazir should also come in late as he plays too many cross batted shots he won't be able to score runs at the #1 position with his batting technique at this level,luckily today he learned his lesson when his crockery got rattled by a faster one from Mosharafe he won't play that shot again for quite some time.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 20, 2007, 15:07 GMT

    What a stupid man Butt turned out to be with his dismissal. Imran Nazir and Butt can't play, they should be sacked.

    Butt and Nazir out, Fawad and Yasir Hameed in. Poor Yasir is not even in the squad!

  • Muhammad Asif on September 20, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Please don't dictate the rest of the bloggers about their language, if you are so upset just have a look on your own language in the previous threads towards other people. Whatever you recieve from rest of the world is just a reaction of your actions. So if you don't like reaction of the people just have a look at your actions. Sorry for non-cricketing post. No more dictation

  • ali on September 20, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    watching misbah three to four years back misbah seemed a decent player. i think the problem wasnt misbahs selections it was yousufs nonselection. for a person who has supported yousuf vehemently i still believe he shud have been in the squad. yousuf wud have been perfect batting at no3 and playing throughout the innings rather than hafeez who lacks international class.

  • Asad on September 20, 2007, 12:59 GMT

    Why is Salman Butt the vice captain? And the amazing thing is that he was actually considered for the captaincy position. He is not good enough to be in the team. One can almost see the daft logic...South Africa made a left handed opening batsman who was not in the team captain after the 2003 WC (smith) so Pakistan should do the same. What a bunch of unoriginal idiots!!

  • Valavan on September 20, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    Hi Pak fans, Dont get carried away with it. Seems like Kamran want to blow his own trumpet.Good thing is somehow u understood u can win, the same people who are the trumpet blowers also participate to criticize till death if pakistan fails to deliver

  • Tay'yab-Ali on September 20, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    First and foremost, my sincere apologies to Misbah & YK.

    I never doubted YK's batting ability in the longer version-I never believed he would be appropriate for 20/20. It seems Imran Khan was right to point out YK should be batting higher than number 7 in the 50 over game.I have never seen him time the ball so well when hitting the ball for six.

    I'm so happy for Misbah and Pak and wish him all the best in the future. Neverthless I still don't understand why MY was not selected. His batting ability makes up for his acceptable fielding. He is as good in the outfield as Butt, Asif, Gul, Rehman & Tanvir.

    Media reports and some bloggers suggested that it was Malik's influence which ommitted MOYO and included Rehman, the latter more so for his relationship with Malik. I'm not convinced friendship was the reason since MOYO & malik are the best of friend.

    I am a huge fan of Butt and believe he will be the next superstar for Pak. He is just not suited to 20/20. Remains to be seen if malik is brave to drop the VC.

    I'm really excited about Tanvir and look forward to seeing him bat. His domestic stats show he is more of a batting allrounder. If his batting is as good or better than his bowling-Pak have discovered a real gem.

  • Rahat Malik on September 20, 2007, 11:01 GMT

    Rashid atash

    Whatever mate. If you want to write short comments, go and have a MSN chat with somebody. This message board is for everybody to do exactly what your saying not to, that is; to voice subjective comments. Please. Wake up.

  • Brendan Carter on September 20, 2007, 11:00 GMT

    Kamran your articles are fantastic and very inciteful. The game between Pakistan and Australia was a fantastic game, and i agree wholeheartedly with you that it was the Pakistan bowlers from overs 17 to 20 that turned the game. But nothing should be taken away from Misbah Ul-Haq`s batting heroics, they were simply sensational under extreme pressure and a sky-rocketing run rate. You know what they say, `Cometh the man, Cometh the moment, maybe now he will believe he can compete with the best in all forms of the game. I am an Aussie, and like all of us we appreciate great sporting feats and certainly this was one. I would also like to congratulate Shoaib Malik, he seems to have settled in very well as captain and it seems to have had a positive affect on his own batting as well as the team. Also Kamran can you keep us posted on how Geoff Lawson`s coaching tenure is going, because he was a very well respected Captain and Coach of New South Wales and a very intelligent bowler. Cheers from Oz, Brendan.

  • Harish on September 20, 2007, 10:57 GMT

    Misbah is making for the lost time and oportunities.He knows he shall not survive another failure. It is hard to believe he is 33 and senior most in team. The biggest surprise and revelation in Pak team is Sohail Tanvir. The first over i saw against India match, i knew this guy is diffrent and has tremendous potential. All the best to Sohail Tanvir.

  • WASIM SAQIB on September 20, 2007, 15:45 GMT

    This thread is being updated too slowly my earlier post has still not been posted so it has become irrelevent now,Pakistan finally won the game against Bangladesh and now they will stay in Cape Town,I was completely disappointed by their performance the whole team lacked intensity and the result was a lacklustre performance,the only high note of the game was Shahid Afridi's power hitting,the continous failure of Butt and Nazir have left Pakistan with no choice but to open with Afridi and Hafeez,Salman Butt's performance was horrendous in this match,he should be replaced by Fawad Alam. I dont care if Pakistan wins or looses in the semis in my opinion they should not make the mistake of putting Butt in the middle order he will detroy the momentum of the team and will put immense pressure on the other batsmen due to his nervousness or reluctance,if Afridi comes to open then Pakistan needs another Power hitter down the order and I think that spot should go to Fawad Alam and Imran Nazir should also come in late as he plays too many cross batted shots he won't be able to score runs at the #1 position with his batting technique at this level,luckily today he learned his lesson when his crockery got rattled by a faster one from Mosharafe he won't play that shot again for quite some time.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 20, 2007, 15:07 GMT

    What a stupid man Butt turned out to be with his dismissal. Imran Nazir and Butt can't play, they should be sacked.

    Butt and Nazir out, Fawad and Yasir Hameed in. Poor Yasir is not even in the squad!

  • Muhammad Asif on September 20, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Please don't dictate the rest of the bloggers about their language, if you are so upset just have a look on your own language in the previous threads towards other people. Whatever you recieve from rest of the world is just a reaction of your actions. So if you don't like reaction of the people just have a look at your actions. Sorry for non-cricketing post. No more dictation

  • ali on September 20, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    watching misbah three to four years back misbah seemed a decent player. i think the problem wasnt misbahs selections it was yousufs nonselection. for a person who has supported yousuf vehemently i still believe he shud have been in the squad. yousuf wud have been perfect batting at no3 and playing throughout the innings rather than hafeez who lacks international class.

  • Asad on September 20, 2007, 12:59 GMT

    Why is Salman Butt the vice captain? And the amazing thing is that he was actually considered for the captaincy position. He is not good enough to be in the team. One can almost see the daft logic...South Africa made a left handed opening batsman who was not in the team captain after the 2003 WC (smith) so Pakistan should do the same. What a bunch of unoriginal idiots!!

  • Valavan on September 20, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    Hi Pak fans, Dont get carried away with it. Seems like Kamran want to blow his own trumpet.Good thing is somehow u understood u can win, the same people who are the trumpet blowers also participate to criticize till death if pakistan fails to deliver

  • Tay'yab-Ali on September 20, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    First and foremost, my sincere apologies to Misbah & YK.

    I never doubted YK's batting ability in the longer version-I never believed he would be appropriate for 20/20. It seems Imran Khan was right to point out YK should be batting higher than number 7 in the 50 over game.I have never seen him time the ball so well when hitting the ball for six.

    I'm so happy for Misbah and Pak and wish him all the best in the future. Neverthless I still don't understand why MY was not selected. His batting ability makes up for his acceptable fielding. He is as good in the outfield as Butt, Asif, Gul, Rehman & Tanvir.

    Media reports and some bloggers suggested that it was Malik's influence which ommitted MOYO and included Rehman, the latter more so for his relationship with Malik. I'm not convinced friendship was the reason since MOYO & malik are the best of friend.

    I am a huge fan of Butt and believe he will be the next superstar for Pak. He is just not suited to 20/20. Remains to be seen if malik is brave to drop the VC.

    I'm really excited about Tanvir and look forward to seeing him bat. His domestic stats show he is more of a batting allrounder. If his batting is as good or better than his bowling-Pak have discovered a real gem.

  • Rahat Malik on September 20, 2007, 11:01 GMT

    Rashid atash

    Whatever mate. If you want to write short comments, go and have a MSN chat with somebody. This message board is for everybody to do exactly what your saying not to, that is; to voice subjective comments. Please. Wake up.

  • Brendan Carter on September 20, 2007, 11:00 GMT

    Kamran your articles are fantastic and very inciteful. The game between Pakistan and Australia was a fantastic game, and i agree wholeheartedly with you that it was the Pakistan bowlers from overs 17 to 20 that turned the game. But nothing should be taken away from Misbah Ul-Haq`s batting heroics, they were simply sensational under extreme pressure and a sky-rocketing run rate. You know what they say, `Cometh the man, Cometh the moment, maybe now he will believe he can compete with the best in all forms of the game. I am an Aussie, and like all of us we appreciate great sporting feats and certainly this was one. I would also like to congratulate Shoaib Malik, he seems to have settled in very well as captain and it seems to have had a positive affect on his own batting as well as the team. Also Kamran can you keep us posted on how Geoff Lawson`s coaching tenure is going, because he was a very well respected Captain and Coach of New South Wales and a very intelligent bowler. Cheers from Oz, Brendan.

  • Harish on September 20, 2007, 10:57 GMT

    Misbah is making for the lost time and oportunities.He knows he shall not survive another failure. It is hard to believe he is 33 and senior most in team. The biggest surprise and revelation in Pak team is Sohail Tanvir. The first over i saw against India match, i knew this guy is diffrent and has tremendous potential. All the best to Sohail Tanvir.

  • Faisal Iqbal on September 20, 2007, 10:30 GMT

    I agree, if we can't win ODIs or Test Matches lets invent something we can. Lets face it our pakistani players don't have the stamina or strength to survive 50 over ODIs now, let alone 5 day Test Matches. Pakistan is a one dimensional team now, all we know is 12th over and then go in for about 18 balls and go mad like a dogs. Well Afridi and the team can forget winning the 2011 World Cup, that format will soon be out of our reach. But as Bhutto once said we will eat grass, and PCB said we will act like dogs if we have to.

  • Shah faisal Pathan from Peshawar on September 20, 2007, 9:22 GMT

    First of all my Salam to all pakistanis brothers. Well done Shoaib Malik and all pakistan team. I want in the reamining matches if pakistan want to win they have to Open with Nazir and Afridi and give rest to Butt.Butt is very good stylish left handed batsman but i think in 20 20 team no place for him. My request from all pakistanis brother to pray specail for Pakistan team to win 20 20 W Cup. My best wishes with Pakistan team .

  • Qasim on September 20, 2007, 9:19 GMT

    I am surprised that none of the bloggers have mentioned a marked difference in this side. They actually look sharp in the field, always putting pressure on the ball and making some smart saves. We have been good with our batting and bowling from time to time but the fielding has always been shoddy. So credit to the guys there too. Really disappointed with Salman Butt as he was once considered one of the brightest batting prospects along with Yasser Hameed but both have to get their act together. Salman must be dropped and they should get Fawad Alam playing today. Imran Nazir though disappointing, should be retained as his Mad Max approach may pay off (he is a Super Sixes /Twenty 20 sepcialist). One thing is for sure, he is not suitable for any game longer than 20 overs. Shame he didn’t capitalize on his promising start.

  • Naveed Iqbal on September 20, 2007, 9:18 GMT

    yes you are wright. i think the pakistan openers have to start doing something. looking at particular players such as the wise captain salman butt he hasn't done anything in this tournment. pakistan need to get 2 good openers and keep them until they loose they touch just like salman butt.

  • Junaid Rahim on September 20, 2007, 8:57 GMT

    We Bangladeshi gonna prove their weaknesses. I don't think Pakistan can win this cup. They r having a bit of luck goin on with them. The cup will be won by South Africa.Misbah is good but he can never perform as good as Yousuf.The strength of the team will be known when Pak take on the Indians at the end of the year. This is not the type of cricket where u judge a player. Give him some time.Go Bangladesh hunt down the Pakistanis, definitely with the spirit of cricket, where cricket will be the real winner. Good luck Pak in the tournament.

  • Shariq M. Qureshi, The Hague, Netherlands on September 20, 2007, 8:29 GMT

    By winning over Australia on the 18th of September, and the match a day before on the 17th of September against Sri Lanka, Pakistan has certainly put the lid on many shouting mouths, which have only been criticizing PCB for appointing Malik as the skipper, and in general were very sceptic of Pakistan’s Cricket team. But, since Pakistan’s victory on 18th Sep. they are the first to have secured a place for the semi-finals, where as, all other teams are still struggling to get there. Pakistan was the team, which was not even been considered, to reaching the super 8s, have certainly surprised every body.

    The confidence they have gained after beating two strong opponents in a row, should they carry on, till the very end. Their Morale is certainly high, after having won against two good opponents, Keeping this momentum going, and try to lift the trophy. What They should not be doing is, carried away after their superb performance against Aussies, what is kind of a legacy in Pakistan's criket history, The Game on Thursday against Bangladesh should not be taken easy. Malik should be telling his troops to hold their nerves, and erase immediately, any mishaps happen to anybody, from their minds. Especially key players like Mohammad Asif should learn to do that, and perhaps learn it from new comer Sohail Tanveer, who may look a bit rough, just arriving on international scene, with a unique bowling action, but his looks tell you that he is very determined. Asif looked dejected against Aussies, his bowling was not up to the mark, he perhaps was caught-up in that over of his against Sri Lanka, in which he got hit for some twenty odd runs, he can be the main difference in the games coming up next, he should remember that it can happen to any bowler, get hitted out of Park, like Yuvraj hit 6 X 6 in one over against England, he can together with rest of his team and captain give Pakistan the nicest gift on this Eid-ul-Fitr.

    The biggest concern would still be Salman Butt, especially his appointment as the Vice-captain, he should be first securing his position in the true 11, PCB must be looking in closely to his performance as an opener and especially him carrying as Vice-captain, as the whole nation is looking at him too. The opening is another issue needs to be dealt with, ever since Saeed Anwar and Amer Sohail have left Pakistan cricket scene, the opening has been the biggest issue, and then in all formats of the game, whether it be test matches or 20/20, more then a dozen players have been tried and tried again and again, many pair combinations were put together, but until now all efforts have proved fruit less. This has cost Pakistan dearly, in the past, and this trend is still very much persistent, so the matter needs to be looked in seriously, may be the best solution would be, Malik himself promoting as an opener together with Younis Khan or Imran Nazir, and let Younis comming one down, middle order has always been the back bone of Pakistan's Batting, what still looks pretty much sound with likes of Hafeez coming down the order, the immaculate Misbah should be followed by Afridi, Kamran Akmal can prove handy later down the order.

    Pakistan’s main strength bowling, looks in safe hands in the form of Swing King Mohammad Asif, and dashing Umar Gul supporting him nicely, the new find, rough Sohail Tanveer, needs a bit of polishing, though he has got the basics right, natural swing and a perfect Yorker in his arsenal, a deadly Look and determination in his eyes, what makes a fast bowler a fast bowler. Perhaps Mr. Lawson the Pakistani Coach can smooth-up his line a bit, to fine tune his bowling, I guess, the rest he’s got in control.

    Wicket-Keeping is not always been as smooth as you’d expect from a keeper at this highest level, Kamran Akmal missed a certain stumping chance, against Australia, he has this problem for quite some time now, not collecting the ball nicely. In the series against India at home last summer and on South African Tour, Pakistan lost games because of his blunders, so maybe it is about time, another wicket-keeper to be given a chance.

    Fielding has certainly improved, since they played last, they need to carry on with it, you saw some good catches were taken, Afridi’s direct through on to the stumps, running out Clark, needs to be repeated and copied by others.

    Middle order batting, missing Mohammad Yousuf and Inzi, especially Misbah-ul-haq’s replacement with Mohammad Yousuf, has faced lots of criticism, and has raised many eye brows. But after looking at the performance of Misbah-ul-haq, he certainly has proved his critics wrong, Misbah delivering in every innings he has played in the tournament, Misbah who came back after a long break, and was criticized for being replaced with Yousuf, must be under tremendous pressure, at least twice in this tournament, he came to the crease in some crises situations, as it has been a growing concern for Pakistan in all forms of Cricket, a chronicle problem that the opening doesn’t seems to click any more, especially the last two games, in a crunch situation he together with Skipper Malik saw Pakistan through to victory. Misbah replacing Yousuf, who is the top scorer until now not only for Pakistan but in this twenty 20 2007 tournament and by hitting the biggest six has earned even more respect from every cricket spectator around the globe.

    By looking at this Pakistani side, which is first to have qualified and waiting for others to join them in the semi-final group, seems to be the hottest favourite together with South Africa to play the final, who also have been playing aggressive cricket through-out in this 20/20, these two teams seems to have eliminated chances of giants like Australia and Sri Lanka, and hotter favourite England, not to forget Kiwis in their black outfit under the leadership of Vittori can paint your day black as well, the New Zealanders, these Men in Black are certainy one of the contenders seems to be determined to take this trophy home as well.

    So this tournament is still very much open, too early to make any statement, as to who’d win the final, I’d say only the team that holds their nerves, and play positively and aggressively, do not give too many extras, and the Batsmen able to hit big sixes, at the moment Pakistan’s Misbah is on top with 111 m, let’s see who breaks his record, and whether it be a Batsman or a bowler helping his team to the victory stand.

    If Pakistan wins 20/20 trophy! What we all now, very much hope, since win over Aussies, what would the Pakistan’s cricket future be like? in your opinion! The rested Mohammad Yousuf who has scored highest number of runs in last season, with nine hundreds in it, is the highest for any Batsman in the world ever, winning the cricketer of the year award 2007, he must be feeling let down by the PCB and perhaps not very happy with Shoaib Malik too. Inzi the highest run taker for Pakistan out of scene sine the humiliation this summer in the Caribbean, star Speedster Shoaid Akhter, or better said scandalous running machine Shoaib Akhter has not humiliated himself but his Nation as well, what for him is becoming an habit, as it is not for the first time he’s done so, he may have Captaincy aspirations, but to act as one, and becoming Pakistan's Captain, he has to go a long way forward, and I’m afraid he hasn’t got much time left to learn that all.

    PCB should be having a final word with Express bowler, as to his behaviour towards the team members and his approach towards the game, he looks pathetic in his artificially grown muscles, shoulder long hair with baldness arriving on his skull, he should slowly be trying to behave like a grown-up one.

    The ageing Inzi should have realized long before, that he is not functioning as a captain and should have rather concentrated more on his batting and the growing belly of his, which makes him even slower on the field, most importantly hurdling while running between the wickets, its important to be fit. Mohammad Yousuf should and could have been the part of this twenty 20 team, he too, should only look to his fitness level, this shortened version consumes lot more of a Player, then the normal One-dayer.

    The advice to Malik would be to take someone with experience and a confident player as his vice- captain, send Salam Butt back to the nets to better his skills and learn to keep his eyes on the ball, Misbah can be a good choice or Afridi go give Afridi the confidence and responsibility! in order to avoid hick-up, Malik should prove Late Bob Wolmer right and start opening for the team, may be with Imran Nazir. Hafeez and Afridi, though they haven’t performed yet, should be kept in the team in middle order as they can, on a given day make a difference, look-up for another keeper, and give some rest to Kamran Akmal, as he is not performing well as a wicket-keeper what also is having an effect on his batting, otherwise the game against India in the preliminary round could have been easily won.

    Those waiting on the boundary line should be given chance occasionally, Shabbir Ahmed, Sami, Farhat and many more to name shouldn’t be dishearten but keep themselves fit and ready to be called anytime, and try to prove themselves as Misbah has done it.

  • rext on September 20, 2007, 7:33 GMT

    What a vindictive little person Sameer Malik is! However using Misbah as an example, it's nice to read from their own words, what has so long been known to others that the majority of bloggers on this site admit they don't know what they are talking about!!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 20, 2007, 5:47 GMT

    Reference the post of "subramanian at September 19, 2007 8:42 PM"
    Subramaniam, why you so angry with Mr. Kamran Abbassi and saying; "you are just shameless"? The point is neither Mr. Kamran Abbassi, nor myself or any of the bloggers here is the ultimate authority like the Almighty God. Once we have said something doesn't mean that it is the final word that is engraved in a stone and, it cannot be changed or altered. If I have once expressed my views and opinion about a person or whatever, does it mean that I have forfeited my right to change my opinion later? Why can't I change it even I am proved wrong? I think the greatness is in accepting your mistake with humility and not in being stubborn or obstinate.
    It is good to gracefully accept and admit our own mistakes or to make amendments in our opinion which was earlier an error of judgement on our part. We all make mistakes and form a wrong opinion about a person. And when we are proved wrong and if we don't admit our mistakes and go into denial then it is really silly and stupid of us. It reflects only one thing and that is - we have an inflated ego. I don't have that and neither Mr. Abbassi has. So, why do you have to say, he is shameless or he is taking a complete U-turn? And some people are advising him to chew his words or eat his own humble pie etc. After all this is a cricket blog and we all express our views and opinions here and now none of us are God to be absolutely correct all the time and predict the future right. Therefore, you don't have to pounce on him with heaps of sarcasm.
    We are always very quick in forming opinions both ways especially when someone performs well we are very quick to make comparisons by saying, he is like Majid Khan or Inzamamul Haq or Pakistani Hussey, or Pakistani McGrath etc. For heavens sake leave those guys alone. Salman Butt was compared with Saeed Anwar after he made his first hundred and now we are all demanding Butt to be axed, because Butt cannot see any gaps in his own shots.

  • Softhunder on September 20, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    This is my first ever post in this blog and here is what I think.
    1: People say that we should try Afridi at the top of the order. I would say, no matter how good of a player Afridi is, he is still very bad at playing outswing and that's why he can never be a good opener so I really don't think that trying Afridi as an opener is going solve anything. He likes to hit the spinners and medium pacers and none of them is there when he opens. A batsman should play at a number where he enjoys and i think the best time to send Afridi is when the spinners are on, doesn't matter which over it is. 4 or 5 overs are enough for him. We don't want to plan the future based on Afridi. We should be able to do without his batting and he should be used as a way to dismantle and demoralize other teams but never expect long innings from him.
    2: Salman Butt has some serious problems. He's so nervous and he can never perform like that. He needs to have one big innings including a lot of luck and then he might come good but right now he needs to see a psychiatric more than a coach for being low on confidence and yes he has a weakness when the ball is a little short just outside the offstump close to the body.
    3: Sohail Tanvir seems to be a pretty decent bowler but I would wait to see him in the longer format. I personally have a feeling that this guy is short on breath and like Shoaib Akhtar can only burst in small spells. Well thats' just a feeling maybe i'm completely wrong but am looking forward to watch him playing a Test match.
    4:Fawad Alam should be tried In place of Salman Butt and especially now that we have a match against Bangladesh so we should try out our options.
    5: Misbah, welldone. I like your temperament and I think Imran Nazir should take something out of your book.
    And one last thing. Not that i'm any big fan of Yasir Hameed but I think he s a far better option than both of our openers at this time.

  • Neil Pennell on September 20, 2007, 5:28 GMT

    All credit to Pakistan for the manner in which they held their nerve at 4 for forty-something. Towards the finish it was great to see Geoff Lawson telling his men on the sideline to settle down with their barracking. I suspect that he'll be playing his part in avoiding any repeats of "panicistan" headlines of the past. I have always held the opinion that Pakistan and the West Indies have the greatest pool of naturally-gifted young cricketers at their disposal.
    Unfortunately, the temperament of the senior players in the Pakistan side and the administrative set-up has not always served talented youngsters well. People talk all the time about how important it is for the West Indies to be doing well but to my eyes there is no more reassuring sight than a Pakistan team that is competing at the highest level. There is a fire there that no other team can quite muster. I pray that this team can translate their present good form into the test arena.
    By the way, as much as I was impressed by Misbah's nerveless work against my Australian mates, the appearance of Tanvir on the scene was a revelation. I was amazed at his control and coolness . Like a sort of unorthodox Wasim Akram. For Pakistan;s sake I hope he turns out to be half the player the great man was.

  • Faraz (the first Faraz on all of Kamran's blogs) on September 20, 2007, 5:01 GMT

    Ramadan Mubarak to All !

    Misbah is good and his temperament is even better Lets hope Afridi and Nazir can bounce back into form.And I have to admit, what a waste this Salman Butt is. Who in their right mind would have a vice captain like him? He has no place in the Pakistan team, whatever the format - Twenty20, ODI or Tests.
    We don't need a spokesperson to occupy a playing spot, so he can travel with the team to offer his intellectual views, what a waste !!
    Kamran, could you please write on this. We need to get rid of Salman Butt

  • WASIM Saqib on September 20, 2007, 4:41 GMT

    Pakistan shouldn't get complacent against Bangladesh there is no room for experimentation at this stage as the result of tomorrow’s match might have a direct impact as to whom Pakistan will face in semi-finals. If Pakistan top their group then it is likely that they will face either New Zealand or India in the semis and if Pakistan loose tomorrow then they might face SA in semis. South Africa is playing excellent cricket and are taking full advantage of home crowd and conditions. South Africa is the only team which can take Pakistan bowling apart and if Pakistan top their group then they will play in Cape town which is a spinner friendly ground, the other semi will be played in Durban which might not suit Pakistan team as the ground is smaller the Pitch is hard and green also the weather in Durban is mostly overcast our fast bowlers would love those conditions but our batsmen would dread it. Cape Town will suit Pakistan more.
    Pakistan should give Afridi some practice by promoting him up the batting order but that should be the only experiment they can afford right now.

  • Siko on September 20, 2007, 3:58 GMT

    Well said, Subramanian. Kamran Abbassi really seems like an emotional person. I remember him bashing Misbah a few days ago. Now, Misbah's the God and Yousuf has vanished. Shameless, indeed!!

  • Umar.Khan..Islamabad on September 20, 2007, 3:43 GMT

    Misbah's on a roll but he's still 91 days older than Yousuf. People may find this comment a bit harsh but Yousuf should have been playing in this team. PCB chairman is trying his best to bring him back and I wonder what will be Misbah's future after that. But right now go Misbah go !!
    Top order has been pathetic and Ian Chappell's comment during Pak vs Aus match was: "Imran Nazir need a good kick on his back side from his captain as he played the most stupid shot after hitting the previous two deliveries for a six and a four". Consistency is the game that Pakistan openers never take on.
    Our young vice-captain with shaking legs ain't helping the team's cause in any way. Sending Shahid Afridi up the order will not do anything worse than what's happening right now.
    One more thing, there was quite a big article on the front page of one of Pakistan's leading newspaper stating "Exhilirating Come Back". PCB chairman announced a cash prize of $10,000 for each member. Why are we treating out team as minnows. These kind of things are rituals for countries like Bangladesh who wins two or three good matches a year. It is like Greece who surprisingly won the Euro2004. I request the print media personnels not to get carried over in their columns and to PCB Chairman please treat our team as it is a talented and unpredictable bunch of boys (they don't get much facilities at domestic level and still gets Asifs and Tanvirs every now and then) who can beat anyone on the given day and vice-versa.

  • Muhammad Asif on September 20, 2007, 3:37 GMT

    Cricket on-line & on-field are altogether different ball game. One should not expect to be logically true on-line would always be true on-field. Off course as a spectator it seems to us that our middle order was under pressure in the last two games but the body language of the batsmen was telling a totally different story. They appeared to be very cool & calm. Which is in itself a great achievement, something we were missing for quite some time.
    Definitely it will help us in other forms of cricket (50-over & Test) as well, if we are able to carry it forward.

  • atif mir on September 20, 2007, 3:04 GMT

    Kudos to Pakistani team for magnificent performance. But we should celebrate with caution. When Inzamam started captaincy, I remember he was spoken highly of for commanding the respect of the team and being calm in difficult situations. In six months, the calm and commanding leader has been relegated into someone who was a burden on the team. The same fate can be meted out to Shoaib and his current team. I do hope that PCB give Shoaib and his team the due credit for doing so well in this tournament just like it blamed Inzamam and his troops for the World Cup debacle.

  • Omer Admani on September 20, 2007, 2:51 GMT

    Misbah played great and flawless, but what about little master Kamran Akmal. It is not his batting that I care about, but if he keeps on missing stumpings and catches, Pakistan will lose a match sooner or later because of him. Pakistan should consider herself lucky that Ponting didn't make a substantial score despite being given a second chancy by Akmal. Akmal hasn't got many catches and stumpings towards him in this tournament, but there is always a pretty solid chance that he will miss the opportunity when it comes (especially when spinners are bowling). Can he bat like Pieterson or Ponting (and so on) if they are given a second chance by him? His batting can never make up for the chances he will let go.. In 20/20 it might not hurt as much because of the speed of the game, but once Test series' start, this guy will lose us matches by giving opportunities to good players time and again. We lost in SA and England because of him. Fawad Alam deserves a chance and I think Bangladesh will be the ideal team to boost his confidence. Butt or Nazir should be dropped now....Butt is utterly useless and stifles the other batsman playing with him as well. Congragulations to Malik for putting in a good performance and I won't criticize his batting for a while. I still hold the opinion that he won't be able to make a significant contribution as a batsman in the long-term on pitches that offer the bowler a bit. Secondly, his captaincy on the field is not bad (finally less of the negativity now that Inzamam is not there), but he needs to get over personal ego and play Fawad Alam and put Afridi up the order. He has to realize that the performance of the team could still be much bettered with those amendments.

  • Abdul Waheed - USA on September 20, 2007, 2:34 GMT

    All I can say is, all the pundits can be wrong at some point. Misbah proved it. Congratulations to Malik's team but special thanks to Misbah and the rookie Sohail Tanvir. And do not forget Mr. Salahuddin and his selection committee. Just imagine, had Pakistan lost a crucial tie in this tournament, not only it would have been an end to Misbah's international career but I suspect the selection committee would have been sacked as well. Also, all the ex-cricketer's who are mad at foreign coach taking away dollars away from their mouths, would have been after Lawson, without realizing that he just joined the team. One final note. Regardless off the result in this tournament or any future international encounter, I do not want to see any Pakistani being appointed as Pakistan coach.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 20, 2007, 1:31 GMT

    I would just like to say that the initial criticism on the team selection was not as much about Misbah's inclusion, as it was about Yousuf' exclusion. I still back the theory that Yousuf should not have been sidelined. Judging by the openers' performance I would say that Pakistan could have had Yousuf in the team in place of either of them. Afridi could have opened with any one of these failing openers. The people who say that the openers should not be criticized should realize that we have seen four failures in four consecutive innings. This tournament has only seven matches as a maximum. We can't keep two guys in the team who performs may be once in those seven innings. The middle order has fired four out of four times, but because of the top-order, the middle order has no room for failure.

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati Ohio on September 20, 2007, 0:06 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, in one of your earlier blogs, I had called Misbah-ul-Haq a 'never was'. I stand corrected. Misbah is having a party in South Africa and I hope it continues all the way through. May he prove that these last few performances are no flashes in the pan. I'm not superstitious in any way, shape or form but if there's even the remotest possibility that my unfair criticism of Misbah resulted in his awesome performance........let me then say; Afridi is a has been, Akmal's terrible, Butt bats like a little girl....(and so on)

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 19, 2007, 23:20 GMT

    Javed Bhai, thanks for your brief message :). Kamran, your post was hilarious although I don't know if it was intentionally so.So Misbah is an MBA. He has a good technique, seems to be reasonably well brought up and is academically over-qualified according to Pakistan cricket standards For these reasons if Misbah's performance is good against South Africa and India I think he should be made vice-captain. He probably only has two years of international cricket left in him and Pakistan should seek to maximise whatever contribution this very impressive cricketer can muster.
    I don't know why or how but I have to agree with those individuals who are saying that in Inzi's, Yousuf's, Razzaq's and Akhtar's absence, the team looks blissfully rejuvenated. There was an intellectual vacuum plaguing the team with the presence of these players and now the vacuum is not there any more.

  • Asad on September 19, 2007, 23:18 GMT

    Salman Butt needs to be dropped now for Twenty20. The guy plays a lot of balls and scores less. This is not on for this format of the game.

  • ubaid on September 19, 2007, 23:06 GMT

    There is no need to have Afridi come in at the top of the order. We may need quick runs at the top but we need stability much more than that and if I had to choose one out of the two, I'd choose the later. Some one needs to tell Imran Nazir to " watch the ball". He is not going to get anywhere if he cannot concentrate on the basics. If ever there is any utility in a national side having a coach, this is the place. But of course Lawson is a bowler. My understanding is that there are at least one or two free-loaders touring with the team. They can talk to Mr. Nazir and show him the error of his ways. If not, he should see a therapist in SA ( they should have plenty of them there) who can help Mr. Nazir process his fear. " The fear of failure if he plays normal cricket and backs himself". The runs will come automatically. He is way too talented for them not to.

  • Gohar Tareen on September 19, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    First thing good job Pakistan. Thanks to Malik and whole team except Imran & Salman. The main issue the top order. Lets put it this way right now the way it is that when we start innings we already 30 for 3 which need to get better. Tommorows match against Bangladesh the batting squad should look like this:
    Imran Nazir
    Shahid Afridi
    Younis Khan
    Salman Butt
    Shoaib Malik
    Misbah-ul-haq
    Kamraan Akmal

    Ok it looks awkward but here is the deal Salman is nervous if he doesn't open & there already some runs on board he may catch up, Imran Nazir is an excellent player but he needs to stop thinking like Bangladeshi batsman & act mature & learn from his captain & Misbah. Afridi is good with ball but needs to play straight couple of good orthodox hits he'll be back in action. Let me know what you guys think. This line-up gives cover to one of the openers to get back in rhythm.

  • Raza Zaidi on September 19, 2007, 22:44 GMT

    Kudos to Misbah. I'm certain that Yousuf would not have been able to perform like that...Guaranteed. I don't care if he was the most prolific test batsman last year. That was TEST cricket. T20 is just a different ballgame. For the same reason, I just wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Misbah should now be part of the Pak Test side. The era of the specialist has arrived.

  • Ali-h'town on September 19, 2007, 22:04 GMT

    Boy have Misbah made everyone eat their words who criticsed him. I still say dropping Mohd. Yousuf was a good thing. He is not fit, a worst firlder, plus he got the award for Test Play fo teh year not the Onday Player of the Year. I think Mohd. Yousuf should just be consigned to playing test cricked and not ODI and 20/20. I think Misbah would be a shoes in for 50 over matches againt SA and IND series. Malik, how about giving Fawad Alam a go tooo. Dressing room sure looks relaxed with Shaib Akhtar out of the way and i hope it remains that way.

  • Sameer A Malik on September 19, 2007, 21:15 GMT

    Bang on Target, i always love to see Australia loose no matter who beats them but this time around this honor was done by Pakistan team, Well Done! The only thing i desperately wanted to see was Ricky Ponting (read Punter, Spittter) on the field with all the worries of losing on his face, but he escaped somehow due to injury. Well done Misbah-ul-Haq, as i was also against his selection but still i dont see future of Pakistan in Misbah (may be i am wrong). Fawad Alam should be given chance to prove himself as guys like him are our future. Afridi should be sent up the order, whats wrong with Malik keeps Afridi Padded up since the start of batting but never sends him for batting until the very end.

  • subramanian on September 19, 2007, 20:42 GMT

    you are just shameless-i remember your post reflecting on the injustice heaped on yousuf by the selection of the 'young' misbah.

  • Shakeel on September 19, 2007, 20:16 GMT

    Few things to point out here. First, good job on selection. Second, good job on field placement of players. Third, excellent job on bowling order and fielding. This is what australlian has done all along beside being best in opening side.

    Even though we failed in opening again, we should give some more time to imran nazir. As for salman butt, that is a big "butt" for the team.

  • Farrukh Shah on September 19, 2007, 20:08 GMT

    Yes I did think his style resembled that of Imran Khan but even better if he has modelled it on the only true opener that Pakistan ever produced, Majid Khan. Keep going boys.

  • Nizar Akbar on September 19, 2007, 19:35 GMT

    Dear Kamran, Mibah is doing very good job, and regarding Tanwir, he is the replacement of Shohaib Akhtar and Mohd Sami (bye bye Shohaib) also another fast bowler was hero in U19 world cup in colombo last year and he took 5 wkt against india in semi final and his name is Anwer Ali. where he is now and why he is not in pakistani team,

  • amir hussain on September 19, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    I think in the longer run ICL will be a blessing for Pakistan. What it has done to an extent is that it has brought the sincerity and loyalty of players in picture. We now know where the loyalty lies. You get dropped from one tournament so you leave the services of the very country that gave you the name and the fame ? Players who were not in favour like Inzi are a different thing . But people like Razzaq and MO YO and Farhat showed their character. Loser's is what you call them . This is good news for Pakistan in the making. Now we can find good competition for a place in the team, and we may find some great talent coming out. We as a nation should also start the change. Forget about who did what in the past. Lets start living in the present. Someone want's to leave should be left alone. For some time there will be problems, but eventually someone else will fill in the boots. This will also give a clear indication to the players that your place in the team is guaranteed so long as you want to stay in the team, and you can only stay there as long as you perform. It's time that the players DADA GIRI stop.

  • Zaki on September 19, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    I have a few reservations 1. Sohail tanvir = future Wasim. Long shot. Wasim was pure class. Tanvir may be unique but international batsmen learn quickly plus t20 makes batsmen play shots that they mormally wont play. Dont expect too much from the guy. Its just the start plus he is a poor fielder. 2. Misbah has handled pressure well but he is bound to fail now. All the praise is good now but keep it going even if he fails. 3 Pakistan need one more bowling option. If Gul gets a beating there is no plan b. One prediction may be far fetched but Ind vs Pak semifinal may be the true test for team Pakistan.

  • Turrab on September 19, 2007, 16:43 GMT

    "Posted by: Hasan at September 19, 2007 8:50 AM

    Pakistans recent performances have made many of us die hard fans extremely happy, and given us realistic hope that we might actually go all the way this time. However, before we get too excited, we need to take into consideration, Pakistans unpredictability factor.

    For some odd reason this tournament reminds me a bit of the 1999 World Cup played in England where we had a few new surprise packages. Shoaib Akhtar made a big name for himself in that WC and it seems like the man replacing him (Sohail Tanvir) is doing the same here. Also in that tournament Pakistan lost to India but then beat the Aussies. They lost to Bangladesh after beating the Aussies though and lets hope there is no similar upset here. Also in that tournament Pakistan played against New Zealand in the semis and the other two teams were Australia and SA. Seems like these will be the final four over here as well.

    Anyway like the others I must add that I am extremely impressed with Misbah's contribution (Though I still wish he had finished things off against India). Lets hope there are a couple of changes in the line up against Bangladesh and Fawad Alam must be given a chance. He was one of the stars in the last domestic T20 competition and either Imran or Salman need to be rested. Perhaps testing Abdur Rehman might also not be a bad idea considering how well the spinners have done so far. Best of luck to Pakistan."

    Really good post but I think you missed one last thing which is that in the same WC of 99, Yousaf Yohana who is now Mohammad Yousaf ALSO emerged as a top player for Pakistan and now....Misbah is doing the same in this WC. Coincidence?

  • Anum on September 19, 2007, 16:18 GMT

    I was watching the match yesterday when Pakistan had lost 4 wickets. But due to the ever increasing power failures in Karachi, I missed the rest of the exciting match. Woe to KESC!

  • Murtaza on September 19, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    Pakistan have found their own Michael Hussey. The sililarity between them both is quite evident here as they both made into their respective national teams quite late in the career.

  • Zaheer Khan on September 19, 2007, 16:09 GMT

    It is good to see Pakistani team performing above expectations in the 20/20 World Cup. All kudos to the selectors by bringing on new faces (to some extent) and allowing them to take responsibility. The batting order is fine and should not be destabilized at every turn and twist. More importantly Shoaib Malik should make sure that he retains his No 4 slot followed by Misbah and Afridi.I do not agree that Imran Nazir and Salman Butt should be changed as an opening pair owing to their current dismal performance. I do agree that Afridi should be given a chance at the top order, but that will mean either Salman or Imran Nazir would have to be dropped. I think he is best suited at No. 6 and a move to the top of the order may backfire. Similarly, Kamran Akmal hasn't been a big success at the top of the order and he should continue to bat at No.7.

  • Haseeb Ahmed on September 19, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Aren't we getting carried away here? I mean come on. This is 20-20 is a joke; it's not real cricket. Misbah and Shoaib will surely get sorted out in no time by the Indian and South African bowlers this fall and winter; no doubt about that. Bring back Yousef and Inzi at any cost. I also think Shoaib needs to be brought back to the team, albeit after some punitive absence.

  • Sajid on September 19, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    Refreshing change, reaches parts that other cricket teams don't. I am excited about the changes that have happened in this team. I agree with all the comments about Misbah, about Shoib and Tanvir. I think Afridi and Hafeez deserve accolades. Best of luck guys and hope you turn up to play good cricket in the remaining matches and then its up to the all mighty whether you get success or not but if you play well then your is success, Inshallah. I think now is a good time for the team to address some issue which will give then consistancy. 1. I do think that Imran Nazir is a waste of time and his only success has been where he has been dropped by the opposition ten time and the wickets were falt and in those wituations most batsmen will make runs, he needs to be sent home. 2. Salman Butt also gives the team stability and calmness and if people did not notice he played some glorious strokes, though this is not his format of cricket, he is a long term player and should open inefinately to give the team some stability, after all there is no other opner good enough at this moment. 3. Misbah should be batting earlier after his heroic performance at three (3) 4. Like Afridi, Hafeez deserves to stay in the team for his bowling but he should be batting just after Afridi to keep that stability in the lower order. 5. Kamran Akmal has not been batting well in this tournament and he needs to be given a hit against Bangladesh to allow him to get some form if hes needed later and alos give the team some stability in the top order. If not him then Yasir can also bat good enough. 6. I want to see this Fawad Alam who Wasim tipped, how good is he, lets see. Sajid Naheem

  • nabeel on September 19, 2007, 15:52 GMT

    I did not meet a single person who said that selection of Misbah was a good idea. Misbah has justified his selection, however, PCB is still not off the hook. I hope Misbah continues to play the way he played in last two matches. PCB needs to be fair with Yousaf, Inzi, Imran, and Razzaq and not give arrogant statements against them

  • Imtiaz Ahmed on September 19, 2007, 15:32 GMT

    Well, I gotta say --- we have got so far without the services of Razzaq, Yousaf and S Akhtar. What does that say about us? It says that we have enough depth in our batting to bat out 20 over games. Now, this is not a bit of negativity creeping through ----- as I am on the top of the list of people impressed by the new boys or is it the new old boys -- but a few observations, Tanvir ----- how long with that action before a serious injury. Butt and Nazir what games are they playing respectively. I suggest that they learn from each other -- if you know what I mean. As for Afridi --- I think the game plan is right --- it is just that the Pathan has not fired yet. Once he comes off with 5 overs left, I just hope that I am not at work at the time. Well impressed with our version of Proctor (Tanveer)it is gonna take the opposition a whole game to figure him out and by that time he would have done his job. I hope you guys don't mind my few random observations. But I have to say this. Akmal, Afridi, Nazir and Butt are all due a contribution each. My Optimism about this tournament is very high and I will leave with one final fact for the beleivers of Kismat in us ---- the 1992 world cup was played during Ramzaan as well.

    Go get'em boys ---- the prayers of every Pakistani cricket fan are with you. Especially this one. BTW the weather in this part of the world is miserable.

    Peace and out

    Imtiaz

    Lancashire, England.

  • Farhan on September 19, 2007, 15:25 GMT

    Ok, I have read almost all of the posts. Regarding opening, I would like to suggest that we should keep nazir either as an opener or down the order but there is a great need to drop salman as I don't think he is a 20/20 kind. I believe Nazir and afridi would be a good pair for opening. I know nazir is not selecting his shots carefully, he could be a danger for every bowling attack if he play sensible (the very few fours and sixes he smashed can prove this) whereas salman looks like a test player or one day player. and of course fawad deserve a chance in next match.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 19, 2007, 15:23 GMT

    I am among the list of too many critics who are coming harsh upon the openers, especially the Pakistani openers for not performing well, thereby adding too much pressure on the middle order. Having said that earlier I have thought about this aspect after seeing the recent two matches i.e., India vs. NZ and today's NZ vs SA also keeping in mind the very first match of the tournament between WI and SA.

    The Indian openers Sehwag and Gambhir hold a record 76 runs partnership in the first six overs. Gayle and Smith gave a dream start with their opening partnership of 145 runs and yet both these teams lost the match as their middle order did not capitalize from a reasonably good opening platform. Or, should I say, their bowlers failed to contain the opposition? Even today, the NZ openers scored 68 runs for the first wicket partnership and their middle order - except for Big Mac - failed miserably and they scored only 153 runs. Whereas, SA's openers failed and yet they won because of Justin Kemp's big hitting from the middle order.

    So, the point is there is no guarantee that even when the openers give you a good flying start, your middle order would also go on a rampage, and your bowlers would do a wonderful job to demoralize the opposition and win a match for you. In this twenty20 format game everything changes so soon that planning has to be very, very flexible and fluid and according to the situation.

    With Pakistan assuring themselves a place in the semis should not take the Bangladesh team lightly and this is a good time to give a chance to Fawad Alam in place of Butt. So far Malik has been opting to field first, but this time he should bat first if he wins the toss and give his batsmen a license to kill. This is an opportunity to amend the opening conundrum by trying Afridi and Akmal in that slot. Imran Nazir is constantly getting out in the first 2 - 3 overs, if Afridi gets out in that fashion they aren't losing much. In any case he is not getting enough overs in the end so why not try him as an opener?

    In the ODI's Afridi has scored more runs as an opener than as a late order batsman. So, why not give him a go this time to make use of the first six overs? Apart from Malik, Misbah and Younis Khan, there will be Hafiz, Nazir and Fawad Alam has a reputation to score (at domestic level) and reportedly Tanvir can also bat. So, there is no harm in being flexible. Let me clarify this point here, being flexible doesn't mean careless or taking the opposition lightly. The only change I am asking is, Fawad Alam in lieu of Butt and making changes in the batting order c'est ca.

    Ps. khansahab - I knew you would be impressed by Misbah's English more than his batting performance. ;-) For your info he is from Mianwali but, he is not a pay & do like Asaf or Malak.

  • Hassan EHsan on September 19, 2007, 15:21 GMT

    Misbah... well done bro... you have silenced me..I am Happy and overjoyed that you are now a member of the starting X1.. just thinking why not earlier?

    Sohail Tanvir... are we seeing a Wasim in the making? im praying

    the rest of the team a performing well... i congratulate Lawson, and Shoab Malik... just one change... Make Afridi the vice captain and give him the respect that he deserves!!

    bring on the Semis! Pakistan Zindabad!

  • Ehsan Ur-Rehman on September 19, 2007, 15:15 GMT

    Afridi is focusing on his bowling and wants to keep his batting as a plus only. For this sole reason he himself does not want to take a batting position demanding more responsibility and consistency. I am saying this on the basis of his last few interviews. Shoiab malik on the other hand wants to focus on his captaincy and batting .Thas why he won't bowl as it won't let him think in the field. Imran Nazir and Butt are the best openers available right now and we should persist with them. We do not want to expose our middle order in first four overs when bowlers are trying to get the most out of new ball. In T20 format a player or two can change the complexion of the game in few overs so we should allow our middle order to remain the way they are. The only way to play Fawad Alam is to drop Hafeez. I reckon Butt and Nazir will win you a game or two- you will see.

  • fhs on September 19, 2007, 14:59 GMT

    This is probably the first time I am seeing here all the positive comments about Pakistan team after a long time. The credit goes to Malik and his men. Our secret weapon is a wrong footed dude Tanveer and a cool headed Misbah. Good job guys!!!

    Go Pakistan!

  • M. Khan on September 19, 2007, 14:51 GMT

    Kudos to Pakistan for outplaying Australia. Seems to me that we are the favorites in the tournament alongwith SA right now.

    Selectors did pull a surprise or two - infact just one since Misbah has been tried and tested before. I think we should stick to horses for courses policy and keep people like Misbah, Sohail, Afridi, Hafeez etc. for just the one day and 20/20 games.

    One thing i HAVE to say - how stupid is Imran Nazir - would this guy ever grow up? He seems to think that he is playing a night match in Sialkot where he could blast every single ball out of the mohalla! This guy needs to seriously grow his cricketing brain and learn to play at this level. He is not a weapon for us rather a liability.

    Atleast for the rest of the games he needs to be dropped - make Salman open with Younis - then bring in Misbah - Hafeez should bat way down and give Fawad Alam a chance against Bangladesh.

  • Ahmad Saeed on September 19, 2007, 14:49 GMT

    No doubt misbah has done a great job, but immagine... if misbah, yousaf and razzaq were there with younas, afridi, shoaib, hafeez and the bowlers. That could have been a stunning combination. still the team is playing well and main thing is bowlers are doing well and not letting the pressure shift towards the batting as a whole. the top order is a failure once again. i think Butt is a good player but not good enough for T20 type of cricket. Younas and Hafeez should Open with Shoaib and Misbah getting in early. and we can use Imran nazir and Afridi as dashers following the strong start. but one thing i want to say is PAKISTAN is the most unpredictable team in the world. on their day they can beat any side in the world. what we need is Decicpline and we must cease the opportunity. We must make no or very few mistakes and dont panic. Best of luck Pakistan.

  • Danish on September 19, 2007, 14:34 GMT

    Misbah was speaking good english because he has done MBA. I believe he is a good choice for pakistan in ODIs. I saw him playing against Austrailia in Nairobi and since than i am always a great admirer of him. He played Warn with total command.

  • Rashid atash on September 19, 2007, 14:30 GMT

    Can we please put a limit of words on individual comments. Some people are writting anthologies about laced with subjective opinions. May be they need to know, 'If you don't hit oil in 50 words stop boring'.

  • Rahat Malik on September 19, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    Ah, so the enigmatic charges of Geoff 'Henry' Lawson have put behind them the now customary pre tournament infighting and proceeded to play like champions elect. There is little doubt that this format of the game was custom made for teams from the subcontinent. Malik's captaincy has been the antithesis of Inzamam Ul Haq's. One being compared to a bear amongst other things in the past, whilst the other resembles a young Steve Waugh; tireless, energetic, and above all, a grafter (of sorts anyway). Those calling for Misbah to be included in test squads are really getting carried away. My justification for this comment? Just check out his test record. Hard to think it'll get much better for him at 33. Him and his fans should enjoy his performance's much the same way people enjoyed Dino Zoff's (apparently) bizarre selection to keep goal for Italy at the 1982 football worldcup at the grand old age of 40. For Zoff it was a fitting end to a glorious career, whereas for Misbah, it'll no doubt forever be remembered as what could of been, for the talent and head are definitely there, and in many ways, he's looked like a more sensible version of Younis Khan. One shudders at such a comparison, but given Mr Khan's obligatory non-test inconsistency, it begins to make sense. This writer, going against most of what he has written above, strongly believes that Pak will have it all to do if they meet the host nation in the semi's. Then, and only then, will the mettle of Geoff 'Henry' Lawson and his team be truly tested.

    Ponder on the wise words of the great Henry Lawson:

    Oh, may the showers in torrents fall, And all the tanks run over; And may the grass grow green and tall In pathways of the drover.

  • Bohurupi Boadder on September 19, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    No doubt Misbah and Tanveer have done a great job for Pakistan so far in the 20/20 WC. Still have to wait and see if Misbah can retain this magnificient form and play upto his new credit in future games. As a newcomer, Tanveer has emerged as a budding talent. If his talent continue to serve, he is the next superstar of Pak cricket. Agree with Mr. Abbasi that Pak top order has failed to click yet. Salman, Nazir and Hafeez have all dissapointed us (Nazir certainly is not in his best!). This has put a whole lot of pressure on the middle order. Pakistan should introduce some changes in their top order and give it a try in the coming match against Bangladesh.

  • Osman A. Khairi on September 19, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    Firstly, I was among the many that castigated Misbah selection at Yousuf's expense. And frankly, I still do because it was at YOUSUF's expense. Misbah played brilliantly and well, As Javed says, we must to learn to give credit where its due. However, this does not in any way justify dropping Yousuf albeit for this crash bang see you later form of the game! As for Butt, what can I say ? He's been horrible, to say the least. I believe, he should be dropped for Yasir or maybe Fawad in the upcoming games. All in all, a great win for Pakistan. I am going to print a copy of our current group standing and post it on my wall. As they say, "phir kab Australia ko humsay neechay dekhnay ko millay". A win to cherish. Certainly. p.s. Also, I have been critical of Shoaib Malik's batting as I always thought he scored in lost causes. However, here we had a great matchwinning innings. Malik, take a bow.

  • Imran Zia on September 19, 2007, 13:57 GMT

    We must salute the judgement bravery of our national selectors picking these players instead of Yousuf and Abdul Razzak. They could have easily replaced Shoaib Akhtar with Abdul Razzak. What these two have done is bring in a surprise for opposing teams. They surely would not have gone into the match on how to play Sohail and how to bowl at Misbah. Sohail Tanvir will come under the microscope and batsmen will eventually adjust to his action, then his true test will come. Hope he does well in the future. As for Misbah Ul Haq, Wasim bari & Inzimam should be banned for holding a selection post if they could not identify this guy's talent, composure, strokeplay, improvistion. He has been performing in the domestic circuit and A tours consistently still failed find a place in such a fragile batting lineup. One thing is for sure anyone who wants to join ICL is most welcome as Misbah Ul Haq is here to stay!

  • Farooq Excelsior on September 19, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    I cannot hide my excitement at the new comers Welcome Sohail Tanvir & By By Shoaib Akhtar

  • Muhammad Asif on September 19, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    An innovative idea introduced by Malik is the use of a main bowler all the time at one end is the key difference in the past two matches. Which shows that he is atleast a serious thinker of the game & not an immature street guy. Conventionally in the middle overs allrounders were bowling that allows the oppostion to free their hands at both ends. So a good idea to keep the oppostion away from getting into the rythem.

  • Hassan Abbas on September 19, 2007, 13:44 GMT

    Mr. Kamran, you of all people criticised Misbah's selection the most. I always backed his selection because I knew his domestic 20-20 record and I had seen him perform here in the local matches. As a cricket writer you should be able to provide correct analysis of selection and situation. Even if Misbah had failed in this World Cup, his selection was justified due to his great record in this form of the game. Pakistan must get rid of Salman Butt altogether. We dont need a guy who can play only one shot(cover drive) in any form of the game, because bowlers will not provied him with half vollies all the time. I've always been against the selection of Butt in the team no matter which version of the game he just doesn't have enough range of shots to be a world class player.

    Thank You.

  • Irfan on September 19, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    I am and have been the loudest opposition to Shoaib's antics his bowling strengths and his one sided mentality about speed. Talk about chances, how many chances would one need to prove to the world that one's priorities are straight. Shoaib has been the most pampered cricketer in past three years and the biggest dud also. This black hole has swallowed up so much resources and yet the output is zero not to mention the effect his presence has on other junior players; please let's just do away with him and move on. Better things happen when he is out as oppose to when he is in the team.

    Current Pak pace attack looks set for a coming few years, it has depth and variety and the best part is that experienced campaigners like Sami are waiting on the fringes to get in. Apart from the batting woe's it sure looks like we are in a decent shape when it comes to bowling.

  • Zeeshan - London, UK on September 19, 2007, 13:13 GMT

    Congratulations Pakistan!

    Pakistan has played with revived spirit and passion that has been so badly missed since the tour to England. I admit I was one of the people who were completely shocked and angered by the inclusion of Misbah-ul-Haq but I’m definitely eating a large portion of humble pie.

    Misbah-ul-Haq has played brilliantly, he has turned himself into the rock behind Pakistan’s fickle batting line-up this tournament. This however does beg the question why has it taken so long for him to be re-introduced in the side?

    Although this is only a T20 tournament and we haven’t seen how far Pakistan will go. They should still hold there head up high and hopefully takeaway from this tournament the sense of professionalism and passion they have shown.

    As with all sides we have a problem which is the openers in our case. I have no suggestions regarding this huge problem but what I have noticed is the we seem to be playing the same guys in each serious and each tournament. Just giving some of the individuals such Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Hafeez a run of 4-5 matches and then ignoring them for the next 6 months before inviting them back for another go. Should we try some new individuals or persist with yet another new combination of the same old players in the next tournament?

    Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Akhtar who? Well done to the Pakistani bowlers which are easily the best bowling unit in the tournament! Shoaib Malik has also been outstanding!

    Inshallah we’ll take the trophy home if not I hope we still take back this new found Pakistan.

  • Adi M on September 19, 2007, 13:04 GMT

    Good showing from Misbah in a couple of games. However, 2 innings in 20-20 do not make anyone an 'unflappable' batsman. This just might give him the confidence boost to go on to achieve greater things in life and beyond.

    However, this is one of the things that puzzles me most about pakistani writers and fans. You do crib about the vagaries of your board and admin structure, but you show the same when writing about your players. Get a balanced view guys.

    Unless Yosuf returns to the Pak team, you are going to lose all tests and most one dayers. This coming from an independent person who wills pak cricket to do well and whose fav player ever has been wasim akram.

  • Babar Mahmood on September 19, 2007, 12:45 GMT

    Kamran Abbassi shame on you.. 1 month ago when misbah was selected, YOU made the most fun of him and now you praise him like no other. When Sohail Tanvir was selected to replace Shoaib Akhtar , you challenged the decision saying the boy had no 20/20 experience... tsk tsk...

  • Noor on September 19, 2007, 12:43 GMT

    Yes Yes .No doubt he has turned out to be an important figure of the team .I my self very pleased by his performance.As long as the fame doesn't go in his head ,he shold be AOK .We will always love & loved those players who have been an asset to the team .He is on right track of becoming an asset . See Kamaran Bhai I said in my last posting that we can win & comprehensively without Shoaib Akthar we really don't need him ...Congrats Malik Congrats Pakistan Team .God Bless you All .We love You.

  • Naeeemster on September 19, 2007, 12:28 GMT

    Great work by Pak team against Aussies. I would love to see Fawad Alam in the team against Bangladesh. Nazir is the weak link here and I think he has got to go. We can open with Hafeez and Butt. Okay he is not performing but he gets teh starts. Its just the matter of time. Alam can come one down because we need to give him time on the crease to see what he can offer. Who knows he might click and we end up with another in form batsman in the team. Sohail Tanveer has been amazing. Asif is having on and off days but thats okay we can live with it. Afridi's bowling has been amazing. It must be giving him alot of confidence for his batting. We know this from past that when his bowling improves, his batting form comes back as well. Misbah is doing great. mailk's captainsy has been spot on espacially with the late burst from Gul. His batting has already won us two games so well done to you dude. Keep up the good work. Just hope Akmal start to make less mistakes. The ponting one would have cost us the game.

  • asim on September 19, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    I would like to say that Misbah seemz to be the Hussey of Pakistan.... But beware big matches r coming soon...plz reserve ur best for the last!!!

  • Zeeshan Khilji from England on September 19, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    I completely agree with Javed A. Khan. If we have to win the Cup the top 3 batsmen have to click. It may happen on an odd occasion when the openers struggle and the middle order resurrects the innings. But the same two or three players cant do it everytime. I cant understand the fact that Salman has been made the vice-captain. I mean he wasn't even a regular member of the team. You can't bring someone into the team just for the sake of leadership. How can a player who is nervous and unconfident himself motivate other players? Fair enough he has led junior teams or 'A' teams for that matter, but this is a different situation. Plus i dont get why was he sent in the one down position. At one-down two types of players are sent. Either a player with good temporament who can rescue an innings or a player who can attack, in other words a pinch hitter. Salman is neither. Well, in my opinion, the best strategy would be to drop Salman and pick an all rounder like Yasir Arafat. At least he can contribute. Anyway, after all the criticism I must say 'well done' to the Pakistan team especially Malik sahib and Misbah, and the bowlers of course. We all know how superb Asif and Umar are, but the new chap Sohail Tanvir has been well impressive. Pakistan Zindabad!

  • Ibrahim on September 19, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    True, Mr. Abbasi, true. Clinical batting in this tournament by Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik, the latter of whom is batting at his best as well (and just missing the MoM award each time!) But please on't call Misbah-ul-Haq a youngster, he's 33 years old and the oldest in the squad.

  • Faizan on September 19, 2007, 12:06 GMT

    For God's sake, enough with the discrimination already. This blog reeks of ageism. So what if Misbah is 33? Half of the freakin' Australian team is 33 or above. Jayasuria is 38 and he is fitter than most 20 year olds. And yeah, Misbah for the win baby!

  • Shahid Adnan on September 19, 2007, 11:23 GMT

    this is the Pakistan team we know so well and love...welcome back!!!

    It just goes to show the character of our team and us generally as people. Indeed we were falling into a bottomless pit, but I always had this belief that we would bounce back and be world beaters again. Shoaib Malik can make himself a Pakistani legend if he continues as he is doing...ok its early days, but good signs are all there.

    As for Salman Butt, what is he doing in the team? I really cannot figure it out, he is not playing for his country, he is playing for himself.

    Other than that, theres been one thing that has stuck in my mind through all Pakistans misfortunes this year...it was Imran Bhai who told his team to FIGHT LIKE CORNERED TIGERS...after all thats how our nation was made...ROCK ON PAKISTAN!!!

  • imran Shafi Khan - London on September 19, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    First of ALL Aslaam E Lekum to All Brothers and Sisters and fellow Pakistan Fans and Ramzaan Mubarak to All. A special salaam to Kamran Bhai. I think a big well done to the boys in South Africa they really have played superbly since being there even in the warm ups they looked great. The difference between watching the pakistan last night and watching them a few months ago there is a huge difference in the way they have played, the fielding catching and bowling and batting the all round performance has been superb and really has made us Pakistanis who live in England very happy and proud. What a tournamwnt for Misbah sensational, really great and for our new captian, he has played so well in the last 2 games, we knew Pakistan are the wrolds best we just needed to get all these things together, and I think the introduction of Geoff Lawson has totally changed the whole outlook of the team, Also a quick big up for Sohail Tanveer what a bowler, done so well getting rid of jayasuria and Hayden was fantastic, brilliant. Pakistan can win this tourmanent, inshallah we will. The only thing to change would be the batting order, it should be Nazir, Afridi, Younis, Malik, Mibah, Butt as we nned to have our best players at the top as 20 overs is short time to get the best in and let them have a go, Afridi needs a chance at the top as we need to get off to a good start. Long live Pakistan inshallah we will win the world cup Allah Hafiz Imran

  • Amjad Husain on September 19, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    Please, please get rid of Salman Butt.He wastes so many balls and does not know what an attacking shot is. But then he is he vice captain, why?

  • Waleed Ahmed on September 19, 2007, 11:05 GMT

    WELL HATS OFF TO MISBAH N MALIK !!!!both did good .both were calm n playin wonderful strokes.tanvir is a good bowler..he has talent n wonderful line lenght ...well i was hoping that why not try fawad alam the famous star of 20/20 against bangladesh ...that poor guy must be givin a chance!!i want to see pak lift the trophy !!!

  • shahid shah on September 19, 2007, 10:50 GMT

    Pakistan still needs shoaib Akhtar. It will be good to get him back as soon as possible. Pakistan won the 92 world cup without Waqar Younis, but at that time it didnt mean that we dont need him. Again we got the similar case. Hopefully things will be sorted soon and we would see him again Inshallah.

  • Mohamed Sohail on September 19, 2007, 10:43 GMT

    How many of you here have played cricket at ANY level,leave alone international cricket.it's very easy to bash Nazir now that he's not scoring..when anyone of you can go out there and hit the likes of Clark and Malinga then please come here and post all your 'professional' comments! Untill then shut up and let Malik handle his team!

  • Tariq Ashfaq on September 19, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    WELL WELL WELL:

    Pakistan in Semis!!! It is a very hard pill to sollow all around the world. Since 1999, there is one question in evrybodys mind, who will beat aussie? The answer always is Pakistan provided they play hot. This one 20 game was a prime example. I would also like to appologise for my crticism of Misbah on his inclusion. He prooved me wrong as well as 99% of the Nation. He is a star in the making. I think he has mature a lot playing domestic and league cricket and can be comapred to Aussies school of thought. Hats off too him and i hope he can keep up the good work. Openers: There is nothing much we can talk about them but i will definitely drop Salman Butt. Imran is a good fielder and haiz balls. Fawad alam or Yasir arfat can replace Butt coz he is not suited for the game. First he use a lot of balls and then gave his wicket away. At least imran gave his wicket away by playing some shots. I also think that departure of Shoaib akhter was very good for the team as he is a bad influence on Youngsters and should be banned from playing for Pakistan. Sohail Tanveer has long way to go but so far so good. Malik is playing like a point to proof and hope he can continue. Afridi well he has imroved alot and will bring good results.

  • Mohammed Munir - Sharjah, UAE. on September 19, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    I will attribute this win only to Ramadan Prayers of Pakistani Fans….. and if anything else, it is job well done by a few individual players, not a full fledged collective team efforts.

    I don’t want to sound pessimistic at this time of celebration but in spite of two good, no great, wins our worries remain with a flop top order, useless vice captain, weak fielding, motionless and uninvolved couch etc.

    Salman Butt and Imran Nazir have totally failed with the bat, and are neither blowers nor superb fielders. They should both be dropped for at least Bangladesh match, and we should try something new with Afridi brought as opener and Abdul Rahman and Yasser Arafaat to be included in the playing eleven. (This will be better to try new strategies; otherwise, we all will be cursing Butt and Nazir after loosing semis or final).

    Any guesses why Shoiab Malik is not bowling? Is it because he is concentrating too much on his batting and captaincy?

  • Usman Majeed RWP, Pakistan on September 19, 2007, 10:39 GMT

    I was the one who really was not in favour for Misbah before the WorldCup commenced, but now Misbah has proved me(i guess many others) wrong by his strokeplay. But he needs to continue on the same line for the next matches especially semi-final and hopefully final.

    Rgearding the batting order, i think Afridi and Misbah should be promoted atleast 2 numbers up the order than their current number, may be dropping Imran Nazir to No.6 and Salman Butt out of the team and bringing in Yasir Irafat. Because that will add another batting/bowling option to the balance of the team.

    Good Luck to Pakistan for the rest of the Twenty20 Worldcup.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 19, 2007, 10:31 GMT

    We have to give due credit to the Chief Selector Salahuddin for including Misbah in the squad. I stated earlier that this selection committee is one of the fairest the country has ever witnessed. The only problem I have with them is their obsession with Butt and Nazir. But this is more because there is an entrenched requirement for these so called “specialist openers” embedded in the minds of most Pakistanis. Many people have blamed this committee for regionalism and bias but the truth is that two out of the three committee members do not have roots in Punjab. As regards why Asim Kamal and Mohammad Sami were excluded, the former was not deemed fit enough to play in the tournament and the latter was suffering from an infection the time the squad was being decided. The committee was very fair to give Fawad Alam a chance to perform in this tournament because of his brilliant batting and bowling in the ABN AMRO Twenty20 Cup. However he has not been played in a single match thus far by the captain although three players (Hafeez, Butt, Nazir) are out of batting form. The selection committee has no powers over the playing XI in any given match. The team management has restricted powers and it is the captain who is in complete control over the playing XI. For those who were blaming the Selection Committee for including Misbah and excluding Yousuf and Razzaq, I have stated this before but will state it again- as per the new rules of selection, the selectors will consult the captain before any selection decision is made and as far as Yousuf’s exclusion is concerned that was done due to Malik’s recommendation, as reported by a leading Pakistani newspaper. An example of the selectors acting on the approval of the captain is the inclusion of Abdur Rehman who is a close friend of Malik although Rehman is not amongst the top spinners in Pakistan. If that is not so, what was the point of including Rehman when you have a better List A and Twenty20 bowler in Fawad (considering both bowling average and strike rate!)?

  • Ali Majid on September 19, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    Cast your mind back to autumn 2002. A tri-series in Nairobi,Kenya. The three teams were Pakistan, Australia and Kenya. Waqar Younis was the Pakistan captain. It was a turbulent time for Pak cricket, like many since and before. Lots of injuries, in-fighting, power struggles, a string of disappointing defeats (Pakistan were hammered in another tri-series just prior to this involving Sri Lanka and South Africa), Pakistan cricket was in familiar territory. The tri-series was being played in Kenya because of security concerns in Pakistan (it was the ODI leg of the Aussie tour). Pakistan were shambolic- loosing easily to Australia in the round-robin stage and struggling to beat Kenya. However, there was a middle order batsman who was only roped in as a replacement for a regular. I remember very clearly that the batsman showed supreme confidence and in his still young stay at the crease charged down to loft Shane Warne straight back over his head for six. He scored a fifty against the mighty aussies and also played a good hand in one of the group games along with Waqar (an unlikely batting partnership - I know) when Pakistan was humiliated by being dismissed for 117 (it would have been a lot worse if he and Waqar hadn't stuck around). I can remember watching the tournament and literally pulling my hair out but was refreshed by the performance of this particular middle order batsman.....his name - Misbah Ul-Haq. During that time he was batting with the same degree of confidence and assurity that he has shown in the Twenty20 tournament (albeit he was slightly less effective). From there he was picked for the test series against Australia that would again be played away from home due to the Aussie refusal to play in Pakistan as their very prescence would have been a danger to themselves (funny how the Ashes still went ahead in 2005). Keeping in line with the absolute shambolic tendencies of Pakistani cricket - half the team including all the so called stars declared themselves unavailable for the test series - due to injuries, family problems, being tired etc. As a result.....Misban along with several other new kids on the block was picked to face up to the might of the Australians under most trying conditions in Colombo and Sharjah. Apart from the first match - Pakiatan were blown away by the on field supremacy of the opposition. Misbah's performance in those three matches was nothing to write home about and effectively ended his run in the side as the superstars returned for the next series against "Zimbabwe". Does it really seem fair - to have a player with relatively little experience to be thrown at the deep end against the best side in the world because the most experienced players decided to stay at home and not face up to the toughest challenge in cricket - a test series in Australia. Does it seem fair that the same stars return on their own terms for a series against one of the weakest teams in the world? If the so called stars would have played in the test series against Australia - Misbah would have been in the squad but might have not got a game. If our stars were sensible and faithful to the cause they could have opted for a rest during the Zimbabwe series and that would have allowed some of the inexperienced to showcase their credentials. Misbah could have played, gained in confidence and possibly been in the frame for some time to come. It seems like what happened five years ago (the chain of events) have deprived Pakistan of what could have been a perfect back-up player for the middle order backbone over the last few years. He could have played many more games stepping in - incase of injuries to either Inzamam, Yousaf or Younis Khan. He could have stepped up when they needed a rest. He could have stepped up when they were suspended. He could have simply played a lot more games and being 33 would have had a lot more experience at this level. Again it just seems to me that a perfectly good middle order batsman with a cool a head as I have ever seen was once again treated in a manner that only the PCB can treat its players. I just hope now that he could possibly be a regular for the next few years. I think that judging by this outing he should be a definite for the South African series in October. The bowling has been great so far – Shoaib Akhtar being sent home has been a blessing in disguise. Asif, Gul and Tanvir form a very potent attack. The middle over bowling has been particularly effective. The opening slot still remains a problem…….the amount of times that we all have said and heard this……..well…….. To end – A brilliant couple of weeks for Pakistan cricket. Well done.

  • tabs farooq on September 19, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    I have to say it was like watching Brazil play football yesterday. The batting by the two M's was poetry in motion and proved you can play normal cricket shot and score at 9/10 an over. The overall look and feel of the time seems to be good and the rather large and grey cloud that used to be always hanging over our team has moved on. Good luck to them and I wish this new found spirit they have gained carries on into other formats of the game. Well done the young new Captain!!

  • omar hussain on September 19, 2007, 9:58 GMT

    Delighted as i am over Pakistan's and in particular Malik,Misbah and Tanvir's form,lets not get carried away and wait on how things develop.Afridi batting down is a mystery but his bowling has been surprisingly effective.This has been a team effort and i am praying that the solidarity is lasting.We shall not compare players so quickly;Mohd.Yousaf is our best test batsman and there is no one with touching distance of him save perhaps Younis.And don't forget the real examination of a cricketer is Test cricket not this 90 minutes wallop.

  • Talha on September 19, 2007, 9:55 GMT

    an UL HAQ rocked the cricketing world in 1992 world cup and now we have another UL HAQ making a difference in the 2007 T20 world cup... HOW COOL IS THAT

  • Ali Imran on September 19, 2007, 9:38 GMT

    Well done Misbah, Malik & Sohail. Everybody (all commentators & experts) is asking one question: what Salman Butt is doing in this tournament? It seems nobody has the answer.

  • salman saifi on September 19, 2007, 9:30 GMT

    Pakistan has proved wrong many including me....But thats what the nature of this team ever since "Unpredictible"...Just when you write them off they do something of this nature...Beating Lanka after they had no where to go after 33-3 in seven overs was a task surely well done...beating australia that too while chasing was a Herculian task & must be admired by one and all...But in the brightness of celebrations I still feel somewhere worried that a big failure specifically through batting is just round the corner as we have a history of being complacent ever so early...Long way to go still for pakistan...hope they do well.

  • Suneel on September 19, 2007, 9:27 GMT

    Misbah has proved himself and Mr. Kamran and Mr. Osman Samiuddin, you will have to watch the players before writing anything about them. Now I would like to warn people who are discounting Butt. Please let him play, it is not easy to bat under opening conditions in Safrica. People are saying that Malik should open.. What a ridiculous thought !!! Our ideas are the best recipe to get an inform batsman completely out of form... Inzimam did this when the opening pair was not working and inform players also got out of form e.g. Malik, Akmal during Inzi days. Australia has not excluded Gilchrist because he is not scoring. Salman played a few excellent cover drives which show that he is in good nick and it is just a matter of time. Please let the team settle for god's sake trust cricketers, captains and selectors because they know their jobs and they have proved it in case of Misbah and let them prove it in case of Salman too.

  • Wajahat Rehman on September 19, 2007, 9:16 GMT

    Salman Butt has been forced on Pakistan Team by the Selectors. He has been made Vice Captain and hence traditionally not to be dropped from side. He drags the run-rate down and then gets out. Pakistan should open instead with Fawad Alam - he can't be any worse.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 19, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    I would encourage everyone to read this artical in the Daily Dawn. It is a great tribute to Pakistan's resurgence. http://www.dawn.com.pk/2007/09/19/top18.htm

  • Haseeb on September 19, 2007, 9:03 GMT

    simple dilemma for Pakistan. The way I see it for the Bangladesh game - drop Butt and draft Fawad Alam. To have the extra bowling edge, open with Butt and Akmal and bring in Fawad further down for some stability. What have Pakistan got to loose? If this opening pair fails, at least they have another bowling option.

  • tariq from stockport on September 19, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    A few random points:
    1. Has Sohail Tanvir effectively ended Shoaib Akhtars career?
    2. Salman Butt won't be dropped as he's the vice-captain. But he or Nazir have to be dropped.
    3. I hope Misbah isn't discarded after the T20 cup. You never know with our selectors.
    4. How cool is it that we've got this far without Yousuf, Shoaib and any telling batting contributions by Afridi.
    Go Pakistan !

  • Hasan on September 19, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    Pakistans recent performances have made many of us die hard fans extremely happy, and given us realistic hope that we might actually go all the way this time. However, before we get too excited, we need to take into consideration, Pakistans unpredictability factor.
    For some odd reason this tournament reminds me a bit of the 1999 World Cup played in England where we had a few new surprise packages. Shoaib Akhtar made a big name for himself in that WC and it seems like the man replacing him (Sohail Tanvir) is doing the same here. Also in that tournament Pakistan lost to India but then beat the Aussies. They lost to Bangladesh after beating the Aussies though and lets hope there is no similar upset here. Also in that tournament Pakistan played against New Zealand in the semis and the other two teams were Australia and SA. Seems like these will be the final four over here as well.
    Anyway like the others I must add that I am extremely impressed with Misbah's contribution (Though I still wish he had finished things off against India). Lets hope there are a couple of changes in the line up against Bangladesh and Fawad Alam must be given a chance. He was one of the stars in the last domestic T20 competition and either Imran or Salman need to be rested. Perhaps testing Abdur Rehman might also not be a bad idea considering how well the spinners have done so far. Best of luck to Pakistan.

  • Wajeeha Zaidi - Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    We have been talking a lot about Pakistan performance in T20 WC and everyone I came across has really praised captaincy of Shoaib Malik..
    Not using Umar Gul in the initial overs and brining him at the end is an extremely innovative and clever thinking by the young captain. Not only this, his own batting has shown immense maturity. The way he is using other bowlers and all shrewd field placing is really commendable. Although Imran Nazir is failing in every match but I fully in favour of keeping him in the playing eleven.
    This team is doing great….. I would love to see Australia not making the last four and hope India can also join the semi-finals.

  • ahrash on September 19, 2007, 8:07 GMT

    Firstly, congratulations to the PCB - credit where credit is due,have another,larger, slice of humble pie Kamran!
    However,the great performances of Tanvir/Misbah could not have been foreseen by the PCB and so I think it is important too analyse why we are suddenly winning:
    1)Leaving out players such as Yousuf,Inzamam, Shoaib
    2)Tactical masterstrokes from the captain such as keeping Gul until the 14th over.
    3)The fitness training camps prior to the tournament, as epitomised by the resurgence of Umar Gul.
    4)This format not only suits Pakistani temperament but also crucially allows mistakes, such as the failure of the top order in every match.
    5)The variation of our bowling attack as epitomised by Tanvir and Afridi.
    6) Last years tour to S.Africa is still fresh in the minds of players and crucial players are used to the infrastructure and feel of the country, as well as the pitches.
    7) Lets not forget the team is still going through the honeymoon period of Geoff Lawson and the players are keen to impress/cement their position for future tours.
    8)Finally, I would say - why change the order if we are winning? Keep Afridi lower down because of the psychological impact it has on the opposition. Give Fawad Alam a go against Bangladesh and I am interested to see how Tanvir bats; If I can make two predictions - Afridi to take the most wickets in the tournament and to be vice-captain for the South Africa tour.

  • Moostaq on September 19, 2007, 8:07 GMT

    This was awsome, I am so happy, if Zimbabwe can win, Pakistan can also win. Who cares if people say this is a mickey mouse tournment, we don't.

    Moostaq.

  • Bilal ahmad on September 19, 2007, 8:06 GMT

    I agree on the heroics of Misbah yet I still do not think that its the brilliance of our selectors Kamran! For starters dropping Yousuf is still not justified. The way our batting is collapsing there is enough room for him in the team. Secondly, if Sohail Tanveer in their opinion was so brilliant he should've been selected in the first place. Thirdly, making Salman Butt the vice-captain is a wrong choice especially when his place in the side is doubtful.
    If Misbah was selected for his past performance in Twenty20, why Fawad Alam is sitting on benches, when he was the player of the final in the domestic Twenty20 cup. He opened the innings in Twenty20 and can be a good replacement of Butt for he too is a left hander and is a good spinning option as well.
    In the celebrations of victory we must not forget that all is yet not perfect and we must right our wrongs soon before the other teams plan on our glaring weaknesses. As for the team, I credit the men who have risen to the occasion instead of the selectors who chose them. I have all my doubts that Misbah was preferred on Yousuf. It was rather a case of Yousuf being dropped first and then they looked for the next best option. the reasons for his dropping is yet not known.

  • Zeeshan Shukr on September 19, 2007, 8:01 GMT

    Hats off Misbah and Shoaib (Malik). The other Shoaib needs to be banned for life!
    Misbah had never been given proper chance at this level to prove his worth. Now that the selectors have shown faith in him; he has done wonders to Pakistan. But still I can't believe he is a replacement for mighty Yousaf although he was at total ease while batting against Australia and that proves he is a class act! His innings was special as he never slogged; he played proper cricket shots. I have always admired the aggressive approach of Shoaib Malik towards the game. But he is proving to be one aggressive captain as well; it is a refreshing change indeed as we are not used to witness aggressive captains in Pakistan cricket.
    I think we should open with Hafeez and Akmal; Hafeez can play with a straight bat at least which Butt and Nazir can't. Akmal has a variety of shots and he can also be useful at top of the order; he has centuries to his name in ODIs while opening the batting. I would love to see Shahid Afridi batting higher up the order; they need to formulate a more effective batting order so that the in-form players bat higher up the order and consume more overs. Pakistan are the favorites to win the World Twenty20 if they sort out their opening problems.

  • Abhay on September 19, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    Misbah is a very good player. He can play both very aggressively and also good strokes. he is the ideal replacement for Inzamam-ul-Haq.But I still think Afridi should be sent up the order where he can play without any pressure, instead of sending him so low when they lose wickets and need real hammering to win where he will go for every ball and can get out easily.

  • Daniyal on September 19, 2007, 7:50 GMT

    Why does Misbah's temperament and stroke play come as a surprise? He has by far been the best if not one of the best batsman in domestic cricket over the last six years at least. He has in the past been included in the team as a tourist while other less deserving players got the go ahead. I'm happy for Misbah he deserves all that is to come to him.

  • Usman Khan on September 19, 2007, 7:46 GMT

    First of all I would like to congratulate the Pakistani team and the fans on the great consecutive successes posted by the team.
    Now i want to comment on the analysis done by Ian Chappel "'Pakistan and India are likely to disappoint' September 7, 2007 . According to Chappel "Pakistan will make the final eight but that won't be a great achievement since they have lowly Scotland in their group and they will fall well short of a semi-final berth"
    Ian Chappell please comment now????

  • srivathsan on September 19, 2007, 7:42 GMT

    Well done Pakistan. A clinical finish against both Sri Lanka and Australia. Pakistan outdid them in all the areas especially fielding. Remarkable transformation & with the current form they deserve the World Twenty.
    Misbah is a revelation and we owe him an apology for calling him old. Mr.Kamran I wonder why he was /is not part of one day team? His batting is not fluke & all his shots were authentic. He is the Jayasuriya of Pakistan. I do not know how many more talented are languishing without an opportunity. Yett opening is a concern as you have pointed out. Pakistan should not become complacent and carry on the good form. Well played Pakistan.

  • Imran on September 19, 2007, 7:32 GMT

    Well awesome work it was a team effort but Misbah - what a star ,actually he got selected several times for different tours but never made it to the final XI,why he wasn't selected who knows. I should say give openers chance - you never know if somehow Pakistan can win in the semi-finals and the top-order contributes in lifting the Cup.
    Coming back to Misbah's selection over Yousuf, i would say in 50-over format with Younis ,these three can be a deadly combo. Misbah has the potential to replace Inzamam. Not selecting Razzaq was a mistake and I am hoping that PCB doesn't regret that later in the tournament. Bravo Misbah, Malik, Afridi, Gul, Sohail and everyone else keep it up.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 19, 2007, 7:24 GMT

    Pakistan's performance has been incredible in this tournament. I remember Tony Greig's comments a few days ago, in which he was not giving Pakistan any chance against Sri Lanka and Australia.
    Just for clarity, if you check the link http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283307.html. The match against India is treated as tie and not a victory for India. This gives Pakistan the win percentage of 81%, which is the highest in Twenty20 Internationals. Also, Pakistan now has the highest undefeated streak of 6 matches in Twenty20 Internationals. Http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283106.html
    I must take my words back regarding Misbah. He is a gem of a player. His performance has been outstanding. Shoaib Malik also deserves praise as he batted Pakistan out of trouble twice in the last two days.
    I have never seen a Pakistani outfit outplaying the Aussies like that. Sohail's opening spell, Afridi's wicket-maiden, Younis' fielding, the last 3 overs by the pacers gave away only 16 runs. After that the superb batting display by Malik and Misbah...everything was just perfect.
    However, the top-order is non-existent. We have seen them fail four times in four innings. I back Afridi to open while the fielding restrictions are still there. I am a big supporter of Salman Butt, but I don't know if he should be in the Twenty20 side. But at least he is trying to improve. Imran Nazir's performance has been simply mindless.

  • Atif M Khan, Dubai on September 19, 2007, 7:09 GMT

    Misbah ul Haq is considered to be a best batsman in the current Pakistan domestic cricket. He has been in and out the team but now I can smell that he would become the permanent member of Pak cricket team. I wish him all the best for the rest of his career.
    It‘s time to either shuffle the top order or give both the opener break. Afridi and Hafeez can be considered for this position. Younis Khan can do the wicketkeeping job reasonably so why doesn’t he get the glove. Fawad Alam is most likely to play in the last match. We have to keep the momentum up and play with the same spirit. Our team always considers to be a unpredictable so lets put the finger cross and hope for the last evening performance again and again.

  • Sikander Rashid on September 19, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    Yes it's a sweet win, but really I think the unpredictability of this format complements Pakistan's unpredictability. We just have to wait and see how the tournament goes. South Africans at home will be tough to beat in either semis or the final! I hope we win though.

  • Awas on September 19, 2007, 7:06 GMT

    Quite right Kamran Abbasi, Misbah the unflappable and I would add that he has been the most dependable in every match. In the match against Sri Lanka, sending Akmal ahead of him was silly.
    I can only repeat what I said in the earlier thread: All those who had been criticisingMisbah should now eat their words. He has been the most consistent batsman so far. I also mentioned (a) selectors should be lauded for this courageous move as they almost always get criticised and (b) age such as his shouldn’t be a barrier; only form should matter and (c) Mohammad Yousuf has done no favour to himself by joining ICL.
    Isn’t it refreshing and natural to see Shoaib Malik and the award winners, when they come at the presentation ceremony, talking about cricket than getting distracted by making non-cricketing utterances. I think on this one the cricket board should get credit.

  • Kamran on September 19, 2007, 6:55 GMT

    First we were criticizing Misbah's selection, then he proved us wrong. Then now Salman Butt is not performing well, he should be dropped. If he performs well in the next match, everyone will say he proved us wrong. Same the case with Imran Nazir. Give them a chance. Butt has had starts, he has just failed to convert them. He will eventually, and dropping the vice-captain might again create inconsistency.
    If they are winning, let them win before making changes all the time. Batting order can be shuffled, but I guess having Afridi in the late order gives the other batsmen a mental boost, that even if they take some time settling in they know that Afridi can hit enough to compensate it. If Afridi falls early then not only our players will come under pressure, but the opposition will also become mentally strong knowing that the most dangerous batsman is in the pavilion.
    I think this is the theory behind his late-order position, plus we don't have the likes of Razzaq (who used to offer the same late surge) in the ranks.

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on September 19, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    I am the firm supporter of Shoaib Malik and he has been doing a wonderful job. Some of our fellow writers may be saying that he is stu born. The captain should stick to his planning. He is doing right thing by preserving his fire power - Shahid Afridi. We should appreciate that he is winning the game without any batting contribution of Afridi. It is a good sign. Selection must be on the basis of form.
    Misbah was saying while interviewing that his experience in this format of game is paying and he is right. He is the most prolific scorer in the domestic Twenty20 and honestly he deserved the place. Yousuf and Razzak must have been selected since our first 3 batsmen are not doing anything. If Yousuf and Razzaq were there.
    At least Hafeez and Malik himself has opened the innings that would have been much stronger team than this, still they are winning. If they are able to sort out the problem of opening, this team will be unbeatable. One thing which is noticeable is, Umar Gul has been grooming very well and his speed is also increasing and he is our one of the best weapon. Malik should be appreciated that he is using him in a very crucial phase of the game and it is working for him. It is also good that the captain is leading from the front. I hope he is going to lift this Twenty20 Cup. May Allah bless him.

  • Haseeb ullah waqar on September 19, 2007, 6:30 GMT

    We have such a remarkable player in the form of Misbah, but the entry of the player is very very late as he is 33. We need him as a permanent member of the team. Allah bless him. Sohail Tanvir is also a special find for the team. Allah bless him too & also the Pakistani team

  • Shaka on September 19, 2007, 6:21 GMT

    I say good job selectors, if most of the Pakistani fans had been allowed to pick this team they would have chosen Yousuf and Razzaq instead of Misbah and Pakistan would be on the first flight home because they would've had the worst fielding team out there! The selectors realized that fielding would be very important and that's why these guys were chosen, they impressed in all aspects including fielding.
    Sohail Tanvir looks like the find of the tournament so far, thank god Akhtar's not there disrupting things as usual!

  • Faisal Khan, Seoul on September 19, 2007, 5:45 GMT

    I believe a player of Yousuf's calibre can adjust to any form of cricket. Misbah may have deserved his place but Yousuf should not have been dropped. Oh, and Abdul Razzaq was born for such form of cricket. What is he doing on the sidelines?. This was a good opportunity for him to get his form back before the critical season ahead.
    Salman Butt is showing form for 50-over cricket; not for twenty20. He should not have been made vice-captain nor selected for this tournament.
    Lets not forget about Naveed Latif. the man is a renowned master blaster in the Pakistani Twenty20 tournaments. He should've been preferred over Imran Nazir or Salman Butt

  • Atheek on September 19, 2007, 5:21 GMT

    It's absolutely a surprise package. I mean Sohail Tanweer, where he has been?

  • daud on September 19, 2007, 5:20 GMT

    A good win for Pakistan after so many days. The win was even more welcome if one considers the current political despondency. Misbah has proved his detractors wrong, though he has continue to perform, especially in the longer versions of the game. Shoaib Akhtar's removal has proved blessing in disguise for Pakistan in the form of Sohail Tanvir.

  • Gugu on September 19, 2007, 5:13 GMT

    When Misbah first played for Pakistan, I thought he was a good player but as Pakistani selectors do with debutants, he was not given a good run after a few average performances.
    About top-order, I was arguing for same but then my wife said possibly Afridi and Malik would not survive Lee and Clark in first few overs so this strategy is working well for them. May be not the best of cricketing thing to do but it is ending well for them.

  • Haider Mahmud, Rawalpindi, Pakistan on September 19, 2007, 5:07 GMT

    The selectors have been spot on by rightly identifying Misbah and Sohail Tanvir amidst all the criticism. Hope our press take a bow.

  • Zia-ul-Haq on September 19, 2007, 5:07 GMT

    Good job Misbah and Malik but opening disaster has to be sorted out before semi-finals and we have a chance to do it against Bangladesh. Salman Butt - I am sorry to say you are not good enough to be in the side and how long we will carry him picking just because he is vice-captain. He has proved to be a liablity for the team and he alongwith Imran are just not good enough to be a part of this side.
    I would suggest to open with Younis and Hafeez and drop Imran and Butt and in the late middle order we can play Fawad Alam and Yasir. It will give more strength to late middle-order and will bring more variety in bowling attack. So far we are playing with five bowlers and if one of the bowlers have bad day in coming matches we have the choice. I wish Pakistan win the title.

  • Ravi, Australia on September 19, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    Instantly, anyone can be a hero or a zero in this T20 format. I still believe that this format is like Russian roulette. You don't know what you are going to get. If that's the attraction so be it.
    Congratulations to Pakistan for getting in to the semi-finals by beating the Goliath - Australia.

  • khurram on September 19, 2007, 4:55 GMT

    If I remember correctly, wasn't it Inzamam who had been adamantly blocking Misbah's entry in Pakistan XI. I saw a talk show last year where Inzi was the guest. When asked that why Misbah had not been considered for Pak XI, considering the fact that he had been scoring heavily in the domestic circuit, Inzi showed complete unawareness of the fact, claiming that he was not aware of any such stats associated with Misbah. I wonder whay Inzi had to say to this one now.

  • Untouchable Convict on September 19, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    Congrats Pakistan, wonderful display of cricket that. Lets hope it's the start of a new era.Your being a bit harsh on Shahid aren't you. Surely eight overs is enough to crack a ton for him.

  • maajid khan on September 19, 2007, 4:50 GMT

    It's Afridi all the way. Didn't I tell you guys that Afridi will be the key for Pakistan. B y the way what's Salman Butt doing in the team? Imran Nazir and Butt should be shown the door. Its right time for PCB to find alternate for these.

  • Jawed Ali on September 19, 2007, 4:48 GMT

    Kamran, I wish you could write about the twenty20 tournaments oraganized in the month Ramadan since 70's in Nazimabad, Karachi. Don't you think we have long history of T20 games?
    One more wish if you write on the topic "Twenty20 selection: Reasons known now". Just kidding.

  • dreamweaver on September 19, 2007, 4:48 GMT

    This victory is a momentous one for Pakistan..in the wake of the sordid World Cup, Bob Woolmer, doping scandals. Good to see this young team outclass the best in the world...and two days in a row. As an Indian supporter,of course one will always hope India beats Pakistan.But this victory is terrific for Pakistan Cricket and of immense value.They are too talented a side to be shamed by losing to Ireland and losing themselves in treachery and intrigue.
    All the best,Pakistan,Good luck to go all the way.And Misbah - what a man.Just when you thought a cool headed Pakistani batsman was non existent,here comes this guy out of nowhere.spectacular...keep it up.

  • Usman Baj, Isb on September 19, 2007, 4:37 GMT

    Indeed the class Misbah has shown speaks for itself, and he has silenced his critics of his selection to the national XI in this Twenty20 World Cup. However, there is no way one can justify him being a replacement for the Best Test Batsman of the previous year, who broke the world record of collecting highest test runs in a 12-month period with some distance.

    Of course, he could have been easily considered as replacement for Salman Butt (somehow he finds himself as vice-captain), Imran Nazir (who has just one innings in the last World Cup), and others who are not considered worthy to get inside the XI yet.

    Good job Misbah, poor job selectors for not selecting Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq..

  • Rehan Qureshi on September 19, 2007, 4:31 GMT

    Misbah has shown he can bat, keep his cool and hit everywhere. Bravo!

    Can anyone please tell me what happened to openers of Pakistan ? Are they there just to test the technique and adaptability of middle order batsman? Afridi should bat at no.3, he is not playing more than 10 balls anyway and neither are our openers, at least with him we have a chance of doing something different.

  • centura on September 19, 2007, 4:20 GMT

    Misbah Ul Haq seems to be the find of the tournament. I fail to understand how he could have been ignored by the Pakistan board till date. I don't think the PCB should be given credit for his good show in the tournament. Pakistan are playing great, well thought out games currently. If they take is same mindset on to the one-dayers and tests they will become a very difficult team to beat. The middle order has batted with uncommon common-sense and good knowledge of the situation with out resorting to mindless slogging and risk taking. Only if the top order improves.

    As an Indian I never thought I would be writing this about a Pakistani team, but kudos, if India fail to qualify then my full support is for Pakistan.

  • Farrukh Momin on September 19, 2007, 4:08 GMT

    Very sensible approach by Pakistanis in a match against Australians, no great risks taken by both Misbah and Malik, hats off to them, and also to all bowlers restricting Aussies under 170.

    Great feat achieved we need such performance in the future quite frequently

  • Gaurav on September 19, 2007, 3:58 GMT

    Hope to see some apologies from you and your readers for criticising the selectors for choosing Misbah over Yousuf, they obviously knew what they were doing (for a change!) - the guy is really good.

  • Saad on September 19, 2007, 3:52 GMT

    I was totally against dropping Yousuf for Misbah, but boy oh boy he has proved me wrong in 4 straight matches.

    As for Sohail Tanvir...hope he doesn't fade away like Sami. He looks too good to be true. Bangladesh match is the one game where we have to give a chance to Fawad Alam.

  • Anam Ahmed on September 19, 2007, 3:44 GMT

    Totally agree with Kamran...Misbah looks like the emerging star, his temperament, calmness just showed his maturity though he is not young...on the other hand which grabbed my attention the most was Sohail Tanvir...his bowling was different and consistent and according to Mahela after the Lanka match he said that Sohail's action was hard to pick up...it reminds me of Malinga when he newly came he was unique and still is in his own style...though these two new players have brought some hope into the Pakistan attack after the incident of Yusuf but if Sohail Tanvir made it through to the official XI i wouldnt cry over Shoaib's absence every now and then when he lets us down...

  • shahmeer on September 19, 2007, 2:47 GMT

    Sweet also is this victory in a bigger picture - the World Cup, the doping, Bob Woolmer, Shoaib Akhtar hitting Asif and being sent home. Pakistan cricket seemed to be falling in a bottomless pit.

    I think (or hope at least) we have rescued ourselves out of the pit. Akhtar hasnt been least missed in the tournament so far. Yousuf's utterly senseless replacement is making sense (though I am sure Yousuf himself would have done well)... and we are doing fine without needing heavy contributions from Afridi (though I still advocate he goes up the order)... and though we haven't solved our top-order problem, other areas are covering up... and best of all, we are actually fielding well and playing disciplined.

    Though my worst fear is that Pakistan has some history of doing well in the early stages of a tournament and then faltering towards the end. I think Salman Butt needs to be removed... he may be good in ODIs, but he isn't T20 material. Fawad Alam should play instead. Afridi should play at what's currently Butt's spot and Alam should play at Afridi's (of course I am ignoring the complications of removing vice captain)

  • Farhan Arif - Sydney on September 19, 2007, 1:20 GMT

    We do have a widespread speculation and criticism towards the PCB selection, but I must agree with them on this. Pakistan seem to have found the right combination for Twenty20, and it proved better than the best last night. the fact that we out-fielded Australia, on top of out-batting, out bowling, and out-witting them was a fresh start after the eight year gloom that started at Lords in 1999. We could all see which team was the better one in every aspect of the game. Misbah-ul Haq has more or less guaranteed himself a long ODI career. Remember a man with the same surname in world Cup 1992? They all start here. Pakistan will be facing either South Africa or New Zealand in the semi-final and they are the sides to beat in this tournament.Good Luck Pakistan.

  • Jaideep Nair on September 19, 2007, 0:36 GMT

    Kamran, Isn't it strange that just about a month ago, in your blog entry title "Twenty20 selection: Reasons unknown?", you called Misbah a old has-been? Eating your own words now, aren't you?

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg Virginia, USA on September 19, 2007, 0:13 GMT

    Kamran one must admit that less than two weeks ago even the most celebrated pundits of the game were not expecting the Pakistan Cricketers to be in the final four of 20/20 World Cup. With the dramatic exit of Shoaib Akhtar, sent home due to in disciplinary conduct, many commentators felt that Pakistan's last hope left with him. On the contrary, Shoaib's departure now seems like a blessing in disguise - it sent the fortunes of the team soaring to new heights, changed the complexion of the dressing room, and turned the younger players in to a tight knit fraternity.

    While the Pakistan opening batsmen have yet to make any significant contributions, their middle order is scoring the most prolific and valuable runs, and literally carrying the team. Among them Misbah-ul Haq, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik have are noteworthy.

    Afridi and Hafeez have yet to contribute substantially with the bat, though both players have bowled well.

    Asif and Umar Gul as expected did well. The surprise package has been Tanvir Sohail. He has shown unusual maturity at this level. His sterling performance has justified the selection of younger players in the team.

    Misbah-ul Haq without the star power of Mohammad Yusuf, raised a controversy when he was selected in place of Yusuf. Misbah has become a star, by his consistent performance under pressure situations in the tournament. He has silenced the opposition teams and his critics alike. In this most limited format of the game, Misbah has batted very responsibly and his shot selection has been impeccable. One now wonders why the Pakistan selectors did not give him more opportunities in the longer versions of the game of Cricket. Misbah may be peaking late in his career, has shown the destructive ability of Majid Khan to put the best bowling attack offered by the opposition in to submission and the patience of Inzy to graft and hold anchor at the other end of the crease.

    Finally, we must applaud the current selectors who have incurred our wrath for their questionable selection of the teams in the past. Whether the current Pakistan team can qualify for the finals in the 20/20 World Cup remains to be seen, but the selectors can be proud of Misbah and the team which has risen up to the challenge of the sport.

  • Junaid on September 18, 2007, 23:14 GMT

    Misbah is real gem and so Sohail Tanveer They both will be very beneficial for Pakistan Team near in future not only in any 20/20 matches but in ODI and test matches as well so i think misbah can play vital role in next world cup and sohail tanveer asif and gul .. these 3 bowlers will be great asset for Pakistan.

  • Amyn Habib on September 18, 2007, 22:18 GMT

    A victory over Australia is always special. Is it possible that Pakistan is about to get a real batsman in Misbah (who has batted superbly in this tournament so far)? And a real bowler in Tanvir? Maybe there is a bit of hope for Pakistan Cricket. Shoaib Malik's batting and poise-- excellent!

  • Alex on September 18, 2007, 21:39 GMT

    For once the selectors have made a decent selection. Calling Misbah-ul-Haq a Twenty20 specialist and overlooking a world class batsman like Mohammad Yousuf was a big gamble but the guy has shown that in this format of the game, he is the man for the job. However, the top order is fragile and I still feel that the selectors got it wrong by not taking Yousuf.

    Nazir just doesn't quite get it - you can't hit every ball out the ground and Butt is a little bit out of his depth. If you replace one of them with Yousuf to add stability and get Afridi to open or Akmal to open that would have been a well balanced line up of controlled aggression followed by stability.

    For the semis they need to utilise Afridi early if in a run chase or or 14 overs to go for a late surge if batting first. I would drop Butt and bring back Arafat as he is a clean striker of the ball. So far the form batsmen are Younis, Malik, Misbah and so Afridi or Akmal should open rather than Nazir who is gifting his wicket or Butt who isn't cut out for this format. As for Tanvir, if he ups his pace then he is the future Akram! Good luck boys you've played well and don't lose focus.

  • Rameez on September 18, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    I don't know if Afridi is scared or what, its T20 for the god sake, not a single worth while inning but he is compensating it with the bowl. Hats off to Shoaib Malik, Misbah is just awesome and well the wrong footer might have put a right foot in Pakistani Team. Lastly, the openers need a Red Bull before the game, so, they can wake up! I don't have better suggestion than that.

  • Hashar Muhmood, Toronto on September 18, 2007, 21:14 GMT

    Kamran Bhai. You are right. Misbah was ignored in past due to selectors wrong selection. Now it is time Misbah should be in team at least till next World Cup.

    Congratulation to all Pakistan team for reaching the semi-final. Tomorrow Pakistan should give rest to Asif, Hafeez, Afridi and Umar Gul and play Anjum,Yasir Arafat, Abdur Rehman and Fawad Alam.
    Good luck to pakistan

  • Mohaid on September 18, 2007, 21:10 GMT

    Can't we simply open with Hafeez and Yousin Khan - they have to be in the on the second over anyway. Sympathies for Salman Butt but its just not happening him and we should give others a chance in a not so important game against Bangladesh.

  • Aftab A. Qureshi on September 18, 2007, 20:43 GMT

    About Misbah: I think we forget that he may have found favor with selectors based on his performance in the domestic 20s cricket. It is good to see that with his solid and consistent performances, Pakistan may actually have done better than they would with Mohammad Yousaf. But who knows. All points considered, while Misbah has certainly justified his selection, the selectors have not justified their omission of Yousaf.

    The point about sending Afridi up the order is moot, at the very least. I am diappointed with repeated failures of Nazir and Butt But I would not at this stage disturb a very well settled middle order. It would be foolish to tinker with a batting order that is winning us big matches. But next time the selectors sit together, they would not have found a short term solution for Inzamam's absence.

    About Bangladesh: Pak cricketeres will do well to take seriously this unpredictable team that boasts of some really big hitters and tricky bowlers. I would say that Malik should play with all the bench strength he can muster. I would not mind if he replaces either nazir or Salman for this match. But no changes in the batting order please!

    Finally a word about Sohail Tanvir. I am so happy that he clicked. Please, Sohail, we need you to keep doing well. The guy you replaced is bad news. The team would be better off without him.

  • Ali Asim, Saginaw, MI on September 18, 2007, 20:29 GMT

    Right on the money Kamran. I want to ask everyone, who questioned the captaincy of Shoaib Malik and the inclusion of Misbah, just one thing, What say you now? You know what the problem is Kamran? We Pakistanis are too judgemental. We have no faith in anything. For once, I plead, let the selectors do their job and have faith in them.
    Yousuf was rightly axed from Twenty20 because this is not his cup of tea. He is not the same guy who used to score 30, 40 runs in ODIs before anyone could notice. He has matured in the Test arena and is still a handy option for one-dayers or should I now say 50/50 version. But there is no way he can cope with the fast paced slam bang format of 20/20.

    This guy, Misbah, has a formidable track record in domestic T20 and hence deserved a place in this tournament. I seriously admired Yousuf for whatever he had done so far for Pakistan Cricket. But he lost all my respect for him by his recent actions.
    Again, coming back to a lot of people in this blog bashing Malik. Well, do you people know anything about perseverance? Give the guy some space to conjure his own way of leading. And he has earned a lot of credit from the game's pros, the Chappells and co., regarding his captaincy in this tournament. That doesnt make him a perfect captain at all. He has his shortcomings and being stubborn is one of them. It could be better in some cases but not in this tournament. Although he is handicapped by the selection of top order players he has, but he can atleast shuffle it up a little just for the sake of experiment.
    As these bunch(Salman, Nazir, Hafeez) are continuous failures, Afridi and Akmal need to be promoted at the top and Nazir should be kept for slog overs. Salman should be rested until he finds his form, and Fawad should be brought in in his place.
    Captaincy is not an easy task folks. Everyone can come up with their own ideas. But put yourself in Malik's shoes and you'll understand what it means to lead a mercurial bunch of players .

  • Ash Zed - saudi Arabia on September 18, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    Well.....I must admit I was among one of those who criticized having Misbah in the team. Although I was not in favour of having Yousef in the team either but Misbah was not a young blood at 30 so I thought any young lad could have been a better choice

    But I was wrong. Misbah has been doing a wonderful job so far. Australian can say whatever they want that they have not taken this format of the game seriously……... this is not the right spirit as far as Australia is concerned….but we all know Australian are bad looser. Australia must accept they were outclassed by a better team in every department of the game including fielding.....can you believe Pakistan out-fielded Australians !!!

    Nevertheless, being unpredictable is the inherent nature of Pakistan team. Don’t be surprised if Bangladesh hammers Pakistan in the next match.

  • WASIM SAQIB on September 18, 2007, 19:51 GMT

    Despite all the top order batting vows Pakistan managed to beat the favorites Australia, Shoaib Malik and Misbah again proved their class. Shoaib Malik so far is doing an excellent job as a captain although he is being branded as stubborn for not sending Afridi earlier I don't think such a move will have any impact if Afridi is going to do more or less the same what Imran Nazir is doing and it might hurt the team psychologically if we lose Afridi early. Statistically so far the more conventional or technically correct batsmen have been more successful in the tournament.

    All the bowlers performed well again, Sohail Tanvir did it again for Pakistan his selection clearly shows that there is no dearth of talented players in Pakistan only the selectors have to be fair and should select the team without any pressure or prejudice.

    Misbah may not be young any more but he is still quite fit and probably he is the only player on the the team who is honest about his age.

    Pakistan will qualify for semi finals as Shoaib Malik promised before the tournament they can win it all only if they some how figure out a way to overcome their top order batting vows and maintain consistency in their bowling.

    Pakistan should give Fawad Alam a chance in the game against Bangladesh.

  • Mansoor Nasir on September 18, 2007, 19:48 GMT

    I stand corrected about Misbah. I was one of the hordes of people who blamed him as a replacement for Yousuf. But for two days in a row now, Misbah has shown the poise that the top-order Pakistani players are lacking despite having played in the in the international scene for so long. Its his time to shine and to prove the critics wrong and he has. In a big way! Also on Tanvir, Pakistan has always done well with a left-arm in the attack. In hindsight, Shoaib's antics and eventual departure was a blessing in disguise.

  • Khurram Samdani on September 18, 2007, 19:45 GMT

    Kamran, It's time to eat humble pie!
    "Yousuf's replacement is Misbah-ul Haq, a player who often promises much in domestic cricket but fails to look the part on the international arena. As my colleague, Osman Samiuddin suggested, if a new batsman was required it should have been a new hope not an old has-been." (August 7, 2007 Twenty20 selection: Reasons unknown? Posted by Kamran Abbasi at on 08/07/2007 in New age)

  • Irfan on September 18, 2007, 19:36 GMT

    Hey Kamran,
    I was waiting and wondering when are you going to write about this wonder [Misbah-ul-Haq]! Although there was a lot said about his inclusion to the squad that must have weighed on him like a ton of bricks. But kudos to him that he shrugged it off and impressed more and more in every opportunity he got. I say this without any prejudice that if he is ready to wrestle his spot from anybody in the team in the manner displayed then more power to him,I am on his side.
    Let's talk about a few expected failure such as our top-order. Butt and Nazir are both a failure should both be axed, but realistically speaking one of them has to go. I would drop Butt.Fawad should be drafted back in to the side. Malik should open with Imran, Afridi should be promoted to number three followed by Younis, Misbah Hafeez and Fawad.
    Now about Sohail Tanvir. I had pointed out earlier that he does things in a different way and the result of it is the inclusion of Tanvir's which I predicted might happen. Another bet I am ready to make is that had it been any other coach, Tanvir may not have played.
    As Sambit Bul so succinctly put it,Pakistan has played in a very un-Pakistani manner and outbowled, out batted and best of all out fielded Australia. Congratulation to the team.

  • Sitarah Anjum (London) on September 18, 2007, 19:32 GMT

    Well done Pakistan! Wonderful consecutive wins against SL and AUS. To be honest majority of us did not expect these wins but they rose at the right time. At least a much better performance after the silly bowl-out game against India! However I’d say that openers have not yet justified their selection so far!
    Yes, Misbah has fully justified his selection in the team and shut the mouth of his critics after playing very crucial role at the time of crisis in two important wins so far. After these unexpected wins expectations have become higher and now we can dream of something really big. Pakistan won their first World CUP of 1992 in the Holy month of Ramadan and I have a feeling that they can win another major tournament in this blessed month inshallah, where millions of people in Pakistan and around the world pray for Pakistan’s success.
    Sohail Tanveer has been a surprise package for team Pakistan and Shoaib Akhter’s exit has been a blessing in disguise. It is too early to predict the future of this boy as he has to go miles and prove his mettle and learn so much from his seniors. But Pak seems to develop a triangle of Asif, Gul and Tanvir now which looks very rosy so far. He has a different bowling action and as he is playing for the first time in an international tournament, batsmen of other teams are having difficulty to read him and he has been a headache for even the star batsmen like Sehwag, Jayasuriya, Hayden, Gilchrist etc
    I had hopes that at least in this game our openers will fire but as usual they have been disappointing and first 3 wickets have been falling without giving any remarkable total to the middle order. Thanks to the timely innings of Younas, Malik and Misbah who not only consolidated the innings in the previous games by supporting the sunken ship but also pulled victory for Pakistan.
    Afridi has been good with ball and yes he should come up the order. Twenty 20 format is designed for players like Afridi and Nazir as the current openers have been pathetic so Malik should either try him as an opener or send him at No.5 He should be given at least 8-9 overs to ‘do or die’ with his batting. If he has to throw his wicket in the end of the game while we hardly have 3-4 overs then why not try him up the order. The chances are that if he succeeds then he can easily change the complexion of a game in no time.
    Also performance of Butt has been pathetic and I don’t know what does he think when he’s on the crease. We do not see any of his skills, technique or prolific runs and he is taking more balls to score runs that is against the format of Twenty20. He is low in confidence and I have started to think that he does not even deserve a permanent place in the X1 based on his performance. Afridi is still a much better candidate to take the responsibility either as a Captain or Vice Captain. Afridi has the personality, passion and he proves it by his performance. His bowling has become his strength now and if he scores quick runs that are a bonus. I think Afridi has made his place at least in ODI’s and with some calmness and sensible approach he can learn to perform in Tests as well.
    Over all Pakistan has performed well in the last 2 games and outclassed SL and Aus in all the departments. Pakistan is the only team that can challenge mighty AUS because their bowling is not any lesser than Aussies. All they need is consistent performance and professionalism.
    After losing the match Aus as usual never gave credit to Pakistan rather they spoke of their own mistakes which cost them. If beaten by other teams they never give them any credit or praise , no matter how good the other teams play!
    I would be happier if Pakistan plays the final against them and outclass them once again! But it is also noted that Pakistan seems to become complacent after consecutive wins so watch them against Bangladesh. Although they have already qualified for the semi-final but to boost their confidence they should not lose the rhythm now and continue the win. They are actually two games away from the Twenty20 Cup. This is also the perfect time to try Fawad Alam in game against Bangladesh and drop Nazir and Butt. Both Butt and Nazir should have some much needed rest now. If they can not even perform in a shorter version of game after playing so many tests and ODIs then when would they?
    Apart from that Gul, Asif, Tanvir, Afridi have been spot on. However they have been smacked and seem off colour on few occasions and they need to do more channel bowling according to field.
    P.S Sohail Tanvir needs to work harder on his fielding and catching. His drop catch of Jayasuriya could have cost Pak had he not taken the wicket in his first bowl! Good Luck team Pakistan, all our prayers and best wishes are with you. Make me a proud Pakistani!

  • theosa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on September 18, 2007, 19:29 GMT

    I think I was the only one in one of your recent blogs who praised the selection committee, especially Salahuddin. I also agreed with the benching of Mohammad Yousuf as he is not fit for this format of the game. People criticized the PCB and selection committee on every opportunity they get. Here is why this shouldn’t happen; they provide a chance for deserving domestic players to show how hungry they are to compete and make their selection just, but at the end it’s up to the players to make the most of the opportunity.
    I’ve seen countless players have been given chances and few prevailed. One example is Hasan Raza, this guy might be one of the best our domestic cricket has produced but he couldn’t cash in, the reason I think of is, he could not stand the pressure at international level. If you look at the current crop of the players, majority of them took full advantage of the chances they were given and performed well in their early matches. So a player no matter how good a performer at the domestic level can still turned out to be a bust. That’s the reality of this business. Cricket boards and coaches get too much blame and too much credit for the team’s performance. Coach can prepare an outstanding plan to cope with a team but it’s the player who ultimately execute it and that’s where games are won and lost.
    Misbah shut a lot of mouths here on this blog. Remember ‘Uncle Misbah’? I do worry about the opening problem but I think Pak should continue with Imran Nazir and Hafeez. Salman Butt needs to be replaced with Arafat. I don’t see it happening though. At the end Pak won a battle and not the war so there is plenty of work ahead. Australia and South Africa are still favoured but Pak is getting red hot so there will be some nail biting contests ahead. I’m thinking which team will get Afridi medicine. I can see a volcano is about to erupt. Good Luck Pakistan.

  • Leena on September 18, 2007, 19:06 GMT

    You are quite right in saying that Pakistan fans are enjoying the sweetness of this success over mighty Australia regardless of the importance of the tournament in international cricket (I'm literally whooping). Also, I like the way this team looks more like a team and less like individuals playing just for the sake of it. As to the performances of Sohail Tanvir and Misbah-ul-Haq, I'd say they were spot on as were the rest of the team's with a few exceptions... I do wish these performances will continue in the future bringing loads of consistency and success for the Pakistan team...

  • Nouman on September 18, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    Your right Mr. Abbasi, the first 6 overs is absolutely crying for the likes of Afridi. What is the harm in trying him for the opening slot? Its not like the current openers are providing a stable foundation anyway. His only job would be to capitalize on the fielding restrictions and a quick 30 is all that is really required.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 18, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    Misbah has been a revelation and has probably exceeded everyone’s expectations. I supported his selection over Yousuf’s because I knew he was preferred on accounts of his recent domestic form and superior fielding to Yousuf. I am happy for him and I think he will be a regular international player for a while now. I was amazed at his command over English since the standard Pakistani player is not fluent in English at all. Does anyone know how Misbah developed this command over the language?
    Pakistan can celebrate after this victory because Australia became charged after the defeat to Zimbabwe and most commentators were of the view that they would prevail in this contest. However I am reminded of the World Cup of 1999 where Pakistan beat Australia in the preliminary matches but suffered ignominious defeat in the final. Can Pakistan control their nerves in the semi-finals and (possibly) the final?
    Sohail Tanvir is impressive and certainly seems to have an edge with his uncanny bowling action and quick release of the ball. He is a left hander and creates an angle so that is an added advantage. It is too early to make comparisons with Wasim Akram but if he can maintain a hard working ethic he is destined for great achievements.
    Some bloggers have reservations with Malik’s captaincy and although I admire him greatly as a batsman, he needs to be less rigid in his approach. He needs to realise that Butt and Nazir need to be dropped now and Fawad Alam needs to be played for the next two matches at least so that a fair assessment of his performance can be made. I would let Akmal and Afridi open in the next match. Fawad needs to bat in Afridi’s position for now, or he can be promoted to no 3 with Hafeez batting in Afridi’s position (since Hafeez has not been doing well as either opener or no 3). I would include Arafat in place of Akmal. Akmal is never a bad choice for opener because his batting performance is usually better or same as any standard opener, so he will not be a liability. He makes too many mistakes as a keeper; today he missed a crucial stumping chance of Ponting. It wasn’t too costly for Pakistan as Ponting was dismissed soon after but that is no excuse.
    Malik likes electing to bowl following winning the toss but I think he should refrain from that in the future unless the conditions demand it. Malik feels comfortable himself working towards a target and planning his innings and although he is good at it he needs to realise that his success rate will never be 100%.
    Pakistan is not a mentally strong side and unless a solid opening combination is discovered they will normally lose their top-order wickets early when chasing, hence putting too much pressure on the middle order. Malik, Misbah and Younis will not strike gold in every match and Malik needs to realise that. In one of my earlier posts I commented that for this sole reason, if Malik wins the toss he should always elect to bat first in this tournament. Players like Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Afridi and Butt are more likely to score big when not under the pressure of chasing.

  • Muhammad Asif on September 18, 2007, 17:52 GMT

    Misbah was under pressure even before the start of the T20 and this blog was one of his major critics. So its good to see him again on this blog but with a totally different mood. We should appreciate the guys who bring honour for us (its a totally a different story whether we like them or not). And down the line Sohail also did the same by performing on the field. Last but not least we don't forget to hail Malik too!
    P.S. We are comparing Misbah with Majid Khan & Inzimam-ul-Haq after watching him on the field. And when we were criticizing him nobody mentioned his batting but only age factor. So in future we should refrain ourselves from criticizing someone on the basis of non-cricketing issues.

  • Shakil on September 18, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    Well done Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik. I would comment here that do not compare Misbah with Mohammad Yousuf. Yousuf is Yousuf and Misbah is Misbah

  • EHU on September 18, 2007, 17:39 GMT

    Cool, calm and collected effort from Misbah & Malik. Good bowling performance complimented by calculated batting performance. Good morale boosting victory but still there is room for improvement like shot selection from Imran Nazir and the brave move of dropping Salman Butt is the need of the hour!!

  • Awas on September 18, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Quite right Kamran Abbasi, Misbah the unflappable and I would add that he has been the most dependable in every match. In the match against Sri Lanka sending Akmal ahead of him was plain silly.
    I can only repeat what I said in the earlier thread: All those who had been criticising “Uncle” Misbah should now eat their words. He has been the most consistent batsman so far. I also mentioned (a) selectors should be lauded for this courageous move as they almost always get criticised and (b) age such as his shouldn’t be a barrier; only form should matter and (c) Mo Yo has done no favour to himself by joining ICL.
    Isn’t it refreshing and natural to see Shoaib Malik and the award winners, when they come at the presentation ceremony, talking about cricket than getting distracted by making non-cricketing utterances. I think on this one the cricket board should get credit.

  • Jilani on September 18, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    For a while I thought it will be depressing outcome.. The great thing is that Pakistani team is not getting nervous and it is actually competing under tough situations, situations that are rather invited than imposed. I wish Mohammed Yousuf was opening with Imran Farhat. At their worst, they would have done a better job than the nervous Salman Butt (not sure why he is the vice-captain) and the blundering Nazir.
    Pakistan should drop Imran Nazir in favour of an allrounder like Yasser Arafat and change the batting order as following. Akmal, Hafeez, Butt, Afridi, Shoaib, Misbah, Yasser, Imran, Asif, Gul. At least Yasser has scored more runs and shown more spirit that our esteemed opener(s).

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 18, 2007, 16:57 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbassi the caption of this new thread should have been: Fantastic end to a gripping drama. Wow, what a match! Congratulations to Pakistan and most importantly. Congratulations to Misbah-ul Haq. He finally silenced all his critics today and, I am one of them. To be very honest like the majority, I wasn't also happy with his inclusion in the team as Mohammad Yousuf's replacement. But, now I have to give him the due that he deserves.
    The reasons for skepticism were: 1.His past performance at international level was abysmal. 2.His age 33, which was under microscope and many criticized that he is too old for this format of the game. 3. He replaced Mohammad Yousuf, who is not only is a year younger than him but, he is an icon and a national hero and he took it as an insult and opted out from the national team and joined the ICL. Perhaps this added pressure must be the reason to bring out the best of Misbah-ul-Haq in this tournament so far.
    His performance against India was good but, not good enough to win a match. Against Sri Lanka it was too short to judge it as a good one. But this was fantastic. Also, the best and the longest six of the tournament (111 meters) coming from his willow is a big surprise, we have seen him hitting sixes but, not a "Huge Nelson" coming out from his bat and that too at the right time was indeed a shockingly pleasant sight.
    It wasn't that we were not aware of Misbah's domestic performance in twenty20 but, it was his performance at the international level that has always been questioned by many and he was in and out of the team in test and ODI's that raised too many eyebrows. But, I am really happy for him and wish him all the best for his future endeavours which may not be as long as his six owing to his age. I don't think I need any sarcasm from any of the bloggers here because of my earlier skepticism about his inclusion in this team. I would like to see Pakistan win and whoever plays good deserves the credit and the praise.
    It is also very good to see Malik getting in another big partnership with a back to back fifty, he came into form at the right time and really played an anchor role and set a good example of leading from the front rather than being a spectator skipper. But, the question is how many times you expect to see a repeat performance from the same players? What's wrong with the openers and the top order? They are constantly putting the middle under under tremendous pressure. If Pakistan has to win the cup, they have three more matches to play. It is time for the other batsmen to contribute and relieve the pressure from those who are performing consistently.
    The bowlers also did a fantastic job today. Tanvir's razmataz dazzled once again. He sent back the three most dangerous left handers in good time i.e., Hayden, Gilchrist and Hussey. Afridi's second over was the best I have ever seen from him, it was against the two best batsmen in the world Ponting and Symonds. His first three dot balls to Ponting placed him under tremendous pressure, he almost got him stumped on the 4th ball but, the benefit of doubt went in his favour. On the 5th ball Ponting got frustrated and jumped out a few meters out of his crease and missed. But, Kamran Akmal also missed a dolly stumping chance. But, then he clean bowled the dangerous man Symonds with a beauty. Asif and Gul also bowled intelligently in the end and saved at least 20 valuable runs. Hafeez was also intelligent enough in exploiting the weakness of the injured Ricky Ponting who pulled his hamstring earlier and Hafiz forced him to stretch his legs further by making him play on the front foot which was very difficult for him that resulted in shattering his stumps. Over all it was a good team effort barring the Pak openers.
    After the match Ian Chappell was praising Pakistan's cool heads and the way they batted and he mentioned about Pakistan's past performance in Australia when on most occasions they used to start well but a couple of quick wickets used to create sudden panic and they used to loose the match most of the time. He quoted, one of the Australian newspapers headlines after one of the defeats as: "Its Panicistan Again."

  • Asif Sarfraz on September 18, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    Yes I agree, Pakistans top-order has to do something, because it makes it uneasy watching for Pakistani fans!
    In actual fact Pakistan batting makes it uneasy watching for Pakistani fans! But you do not understand how happy I am that the team has performed at this tournament!
    Tears of happiness are coming out my eyes as I type this!This is what we want to see from our team! Shoaib Malik, the Sialkot captain - what a man. This is our great captain for the future!
    I have to say that Afridi should not be at the top of the batting order, I think he should come in between Younis and Malik, here he can still have enough overs to make an quick impact!
    The top-order in fact have to sort it out for themselves. Imran Nazir - we all know that he has potential as we know when he first come on the scene when the Sharjah Cup was going on, and I never thought I would be saying this but Hafeez if he can just have a bit more self control I can see him making some quick runs as well!
    The other thing I have to say is Afridi should be the vice-captain instead of Salman Butt cause what contribution has Salman Butt made to the team?
    Misbah - well played brother, you have delighted us all! Shoaib Akhtar, are you watching? We have done this without you! Come on Pakistan!

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  • Asif Sarfraz on September 18, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    Yes I agree, Pakistans top-order has to do something, because it makes it uneasy watching for Pakistani fans!
    In actual fact Pakistan batting makes it uneasy watching for Pakistani fans! But you do not understand how happy I am that the team has performed at this tournament!
    Tears of happiness are coming out my eyes as I type this!This is what we want to see from our team! Shoaib Malik, the Sialkot captain - what a man. This is our great captain for the future!
    I have to say that Afridi should not be at the top of the batting order, I think he should come in between Younis and Malik, here he can still have enough overs to make an quick impact!
    The top-order in fact have to sort it out for themselves. Imran Nazir - we all know that he has potential as we know when he first come on the scene when the Sharjah Cup was going on, and I never thought I would be saying this but Hafeez if he can just have a bit more self control I can see him making some quick runs as well!
    The other thing I have to say is Afridi should be the vice-captain instead of Salman Butt cause what contribution has Salman Butt made to the team?
    Misbah - well played brother, you have delighted us all! Shoaib Akhtar, are you watching? We have done this without you! Come on Pakistan!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 18, 2007, 16:57 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbassi the caption of this new thread should have been: Fantastic end to a gripping drama. Wow, what a match! Congratulations to Pakistan and most importantly. Congratulations to Misbah-ul Haq. He finally silenced all his critics today and, I am one of them. To be very honest like the majority, I wasn't also happy with his inclusion in the team as Mohammad Yousuf's replacement. But, now I have to give him the due that he deserves.
    The reasons for skepticism were: 1.His past performance at international level was abysmal. 2.His age 33, which was under microscope and many criticized that he is too old for this format of the game. 3. He replaced Mohammad Yousuf, who is not only is a year younger than him but, he is an icon and a national hero and he took it as an insult and opted out from the national team and joined the ICL. Perhaps this added pressure must be the reason to bring out the best of Misbah-ul-Haq in this tournament so far.
    His performance against India was good but, not good enough to win a match. Against Sri Lanka it was too short to judge it as a good one. But this was fantastic. Also, the best and the longest six of the tournament (111 meters) coming from his willow is a big surprise, we have seen him hitting sixes but, not a "Huge Nelson" coming out from his bat and that too at the right time was indeed a shockingly pleasant sight.
    It wasn't that we were not aware of Misbah's domestic performance in twenty20 but, it was his performance at the international level that has always been questioned by many and he was in and out of the team in test and ODI's that raised too many eyebrows. But, I am really happy for him and wish him all the best for his future endeavours which may not be as long as his six owing to his age. I don't think I need any sarcasm from any of the bloggers here because of my earlier skepticism about his inclusion in this team. I would like to see Pakistan win and whoever plays good deserves the credit and the praise.
    It is also very good to see Malik getting in another big partnership with a back to back fifty, he came into form at the right time and really played an anchor role and set a good example of leading from the front rather than being a spectator skipper. But, the question is how many times you expect to see a repeat performance from the same players? What's wrong with the openers and the top order? They are constantly putting the middle under under tremendous pressure. If Pakistan has to win the cup, they have three more matches to play. It is time for the other batsmen to contribute and relieve the pressure from those who are performing consistently.
    The bowlers also did a fantastic job today. Tanvir's razmataz dazzled once again. He sent back the three most dangerous left handers in good time i.e., Hayden, Gilchrist and Hussey. Afridi's second over was the best I have ever seen from him, it was against the two best batsmen in the world Ponting and Symonds. His first three dot balls to Ponting placed him under tremendous pressure, he almost got him stumped on the 4th ball but, the benefit of doubt went in his favour. On the 5th ball Ponting got frustrated and jumped out a few meters out of his crease and missed. But, Kamran Akmal also missed a dolly stumping chance. But, then he clean bowled the dangerous man Symonds with a beauty. Asif and Gul also bowled intelligently in the end and saved at least 20 valuable runs. Hafeez was also intelligent enough in exploiting the weakness of the injured Ricky Ponting who pulled his hamstring earlier and Hafiz forced him to stretch his legs further by making him play on the front foot which was very difficult for him that resulted in shattering his stumps. Over all it was a good team effort barring the Pak openers.
    After the match Ian Chappell was praising Pakistan's cool heads and the way they batted and he mentioned about Pakistan's past performance in Australia when on most occasions they used to start well but a couple of quick wickets used to create sudden panic and they used to loose the match most of the time. He quoted, one of the Australian newspapers headlines after one of the defeats as: "Its Panicistan Again."

  • Jilani on September 18, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    For a while I thought it will be depressing outcome.. The great thing is that Pakistani team is not getting nervous and it is actually competing under tough situations, situations that are rather invited than imposed. I wish Mohammed Yousuf was opening with Imran Farhat. At their worst, they would have done a better job than the nervous Salman Butt (not sure why he is the vice-captain) and the blundering Nazir.
    Pakistan should drop Imran Nazir in favour of an allrounder like Yasser Arafat and change the batting order as following. Akmal, Hafeez, Butt, Afridi, Shoaib, Misbah, Yasser, Imran, Asif, Gul. At least Yasser has scored more runs and shown more spirit that our esteemed opener(s).

  • Awas on September 18, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Quite right Kamran Abbasi, Misbah the unflappable and I would add that he has been the most dependable in every match. In the match against Sri Lanka sending Akmal ahead of him was plain silly.
    I can only repeat what I said in the earlier thread: All those who had been criticising “Uncle” Misbah should now eat their words. He has been the most consistent batsman so far. I also mentioned (a) selectors should be lauded for this courageous move as they almost always get criticised and (b) age such as his shouldn’t be a barrier; only form should matter and (c) Mo Yo has done no favour to himself by joining ICL.
    Isn’t it refreshing and natural to see Shoaib Malik and the award winners, when they come at the presentation ceremony, talking about cricket than getting distracted by making non-cricketing utterances. I think on this one the cricket board should get credit.

  • EHU on September 18, 2007, 17:39 GMT

    Cool, calm and collected effort from Misbah & Malik. Good bowling performance complimented by calculated batting performance. Good morale boosting victory but still there is room for improvement like shot selection from Imran Nazir and the brave move of dropping Salman Butt is the need of the hour!!

  • Shakil on September 18, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    Well done Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik. I would comment here that do not compare Misbah with Mohammad Yousuf. Yousuf is Yousuf and Misbah is Misbah

  • Muhammad Asif on September 18, 2007, 17:52 GMT

    Misbah was under pressure even before the start of the T20 and this blog was one of his major critics. So its good to see him again on this blog but with a totally different mood. We should appreciate the guys who bring honour for us (its a totally a different story whether we like them or not). And down the line Sohail also did the same by performing on the field. Last but not least we don't forget to hail Malik too!
    P.S. We are comparing Misbah with Majid Khan & Inzimam-ul-Haq after watching him on the field. And when we were criticizing him nobody mentioned his batting but only age factor. So in future we should refrain ourselves from criticizing someone on the basis of non-cricketing issues.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 18, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    Misbah has been a revelation and has probably exceeded everyone’s expectations. I supported his selection over Yousuf’s because I knew he was preferred on accounts of his recent domestic form and superior fielding to Yousuf. I am happy for him and I think he will be a regular international player for a while now. I was amazed at his command over English since the standard Pakistani player is not fluent in English at all. Does anyone know how Misbah developed this command over the language?
    Pakistan can celebrate after this victory because Australia became charged after the defeat to Zimbabwe and most commentators were of the view that they would prevail in this contest. However I am reminded of the World Cup of 1999 where Pakistan beat Australia in the preliminary matches but suffered ignominious defeat in the final. Can Pakistan control their nerves in the semi-finals and (possibly) the final?
    Sohail Tanvir is impressive and certainly seems to have an edge with his uncanny bowling action and quick release of the ball. He is a left hander and creates an angle so that is an added advantage. It is too early to make comparisons with Wasim Akram but if he can maintain a hard working ethic he is destined for great achievements.
    Some bloggers have reservations with Malik’s captaincy and although I admire him greatly as a batsman, he needs to be less rigid in his approach. He needs to realise that Butt and Nazir need to be dropped now and Fawad Alam needs to be played for the next two matches at least so that a fair assessment of his performance can be made. I would let Akmal and Afridi open in the next match. Fawad needs to bat in Afridi’s position for now, or he can be promoted to no 3 with Hafeez batting in Afridi’s position (since Hafeez has not been doing well as either opener or no 3). I would include Arafat in place of Akmal. Akmal is never a bad choice for opener because his batting performance is usually better or same as any standard opener, so he will not be a liability. He makes too many mistakes as a keeper; today he missed a crucial stumping chance of Ponting. It wasn’t too costly for Pakistan as Ponting was dismissed soon after but that is no excuse.
    Malik likes electing to bowl following winning the toss but I think he should refrain from that in the future unless the conditions demand it. Malik feels comfortable himself working towards a target and planning his innings and although he is good at it he needs to realise that his success rate will never be 100%.
    Pakistan is not a mentally strong side and unless a solid opening combination is discovered they will normally lose their top-order wickets early when chasing, hence putting too much pressure on the middle order. Malik, Misbah and Younis will not strike gold in every match and Malik needs to realise that. In one of my earlier posts I commented that for this sole reason, if Malik wins the toss he should always elect to bat first in this tournament. Players like Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Afridi and Butt are more likely to score big when not under the pressure of chasing.

  • Nouman on September 18, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    Your right Mr. Abbasi, the first 6 overs is absolutely crying for the likes of Afridi. What is the harm in trying him for the opening slot? Its not like the current openers are providing a stable foundation anyway. His only job would be to capitalize on the fielding restrictions and a quick 30 is all that is really required.

  • Leena on September 18, 2007, 19:06 GMT

    You are quite right in saying that Pakistan fans are enjoying the sweetness of this success over mighty Australia regardless of the importance of the tournament in international cricket (I'm literally whooping). Also, I like the way this team looks more like a team and less like individuals playing just for the sake of it. As to the performances of Sohail Tanvir and Misbah-ul-Haq, I'd say they were spot on as were the rest of the team's with a few exceptions... I do wish these performances will continue in the future bringing loads of consistency and success for the Pakistan team...