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February 22, 2009

Age of Khan

Sri Lanka win Pakistan's lottery

Kamran Abbasi
Mahela Jayawardene reaches his double-century, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Karachi, 2nd day, February 22, 2009
 © AFP
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The Pakistan Cricket Board has introduced a daily lottery to attract spectators. The next marketing strategy might be to pay people to attend? If that didn't work, the PCB would have to admit it has a team that nobody wants to watch. The best marketing strategy, without doubt, is to have a successful and exciting cricket team. Younis Khan's new team may be some way from either of those labels but this is just the beginning.

Karachi's pitch has been easy paced and the bounce has been friendly, a graveyard for most bowlers, not just Pakistan's assortment of characters with something to prove. It is a pitch that allows a bowler of high pace or sharp turn to make a genuine difference. Pakistan have neither of world class in this match.

Yet it is tough to return to Test cricket after 14 months, and some of the disciplines will take a while to return. Add that to the excellence of Sri Lanka's batting, and you can see why the lottery of choosing an inexperienced attack might fail.

The real test of Younis Khan's team will come when they face Murali and Mendis. A huge total will offer Sri Lanka's world class bowlers the freedom to attack, while creating immense pressure for Pakistan's untried batting line-up. Indeed, Shoaib Malik and Danish Kaneria have shown that the pitch will become increasingly receptive to good spin bowling.

There can be few bigger challenges in international cricket - even for a team with a new found solidarity forged in an isolation camp. The Age of Khan begins with a monumental struggle.

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

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Posted by rahmat ali on (February 20, 2010, 9:08 GMT)

Give them some time, it seems like everyone knows cricket more than the Selectors

Posted by RSN on (February 25, 2009, 21:10 GMT)

Mr.Abbasi, be honest!. Were Pak were to lose the test , Younis would have been under a huge microscope. Luckily he got a dead track, made some runs, bolstered his position!. don't go gaga over it.

Posted by samir, India on (February 24, 2009, 20:11 GMT)

hey TB, hindsight is allways 20 20. But chill guys, your team is still WIP (Work in progress), put those knives away. let them sort themselves out.

Posted by TB on (February 24, 2009, 17:49 GMT)

Give them some time, it seems like everyone knows cricket more than the Selectors, Captains and Administrators. If Cricket was that easy you all were playing but alas you guys are nothing but armchair quarterbacks.

Posted by Ahsan Siddiqui on (February 24, 2009, 11:18 GMT)

I can jump on the band wagon of blaming the pitch for the tonnes of runs piled up in this test match, but not to be missed is the selection of the bowlers in pakistani Team, i still feel inclusion of Sohail Khan was a wrong one and Muhammad Talha and Muhammad Amir should get a chance in the next test. Faisal Iqbal is another wet gun and khurram manzoor is no way near to the mark doesnt matter if they score but the exceptional talent required in both of these players is not there. Ahmed shehzad should have been given a chance. but any ways enough of criticism i believe Pakistan team and espacially Younis Khan has done a tremendous job to mend the damage and hats off to him who is inching towards his maden triple century. Well done boys after 14 months of isolation. That at least will shut your critics up. Excellent knock Younis, you dont get triple centuries every day even if thats the worst of the pitches...

Posted by Theelana kumudu from colombo on (February 24, 2009, 6:46 GMT)

I am from Colombo and i write it becos i am proud of it. As expected Pakistanis did not prepare a track which would assist spin or seam becasue then they would have been 75 all out in tests. Even then SL tigers got 430 odd paretnership record. Incredible. But sadly no test match lovers exist in Pakistan. No wonder no one wants to vist Pakistan to play.

Posted by Fluent-in-english on (February 24, 2009, 4:00 GMT)

Why Inti and Yunus speak pitch bad when match not finished? What if M&M bowl pakistan out two time? Pakistan lose match. Yunus look bad.Talk too much not good. Play cricket. Win match.

Posted by Hussain Khan on (February 24, 2009, 1:21 GMT)

Where is the Pakistani patriotism?? In Australia and in many other countries,thousands of its citizens flock to watch and support their national team even if they are not doing so well. Without the support and backing of the public it will be a difficult task for the new captain to turn the team around.

Posted by faisal on (February 23, 2009, 16:35 GMT)

one more thing about the pitch. Every body is criticizing the pitch i think its not pitch when their was no one day cricket same test cricket was so popular all over the world than one day cricket joined the test, so test cricket started losing grip with passage of time now Twenty20 cricket is going on alongside the ODI and Test so these test are becoming too boring becoz ODI and 20 cricket is too exiting/intersting and resultfull . however attandence in test cricket is still strong in England, Aus and india but thats not engouh hey ICC, if you want test cricket popular all over the world again you need to bring some innovation yes INNVOTION becoz people don't like these old cripled rules and laws how long are we gonna bare these Man. First i think start day/night test cricket with color clothes but the problum is that they say oh man we don't have the right color for ball becoz white ball discolors quickly so untill scientest invent that speciall color we can't start day/night test cricket man if white ball discolors early change the rules now we change ball after 80 overs reduce that ball to 60 or 55 overs like ODIs and when we get the right color change it back. Second get rid of the tea break so first and second session should be 45 over long, lunch break one hour long so we will get some consistency in the game and that is gonna benefit the batsman and it will improve the interest of game too. Third reduce the innings to 150 overs meaning that if team A is bating than team B will need to bowled them out in 150 overs or bating of team A is gonna last 150 overs after that their team will be atumatically declared. i think if we make these changes we can get 99 persent result from test cricket regardless of pitch condition and we will see some test cricket in the begining of the inings and some fast cricket like ODIS in the last 10 to 20 overs of the inings and we wll also bring back the spectators and excitment in the ground. ICC bring the innovation bring in bring in....

Posted by Rauf on (February 23, 2009, 10:33 GMT)

I am with PCB on this one... to some extent. You play with the team you have not the one you wished you had so let's stop day dreaming. Two W's are retired and so are other past greats.

Two things have hurt Pakistan cricket tremendously within last 3 to 4 years never witnessed before. a) ban on ICL players and b) lack of test cricket because teams don't want to tour Pakistan. While PCB has no control over who visits, they have the control to lift the ban on ICL players.

They also need to manage the players correctly. How can you let a rising talent like Asif bite the dust is beyond me. It is player's responsibility to behave but when you take a kid from a lower middle class background and give him few $100,000 then chances are there that he may blunder.

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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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