Team sheet February 4, 2008

What lessons from the Zimbabwe series?

Five-nil should not look bad on paper but this one does

Five-nil should not look bad on paper but this one does. The piece of paper in question is the team sheet, which has been rearranged so often during the Zimbabwe series that it is almost impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions. Pakistan's selectors will say that they have responded to the calls for new faces but they have betrayed their own uncertainty with such haphazard substitutions. Many of the young players were given solitary opportunities against Zimbabwe, an insufficient experiment to judge Pakistan's bench strength.

Assuming Australia do visit, Pakistan's only consolation can be that Ricky Ponting's team is enduring a few problems of its own although these are insignificant when compared with Pakistan's selection confusion.

I would, though, hazard two conclusions. First, that Sarfraz Ahmed deserves a longer run in the first team, and second that from the array of bowlers that Pakistan experimented with the selectors should invest in those with pace, for example Sohail Khan.

Rarely has a five-nil result been so empty and so devoid of meaning. Another lesson I'm sure that will go unlearned in the grand tradition of Pakistan's cricket development strategy.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 23, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    Clear, informative, smpile. Could I send you some e-hugs?

  • testli5504537 on February 11, 2008, 4:42 GMT

    It was a fitting reply by javed khan & sam to the detractors of afridi.People like faisal always try to put afridi down.Actually the team management is responsible for afridi's low average.No player in the world can perform if you drop him after one bad match.Why was he dropped against india in the 1st test after performing brilliantly in australia in 2005 & against england after doing so well in west indies & india.After scoring 90 vs england & two centuries & a fifty against india he was at his best & was dropped in sri lanka for the 2nd test after failing in just one innings & axed again against india whereas other players continue to play even after failing consistently. Pakistan team management & selectors should utilise the natural talent of afridi in both tests & one days instead of axing him frequently. Afridi's test average of 38 runs is better than most of the current players.9 fifties,5 100's,47 wickets in 26 tests is not bad at all.He can do better if treated properly.

  • testli5504537 on February 10, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Here is the sprit and bowling we are missing in Pakistan senior team. But look at the bowling and the team sprit of our last year under 19 team who won the world cup for us.

    But where are our heroes?

    Did we learn any lesson from our win?

    why Kamran Akmal, Yasir Afrfat, Rao, Niazi,& Malik in the senior team?

    Dawar LA USA

  • testli5504537 on February 10, 2008, 18:48 GMT

    current pakistan looks totally joke now days,.. i don't think so pakistan can ever produce good cricketers with foreigners coaches, these foreigners coaches don't want to bring young players of 19 to 22 years ages beacuse they thinks they are too young for internatinal cricket but they don't that every pakistani cricketers has fake age, at least 2-3 years. when u bring a guy like abdul rauf with a age of 30 it mean he is almost done with his career. A lot of people here talking about his bowling but for me he is just trash.. in all new players if there was only three good players that were, sohail khan, wahab, and khalid latif. only khalid showed litlle better technique than other all new batsmen. to bring a bowlers of the speed of 120 to 130 is just joke with pakistani cricket.. and this nonsense chairmain is ruined the pakistan cricket just for his own power.. i have never seen his single good decision for pak cricket yet. he picks old people for every department.

  • testli5504537 on February 10, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    i m going to state the most important thing. why a country would struggle so badly to survive when there are guys like Wasim & Waqar, the real jewels of cricket... they r doing the f***ing commentary job while they should devote themselve for the improvement of cricket of their country. Doesn't PCB earn enough to pay them atleast equal amount to their f***ing job?

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    I don't think our selectors have ever picked a future champion. It seems that all the great finds like Wasim, Waqar were actually spotted by other greats like Imran and Miandad.

    For all those who are talking about Sohail Khan not turning in great performances, Mr. Abbasi did not once praise him, he just said that the board needs to invest in fast bowlers like him.

    Poor Kamran Akmal, i wouldn't want to be in his shoes.

    I'm not too bothered about trying out too many players in this series. If you're not going to try them against Zim, then who else can you try them against?

    The victory lap was funny. Our young captain may have surprised himself. Remember, before the series he did ask us not to hope for a clean sweep. How is going to lead if he sets the bar so low? Someone needs to inject some confidence in him. Make Afridi vice captain in order to counter-balance the leadership. They are exact opposites!

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    Hold on your horses non magical faisal squib 'coz it is very easy to present the bad side of a story. In October 1996 Afridi had made his debut as a 16 year old and 2 months later he was in Australia. His century on debut, a world record placed him in a very difficult situation to perform in every single match. Its difficult for any player playing in Australia for the first time to perform well and he was only 16 then, still he impressed many, especially in the first final. In the first two round matches they made him bat in the death overs and he failed. In the 3rd and 4th match he played as an opener and scored a quick fire 30 odd runs in each. He was in the team as a leg spinner who could also bat and he bowled well in that series. In the first final against WI, he scored 53 and took 3 wickets and was Man of the Match.

    Eight years later in 2004-2005 he was a more matured player and played better than most of the senior players including Inzamam and Yousuf. Here is the link of cricinfo during that VB series in Australia 2004-2005 Check out the results and the stats to satisfy your garish ego. In the 1996-97 VB series, Pakistan played 6 round matches (3 against WI and 3 against Aus) and two in the finals total 8 matches. Afridi scored 231 runs, first match he was second top scorer with 48 (including 4 sixes of McGrath) in the second match he did not bat because Pak won easily against WI. His batting average in that series is 38.5 better than Inzamam & Co. Also he took 10 wickets in 8 matches. He hit total 17 sixes in Australia, most of them were at the bowling of Glen McGrath and Shane Warne. How many Pakistani players have achieved that feat? I think may be Shoaib Malik can beat that record, if he plays against Sialkot's Government High School team.

  • testli5504537 on February 8, 2008, 23:04 GMT

    After reading all above comments, here is the conclusion.

    Revoke captainship of Malik and he should not be the part of playing test team. No more chances to Kamran Akmal, Butt, Rao, Yasir Arfat and Niazi in test, one day and 20/20. Afrid should be captain. Vice captain should be any young player who can be our future captain after the next world cup so. Most probably Sarfraz Ahmed or Fawad Alam. Fawad Alam and Sarfraz Ahmed should be a permanent member of all types of cricket. PCB should give chances to Khurrum manzoor, Khalid Latif, Nasir Jamshead and Shadab Kabir for the opening pairs. Nomanullah should have proper chance. He is the highest scorer in Quaid-e-Azam trophy. Shoail Khan and Abdur Rauf should be given more chances and should be permanent in the absence of Asif, Shoaib and Gul. Actually in my opinion Shoail Khan and Abdur Rauf are better than Asif, Shoaib and Gul. ATkeast do not take drugs to bowl fast.

    Raja Pakistani

  • testli5504537 on February 8, 2008, 18:12 GMT

    Finally some body replied to me with figure and facts. Yes I am talking about Sam, very well post, man but you know what…… you proved me even 110% right. You strengthened my post. I love you man…….i am not gay though. You said he played 253 matches and out them he was involved in 146 games, which Pakistan won. You are absolutely right at that point. You also mentioned score, averages and strike rate wow great. I think you didn’t read my post carefully why becoz you didn’t mention who was opposition. Where was match going on? Let me simplify it for you that how you proved me right. Firstly, there was a Carlton & United Series (Australia, Pakistan, West Indies in Australia), 1996/97 Pakistan that series won though but reason was not Afridi. Afridi played 9 matches scored 159 and his ave was 17.66. if you are curious go check score cards then you will know who was behind win then Pakistan played continued in post 2

  • testli5504537 on February 8, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    I think you are a bit harsh on the selectors here Kamran.I agree that some players would have been given a longer run but Selectors probably wanted to use this opportunity fully to find out which players could be tried again in future and I guess we have an idea regarding that now. I'll just talk about bowling here because historically,our strength has been fast bowling but we are not that strong in this department anymore.We only have one 90 mph bowler at the moment and thats Shoaib Akhtar.Gul has good enough speed and Asif is that misery and cunning bowler thats a rare breed.To get Aussies out twice,we'll need Shoaib,Asif and Gul fully fit and we'll need a spinner as well.Personally,I would favour Afridi even in tests as well as he is atleast as good as kaneria if not better in his legspin in recent times.Also his batting brings another dimension to the game.We can try Rizwan Ahmed again in future because we definitely need a quality spinner which we dont have since Saqlain

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