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February 19, 2009

Age of Khan

A test of inexperience

Kamran Abbasi
Ahmed Shehzad lines up a booming drive, Zimbabwe Board XI v Pakistan National Cricket Academy, Harare, August 23, 2008
 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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After a year of impatient waiting, Pakistan's cricketers return to Test cricket at a venue that has robbed them of more matches than any other. Taking on a variable Sri Lankan team would have been challenge enough but Pakistan's selectors and captain have added to the task by conjuring an inexperienced team from their immediate disagreements.

The relationship between Younis Khan and Abdul Qadir will be interesting to observe, as both have strong opinions and are prone to actions inspired by emotion rather than cool reflection. At least, there will be no shortage of passion.

On balance, though, the outcome is intriguing. Yes, Kamran Akmal's selection continues to confound reason. Faisal Iqbal is an unexpected recall. And Sohail Tanvir's omission seems unduly harsh. Nonetheless, the selection strikes a populist note by recalling Fawad Alam and Asim Kamal, and offering opportunities to Sohail Khan and Mohammad Talha. An out and out rookie, Ahmed Shehzad, adds to the fascination, a typically random Pakistani punt.

Surely, Pakistan's isolation camp will not be enough to transform this wealth of inexperience into a winning combination against the old hands of Sri Lanka? Yet the final fifteen all have something to prove, none more than experienced players like Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Danish Kaneria, and Kamran Akmal.

With Sri Lanka focused on fond farewells to their excellent captain, Pakistan's hunger for Test cricket and success should give Younis Khan the opportunity to make a fighting start in a series that his team will not be expected to win.

Absence, however, makes the crowd grow hungrier too, and Pakistan's fans are notoriously unforgiving--and this is an occasion that requires patience. Pakistan have the right captain, and now they must find the right players. The question is how much tolerance and understanding the public and media will show as Pakistan cricket enters another era of rebuilding? But giving the current squad an opportunity is a decent enough beginning to the Age of Khan.

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

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Posted by waterbuffalo on (February 23, 2009, 23:19 GMT)

To Sunny--"Tanvir deserves a spot in the WORLD XI"!!!??? What world are you talking about? The after world? I only wrote four lines apropos Theelana the so called Sri Lankan, that's it, just four lines, the rest of my posts I have been very critical of Pakistan and have not mentioned India at all. Obviously where there is smoke there is fire, but read my posts again, I don't like it when people laugh at Pakistan and use sophomoric logic. But I will trash Pakistan as hard as I can , much harder than any 'pretend' S. Lankan supporter. Why don't you guys just concentrate on your N. Zealand tour instead of crying about how bad you feel. I could not care less. Crocodile tears are not the real thing, and BTW, Theelana, whoever he is, has not responded, so some might say I hit the nail on the head. And for the record, my favourite batsman in the world ever sice he blasted that 300 against Pakistan with 6's for his 100, 150, 200 and 300 against the Rawalpindi Mail Train is Virender Sehwag.

Posted by faisal on (February 22, 2009, 18:50 GMT)

i am really surprised that some people above critized kamran akmal's performance including abbasi but i checked that pak only produced just 4 to 5 world class wicket keeper and i am talking about who stood behind the wicket atleast20 innings, amoung them pakistan's best wicket keeper even one of the world's best wicket keeper wasim bari stood in 146 innings and his dissmissl rate is 1.561 per inings, Moin khan has dis/1.245 in 118 inings, Rashid latif has dis/1.884 in 69 inings now kamran akmal has dismisal rate of 2.000 in 72 inings so watching that i remember nobody critized those wicket keeper as akmal is being critized i think moin is the worest wicket keeper then akmal and guess what he was able to play 69 test matches but in kamran's case he just played 39 test matches and we are after him i don't understand the critizing criteria i remember moin khan droping catches consistantly and he was still preffered over rashid latif who was at the time better wicket keeper than moin khan.

Posted by Sikander Rashid on (February 22, 2009, 15:40 GMT)

Hey Kamran, enough is enough, mate. What do you expect? Enough players have been sacked for their linsk with the ICL. Others are injured (AKhtar and Asif). If the selectors won't push in the new comers, then what else would they do?

How about you, for once, start appreciating and backing the new talent? People like you in the media have the public's opinion biased towards your sentiments.

Posted by sunny on (February 22, 2009, 13:56 GMT)

I am an Indian and have no shame in admitting that I admire Wasim Akram and Imran khan as much as Sachin, Yuvraj and Dhoni. I feel bad when I look at comments from guys like waterbuffalo. It is sad really, how far has this hatred gone. About cricket: It is sad to see that such a great team was sacrificed to the shrewd politics of Pakistani selectors. How can you leave Tanvir out? He deserves a place in the world XI. And I think sub continent cricket boards should now realise that it is useless to prepare spin friendly and flat wickets as rest of the world has now learnt the art of playing on these wickets. Afridi deserves to be out because he is little of a team player- we'ce seen that in IPL. I'm sure that Pakistan will find another Imran Khan soon who will then find another Akram. amin.

Posted by mukesh kunal on (February 22, 2009, 12:54 GMT)

I do believe that these are the testing times for Pakistan Cricket.Many experts feel that this present team doesn't have in them to win matches for pakistan and bring laurels for themselves and for their country .But the positive that pakistan team is having at present is that they are returning back to longer version of the game after a span of 14 month which is a long time .So it will take sometime for these young and inexperienced players to settle down and be back on track.I think this team is missing a good allrounder of the likes of Shahid Afridi whose test record has been impressive.Selection of Sohail Khan also raises a big question mark on the selection of players .Now paid selection committee is appointed by the pakistan board .So now the question comes the survival of pakistan cricket and its players.Now there is an uphill task behind Younis Khan is to revive Pakistan Cricket and take it to new heights as it used to be during Imran Khan's time and we all hope for the best.

Posted by Aditya Mookerjee on (February 22, 2009, 3:47 GMT)

I do not like to watch the Pakistan Cricket Team, because they are a winning side. I watch the team, because they are such an attractive side to contemplate. I am sure, that the newcomers will do well for Pakistan.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (February 21, 2009, 19:08 GMT)

The Age of Khan will end after the 2nd Test. To set attacking fields on a belter of a pitch with a super fast outfield is insane. No Sweeper, no third man, no deep point and 400 runs come in one day. So much for Younis being an intelligent captain. You will see what a smart captain looks like when Sri Lanka bowl. How Imran can rate this guy I don't know. Well, Imran, you look like the fool now, not Younis. Might as well start betting on who the next captain will be, everybody. Go back to school, Younis Khan.

Posted by Abdul on (February 21, 2009, 18:38 GMT)

For any side to concede 400 runs on an opening day of a test match is an amusing act especially with the expense of 3 wickets and the shortened day format in the sub – continent. If there was a single phrase to describe the bowling performance it would be “plundered miserably”. Kaneria bowled poorly that’s a fact he was looking too predictable but as Bob Woolmer said Pakistan seem to be slow starters and takes them a few days before they can in to the swing of things and start delivering brilliance in which we know they are capable of producing such as this below from Kaneria :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQVAPycMS9k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSOY7g1_uSo&feature=related

This is more like bowling rather than producing loose deliveries like an off day like today. I mean just look at them the first one spins sharply through the gate and arguably an unplayable wrong ‘un. The second one pitches in the rough patches and turns sharply through the gate of batsmen with goodtech.

Posted by venkat on (February 21, 2009, 12:34 GMT)

y people here have to drag india even if we just dont bother about pak cricket at the moment. if anything we want them to do well and have a stronger than time which will b a great challenge for our cricket team like the good old days

Posted by khalil on (February 21, 2009, 7:45 GMT)

We become too emotional,when it comes to cricket. If we could understand the trick that sport should be considered as a sport then we will not have to burn our midnight oil on it.Probably this is, in my opinion the answer to the cricketing worries of our team.England was out for 51 but no body asked that the captain of the team be sacked. Its always good to give time to,be it captain or the individual players but with a sense of responsibility.Let,s hope for the best.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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