Team sheet February 4, 2008

What lessons from the Zimbabwe series?

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

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

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

  • ASIF 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.

  • Dawar 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?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuvhZ7kbAzA&feature=related

    Did we learn any lesson from our win?

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

    Dawar LA USA

  • ILoveUSA 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.

  • jOhnny 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?

  • Faridoon 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!

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA 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 http://content-www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/61166.html 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.

  • Raja Pakistani 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

  • faisal 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…..lol….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

  • zeeshan tirmizi 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

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

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

  • ASIF 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.

  • Dawar 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?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuvhZ7kbAzA&feature=related

    Did we learn any lesson from our win?

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

    Dawar LA USA

  • ILoveUSA 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.

  • jOhnny 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?

  • Faridoon 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!

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA 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 http://content-www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/61166.html 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.

  • Raja Pakistani 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

  • faisal 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…..lol….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

  • zeeshan tirmizi 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

  • Aamir Jadoon on February 8, 2008, 15:03 GMT

    continuing my above points I must say that why they are not giving the chance to Muhammad Irshad PCB is waisting the talent of Muhammad Irshad he is a brilient bowler with the pace of 90miles/h and I also will say that Yes you are right Sarfaraz Ahmad is very good wicketkeeper and he should be played for a longer period also Fawad Alam must be given a chance but the most Important point I want to say is that during this series Pakistan played with only three reguler Fast bowlers and they considered Afridi and Shohaib Malik as a reguler bowlers this is very dangerous specially if you will play against the good teams Shohaib Malik or Kamran Akmal should be open with Salman Butt.

  • aamir jadoon on February 8, 2008, 14:51 GMT

    Well Kamran in my openion this series against Zimbabway is useless because of following reasons Although I did not see any match because I am in china these days and can not watch the matches but I just saw on the cricinfo My first point is that Shohaib Malik have played at up order just to regain his form before the important series against Australia this is good but why he did not give the chance to Suleman Butt to regain his form why he has been droped after the two matches. Second one is that I just saw some highlites of the matches only to see the bating of nasir jamshed I dont think that he is too good technically to play against the Australia I think other opener Latif is technically better player than him and in bowling Kamran Hussain Abdurrauf and Sohail khan are good finds for Pakistan if you remember Kamran I always said about the Rauf he is a very good bowler because he is the bowler who always hits the seam of the ball but again I must say that

  • Fatir on February 8, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    In life there are those who do things (the "doers") and those who like to teach (and criticise) without regard for the ground realities (the "teachers"). Journalists normally fall into the second category. Kamran provides the perfect example of this in this blog. I believe the PCB was right to try out the "bench" in this series. Maybe they went a little too far, but to suggest that no lessons will be learnt in the "grand tradition of Pakistan's cricket" is harsh to say the least. Try a little dose of realism every now and then ! Fatir, Italy

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

    Zimbabwe should have their Test status revoked.

    Not because of the despicable Mugabe government. Just because they're crap.

    And Bangladesh needs to get their house in order as well.

    These sides being given Test status diminishes the 130 year history of Test cricket.

    I have some hope that Bangladesh will raise their game to the requisite standard.

    But Zimbabwe?! Get real.

    FO Zimbabwe, you're not a Test nation...

  • Aditya Mookerjee on February 8, 2008, 12:11 GMT

    It is indeed, not good news that Pakistan is not considered a safe venue for hosting international cricket matches. However, every negative, has a positive. In such a situation, Pakistan may get to play more overseas matches. The government will have to darn the situation, if the public starts to mind not a little, the lack of matches in Pakistan. I am sure, the international community will give every assistance to Pakistan. It does not bode well if the current happenings fester on, for Pakistan, or her neighbors. I have not experienced serious intent on the part of the cricket 'establishment' to improve cricketing matters. Cricket in Pakistan seems to be doing o k, anyways. What I would like to see, is a joint India-Pakistan cricket team playing against the other nations in the future. The reason why we have such humdinger series, is because the two teams complement each other.

  • Rehan Haider on February 8, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    I agree with you in this article 100%! Some players were given a chance to play a game but then not given a proper chance within the game! e.g. the leg spinner who played in the last game only bowled 4 overs! Soahil Khan never bowled his full quota of overs! It would have been better if these players were allowed to bowl there overs rather than the captain bowling 10 overs in nearly all the games! He never usually bowls when playing a better opposition! I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't bowl against australia as much or any other stronger team! Bring on Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and West Indies and everyone wants to bowl and bat high up the order to bolster there career averages! In my opinion at the moment only bangladesh is below us!

  • bilal on February 8, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    I think you have a fair view because we have not found the kind of players we need. We have given insuffient chances to some players who need to be given more chances. If many people have been given chances then we will and therefore have not found the kind of players Pakistan Cricket needs.

  • Afridi Fan, Karachi wala on February 7, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    Afridi is a match winner. He can play good against any team any where against any bowling. He does not only play well against weak sides like Zimbawe.He scored 2 out of 10 innings but importantly Pakistan won those 2 matches. If he does not score, he bowled well and field well. He is a great player and best for captinship.Unlike Malik he never become unfit against strong sides like Aust, SA or in major tournaments. Afridi Karachi wala is a great asset for Pakistan team.

    Afridi Fan Karachi wala

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 7, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    “SAM”, there is a saying in Pushto, “Khudae de ubakha”, means God bless you man. What I lacked in support of Afridi you covered it nicely.

    "Lesson”, we all agree with Gulab Khan. His proposed Peshawar style treatment might just work for Akmal to get into groove.

    “Nadeem Khan” and “Waqqas-Melbourne”, you are spot on, we need some leadership, and some of Shoaib’s quotes are plain dirt and ridiculous. I have nothing against Shoaib Malik as player but I do question his leadership and I hope either he stands up for it or give it to Younus.

    “John Glondel”, whitewash? LOL that could be but if Gul and Asif are fighting fit we might be in for a few surprises. But don’t worry; presence of Akmal combined with dead pitches might just prove you dead right.

  • sabi on February 7, 2008, 17:17 GMT

    honestly this is the first time in my life i wasn't following the games as they were going on. zimbabwe really needed to play some international cricket thats why they visited otherwise they would have avoided the trip to Pakistan. I think australia is gonna call off the tour so there is no need to worry of beating them or get humiliated by them. But it was good for pcb to try out some new talents. I honestly thought every one was average, abdul rauf looks promising and a matured cricketer. I think the problem with pakistani cricket is too many allrounders we need the specialists. we need a bowler like who can we rely on, shoaib is done and asif is always injured. the first time i saw dale steyn in pakistan in the pak vs s.a series i said to myself they have founded Donald. when would be the time we can say we have found our waqar/wasim. how about this if you know some one has talent put up their video on YOUTUBE lets the people see and vote for that person. Let the people decide.

  • SAM on February 7, 2008, 16:44 GMT

    A little not for Mr. Faisal who is bragging Afridi's batting average against certain opposition or whatever. Listen Afridi has played 253 ODIs out of which Pakistan has won 146 and he has scored 3733 runs (out of 5369 career runs) @ 30.34 with strike rate of 115.28 and he has taken 160 wickets(out 0f 217 career wickets) @ 27.33 per wicket. This certainly shows that whenever this guy scores, he simply wins the match for Pakistan, can you single out any other player like that in current Pakistan team? On another note i will always prefer a quick fire 30 ending up on a winning side instead of a crawling 100 ending up on a losing side. At least this guy Afridi doesn't play for his personal averages or records as compared to some greedy players who are more concerned about improving their averages by going not out instead of getting quick runs for the team. Faisal, if you are still not satisfied then pull out last few matches that Pakistan won and in most of them Afridi was deciding factor

  • Lesson on February 7, 2008, 16:00 GMT

    PCB did not learn any lesson. Still Kamran Akmal and Malik are around. I think people needs to come out on the street to protest aginst PCB poilcies. In last three years Highest wicket taker for Pakistan (Danish) is in the group C of the contract and mostly his position is in and out. If kamaran Akmal did not drop catches on his bowling we could won against SA in Pakistan. Akmal drop catches of kallis, lara, Gibbs, Dravid in his bowling. Akmal should be punished. Why kamran Akmal always in the team? Who is behind him? OR probably Gulab Khan is right we need to know what is btw Kamran Akmal & Shoaib Malik? Malik,Butt & Rao also need to out, they do not desrve on merit. Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmed and Khurrum manzoor should be a permenant memebr of the team regardless of thier background. where is desrving Asim Kamal? Inzi finished his career. Who will impeach Inzi or responsibles who unjuctice with Asim. Inshallah ALllah will do jutice and give them punished.

    Lesson

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 7, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    “faisal”, I have to applaud your effort to research Afridi’s batting performances, very thorough, but it is as biased against Afridi as your biased support for Malik. You completely ignored his bowling averages against the same teams. He is a much better player of late, his bowling averages in ODIs, Against Aus: 34.0, Eng: 18.8, SA: 34.2, WI: 34. His ODI batting average in 2007 was 32.6 and in 2008 it is 130 so far. He is not given proper chances in tests but his last two years test averages i.e. 2005 and 2006 are 42.5 and 43.7 respectively. If you think the way Bob Woolmer thought of Afridi, that is, a bowling allrounder then you’ll see what he brings to Pak cricket. I remember some relentless attacks on Afridi when Pak lost the 20/20 WC final to India. The reactionary posts of fans had a same mind set like yours with even a performance like this, Inns: 6; Runs: 91; Ave: 29.60; SR: 194.7; 4s: 9; 6s: 12; Wkts: 12; Econ: 6.71; Ave: 15.66; they forgot his exceptional bowling contributions throughout the series, matter of fact, he won the player of the tournament award. He could have done better in batting if Shoaib had him open the innings. Usually fans, who bash Afridi, liked him at one point, had high expectations of him and were disappointed so they turned against him or pretend to dislike him. I can see them gluing to the TV when Afridi comes to the crease but like Tepu Sultan put it in perspective, “Afridi ke eik inning Shoaib ke so innings se behtur hai”, taking nothing away from Shoaib though.

  • Nadeem Khan on February 7, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    About new players: Sohail Khan seems a real prospect, specially for the test cricket. I dont know whether Nasir wil do the same as all the previous openers did, play one good innings and then sleep for the series. For me the most useful person for future is FAWAD ALAM, who averages over 50 in first class and always impresses when is given chance in international arena, in battin, bowling and fielding. About Afridi as an Allrounder in tests... He possesses an average of 38 in tests, which is better than any other batsman excl 2Ys and Misbah. He has five test hundreds against teams like SL, IND and WI. He averages around 50 in his last two-three year years. His bowling in tests in not tested yet. but with the limited outing, he is still having an average/strike rate comparable to Danish Kaneria. Afridi is the one to lift this team.

  • herny on February 7, 2008, 8:31 GMT

    drop kamran akmal!!! drop nasir jamshed he's a second afridi or worse than afridi because he cant bowl drop shoab malik! a coward captain.

  • Abdul Kadir Hussain on February 7, 2008, 8:30 GMT

    The problem is not in trying new faces or not, the problem is in consistency of selection. A year ago Najaf Shah was given a debut against SL. His performance was neither stellar nor poor, yet now he is not even amongst the 100 players announced for the pentangular cup. The same goes for Mohammed Wasim, at 29 he is still too young to totally abandon. What about Jamshed Ahmed the left arm ubder-19 pace bowler who was sensational at the under-19 WC?

  • John Glondel on February 7, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    I have a strong feeling that Australians incensed by the good performance India put up in Australia in the test matches are going to make someone pay. That someone is gonna be Pakistan. Oh la la the future seems so whitwashed.

  • Waqqas - Melbourne on February 7, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    Mr.Abbasi - my consensus, I was quite mesmerized to see the blissful faces in the Pak camp after their hard-earned 5-nil against the might of Zimbabwe –yes! I am being sarcastic and I perceive Zimbabwe as a tough opponent ever since Ireland routed us in the WC. Reverting to the perpetual dilemma of our team, what amuses me is Shoaib’s post-series comment ‘the boys are now confident against Australia’, merely confirming adolescence. Notwithstanding his series award, I was astonished on his recommencement of bowling; an ‘act’ which he ignored entirely for years, perhaps owing to the aggressive nature of other batsmen around the world – bravo! It worked some wickets at a stumpy average. I don’t intend to be an outright critic but the incessant ambiguity depicted by our players get me fumed. The 5-nil lovers; ever wonder if Afridi didn’t blaze that 85, Pak would have lost that contest? No obsession with Afridi but when he thwarts opponent(s) in that ferocious manner, Pak usually wins!

  • Raza Karamat on February 7, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    When will Pakistan play in the states, especially in NJ/NY area??????? PCB was too worried about losing a game against Zimbabwe and stunted the growth of their young players. Sohail KHAN should have gotten 4 odis, K. Manzoor and N. Jamashed should have been given 5 straight ODi's to show what they had. When you look at our openers the past year and half, they have been failures who have been given multiple shots at the opening slot. Failure after failure the openers failed to cement a spot on the team but here comes Zimbabwe and we used a failed opener with a make shift opener, how foolish and irresponsible of the PCB. We all know that Australia will beat Pakzistan baddly with the current senior players minus Misbah, Y. Khan and M. Yousef all other senior batsmen will fail. I say give Jamshed and Manzoor a run as openers and Alam as middle order batsmen in the Australian series, why should we try openers who have been tried and have failed, Hameed, Butt, Umar, Nazir, farahat

  • M. Y. Kasim, Houston, Tx. USA. on February 7, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Finally, we did solve the opening problem by identifying Khurram Manzoor for Tests and Nasir Jamshed for ODIs to partner Kamran Akmal, who in my humble opinion, has developed as the most solid specialist opener. The wicket-keeping duties should be given to Sarfaraz Ahmed who performed well. The selectors did not give extended run to any fast bowler which is the need of the hour. Untill and unless we dont find, nurture, groom and guide genuine fast and fast-medium bowlers, and be satisfied with medium pacers or rely on Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammed Asif and Umar Gul and be dictated by their demands and "Nakhras" Pakistan will be rotting in sixth or seventh rank indefinitely. We must take leaf from the Australian and South African system where there is a fierce competition for each and every berth and nothing is taken as granted.

  • Rahat Minhas on February 7, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    hello everyone!interesting article kamran,I agree wit most of the things u have said,but u missed the most important part of it our domestic cricket structure is in the shit-hole.Look at all the bowlers we have tried all of them failed miserably to get wickets against...lets face it a third-class team u talk abt Sohail Khan being a future prospect but the way he ran up and way he bowled was so pathetic n I couldn't believe this was the guy who broke the record of the greatest Pakistani bowlers....Fazal Mahmood...u have gotta be kiddin me...the fact is that the selectors picked cricketers tht played the best in the domestic circuit n I still feel this is not the best way to do this the selectors have to look fer talent not fer domestic records n lets face it most of the gr8 cricketers barely played domestic cricket...eg. Wasim akram, Inzi n so forth one of the most brightest talent I feel are the performers in the 2006 u19 world cup who was Anwar ali...http://youtube.com/watch?v=Glw4VFOhZmw

  • Waqqas Iftikhar on February 7, 2008, 3:10 GMT

    fact of the matter is you need a 90mph+ bowler and with Shoaib Akhtar winding down I dunno why we did not give Yasir Ali or Irshad a chance. They might have high first class averages but they have pace and raw pace can be translated into talent. Yasir Ali is my pick for a tearaway..he has already played a test and has bowled quite quickly.

    p.s. watch out for under-19 bowler...16 yearold mohammad aamer...already bowls at 86-87 mph comes recommended by wasim akram, he will be quick and lethal in three years or so.

  • Hassan on February 7, 2008, 2:46 GMT

    Javed, atleast I now know that you do not have any manners. Either you have found someway to hack/break the 1000 characters limit, or you have special privileges given by Kamran Abbassi. Regardless of both, its clear that you do not have any decency.

  • Imran on February 7, 2008, 0:49 GMT

    Sorry dude, weak article. Pakistan is the front runner in introducing young players to the team and giving up on senior players if they are not doing well. You cant have it both ways. Compain if PCB drops players and complain when the try new players.

  • Imran on February 6, 2008, 23:05 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, I have noticed a common trend of your accusation towards the team or the board. I often feel your pain as cricket is essentially our culture now. However, like many thinkers, you are an objective thinker where through your convincing writing and knowledge you are capable of getting your point across. In spite of doing that successfully you fail to deliver on an approach that you may have taken as opposed to what our cricket team or PCB may have done wrong. This lack of constructive criticism, I often feel is the reason why Pakistan has been left behind in the world now full of everyday technological advancements. Similarly now our cricket team is heading in relatively the same direction. Stating from a personal perspective I believe it is necessary you use your blog (which I greatly admire and look forward to) to state solutions and divergent possibilities to build for the future which seem more reasonable to you. Then you shall convince you readers as well. Imran

  • Imran on February 6, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    Thank you for your input Flipper, don't get me wrong I am not a supporter of Salman Butt, i believe despite havitng more shots and talen than any other opener in Pakistan at the moment he has failed himself. However, looking from an unbiased perspective he played some very useful knocks in India and seemed to be doing justice to his talent. However, i am not talking about his test form but rather his one day form. After the India series he does not merit a place in tests. In any case he should not be dropped from the one day team because he did not perform in Tests, rite now we don't have decent openers for any format of the game. And to everyone who claims this was a pointless series, then Butt's form should not count in the 3 games he played in right? I believe out of the openers i saw only Khurram Manzoor had temperament to be able to play at international level.

  • Ash Zed - Saudi Arabia on February 6, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    Lessons learnt from Zimbabwe series?? Very simple...

    Pakistan should only play against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Thats all !!!

  • Saima khan on February 6, 2008, 18:47 GMT

    Kamran AKmal & Shoaib Malik should be out. Board should have polices for evey one same. Shoaib Akthar was demoted due to his attitude. What about Malik, now????

  • Raja Pakistani on February 6, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    Fawad Alam should replace characterless Malik on permanent basis. I agree with some folks above who brought valid point that Malik becomes unfit against Strong team and become super fit against weak team. He was unfit again in the last series against India in India, he was unfit against SA (two times), one was just b4 the world cup. He was unfit in Champions trophy. He was unfit against Australia. He was fit against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and Ireland etc. Kick him out. Afrid should be a Captain. Sarfraz Ahmed (ex captain of Under 19 team who won the WC for us) should be his deputy. This is called vision,which we lacking in our lahore base PCB HQ. Sohail Khan, Khurrum Manzoor, Fawad ALam, Sarfraz Ahmed,Nouman Ullah, Kahlid Latif and Rauf Ahmed Should be play against the Austrlia.

    Raja Pakistani

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 6, 2008, 17:50 GMT

    With reference to the 2nd paragraph of Kamran's thread, "Assuming Australia do visit Pakistan," that assumption is getting closer to a possibility (not yet a reality) after Nasim Ashraf's visit to Dubai and meeting the ICC officials and assuring them of top level security for the Australians. Also, echoing the words of Zimbabwe's captain that they were looked after very well may not still convince the Australians, yet something to brag about. Everyone is waiting for the Feb.18th elections and the situation after that would clear the air and perhaps make this possibility into a reality, which could be either way. Then we can talk about with some belief and certainty about whom to play and what problems to confront with? Kamran Abbasi's hypothesis that Sohail Khan should be tried more, as he has displayed some potential, is a point to contemplate on how India has invested its faith in their fast bowlers. Especially in Ishant Sharma, who as a newbie gave a real tough time to Ricky Ponting. Historically Pakistan has produced better fast bowlers than India. Sohail Khan has not taken a wicket in the match he played but, he has generated more speed, bounce than others and possess the promises of a fit fast bowler who needs to be tried a little more. To me, if the Australians do visit Pakistan, then it seems very likely that the selectors would once again look at Shoaib Akhtar to strengthen the fast bowling department. Sohail Khan if he plays along with him may learn a few tricks from the old horse. And finally, for those who devote their entire comments on this blog in adoring me and showering praises and accolades on me at a personal level may continue to worship if shirk is allowed in their religion. Hassan, even if you repeat that a 1000 times it won't get into your thick skull because you still don't know nothing about me.

  • Zeeshan, London on February 6, 2008, 16:39 GMT

    Interesting article, I do believe we can’t really gain any real insight from the tour to Zimbabwe, no disrespect intended. I just feel they are not on the same level and the tour was to short.

    My concern will be for the up and coming tour of Australia. Does Pakistan stick with the same player who seem more and more like to fail then prosper such as Salman Butt, Shoiab Akhtar(probably break down after half a day), Kamran Akmal and few others who although can put together a good performance but have shown little or no consistency.

    I firmly believe Pakistan selectors need to show some backbone and try out some players against Australia by giving them a fair run and see how they go. If they do well then excellent but if they fail, which is highly likely playing against the most challenging team in international sport they should still be appreciated and compared with other experienced members of the Pakistan side such as Shoiab Malik and Younis khan and see how they fared.

  • ab on February 6, 2008, 16:17 GMT

    Mr Abassi great article ! Firstly I would like to say please ridiculous restrcitions and allow this commment to be posted the more the merrier!

  • waseem on February 6, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    I think we did not learn much from Zimbabwe as first we should find the balance of the team and then players who can perform on that. In my opinion, one day team should have 3 fast bowlers(letg arm, right arm and proper Fast),3 allrounders(2 spinners, 1 (fast if playing away and spinner if playing home) and 1 keeper and 4 batsman (2 openers and 2 middle order). but problem is as we have 3 very strong middle order batsman, we can not try play with 2 openers and that is causing a real problem in batting.

  • faisal on February 6, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    I saw a lot of people sporting Afradi in this thread and previous. I don’t know why are people sporting Afradi. What are you impressed with? Afradi is a big chump. Nobody is discussing his performance against good teams if you are blaming Malik that he got runs against poor/mediocre team then why are you giving credit to afraid against poor teams he always performed against mediocre teams on batting paradise pitches like in India, Pak SL and Sharjah that’s it, but if you check his performance against good teams in overseas and even in subcontinent he is pathetic in both form of game here is prove Afradi in test matches against good teams Vs Australia 1998-2005 Mat 2 Runs 74 Ave 18.50 England 2000-2006 Mat 6 Runs 238 Ave26.44 I don’t consider NL as a good team but even against them poor Afradi New Zealand 2002-2002 Mat 1 Runs 0 Ave 0.00 Afradi In In Australia 2005-2005 Mat 1 Runs 58 Ave 29.00 in England 2006-2006 Mat 2 Runs 49 Ave 16.33 Again I don’t consider SL and BD as good team in Sri Lanka 2006-2006 Mat 1 Runs 14 Ave 14.00 Now Afradi’s performance in ODI’s against good teams and remember in ODI’s Ave below 30 means the guy is pathetic and pitiable Vs v Australia 1996-2005 Mat 27 Runs 439 Ave 16.88 v England 1997-2006 Mat 17 Runs 271 Ave 18.06 v South Africa 1996-2007 Mat 22 Runs 500 Ave 23.80 v West Indies 1996-2006 Mat 25 Runs 440 Ave 18.33 I don’t consider BD and Kenya as good team but look at his Ave v Bangladesh 1997-2002 Mat 8 Runs 173 Ave 28.83 v Kenya 1996-2004 Mat 4 Runs 61 Ave 20.33 Now Afardi in overseas in Australia 1996-2005 Mat 29 Runs 551 Ave 20.40 in England 1999-2006 Mat 21 Runs 231 Ave 12.83 in South Africa 1998-2007 Mat 16 Runs 225 Ave 15.00 and again I don’t consider SL, BD and Zimbabwe as good team in Bangladesh 1998-2002 Mat 14 Runs 289 Ave 24.08 in Sri Lanka 1997-2006 Mat 9 Runs 89 Ave 14.83 in Zimbabwe 1998-2002 Mat 7 Runs 104Ave 17.33 I think nobody can complaint that he didn’t get enough chances. He has been playing for last 12 years now. If I were selector I would have dropped him long ago. A player after playing 253 Matches and has career over 12 years, couldn’t get maturity, what can I say………its just pathetic…

  • Wahid on February 6, 2008, 15:28 GMT

    There was no decent new all rounder. I would suggest Pakistan bring back Abdul Razzaq especially for the ODI's and I hope Afridi plays in the test matches as well as the ODI's

  • faizullah khawaja on February 6, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    I think we should take a few things from this series. we were looking for an opener and a keeper to begin with.we donot need ten new semi fast bowlers. look at australia. they donot introduce just anybody for the heck of it. i did not see any of the new bowlers was any better than our established ones.we take the keeper and one of the new openers with salman butt. the rest keep the same team.

  • Second Opinion on February 6, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    Javed A. Khan, Montreal "After all we have Younis/Yousuf/Afridi who are far better than Sachin/Ganguly/Laxman/Sehwag/Dravid and some of the rubbish Indian young upcoming players."

    Wow! Incredible! Is this a statement from a learned critic OR ramblings from a troubled individual? Any cricket lover from either side of the border will attest to the quality of these players, the only flaw being the inconsistency of Afridi and Sehwag. I think PCB's incapacity to rein in talent like Shoaib Akhtar is the cause of the present mess. Younis's reluctance to lead when given the opportunity was a major setback, as he is a respected batsman and could have delivered. PCB should think outside the box and enlist such individuals in management courses and teach them how to lead teams and get the best out of them.

    A Zimbabwe series in not a true test of strength, however the Aussies will be different. They are almost, but not quiet invincible as India has twice stopped their 17th test win.

  • Awas on February 6, 2008, 10:28 GMT

    Interesting thread Kamran but the problem is if Pakistan hadn’t experimented en-mass then many would have been questioning why not? I have not seen much of Sohail Khan’s bowling but from little that I have his demeanour is quite like Waqar Younis. Hope he can emulate him as well.

    Hassan – In the previous thread you explained, you are not what I thought you were. I would put it down to a case of mistaken identity ;)- So my apology.

  • Adnan Butt on February 6, 2008, 10:22 GMT

    Its quite remarkable how people can sit on thier respective laptops and comments on each and every aspect of cricket.

    For all those guys criticizing Malik for being a medicure captain i bet you were the most excited when he was elected, and remeber he was only elected when Younis made himself unavailable . He stood for his country.

  • Ghalib Taimur on February 6, 2008, 10:16 GMT

    I to a certain extent agree with Kamran. The problem with having 9 debutants is that there will be a real selection dilemma. Its fair to say Nasir Jamshed looks a good prospect but if he continues to play the way he did wickets will be handed to the Aussies on a platter. The biggest find probably in the series is Sarfraz Ahmed who undoubtedly is a very good keeper is very chirpy which is always a part of wicketkeeping.What the team management in my view should do is have a reserve team and the substitutes in the Pakistan squad should be consistent. I feel that the debuts are handed out too frequently and after that they are forgotten.A good example is Najaf Shah who played for Pakistan in the series at Abu Dhabi and troubled Sanath Jayasuriya but after that there is no sign of him. Apart from this Sohail Khan should be seriously groomed by perhaps Waqar or Aaquib..We need a real quickie... cheers

  • Azhar Iqbal on February 6, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    it was good to see that finally Pakistani administration introduced the fresh legs and also at under-19 level they recruited the young guys for the 2010. Although in the last year we see a very bad record of Pakistani team but along with it Naseem Ashraf made some very good and bold decisions, like making Shaib captain and then Misbah Ul Haq as vice captain.Now the ball in in the coach's court how he shuffle the players according to conditions and teams. Another important thing is fitness of players. Current injured squad have the big names like Muhamamd Asif and Umer Gul which is not good sign as australia is next to visit the Pakistani soil. Azhar Iqbal

  • Junaid on February 6, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    Lessons Learned: We need fit shoaib akhtar and Muhammad asif as young fast bowlers were not looking threathening even against Zimbabwe. Rauf was looking good but not in the category of Wasim, Waqar and Shoaib. In batting Nasir has proved his worth and he can be a good opening partner with Salman.

  • harsy on February 6, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    Akmals batting?his average is high 20s but if he spills pontings catch or symonds(or both which is usualy the case) can that make up for his meager 30s?A keeper's main job is to keep,sarfraz did a great job. I liked Rauf's bowling and Sohail should be given a chance even though he wasnt among the wickets. Mansoor batted very well and if Jamshed can be coached into not playing suicidal shots,we got quite a bit out of this series.Where is Gul btw?

  • Assad Hasanain on February 5, 2008, 22:43 GMT

    The funniest part of this series was the victory lap performed by the team after winning the series against Zimbabwe. It left many of us wondering whether this victory was a feat worth celebrating at all. This team is a far cry from the one that reached the world cup final in 1999.The Pakistani cap is being handed out like a worthless souvenir and there is little or no stability in the side. The captain is a tactless cricketer whose own career has been average at best. He does not even warrantee a place in the Test match side and out of the fifteen players selected for the test matches in India he was the most undeserving of the lot. What the over-smart PCB chairman forgot in his hastiness to quell the Mullah revolution in the team was that you cannot make a mediocre cricketer into a captain in the hope that he will start to perform well and will inspire others to do so. Essentially what is missing in this Pakistan team is an inspirational leader, someone who is confident of his place in the side and can inspire others around him to perform well. On paper, a fit Pakistan team can still give Australia a run for its money. Admittedly Pakistan has problems in the spin department which it can nullify to a large extent by dropping Kaneria and playing Afridi. I am sure that if Afridi bowls as many overs as Kaneria he will at least emulate the latter’s pathetic strike rate if not surpass it. A pace attack led by Shoaib Akhter, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul can cause the Aussies some serious concerns. But they will need to be supported by a decent keeper. The Pakistan middle order appears to be solid and there are no immediate concerns there (at least on flat subcontinent wickets). What they will need are opening stands of a degree of respectability. The selectors will have to persevere with Butt and will need to gamble on Afridi for the Australian tour. Most importantly the Pakistan side will have to look the Aussies in the eye and show the sort of fight that would have done Imran’s cornered tigers proud.

  • Aftab A. Qureshi on February 5, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    Dear Kamran, the easiest thing is to criticize; the toughest is to suggest that there is a sure way of doing better. As far as trying too many new faces in the just concluded Pak-Zim series is concerned, I dont think I would have had a better idea; would you? I agree with you, however, about Sarfaraz abd Sohail Khan. I think both need an extended run. So, if they are to be considered against the Aussies, I would persevere with them throughout the series. I dont mind at all if Kamran Akmal is asked to sit out a whole series, so that we let Sarfaraz make a statement with his keeping and batting without him having to worry about being dumped after one or two matches.

  • Badar on February 5, 2008, 20:11 GMT

    Can anyone imagine any team handing out that many ODI caps to their players even against a weaker opposition as did Pakistan? Do you think India, Australia or even Bangladesh would try out that many new faces against Zimbabwe at the expense of their 1st choice players? I think not. They respect their opposition and field a full strength team to ensure they win each game comprehensively. For Pakistan, only one player got 4-for and just one went on to score a century; failed to take all ten wickets in each game and completely lacked that killer instincts. Team compositions were simply horrible; once even playing allrounders till #11 position. Sending Arafat to bat at 11 and then dropping him was unfair. Sarfraz should have played the entire series. We saw too many new guys with wrong techniques making their debut prematurely. Doesn't anyone check this before letting them loose on the field? PCB should have given chance to regular members low in confidence like Sami and Kaneria. Howzat!

  • Usman on February 5, 2008, 18:58 GMT

    I mean if any one think that Pakistna is ready for Australia wake up man, you will see bad pitches and team management bad selection and worst defeats. Nasim Asram should be thrown in the ocean without the life vest. We need match winners, not average players team is already filled with average players, for god sake when was the last time we won the match with Tanveer, we need GUL, Asif, shoaib, Rana, Razaller, Shabir, people talk about shoaib not fit well if even walks up to the stumps and bowl that is still delivered at 140K, ask any one else to do this, yes I agree he needs to be better fit, but don't you think that's the responsibilty of the board, and physio what the hell are they doing why can't the work on him and make him loose 20lbs, constantly blaming him is old now change the tactics. What about our Capt, i mean i like him as a player, but he is not capt meterial, we have tried every thing else, why can't we try one more and make Younas a Capt and Afridi the vice Capt

  • Usman on February 5, 2008, 18:48 GMT

    People people people........hold on, every one is talking did we learn any ting or did we leanr any thing, well lokk at this way untill we have chief like Ashraf and his selection team Pakistan is doomed. Now let's talk about the series, I am sorry to say that we have no bowlers what so ever, sohail, Tanveer, nasir etc.... they are all fill in the gaps, not wicket taking or match winning players, and we need agrassive match winners, and what about our Capt he needs a kick in the bud to wake up and stand up like a leader, he looks to like he is a begger, i mean can some one at least give him new set of bating pads, he looks so scared and not learning how to be a leader. Batting we are still stuck with Yousaf, Younas, and Malik only good thing is our may be new start new HAQ, but our board likes to just mess things up so bad that that named him a vice capt, comon people what do you think other players feel about this, just put your self in their shoes. To me this series proved none.

  • omar hussain on February 5, 2008, 17:07 GMT

    I agree with you Mr.Abbasi the series didn't realy help to construct a lethal strategy for the future.Zimbabwe were simply unadeqate but they showed nevertheless that Pakistan's newcomers are not that good as has been harped about.Sohail Khan and Abdur Rauf are worth trying and Nasir Jamshed is a possibility but i am not sure whether he can succeed against Australia.As for Sarfraz he looks a better keeper but Akmal has served Pakistan well in a crisis and i would persist with him.I beleve India's idea of having 2 diffferent teams for Test and Odis is good reasoning as it keeps the players fresh.We can experiment with that and see whether Akmal becomes a better Keeper as a result.He is too talented to be discarded.

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 5, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    There are some good thoughtful posts on this blog and some alternate thinkers like Zahid Irfan, Javed Iqbal, TTU, Imran as well as an emerging coalition against Kamran Akmal including me, Ahmed Abdul Quadeer, Dawar, LA USA, Zakir Khan, Imran, Norfolk, VA, Raja Punjabi, Danish, Shani

    Dawar, LA, USA brought a good point that how teams benefit from playing against top sides. Back in the day, Imran Khan played series after series against West Indies and developed a hard nosed cricket team with fighting spirit. Later, Sri Lanka played a fair amount of cricket against Pakistan and become an elite side. Playing against weak teams can give you a false sense of confidence, however, in Pak case, it was somewhat helpful to try some new players and “restore” some confidence.

    ASIF, you go bro, I’m a hard core Afridi fan too and good to see an “unbiased” Afridi support.

    Gulab Khan you stole the show by asking question of the day, “What is btw Kamran & Malik?”

  • osman abid, Bahrain on February 5, 2008, 15:59 GMT

    Even if you had given just a few youngsters a run of 5 matches, in the end how can you judge them when they're playing a team that would barely beat most first class sides. Further, I don't know if anyone was actually watching the cricket, instead of following it on the net, Nasir Jamshed was not impressive. He is another batsman in the mould of Imran Nazir/shahid afridi. Stand and deliver works fine against the minnows, but when playing quality teams you need someone with solid technique. NJ showed no footwork, and just swung through the line (rather baseballish really). Manzoor was only given a solitary innings, however his shot selection, footwork and technique were far better than NJ's (except for the cross batted heave he got out on). As for the bowlers, I withhold judgement until they have faced quality opposition and truly proven their worth. Sohail Khan was fast, but that was about it, no movement of the seam, no swing. The lefties flattered to deceive but no inswing.

  • Motivator, UK on February 5, 2008, 15:56 GMT

    The Zim series was a total waste of time. How long will this weak cricket that noone is interested in go on? ICC must act. But will they?

  • Makhdoom Alam on February 5, 2008, 13:51 GMT

    About the experiment of Left Hand Pacers, I would say that Only Kamran Hussain is different from others because Kamran can swing the ball in as well as out. On the other hand Niazi & Wahab can only angle the ball across the right hander & swing it away which makes the batsmen much easier to play. Plus Kamran Hussain can bat as a proper all rounder as well. However, Wahab Riaz has better pace and line & length as compared to Niazi and Kamran. But according to requirement of modern cricket, Pakistan needs to have batting depths too. and Kamran Hussain provides it. While Wahab cant bat all. In short, For ODIs i would recommend Kamran Hussain to be given chance. Wahab is good too.

  • Flipper on February 5, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    I feel I must respond to Imran.

    I believe I am completely jusstified in calling for Salman Butt to be dropped. He did OK against India in the ODI series, but he was my no means spectacular. He had one exceptional innings and not too much else.

    Please look at his overall career record. He has played 19 tests (a fair few on very flat pitches) and averages under 30. He has played 44 ODIs and averages just over 30. Butt seems like a perfectly nice young man, I just don't think he's good enough at the very top level. He clearly has a weakness outside his off stump, and good bowlers on a track that offers anything will exploit it. He will make some runs, but I doubt his average will ever rise significantly above 30. This means that he isn't good enough.

    I agree that Sarfraz should have a good run in the team at the expense of Kamran. Please do remember that Kamran has played some truly memorable innings, especially that century he belted when Pak were 39 for 6. Don't hate the man!!

  • Daaniyal on February 5, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    just cannot believe that Kamran Akmal has been given a contract again...infact its Akmal who should be paying the PCB for being allowed to play...at least he should be paying Kaneria...

    Akmal has no shame..no shame at all...he is hurting us just by stepping onto the cricket field....he's nearly killed off Danish Kaneria's career... If he'd have caught Kallis in the 30's we'd probably have won the first test last fall in Khi...and then same for the ODI's.. and who can forget stellar performance against England in 2006..where it all began..

    If I see him in Pakistan colours im going to put me own cigarette out in me eye!!

  • Zorro on February 5, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    Disagree with your criticism of selectors. This was the first series against a minnow and selectors had to give as many new players a chance as possible. Next series against Australia, we will not have this luxury anymore. Selectors will then need to stick to the most promising players recognized and available, including Sohail Khan, Sarfaraz, Nasir, Wahab, Rauf and, hopefully, fit again Asif and Omar. Shoaib can be played in one days in spurts and has no place in a test squad - he is not fit enuff to last 5 overs, let alone 5 days.

    Kamran has to go. While his utility as a batsman is there, he currently holds the specialist keeper position. And let's all face it he can't keep to save his life. Gilchrist retired after dropping one catch! Pat Symcox was dropped by SA in the very next test after his century saved SA from losing to Pakistan... reason: he was a specialist bowler and didn't threaten Pakistani batsmen.

    Essence, we need to develop a specialist approach as well.

  • Pramod on February 5, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    Hi,

    Iam from India. If you guys are so much against Akmal's keeping skills, why don't you just play him as a batsman and let Sarfaraz keep. There isn't much class in your batting lineup to take on Australia even in subcontinent pitches. Also don't discard your openers Butt and Yasir. They seem to have the best technique to survive in test cricket. In the long run, you need to invest in young players and give them time to succeed. The problem with India and Pakisthan is that the media does not show much maturity. Most of them are reactionary rather than being constructive. It is important that you identify some players with decent technique and more important tempermant and invest in them and don't expect results overnight. International cricket is all about tempermant & mental. If you have it you will survive and prosper. Example, Greame Hick and Chandrapaul While Hick failed inspite of glorious talent Chandrapaul did because he is strong mentally This Aus team is more hype Gud Luck

  • Taimur Shaikh on February 5, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Amount the new seamers, Sohal Khan, Wahab Khan & Abdur Rauf stand out. Abdur Rauf seems the more mature of the three whereas Shial Khan has got good pace & with proper grooming & excercise can be among the bowlers who can bowl consistently at or more 140kph. He has the pace in him but with proper guidance from players like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis, he can achieve great heights. He need to be fed in with the killer instincts and who can be better the the 3 great fast bowlers Pakistan has produced. Sohail Tanvir is good utility bowler with an unusual action & a resonable pace. Also he can also bat a bit and thus can be placed in the catagory of allrounders (a bowler who can bat a bit). I think Pakistan should also look out to a good leg spinner. The new kid on the block, razwan should be provided with good opportunities. By the way where did Mansoor Amjad disappeared. Why wasn't he given any opportunity.

  • Taimur Shaikh on February 5, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    Well it seems like the PCB where just trying to fulfill their promise made to the upcoming & promising cricketers that they will get a chance to prove their skills in the international arena had if they perform well at domestic level. Whatd the point in giving these youngsters false hopes by making them just 1 or 2 match players. Nasir Jamshed had a good series as he not only scored runs but also gave the team flying starts. BUt the real test awaits when he plays agains the top international sides and on foreign soil. Well Kamran Akmal should have been rested for the Zimbabwean series & Sarfaraz Ahmed should have been given the opportunity to play in all the 5 games. Sarfaraz Ahmed should be in the national side as that would mean Kamran Akmal will be on his toes as he would know a couple of bad performance would mean that there is someone awaiting to take his place. Among the allrounders Fawad Alam should be given a few more opportunities.

  • Owais on February 5, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    I think we did achieve something out of this series, first Shoaib Malik performed after some time thus cementing his place as a player to some some extent. Sarfraz Ahmed was outstanding behind the stumps. I am sure he can contribute with the bat too. Nasir Jamshed was okay but seems to lack the ability to convert 50's into 100's. This has to change quickly so he needs coaching here. Khurram Manzoor and even Latif looked promising. I am not too sure about fast bowlers, all of them looked similar to Shahid Nazir, Rao, Sami, meaning did not add anything new. But I agree, we should have picked two and stuck with them through the series to gain some insight. Fawad Alam should have been batting slightly up as I saw lot of promise in him. One thing should be clear now, we should get rid of Yasir Hameed, Imran Farhat, Taufiq Omer and infuse some new blood. Salman Butt should be rested for a series maybe. Akmal the keeper should be gotten rid of but can be used as batsman if all others fail.

  • Shani... Maryland, USA on February 5, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Kamran Akmal really needs to go, he should have some self pity on himself and leave. Sarfaraz Ahmad should've been given a chance to bat, he definately is a much better keeper than Kamran, and even if he isn't a better batsman than Kamran i would still play with him instead. As far as the other new players are concerned Nasir Jamshed and Sohail Khan look like they have some potential for future stars, they should just be groomed properly by the right people. But for some odd reason I doubt that Shoaib Malik is gonna drop Akmal for Sarfaraz or give Sohail Khan a proper run.

  • Faisal, Karachi on February 5, 2008, 6:32 GMT

    Ubaid you are spot on about the commentry box. The problem with our team is that there are too many people with their own agendas trying to influence the team selection. I heard Mushy and Waqar question umpteen times the chances of success of the newbies!! Who do they want instead. If you can give chances to Imran Nazeer, Imran Farhat, Butt etc etc for such a long time who clearly donnot have the technique or temprament then why question new commers who play in a compact fashion and exhibit good technique. I am afraid they will face the same cruel handling as some other compact players who were only given odd chances against tough oppositions as replacements. There is a clear pattern here. The machinery has started working. Weak characters thrive only when sorrounded by like minded weak sychophants. Inzi was a master in this act. You needed to be a high level 'Inzi bhai' sucker to succeed. Shoaib Malik has grown up in that atmosphere and has learned a trick or two. God help us!

  • ASIF on February 5, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Shoaib malik seems to be selfish.He intentionally dropped afridi for the last one day & did not allow him to bat in the 1st & 4th one day & himself batted one down in the 4th match instead of fawad alam.He just wanted to get the man of the series award.I don't understand why they drop afridi by saying he is rested.Afridi never wanted to rest.Actually he would have got the man of the series award.Last year also against sri lanka he was dropped for the last match & was denied the man of the series award.The selectors,malik & lawson should know that people come to watch afridi not shoaib malik.By axing afridi they are killing the interest in the game.Also whenever afridi starts doing well they drop him so that he looses the rhythm & form.I think malik & lawson do not want afridi in the team. If this is true than pcb should immediately sack malik & lawson as they cannot toy around with a great cricketer.The selectors should include afridi in both forms of the game against australia.

  • Hamza on February 5, 2008, 4:21 GMT

    Pessimism never helps but the fact tha we haven't been able to win a single test against the aussies even with a far superior bowling and batting line-up (than now) for the last 12 years, it's not quite right to be optimistic either. It wasn't the best way to prepare for a series against a team like Australia. It seems as if the confidence of the team was so down in the dumps that the only team they knew they could beat was zimbabwe.

  • azam on February 5, 2008, 4:21 GMT

    MR Abrar ul haq( 1st comment ) please think out of the punjab and think bout country for once ..i dont see how can you defend kamran akmal's position . i mean are you serious ?? the guy has been gven million chances and he has cost us series .. just because he can score once in a while yes once in a while doesnt mean he deserve a chance in the team , and we all know why sarfraz ahmed is not given any opportunity cuz he is from karachi and please dont tell me that i m not being realistic ..PCB is pathetic and i would to rub it on their face !!

  • Saima Siddiqi on February 5, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    I don't know about lessons learned but few positives from the series are: 1) Captain shoaib is back in form with man of series award and this will help him against Australia. 2) New comers like Nasir, Wahab and Rauf have impressed and should be groomed for future.

    Paksitan definitely needs fit shoaib akhtar and Asif as all new comers are not looking ready for top level. We need to give more chances to new spinners like Yasir Shah, Rizwan etc so we can get rid of pathetic Danish. Batting is looking solid with Yousaf, Younis, Misbah, Salman, Akmal, Malik and Afridi. We also need a quality all rounder and so far we have not anyone who can fill the gap for Razzaq. PCB should think abt contacting Razzaq for Austrailia series.

  • imran on February 5, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    carrying on, sarfraz is being groomed, why put him under needless pressure and dent his confidence already. his glovework is amazing for such a young keeper he will develop his batting as time goes on.

    Niazi was tested BECAUSE he averages below 19 in first class. for me thats enough reason to give him a couple of games against zimbabwe.

    fawad is another player whom you wouldnt want to put pressure on and his case is similar to Sarfraz's. Sohail khan will get more chances without a doubt but i did not watch him therefore know nothing about him. Why not try the forgotten genius, Hassan Raza, still only 26 but more mature still has the highest first class average over all in Pakistan. Anwar Ali lovers - he has failed to deliver in the first class arena so does not deserve a chance yet. The lot that were picked are the best in pakistan by record however,a few deserved more chances. Well done selectors for not picking junaid zia and others related to you!!!

  • imran on February 5, 2008, 3:01 GMT

    lets clear this up... stop sledging the selectors please. firstly people talking about salman butt need to think before they say anything, salman was our best batsmen in India in ODI's if your brains can function that far back.so dont call for his head when he fails in 3 ODI's. Thats how the selectors destroyed Taufeeq umar's career who averaged 40+ in tests and he was dropped because he did not play well in the one dayers.

    i heard TTU say manzoor is not good enough for him because he can actually play the seamers, wow seriously man we are actually looking for someone that can play fast bowlers as openers because no one in pakistan seems to know how to play seamers (remember ireland). Oh he prolly has a cooler head than jamshed who just reminds me off Imran nazir.

    Jamshed wont work against the Aussies because he has no temperament, aussie bowlers wont let him play like the zimbabwe medium pacers did nor will they be dropping too many catches.

  • faisal on February 5, 2008, 0:27 GMT

    i think the lesson should have learned that we need two good opener and one or two good fast bowler. In the opining department i think Nasir is a good find but he needs time and i'm not sure about other opener nobody impressed me. then bowler i think we can't go without Akhtar and Gull against australia. we already have sohail Tanvir so we need just two more i think Sohail khan and Abudr Rauf are two good prospect but they need some good coaching, a good coach can polish their hidden abilities and one more thing i think in test matches we need a good spinner Danish kaneria is not the same guy his performance is not up to par recently, so we need another good spin bowler, I don't know who????

    finally i think theossa from Pittsburg and Javed A Khan from montrial both are same Guy....nepotism..?

  • Imran on February 5, 2008, 0:26 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi, you are wrong! Again, I say you are wrong! I am talking from PCB's Afsar Shahi point of view. Since they got the power to strike in or strike out, they have all the wisdom and everybody else is W R O N G!!!!!!!! Got It!!!

  • Gulab Khan on February 4, 2008, 23:26 GMT

    why Kamran Akmal again? He should go to ICL or better to come to Peshawer. we will tune him. He needs break. What is btw him & Malik?

    Gulab Khan

  • Ashaq on February 4, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    What we learned is that Pakistan cricket is as dead as a dead parrot, whose finally had a heartattack from being stuck in the cage for too long.

    Pretty soon we will follow the example of the west indies, the fans are gonna lose interest and leave. Man I know plenty of them dudes who no longer follow pak cricket.

    I think that dead Parrot virus, is incurable and even the Birdman of Alcatraz would've lost hope of finding a cure for it.

    P.s. all them guys at the P.c.b. need mandatory drug tests the way they are behaving you would think all of them is on Crack, smack and the hash combined.

  • Badar on February 4, 2008, 21:46 GMT

    The PCB did the right thing by trying out some new faces but there were just too many for one series and without any planning or strategy which won't help Pakistan prepare adequately for the Aussies. There should have been more first class matches against Zimbabwe to really test the worth of some players in the longer version. You can't judge someone for the test class from his performance in an ODI. I don't understand why is the PCB scared of trying two different teams for ODIs and Tests. Shoaib Malik can lead in ODIs because he merits a place there but certainly not in tests and thereby denying players like Asim Kamal and Naumanullah who should be in the test team. Either Misbah or Younis should lead in tests. The selectors didn't give even chances to all the new players. All new players must be told that they'd get only couple of games regardless of their performance to allow equal opportunities for all. Despite the experiments, we aren't sure of who'll make the final XI. G'luck Pak

  • Danish on February 4, 2008, 21:18 GMT

    Sarfraz Ahmed should replace Kamran Akmal as soon as possible, cause Kamran Akmal did help pakistan batting line mostly against India, but also because of his drop catches we have lost series against England and South Africa. Also spinner performance depend much on wicket keeper, and we have wasted a telented spinner like Danish Kaneria because of bad wicket keeping. When a keeper drop a catch if hurts the bowler mentally.

  • Mohammad Shahab on February 4, 2008, 20:58 GMT

    I think you've fallen for the hype over Sohail Khan. Yes, you have a point that all the debutants should have been given more then a solitary opportunity, but Sohail Khan's hype does not point to future stardom. He wasn't the 90 mph monster we expected, nor was he as effective. Sure, he deserves another chance, but so does everyone in life. He couldn't do it when it mattered most, who's to guarantee that he'll do better next time. Besides that, I'm no expert but I believe I noticed some serious technical flaws. If I did so, then surely so did Lawson and our qualified personnel. Just maybe, there may have been some method behind Pakistan's usual madness.

  • Tariq Razi on February 4, 2008, 20:45 GMT

    I am in total disagreement with you. Criticism for the sake of it is not beneficial for anyone. I think the current selectors should be congratulated for brining in players like Misbah, and Sohail Tanveer in the last 6-8 months in addition to blooding Fawad Alam, Nasir Jamshed, Sohail Khan, and Khurram Manzoor. All new finds and all blooded in the last 12 months. I think we are in the process of identifying back ups and all this can only be credited to the selectors and not to the captain or the retired lot of wise players. This series was meant to test out newer tactics, mindsets, and players. I think this is exactly what we have achieved. In short the right way forward and for once we should appreciate the selectors as well.

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 4, 2008, 19:57 GMT

    LOL, Mr. Javed Khan. It’s funny, in Kamran’s previous blog actually it was you who was hiding under the name of “Awas” where you pretended to be a friend of yourself, here is a quote from him “Hassan, theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. and TTU are definitely the same personalities in different guises”. In fact, the only similarity they had, they all took on you. Here is what you wrote in your post on this blog, “Finally something for the cry baby called roTTU, Hassan aka masala theossa or cheap spicy dosa”. Interesting han? Very similar posts! Actually I never complained about your lengthy posts, but Mr. Javed A Khan a.k.a.“Awas” wtf?

    Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati Ohio, by the way, I heard you guys wanna get rid of Chad Johnson, would you guys be interested in trading him for Hines Ward? We need a home runner in our receiving corp. Although, division rivals, I still wanna see Cincinnati’s high powered offence. Go Bengals.

    Flipper, good post and good analysis! There is actually no good spinner available, we need one though. I agree with your selection but not sure if we’ll have three fully fit fast bowlers.

    Waqar Tajuddin, I like your optimism for what we gained from this series. Folks here perhaps are having unrealistic expectations of Pak-Aus series. If I look at the history, even the strongest Pak sides had tough time beating Aus yet this weasel little eleven.

  • Do not select Kamran Akmal, please please please on February 4, 2008, 19:56 GMT

    Election 2008 solagon, NO TO Kamran Akmal. For the sake of GOD, PLEASE do not select Kamran again. Danish lost his A contract becasue of him.

    Sarfraz Ahmed and Fawad Alam should be the perm member of the team. No to Butt also.

  • Raja Punjabi on February 4, 2008, 19:52 GMT

    Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has announced his retirement from cricket after he dropped catch of Laxman in the match. Shame on you Akmal, I think you to retire atkeast 90 times because you dropped 90 catches/stumps in ur career (highest by any wicket keeper). Srafraz Ahmed should be a permenant memeber of the team. I like the technique of Khurrum Manzoor, he is a student of great Saeed Anwar and Rashid Latif. He played for same club as both of them. He is the best young opener available in the country. Sohail Khan and Abdur Rauf impressed every one. Fawad Alam should be a permenant player of our team. I do not see any place of Malik in the test cricket. Afridi should be a captain. Malik perform well against weak bowling, I agree with some one above, he followed the steps of his mentor Inzimam.

    Raja Punjabi

  • Hassan on February 4, 2008, 19:50 GMT

    Javed Khan, you have resorted to name calling, while I did not do any such. And I do not know and have nothing to do with TTU or Theosa.

    But still how come you are able to post more than 1000 characters?

  • Mubeen on February 4, 2008, 19:38 GMT

    Thumbs Up For Green Team.Also For Adam Khan To come on last 12 in A1GP in Sydney.Hat,s of to Both green teams.U people make us PROUD TO BE A PAKISTANI.....

  • Nadeem Shafee on February 4, 2008, 19:30 GMT

    Kamran Akaml, Butt and Malik should replace by Sarfraz Ahmed, Jamshaed or Khurrum Manzoor and Fawad Alam. We can keep Malik for while in one day and see how he performs against good teams like Austrlia & SA. From last four years he became unfit just b4 the serise or during the serise against good teams. Sarfraz Ahmed is also a very good batsman probably this is the reason Malik never tried Sarfraz on top number.He is good frieed of Akmal.Where is under 19 hero Anwar Ali? Where is Quaid-e-Azam trophy highest scorer Nomanullah? Why not captain give proper chance to Fawad Alam? he should be a permenant player of our team. Only Sohail Khan and Abdul Rauf impress in the new fast bowlers. We saw after long time that our wicket keeper did stumps. wow sorry for Danish, his carrer destroyed by Akmal. Why Khalid Latif had only one chance?

  • Zain Iqbal on February 4, 2008, 19:19 GMT

    There is no reason for pakistan to try so many young faces if they are unsure of their first choice 11 players, the best playing 11 wins you matches not the "bench" players from pavillion

  • R.Khan on February 4, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    I think you are all wrong espeically kamran abassi, as this 5 - 0 won series meant alot as it shows pakistan has the bench strength to win without their premier pace bowlers. In addition it gave exposure and rewarded all those players who have been successful domestically . We discovered two very talented openers in nasir jamshed and mansoor and some very bright prospects as left handed pace bowlers and it gave sohail tanvir expereince as a spearhead fast bowlers which he proved very able . It also allowed our senior players to get some form and confidence yousuf, younis, malik and misbah all contributed . afridi was excellent and we found two talented allrounders in Alam and kamran hussain . also our fast bowlers should be well rested,overall pakistan cricket is definately heading in right direction and its exciting to see bring on australia !!!

    salman butt, kamran akmal, shoiab, asif , gul all better sort out their fitness and form otherwise i say drop them and look for the future

  • O. M. F Mumtaz on February 4, 2008, 18:34 GMT

    I was really disappointed that fawad alam and sarfraz ahmed werent given a proper chance to bat. From what ive seen fawad alam could be the missing 2nd all rounder link in the team and we need to know the level of ahmed's batting( as we already know of his keeping skills) i would also recommend ridding of nasir jamshed until he has at least been on tour with pakistan A for 2 years. In the last 3 odi's he got out in a very immature fashion

  • Imran, Norfolk, VA on February 4, 2008, 18:24 GMT

    Sarfaraz needs more games and Akmal should stay out as much as possible. Sohail Tanvir should have been rested as he has established himself. Others should have been given more chances. For Fawad Alam I think its the same bias attitude of PCB toward karachi cricketers. They are not giving him enough chances. Misbah should have come after Fawad or Younis should not have played the game to give these people some chance. They did the same with Hasan Raza. Didn't give him enough chances. He was a class player. Nasir was ok but shows the same problem as butt, umar and farhat showed. He is just an average player and Australia will definately figure him out as Zimbabwae did in the last 3 games. We need to find more opener or coach the available ones better. Asif, Umar and Shoaib should get fit for Australia as the new blood is not special. May be need more grooming but still they look average.

  • Imran Zia on February 4, 2008, 17:48 GMT

    Pakistan selectors seem to believe the method of selecting the Pakistan team is trial and error. I this is the correct method then same should be done with the selection committee. Anyone could have done what they have done by selecting the top performers. Their job is to find a person who is suitable for the job required of him and judge him by his technique, confidence and desire to play for his country. Pakistan is wasting its time on medium pacers in the presence of Asif, Rao and Arafat. Pakistan should have used this oppurtunity to give Yasir Arafat confidence as a premier allrounder. Allow Sami to take some wickets so he gets confidence. With the exception of Wahab Riaz and Nasir Jamshed no one impressed much. Sohail Khan needs to sort out his fielding and run-up otherwise he would provide good competition for Kaneria in the Worst fielder category. It seems that the Pakistan ODI Cap is very cheap. I am also astonished that Mr Kamran had not posted a blog on the central contracts.

  • venkat india on February 4, 2008, 17:43 GMT

    having watched the series from afar and having been a great fan of pakistani cricket for a long time these are the conclusions i have drawn. 1)the talent in pakistan is horrible.it left me wondering whether this was the great country that produced an assembly line of fantastic players for over 40years.The only genuine talent that was unearthed was the wicket keeper.the pakistani selectors have persisted with akmal for to long and its high time they dropped him.Though i did not watch sohail khan i did watch nasher jamshed and rauf.Nasher jamshed will be found out against better attacks on better wickets.Rauf is not even touching 120 and that excludes him from an elite bowling attack.If pakistan need to compete at the test level they need to get a captain with some spunk,and get gul,asif fit.Danish kaneria is a top bowler and needs to start performing. I honestly think Pakistan cricket is at its worst in abouut 20 years and i genuinely hope that changes for the good of cricket.

  • TTU on February 4, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Sarfaraz Ahmed:good keeper, better than Akmal by a longshot, but we have yet to see his batting, so I cant make a judgment, but i heard his first class batting average is beter than Akmals, so make what you want to make of that. Salman Butt: Not a new player, but even though he failed against zimbabawe, i still think that one of the openers in the tests should be him. My other opener would be either: Malik, Akmal, Jamshed or Latif Malik: it gives more options im the middle order, including the possibility of Fawad Alam at number 6 or 7. Akmal: same reasons as Malik Jamshed: has an aggresive approach, but there must be caution if the PCB do pick him, this is Australia, not the 10th ranked Zimbabwe(who probabaly had no idea how to answer his aggresiveness) Latif: Out of the three new openers, he looked the part playing with a straight bat most of the time, however he has to lose the cross batted shots if he is to succeed.

    Coach; his biggest test is next captain: geting there

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 4, 2008, 17:29 GMT

    So Mr. Javed A Khan finally showed up but with some trashy attacks, funny though, citing me, TTU, and Hasan as cheap. Dude, I read all the posts, the guys you mentioned posted their comments with class and presented facts with their arguments, which probably were too spicy for you. Like I said before I doubt you are the same Javed A Khan who was articulate and classy, not trashy and depressing. It’s tempting to reply you in the same manner you posted but I’ll say this; if you wanna win a discussion, back up your facts and learn to take criticism for your lame posts and screw ups. You might win over an average Joe like “Awas” but folks with some brain needs more than vocabulary mumbo jumbo with no substance, anti establishment, and depressing views. No hard feelings.

  • TTU on February 4, 2008, 17:25 GMT

    Fawad Alam: Definitely a prospect of the future, good fielder, compotent bowler, from the looks of it an impressive batsmen, a genuine allrounder who i think should be given a chance in the tests against Aussies. Samiullah Khan: All hype, no talent, enough said Nasir Jamshed: an option for the future but i think he is a one trick phony,too aggressive. Khalid Latif: A long term prospect who the Pcb should try and get into the team as long as he cuts down on the "carribean shots". khuram Manzoor: A typical pakistani opening batsmen, throws his bat at the seamers and cant play spin to save his life, no way. Wahab Riaz: A good bowler i believe, wasim akram should teach him a few things, this gut can be lethal on the international arena if he is mentored Kamran Hussain: a prospect, but we need players who can stick around, in bowling as you become older, the bowling talent lessens. Abdur Rauf: same as Wahab riaz Sohail Khan: Waqar Younis should help this guy, he could be a talent

  • Qadeer on February 4, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    I completely agree with you. I do not think Zinbabwe series is any good benchmark for any conclusions. Other than Nasir Jamshed, I do not see any youngster is given ample chance to prove anything. But nontheless, I think playing youngsters is not bad but it should be controlled and not haphazard

  • Faisal, Karachi on February 4, 2008, 16:18 GMT

    In total agreement with you here! Sarfraz I thought brought back good memories of how we used to once feel ie., safe behind the stumps. But as I said on your previous post also, not only fast bowling but also spin department needs some expoloration and unfortunately we didn't try much. On fast bowling we need very meticulous planning in terms of what we want the pace battery to be like. In my view, with a fit Asif, Umer and Shoaib we need only a couple more. With Sohail Tanveer in, perhaps we want to invest our time in two of the lot that we saw recently. In batting we should only have specialists!

  • Zaid_sl on February 4, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    I wander where will Pakistan end up in another couple of years,people like ASIM KAMAL,and the bowlers who won the last under 19 world cup for pakistan,and MOHAMMED IRSHARD seems like will get a worst treatment than MISBAH

  • Rehman Saiyed on February 4, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    The selection process for the Pakistan squad remains an eternal mystery. We have essentially seen the same old group of players for the past decade.While sticking with the same core of players can work for a team like Australia due to extremely high professional standards, it has failed miserably for Pakistan, especially due to complacency on our players part.The need to fresh blood could have been fullfilled to an extent in the Zimbabwe series, but we failed to do so yet again.We don't have a contigency plan for our team should our batting or bowling stars get injured, for which the PCB is solely to blame. Instead of making our cricket board a professional organization we keep hearing about a new selection committee every year, who give us nonsensical reasons for adding or dropping players and never demonstrate a consistent selection criteria.Though these selectors have failed consistenly there us no accountability.BTW what's the criteria for the selection of the selectors themselves?

  • Dawar, LA USA on February 4, 2008, 16:06 GMT

    From last four years, we are playing against week countries like a tiger and against good team like a weak fox. Last world cup was the big example; we even lost against Ireland in the foreign country. Malik performance reminds me his mentor Inzi, against Bangladesh he contained his highest batting average 80 and against Australia he contained his lowest average, Inzi never scored century against Australia in Australia.Malik does not deserve slot in the test matches.Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Khurrum Manzoor, Sohail Khan and Abdur Rouf should be perm member of the team. Alam should replace Malik and Sarfraz must replace Kamran Akmal.Latif & Jamshaed should have continues chances. Fielding from young players was Very impressive. Highest scorer of Quaid-e-Azam trophy Namunallah did not make place in playing eleven. Is it merit? We must rid off from Akmal, Butt and Malik. Why Yasir Arfat had chance again? Where is Anwar Ali?(WC 19 hero)

    Dawar USA

  • Nauman on February 4, 2008, 15:39 GMT

    Strongly agree.No point handing debuts to so many players, many of whom may not get to wear the Paki colors again. Better would have been to stick with a few and try to gel them strongly with the rest. With Shoaib, Umar, Asif all fit and likes of Tanveer, Arafat & Iftikhar being satisfactory over last year or so as the 4th seemer, it probably would have been better to persist with 1 or 2 new comers throughout the 5 game series and prepare a strong backup candidate. Jamshed got a long run b/c of his brace of 50s upfront else selectors wont have been shy of having dumped him by the 3rd ODI and tried a couple more openers. With Yasir Hameed having gotten starts throughout the India test series, this should have been used as an opportunity to give him & Butt some confidence along with Jamshed. Looking at Jamshed, he appears another one of those flat track, no foot work bully, albeit hitting straight more often than across. Guess we found one who would get caught at midoff then at midwicket

  • Saladin on February 4, 2008, 15:18 GMT

    But no matter what, please implore the selectors not to pick Kamran Akmal.

  • Sajid on February 4, 2008, 15:18 GMT

    I completely agree that paksitan selection committee has missed a great opputunity to test youngster. Other than Nasir Jamsheed who got four chances, no other youngester was given a consistent run. This was not the right way to test youngsters. They should have been given more chances. Even when the youngsters were tried it looks like that seniors/captains are more worried about first making sure they themself performed well before giving any resonable opputunity to youngsters.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 4, 2008, 15:13 GMT

    Kamran, the dialectical materialism provided by way of your analysis or synthesis, combined with your interpretation of reality that views the subject matter, which you have discussed in the previous thread i.e., the team selection followed by the changes made during this series for name sake and the interpretations thereof, are on the spot. You are right that the reasoning has to be from the general to the particular in identifying and solving the problems. But the PCB is like a purblind nocturnal. Their decision making is absolutely pathetic right from the day the doctor prescribed placebos. On top of that they talk of wholesale changes and makes haphazard changes. Its run by a dictatorial boss who wants to achieve utopia by experimenting change like changing dresses to make a final product by creating more conflicts between opposites arising from the internal contradictions inherent in all events, ideas, movements and poor decision making. The "sporadic brilliance" as our fellow blogger Omer Admani once commented on the performance of the young Pakistani team, appears more like a regular feature now, in fact its more like a disease in the team, a pattern is formed and they are trapped in it. From among the newbies, apart from Nasir Jamshed no one else got more chances and the bloke failed more than he succeeded and that too "sporadically," perhaps he emulates Afridi or Imran Nazir, hence the opening conundrum is in continuum. The bowling department is very weak especially the much talked "express" bowling from the province that produces super fast bowlers seems to have dried out. Finally something for the cry baby called roTTU, Hassan aka masala theossa or cheap spicy dosa. Come on spice boys stop crying, whining and cribbing, if you cannot comment on cricket, stop mourning like a widow, it sounds pathetic for a man to cry like a child or a widow. Learn lessons from the Zimbabwe series - play your best cards - but don't act like cheap lemon tarts.

  • Suhail on February 4, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    I totally agree with you Kamran. Pakistan should have played with a similar line up in all 5 games rather than changing the team in every game. I think Sohail Khan, Fawad Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Kamran Hussein should have play all the games, as these guys definitely looked like the most promising of the lot, and good performances by them would keep the performances in check for some of the seniors such as Akmal, Butt, Anjum, and to some extent Afridi.

  • Riaz Murad on February 4, 2008, 15:10 GMT

    Wow Kamran!

    It's been more than 10 days since your last blog entry. What took you so long?

    Anyways, my take on this series is probably milder compared to yours.

    I do believe the PCB should invest more in the pace bowlers. But I strongly feel that Sarfraz Ahmed deserves a longer look. And the first couple of games against mighty Australia could help in the assesment. I'm sick and tired of PCB (and possibly Shoaib Malik, too?) sticking to Kamran Akmal. It's like using a dead donkey to carry you load. He is, as he would be called in North America, GARBAGE.

    One other thing I saw was Nasir Jamshed, the find of the series. He needs to be given a good look too. Khurram Manzoor, it's Imran Farhat all over again. But maybe he could pair well with Nasir Jamshed as both are fairly young and could work well together. If Salman Butt needs to be on this team, he needs to pull his stuff together or be side swiped by these yongsters.

    I hope my comments get posted the third time around.

  • SAM on February 4, 2008, 15:09 GMT

    I saw all five matches and i can't draw even a single outstanding player from whatever they tried. Althought we won 5-0 but didn't gain anything except for Malik who improved his average and bagged some cheap wickets and got Man of Series as well, at least now he got another point to answer the media that "I performed against Zimbabwe, look at my average and wickets!" The current Zimbabwe team was no better than any club level team in Pakistan.

  • Tauqeer Malik on February 4, 2008, 14:57 GMT

    You are very right Kamran. Pakistan should invest in fast bowlers.Wahab Riaz really impressed me. I strongly think he should be given more chances.

  • ubaid on February 4, 2008, 14:57 GMT

    Not only should there be more chances for people like wahab riaz and sohail khan. People like waqar younis, sikander bakht should never be allowed to commentate on TV. I was hoping that someone would say something about this but this issue is so important please allow me to digress. These people had their own agenda and were using the microphone to propagate it. Sikander said " He is playing too many shots" whenever a new player hit a four . what century are you living in? Waqar had a soft spot for abdur rauf, so much so that he forgot to appreciate other performances. Commentary was filled with negativity, thickheadedness and biases and was hard to listen to. Every positive thing was followed by these people finding something negative and harping on it. It was filled with" when we used to play.... when we used to play... and a mutual admiration society. I would say to them, get over it. You are not playing anymore. A shameful display by the so called greats.

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati Ohio on February 4, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    This series should have been like taking candy from a baby. I never thought I'd see the day when a Pakistani bowling attack would struggle to consistently bowl out a sub-par Zimbabwe side.

    Yeah we won 5-0 but it kind of feels like beating up your little brother; You know you can whoop his ass but theres not much fun in it.

    What advantages did Pakistan gain before taking on the Australians? Is Zimbabwe an adequate preperation before we play the most dominant team in the world?

    I strongly believe that to be the best, you have to play and compete with the best. You can't be one of the big boys unless you hang with the big boys.

    One of the biggest reasons for India's success in recent memory is that they have consistently played against Australia and South Africa, forcing them to raise their own game.

    While we can pat ourselves on the back because we beat Zimbabwe into the ground, Australia looms menacingly on the horizon and I fear we might be a little underdone.

  • Salim Shariff on February 4, 2008, 14:11 GMT

    We need proper cricket team( regional ) playing against each other hence the competition will improve and then we shall produce fast bowlers, in the past we have relied on individuals being at the right place at the right time like Wasim Akram or Waraq Younis but this kind AD-HOC thinking can't work in the long run for PAKISTANI Cricket.

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 4, 2008, 14:08 GMT

    Kamran, yes there were too many substitutions in this series but I’m sure there will be a different strategy against Aus, how effective it would be is yet to be seen. Openers should be given a chance for the whole series. Sarfraz Ahmed was impressive and he should definitely replace Kamran Akmal but it depends whether Shoaib quits dating Akmal. It’s good to see that Pak has a good pool of fast bowlers and I agree with your point that pace should be preferred, Sohail Khan does look quick but needs grooming. I wish we had Waqar Younis as a bowling coach; it makes me sick to see one of the best treated like sh*t. What we’ll really miss is a quality specialist spinner. Danish is mediocre at best and if Aisf and Gul are not fully fit, we won’t even see a close series, it will be Aus whipping our bowlers to all postal codes of the country. If Pak want to sell the tickets for the series they better play Afridi, no matter what your perception of Afridi is, he is a hot commodity, more entertaining than Halo video game. At the end, I would like to congratulate New York Giants fans here for winning the Super Bowl and defeating Patriots, which any other team couldn’t do including my Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • Zahid Irfan on February 4, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    I was missing Kamran's comments on this. Thanks he is back and as usual brings out the best of the worst. I think that Zimbabwe series was managed as it was supposed to be testing out new blood. I think five ODI series is a small time to showcase new talent. That should rest where it is the domestic cricket. The domestic cricket is supposed to provide all the answers to talent. I think that had the selectors tested only a couple of people Kamran would have come out and said Oh the selectors were too conservative with the selections and afraid of a team of calibre of Zimbabwe why didnot they test out the complete bench strength. Its not just Kamran if in doubt read some one like Sanjay Jha and u would laugh out loud.

  • Zafar Qidwai on February 4, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    Yes it is indeed a mistake to give 9 caps in a series, we could help Shoaib Akhter to get tuned for the Australians. The front line bowler of the Quaideazam trophy that is Sohail Khan, is only get to play 1 match, so as with Khalid Latif. I think the selectors should have given the chance to 3 to 4 players and should give them the whole 5 matches, as the case with Nasir Jamshed. Everyone was praising the performance of Sohail khan and Khurram Manzoor and they only had 1 match its very strange.Pakistan cap should not be so cheap.

  • gojjo on February 4, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    surely Pakistan can beat Austrailia's run of 16 successive Test victories by consecutively playing Zimbabwe for 17 tests!. Game on - lets do it after the Aussies thrash Pakistan in Pakistan 3-0 this March

  • Gauhar Sharih on February 4, 2008, 13:15 GMT

    I agree that few meningful conclusions can be drawn from this 5-0 victory with so many changes in the team. It did not allow any new players to settle down and "earn a name" for themselves in the set up. It also showed a degree of disrespect to the touring team - "we can beat you with whatever team we cobble together", and this can't be right. However, I think the other player to look at more closely in the future will be Jamshed, the opener.

  • Waqar Tajuddin on February 4, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    I don't understand why the Pakistan team management is constantly criticized - the worst culprits being Javed Miandad and to some extent Imran Khan. In general I like your column Kamran, but lately you have been unnecessarily critical. You are correct that the 5-0 win didn't mean much. However, what else could the selectors have done. They tried new pace bowlers. They tried a new wicket-keeper, and I agree with you that Sarfaraz didn't get enough of a chance - but that's shades of grey, we are not talking of changing a player but maybe giving Sarfaraz an extra game or two. We tried a new opener and gave him a good run. We cut Salman as everybody was asking, but perhaps that will hurt his confidence - this is a tough decision for which there is no right answer. So the best thing we can do in such situations is to let the professionals do their work. That way our comments will be taken seriusly and not brushed aside as needless criticizm.

  • shahid on February 4, 2008, 13:01 GMT

    well it just shows that selectors had no idea about whats going on in the cricket.and they just said oh lets try them out in the middle against zimbabwe.hand the pakistan cap for pennies and now these cricketrs can claim a hand to pension and privledges scheme if there will be any in the future.The way things look,may be in this age i can be one day chosen to play.Well Done Nasim Ashraf,that was an excellent process to look for future IMRAN KHANs of the country. rather than just letting the team to gel togather with couple of changes which they would have worked out by excercising the selectors to wath and access some domestic games.Tha team will not gel togather agisnt australia,take my word, shahid

  • ahrash on February 4, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    Oh why so negative Mr Abbasi? Let us look on the positives - firstly Shoaib Malik has once again proved his worth to the team with both bat and ball and secured man of the series. Tanvir has played consistently well, we have unearthed talent such as Jamshed, Rauf and Manzoor looks like a good prospect. Pakistan won the series 5 -0 and in the final game the youngsters really stepped up to the mark and did not crack under the pressure - managing to bowl Zimbabwe out with just one recognised specialist bowler.Rizwan's catch in the final odi can be seen as symbolic of a new generation's attitude towards fielding and Misbah Ul Haq actually finished a game off!

    Pakistan have climbed the ODI rankings from 7th to 5th and this might be the catalyst that ignites a resurgence in Pakistani Cricket...at least for a while! so lets try and support our team.

  • Ahmed Abdul Quadeer on February 4, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    I agree with Mr. Kamran Abbasi. PCB should have introduced just three new faces who best deserved it. After this series, i dont think any newcomer will be certain that he will play against Australia. Sarfraz Ahmed's keeping is excellent and far much better than Akmal's. But this was a very good opportunity to check his batting but again it was not used by the team.

  • Zakir Khan on February 4, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    Kamran on one hand you criticised selectors for introducing too many youngesters but in the same breath you are talking about the new find in the shape of Sohail Khan by emphesising more investment in him. I think the current selectors are doing great job. through papars i came to know that captain and coach were utterly against the induction of some new faces into the team particularly Nasir Jamshed as opener.but that guy proved himself in the few games he played.same is for Sohail Khan. so if you got some new promising players out of this meaningless series,than its a huge achievement on selectors part & one should appreciate them for that rather than criticise them. I tend to support selectors more now because when they inducted Misbah-ul-haq into the Twenty20 WC at the expense of Yousaf than knivies were out for them and everybody including me was having a go at them.but he proved himself to the extent that today he is Pak team vice captain. so reserve some credit for them.

  • Javed Iqbal on February 4, 2008, 11:50 GMT

    I agree with giving long run to the pace bowlers but I still think that most of the players tested were 'NOT EXTRAORDINARY' Atleast one or two should have come up with meaningful performance against Zimbabwe. * Zamran Hussain looked good as an allrounder but too old for long term investment. * Nasir Jamshed is a good prospect but I doubt his future performances against Australia or SA. * Khurram Manzoor, Glimpse of VVS Laxman and a real prospect for future opener but his bottom hand play may be more suited to test then ODI * Khalid Latif Mad Max, After showing early promise in the innings he started playing cross batted as if he is playing tennis ball cricket in his backyard. * Rizwan Ahmed, sould get more chance as a spinner allrounder. He is capable to save 20-30 runs in the field in ODI which should be considered. * Wahab Khan & Sohail Khan needs to be given another chance * Samiullah Khan was just a Hype * PCB no comment * Captain is improving * Coach real test ahead

  • Omer Admani on February 4, 2008, 11:20 GMT

    I was also bemused by this introduction of players for the sake of it and was going to write about it. What we emerged with is absolutely nothing (although I am satisfied that the new keeper is much better than Akmal). Sohail Khan was the best of the fast bowlers (nevermind the wickets), he bowled some good bouncers and looked threatening as opposed to some others who took wickets and didn't look good. I was hoping these two would get a run for 5 matches, not seeing a few faces each time to come up with nothing new. Fawad Alam was never promoted up the order to test his batting skills (I was hoping to see him in particular!). A good argument for that could be mantaining a consistent batting order (as Aus does), but the batting order was consistently tampered with instead. Get rid of Butt and try the two new openers. There is nothing to lose by altering the openers, changing the keeper, and introducing Sohail Khan.

  • MAZHAR on February 4, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    I think our selector did good job to try as many of the young players in Zimbabwe series. We would like to see PCB work on Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Abdur Rauf & Nasir Jamshed to get fit & ready for Australia series.

  • Dan on February 4, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    I think Kamran wasnt watching the same match as everyone else. Sohail Khan was average at best, Abdur Rauf bowled with much more purpose in the last match and was probably the stand out bowler in the series even though he only played one game. The left arm seamers were poor, Sohail Tanvir bowled well but none of the left arm quicks have the ability to swing the ball into the batsman. Thats the key between an average quick and someone like Wasim Akram or Irfan Pathan. They could swing the ball both ways but this current generation of Pakistan left arm seamers only know how to move the ball away... By the way what happened to Anwar Ali??? He was in the provisional squad but wasnt played which is sad... Anyone who watched his demolition of India in the under 19 World Cup final will know what a talent he is...

  • Robert on February 4, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Too true. Sadly a series win against Zimbabwe counts for nothing. In fact the players had nothing to win and everything to lose.

    That said. These games are still classed as ODI's and that should give a few of the youngsters at least a little confidence going into the future.

  • Flipper on February 4, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    I wouldn't go so far as to say no lessons have been learned, but, I agree that, due to haphazard team selection, we don't know enough about many of the players who were tried.

    Nasir Jamshed was given a few opportunities and looks good. Kamran Hussain looked half-decent and I completely agree that bowlers with pace like Sohail Khan need to be given more opportunities. Salman Butt showed again why he shouldn't be anywhere near the first team.

    I was disappointed that Fawad Alam was not given a proper opportunity to show his batting prowess. I genuinely believe he's a class player and he also bowls decent left arm spin.

    To beat Australia, we're going to have to rely on a strong batting line up, a well rounded pace attack, and good fielding. I would play Afridi, Malik and Alam, with no other specialist spinner and 3 pace bowlers. The batting will have depth, the fielding will be better, and the spinning option will be covered with the aforementioned.

  • Abrar on February 4, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    I am not sure if Sarfraz Ahmed deserves a spot over Kamran Akmal as the latter has been a clutch batsman for Pakistan. Also, it is sad to say that the new bowlers tried did not impress as i had hoped. In my opinion, with the exception of Sohail Khan's pace, only Abdur Rauf seemed like a mature bowler who bowled in the right channels. Can we gamble and take an inexperienced bowler such as Sohail Khan based merely on his pace and groom him in the international arena?

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  • Abrar on February 4, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    I am not sure if Sarfraz Ahmed deserves a spot over Kamran Akmal as the latter has been a clutch batsman for Pakistan. Also, it is sad to say that the new bowlers tried did not impress as i had hoped. In my opinion, with the exception of Sohail Khan's pace, only Abdur Rauf seemed like a mature bowler who bowled in the right channels. Can we gamble and take an inexperienced bowler such as Sohail Khan based merely on his pace and groom him in the international arena?

  • Flipper on February 4, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    I wouldn't go so far as to say no lessons have been learned, but, I agree that, due to haphazard team selection, we don't know enough about many of the players who were tried.

    Nasir Jamshed was given a few opportunities and looks good. Kamran Hussain looked half-decent and I completely agree that bowlers with pace like Sohail Khan need to be given more opportunities. Salman Butt showed again why he shouldn't be anywhere near the first team.

    I was disappointed that Fawad Alam was not given a proper opportunity to show his batting prowess. I genuinely believe he's a class player and he also bowls decent left arm spin.

    To beat Australia, we're going to have to rely on a strong batting line up, a well rounded pace attack, and good fielding. I would play Afridi, Malik and Alam, with no other specialist spinner and 3 pace bowlers. The batting will have depth, the fielding will be better, and the spinning option will be covered with the aforementioned.

  • Robert on February 4, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Too true. Sadly a series win against Zimbabwe counts for nothing. In fact the players had nothing to win and everything to lose.

    That said. These games are still classed as ODI's and that should give a few of the youngsters at least a little confidence going into the future.

  • Dan on February 4, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    I think Kamran wasnt watching the same match as everyone else. Sohail Khan was average at best, Abdur Rauf bowled with much more purpose in the last match and was probably the stand out bowler in the series even though he only played one game. The left arm seamers were poor, Sohail Tanvir bowled well but none of the left arm quicks have the ability to swing the ball into the batsman. Thats the key between an average quick and someone like Wasim Akram or Irfan Pathan. They could swing the ball both ways but this current generation of Pakistan left arm seamers only know how to move the ball away... By the way what happened to Anwar Ali??? He was in the provisional squad but wasnt played which is sad... Anyone who watched his demolition of India in the under 19 World Cup final will know what a talent he is...

  • MAZHAR on February 4, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    I think our selector did good job to try as many of the young players in Zimbabwe series. We would like to see PCB work on Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Abdur Rauf & Nasir Jamshed to get fit & ready for Australia series.

  • Omer Admani on February 4, 2008, 11:20 GMT

    I was also bemused by this introduction of players for the sake of it and was going to write about it. What we emerged with is absolutely nothing (although I am satisfied that the new keeper is much better than Akmal). Sohail Khan was the best of the fast bowlers (nevermind the wickets), he bowled some good bouncers and looked threatening as opposed to some others who took wickets and didn't look good. I was hoping these two would get a run for 5 matches, not seeing a few faces each time to come up with nothing new. Fawad Alam was never promoted up the order to test his batting skills (I was hoping to see him in particular!). A good argument for that could be mantaining a consistent batting order (as Aus does), but the batting order was consistently tampered with instead. Get rid of Butt and try the two new openers. There is nothing to lose by altering the openers, changing the keeper, and introducing Sohail Khan.

  • Javed Iqbal on February 4, 2008, 11:50 GMT

    I agree with giving long run to the pace bowlers but I still think that most of the players tested were 'NOT EXTRAORDINARY' Atleast one or two should have come up with meaningful performance against Zimbabwe. * Zamran Hussain looked good as an allrounder but too old for long term investment. * Nasir Jamshed is a good prospect but I doubt his future performances against Australia or SA. * Khurram Manzoor, Glimpse of VVS Laxman and a real prospect for future opener but his bottom hand play may be more suited to test then ODI * Khalid Latif Mad Max, After showing early promise in the innings he started playing cross batted as if he is playing tennis ball cricket in his backyard. * Rizwan Ahmed, sould get more chance as a spinner allrounder. He is capable to save 20-30 runs in the field in ODI which should be considered. * Wahab Khan & Sohail Khan needs to be given another chance * Samiullah Khan was just a Hype * PCB no comment * Captain is improving * Coach real test ahead

  • Zakir Khan on February 4, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    Kamran on one hand you criticised selectors for introducing too many youngesters but in the same breath you are talking about the new find in the shape of Sohail Khan by emphesising more investment in him. I think the current selectors are doing great job. through papars i came to know that captain and coach were utterly against the induction of some new faces into the team particularly Nasir Jamshed as opener.but that guy proved himself in the few games he played.same is for Sohail Khan. so if you got some new promising players out of this meaningless series,than its a huge achievement on selectors part & one should appreciate them for that rather than criticise them. I tend to support selectors more now because when they inducted Misbah-ul-haq into the Twenty20 WC at the expense of Yousaf than knivies were out for them and everybody including me was having a go at them.but he proved himself to the extent that today he is Pak team vice captain. so reserve some credit for them.

  • Ahmed Abdul Quadeer on February 4, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    I agree with Mr. Kamran Abbasi. PCB should have introduced just three new faces who best deserved it. After this series, i dont think any newcomer will be certain that he will play against Australia. Sarfraz Ahmed's keeping is excellent and far much better than Akmal's. But this was a very good opportunity to check his batting but again it was not used by the team.

  • ahrash on February 4, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    Oh why so negative Mr Abbasi? Let us look on the positives - firstly Shoaib Malik has once again proved his worth to the team with both bat and ball and secured man of the series. Tanvir has played consistently well, we have unearthed talent such as Jamshed, Rauf and Manzoor looks like a good prospect. Pakistan won the series 5 -0 and in the final game the youngsters really stepped up to the mark and did not crack under the pressure - managing to bowl Zimbabwe out with just one recognised specialist bowler.Rizwan's catch in the final odi can be seen as symbolic of a new generation's attitude towards fielding and Misbah Ul Haq actually finished a game off!

    Pakistan have climbed the ODI rankings from 7th to 5th and this might be the catalyst that ignites a resurgence in Pakistani Cricket...at least for a while! so lets try and support our team.