Michael Jeh May 2, 2009

Not Imran's Pakistan

Watching the 4th ODI from Abu Dhabi, I suspect that had Imran been captain, the game plan would have evolved differently
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The first time I began to understand the true significance of the term ‘momentum shift’ in cricket was the 1992 World Cup when Imran Khan used it to devastating effect. He picked the moment when he felt his ‘cornered tigers’ were ready to attack and set them loose. The sudden shift in gears when Inzamam and Imran were batting and his decision to unleash Wasim Akram at crucial times underscored his total mastery of the art of sensing momentum swings and then exploiting it with sudden, brutal aggression. It was great theatre.

What’s happened to Pakistan recently then? They seem to have lost that legacy that Imran handed down to them in the early 1990s.

To be fair, it is more an art than a science, difficult to measure or describe. It is probably a gut instinct but it’s certainly something that cricket has now tried to turn into a science. The most successful captains in recent times are the ones who sense these game-changing periods in the wind and can then execute a daring attack that is difficult to counter. Once momentum starts to shift, a game can change forever in a few short overs of mayhem.

The mighty West Indian teams rarely had to worry about momentum shifts – it was usually just one-way traffic with chin music playing in the background. The only way some countries occasionally beat them was to pick a rare moment to try and swing the game violently away. India famously did this in the 1983 World Cup Final, Australia did it to Richie Richardson’s team in the 1996 World Cup semi-final and England did it in front of a packed house at Lords in 2000 when Caddick and Gough bowled like West Indians themselves!

Pakistanis seem to have an instinct for this art form to suddenly transform a game that appears to be meandering along. Their tour of England in 1992 was famous for searing yorkers and late-afternoon collapses engineered by Akram, Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed. It was masterful captaincy and high quality bowling but the secret was in the timing of the assault.

In this latest series against Australia, it seems to be an instinct that has deserted Pakistan. Watching the 4th ODI from Abu Dhabi, I suspect that had Imran been captain, the game plan would have evolved differently. Last night’s tactics were reactive, defensive and utterly lacking in that sixth sense or intuition that tells great captains when to pounce. The innings was crawling along at about 3.5 rpo in the 33rd over when Afridi came to the crease. He was immediately off to a good start with the Shoaib Malik well set at the other end. It was the perfect moment to take the batting powerplay and change the momentum of the game. Against the new ball on a slow deck, Afridi’s hitting power was probably the only thing that would have changed the direction of the game at that point. Pakistan needed a moment of inspiration but it never came.

Instead, Pakistan chose to keep delaying the PP until first Malik and then Akmal were dismissed, followed by a long period of stagnation when Arafat got stuck at the start of his innings. By the time they eventually took the PP in the 43rd over, that moment had come and gone. Half an hour earlier, the game was ready for that momentum shift but in the end, Afridi holed out in the second PP over and they finished with roughly twenty five runs and two wickets to show for it. We’ll never know what could have been but it’s safe to assume that two for twenty was not part of the perfect blueprint. Not even close!

Watching the innings unfold, I kept shouting at the television, willing Pakistan to break the game wide open while there was still some life in the batting order. It may not have worked but it was worth a try. Afridi is always likely to do something extravagant anyway, even with fielders in the deep so it just made no sense to deny him every chance of inspiring that momentum shift. The longer they waited, the more likely it was that he might be out before he could use the full five overs. In the end that’s exactly what happened.

Even the earlier games had similar moments of indecision. Hopes and Hilfenhaus were allowed to recover in Game 1 when the spinners were taken off with one wicket to get. In Game 3, they delayed the PP so long that they ended up being bowled out halfway through it. Perhaps, even this skill suffers from a lack of practice. One should not forget that Pakistan have played precious little cricket recently.

With someone like Afridi in your team, it’s almost criminal to waste his explosiveness. Some situations demand a momentum shift strategy and this was Pakistan's window of opportunity. What would Imran's cornered tigers have done in the same situation I wonder? They won a World Cup, no less, feeding on smaller scraps of inspiration.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Farhan Asif on May 22, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Here I must say that whole Pakistani nation is missing Muhammad Yousuf. Senior fellow, solid player and has played many brilliant innings in difficult batting conditions and under immense pressure. He is no doubt a great Pakistani batsman.

  • Kaiser Mukhtar on May 17, 2009, 4:57 GMT

    Well everyone including the main writer has said everything about the tactics employed by the great technicians of cricket in death or pressure overs of the game, Great piece written. I'm of the view that these ploys have been so common and displayed by all the cricket teams allover the world that even common man sitting in front of the tv screen can suggest or sum up the situation but Pakistani captains fail to employ the same or understand the twist and turns and grab the moment. In fielding The present captain has made so many blunders in tests where he was the full captain against the SL team that all day even every commentator kept shouting to keep 3rd man in place but he never put that fielder in place and conceded so many precious runs in that area that everyone was aghast to see that happening and SL were so clever to exploit that region. Fielding positions are so common in observation to attack and contain the opposition but i never saw any improvement in this area.Sanity Plz.

  • Vikram Maingi on May 13, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    Imran Khan is the best captain Pakistan has ever produced. He won World Cup for his country without the number one bowler, Waqar Younis, of the team. He left a good talent behind him, which is slowly diminishing. After the retirement of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Pakistan's performance is moving in the negative direction. A point to note that last time any test-playing nation was beaten by Pakistan in a World Cup match was the semi-finals of 1999 World Cup, where they had beaten New Zealand. In the last 2 World Cups all their victories have been against non-test playing nations.

  • Adeel Azhar on May 4, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Pakistan in its current form reminds of Indian team in the mid 90s...at that time India was a mere pushover of Pakistan, times have indeed changed...and time will change. Pakistan is facing problems these days in a lot of different areas... but these will have to come to an end someday. So is with cricket...with some regular dose of cricket in coming days i see a much stronger pakistan team under Younus by the mid of 2010

  • faraz on May 4, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    Very rightly analyzed and written article .Pakistan has certainly lost their sting over the last couple of years, the lovely moments that we have seen like changing the flow of the game in the course of two,three overs either by taking wickets or making some quick runs , not seen those moments for a longer period of time .Imran was a genius who had the ability to judge the situation and chose the perfect man to make things flow in his very own way. Let just hope that younis khan can just take a leaf from Imran`s book and jus bring back some of the previous glory to Pakistan cricket.Wishing thema good luck .

  • safwan on May 4, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    the night is the darkest before the dawn.....gud to be optimistic.....some budding young talent is coming up the ranks....but emulating the feats of the great imran khan, or for that matter javed, wasim n inzi wud prolly be asking too much from the current team....to be honest i believe our time as a cricketing force is well and truly over....we may win a couple of matches here and there, but thats about it!!

  • waterbuffalo on May 4, 2009, 0:28 GMT

    The irony is Imran Khan rates Younis Khan highly as captain. He was calling for him even when Inzy was captain. A public slap in the face of a great batsman and a very under rated captain of a pretty good team. Imran was a great captain, you neglected to mention his use of leg spin in the 92 WC, but his judgment of Younis as a captain and as a perrenial failure at number three speaks for itself.

  • montek on May 3, 2009, 23:36 GMT

    i suggest india and pakistan re-unite (as pre-independence times) and rule not only the cricket world but all sport and science.

  • yasir-nisar on May 3, 2009, 22:59 GMT

    I Agree that pakistan is not the same side what they were in the 90's but if they keep playing they will be back Imran was the best thier is no replacment for him but i belive that Younis is also not a bad caption he just need time and support from the team i hope in the near future pakistan team will be thier on the peak as they were in 90's

  • desihungama on May 3, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    Greatly explored article but you have got it somewhat upside down. You are describing a moment in Imran's life when he was at the zenith of his captaincy whereas Younis has just got the break. I think for starters he has done quite well. I think he will take a thing or two from the series. The wickets were crumbled and spunned. Our side hasn't played any useful cricket lately or it showed lack of playing Test Cricket. But Younis does not need to pick the knack of the moment. I strongly beleive M.Yousaf and Razzaq are requirements of the moment and can change the whole dynamics of this team.

  • Farhan Asif on May 22, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Here I must say that whole Pakistani nation is missing Muhammad Yousuf. Senior fellow, solid player and has played many brilliant innings in difficult batting conditions and under immense pressure. He is no doubt a great Pakistani batsman.

  • Kaiser Mukhtar on May 17, 2009, 4:57 GMT

    Well everyone including the main writer has said everything about the tactics employed by the great technicians of cricket in death or pressure overs of the game, Great piece written. I'm of the view that these ploys have been so common and displayed by all the cricket teams allover the world that even common man sitting in front of the tv screen can suggest or sum up the situation but Pakistani captains fail to employ the same or understand the twist and turns and grab the moment. In fielding The present captain has made so many blunders in tests where he was the full captain against the SL team that all day even every commentator kept shouting to keep 3rd man in place but he never put that fielder in place and conceded so many precious runs in that area that everyone was aghast to see that happening and SL were so clever to exploit that region. Fielding positions are so common in observation to attack and contain the opposition but i never saw any improvement in this area.Sanity Plz.

  • Vikram Maingi on May 13, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    Imran Khan is the best captain Pakistan has ever produced. He won World Cup for his country without the number one bowler, Waqar Younis, of the team. He left a good talent behind him, which is slowly diminishing. After the retirement of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Pakistan's performance is moving in the negative direction. A point to note that last time any test-playing nation was beaten by Pakistan in a World Cup match was the semi-finals of 1999 World Cup, where they had beaten New Zealand. In the last 2 World Cups all their victories have been against non-test playing nations.

  • Adeel Azhar on May 4, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Pakistan in its current form reminds of Indian team in the mid 90s...at that time India was a mere pushover of Pakistan, times have indeed changed...and time will change. Pakistan is facing problems these days in a lot of different areas... but these will have to come to an end someday. So is with cricket...with some regular dose of cricket in coming days i see a much stronger pakistan team under Younus by the mid of 2010

  • faraz on May 4, 2009, 3:19 GMT

    Very rightly analyzed and written article .Pakistan has certainly lost their sting over the last couple of years, the lovely moments that we have seen like changing the flow of the game in the course of two,three overs either by taking wickets or making some quick runs , not seen those moments for a longer period of time .Imran was a genius who had the ability to judge the situation and chose the perfect man to make things flow in his very own way. Let just hope that younis khan can just take a leaf from Imran`s book and jus bring back some of the previous glory to Pakistan cricket.Wishing thema good luck .

  • safwan on May 4, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    the night is the darkest before the dawn.....gud to be optimistic.....some budding young talent is coming up the ranks....but emulating the feats of the great imran khan, or for that matter javed, wasim n inzi wud prolly be asking too much from the current team....to be honest i believe our time as a cricketing force is well and truly over....we may win a couple of matches here and there, but thats about it!!

  • waterbuffalo on May 4, 2009, 0:28 GMT

    The irony is Imran Khan rates Younis Khan highly as captain. He was calling for him even when Inzy was captain. A public slap in the face of a great batsman and a very under rated captain of a pretty good team. Imran was a great captain, you neglected to mention his use of leg spin in the 92 WC, but his judgment of Younis as a captain and as a perrenial failure at number three speaks for itself.

  • montek on May 3, 2009, 23:36 GMT

    i suggest india and pakistan re-unite (as pre-independence times) and rule not only the cricket world but all sport and science.

  • yasir-nisar on May 3, 2009, 22:59 GMT

    I Agree that pakistan is not the same side what they were in the 90's but if they keep playing they will be back Imran was the best thier is no replacment for him but i belive that Younis is also not a bad caption he just need time and support from the team i hope in the near future pakistan team will be thier on the peak as they were in 90's

  • desihungama on May 3, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    Greatly explored article but you have got it somewhat upside down. You are describing a moment in Imran's life when he was at the zenith of his captaincy whereas Younis has just got the break. I think for starters he has done quite well. I think he will take a thing or two from the series. The wickets were crumbled and spunned. Our side hasn't played any useful cricket lately or it showed lack of playing Test Cricket. But Younis does not need to pick the knack of the moment. I strongly beleive M.Yousaf and Razzaq are requirements of the moment and can change the whole dynamics of this team.

  • Salman Javed on May 3, 2009, 19:24 GMT

    great piece and absolutely right about the power plays

  • Khurram on May 3, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    Once in a web column/interview Wasim stated that every game is first played in the mind before going into the ground. This is true for any form of game. Good planning was missing plus I think Pakistani cricket team is mentally weak in any pressure situation. Imran Khan was the master of making great decisions at the right time with great plans as the basis. He knew how to make the most of his resources.

  • Ray on May 3, 2009, 16:30 GMT

    Look at Yunus's performance. And I totally agree with Syed's post above. You learn at the nets and in practice matches, in international games you come to perform. Yes you learn too, but that's not the primary objective, the objective is to win fairly. Learning should be an outcome. I am surprised people questioning Malik's inclusion - I hope he's not made the scapegoat. His performance has been far better than Yunus.

  • Tariq on May 3, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    Let us not be too harsh on them. You cannot develop a world beating team on a diet of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh! It will need a year or so of playing against good teams such as Australia, South Africa and India for this team to develop into a good enough team. Of course there will be some changes in personnel but we should not be too hasty. We should also not forget that Imran Khan had a much stronger team - probably the best Pakistan has ever had - to command.

  • Mian Shaukat Hussain on May 3, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    Victory & defeat are part of the game. Abject surrender is not! Where is the backbone of this Pakistani side? Does it have one? Name one batsman who has the grittiness of Javed or the assurance we used to get as long as Inzimam was playing? We have a bunch of clowns masquerading as cricketers! And the less said about the PCB the better. Did you see the PCB Chief addressing a Press Conference and answering his mobile phone at the same time? So much for professionalism and setting the example for the boys! We have fantastic talent, but sadly, the element of Management is missing! Long for the days of Imran, Waqar, Wasim, et. al.

    We do not mind losing but do reject unconditional surrender !!

  • tiger on May 3, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    Good article, But sorry to say, Pakistan can still Play Imran khan as captain and i think he can still inspire these cornered tigers, such was the greaatness of the man, thats y he is being rated as the greatest captain ever to play the game. His heroics with bat, ball and his actions were brethtaking to watch. Pakistan will do well and become worldbeater if they get captain half as good as the great Imran khan.

  • Rauf on May 3, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    You can't expect a neglected car with off the shelf replacement parts to win a grand prix.

    Between the current political situation in Pak, incompetent PCB, ban on ICL players where Pak has lost the most and the final nail in the coffin of stripping Pak of WC matches so early on top of already absent international cricket... I am suprised that Pak can still field a team.

    Pak is already well on it's way to become a minow and ICC is diligently expediting the process. How is this better for world cricket that a strong test playing country is sliding off the cliff? Perhaps the geniuses at ICC can answer this.

  • Mehdi Singapore on May 3, 2009, 7:53 GMT

    Buck up guys,world of cricket is moving forward and you guys have been left behind.Like any CEO of a country,company or an organisation has to be sincere,forward looking,honest and with a leadership quality,there is a lot of hope pinned on Mr Younus Khan.After Mr Imran Khan,Mr Yunus Khan seems the right choice as his body language seems he can get the team focused only on cricket and not dirty politics.Sir please dont let Pakistan talented people down.The morale of Pakistanis are preety down on all the fronts.We shall rise again.As Arnie Shawz said I will be back.

  • zaheer butt on May 3, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    I agreed fully by syed comments from usa.I would say pakistan problem is far deeper than what we see at the moment.It does sound very good keep praising for imran khan era or two ws or inzis special performances.Even those times as a unit we have failed most of the times yes we won the world cup but we were not the best team in the world cup or even after the world cup.Check the records since then how many times we were steam rolled by the aussies sa and not to mentioned by the indians remember all those world cup matches between two teams.We are lacking natural born winner mentality,you can hear ykhan keep saying winning or loosing doesnt matter to him well he should not be in that profession if he doesnt care about loosing.I know as a sports man myself loosing is a part of the game but keep giving those kind of statments before the game is almost handing your opponent a victory.Smiling on the ground is ok but not to the extend that you become a joker yaar.cmon younis.....

  • desi bhai on May 3, 2009, 3:50 GMT

    Talal::: You seem to be strongly suggesting that there will be events in India prior to World cup similar to what led cancelleation of cricket in Pakistan. Choose your words carefully there my friend, lest it come to haunt you.

  • Khurram on May 3, 2009, 3:15 GMT

    Hoping for a Pakistan win has turned into a liability. They are too few and far between especially against good sides. Sadly just like all other things Pakistani, our cricket is going down the drain too.

  • SYED on May 3, 2009, 2:49 GMT

    My main concern is Younus Khan's attitude and vision for future, statements like "winning or losing does'nt matter to me", "we are learning from Aussies", after pathetic display of cricket, is very alarming for the future of Pakistan cricket. Constant smile on his face at times somewhat inappropriate. A strong powerful leader is the one who is serious not angry and competitive in his actions and behaviors to send a good message to the opponents, not smiling and laughing like a joker all the time. It's all good to be polite , nice and friendly, but professionalism is the most important thing.A serious attitude and a never die approach, To enter the ground to win ONLY,not to learn, this is international cricket. Yes it is true, sometimes results don't count BUT approach and commitment does.

    Thanks, Syed......USA..

  • AussieVal on May 3, 2009, 2:18 GMT

    Pakistan no doubt have an issue of depth in their team but i dont think its all doom and gloom. Was GREAT to see Shoaib steaming in at the 3rd ODI and putting it on the spot! I was genuinely worried that he was going to rattle through the aussies very quickly! Also Tanvir has limitless potential...saw him carve up in the IPL last year and was able to tie down an end! I feel very sorry for pakistan cricket in that it cant dissolve itself from the relationship with their government. Cricket doesnt need the arrogance of politicians to get in the way of good contests, but kudos to the ICC to remove international cricket from Pakistan in the interim. The issue that there are people in the country with that sort of agenda needs to be dealt with before they even consider going back there...What a disgusting series of events and i would be shamed if i was a Pakistani cricket fan and had to put up with that sort of crap preventing access to International games at home...

  • daud ahmed on May 3, 2009, 1:57 GMT

    I think you have to be crtical of younis khan captiancy. he dosent seems to be a leader by the attitude he dont have agression on his face and as far as press conferneces are concerned he shudnt be even in the team.

    How u feel about ur captian saything that "AUstarlia is struggling so are we!!"

    i wud hav retire from international cricket if i was caught in fire exchange happened in alhore"

    where as Ajantha mendis said " im ready to go to pakistan when ever tour happen" mendis was struck with a bullet and he is ready to go to pakistan.

    Pakistan cricket and politics needs LEaders like imran khan

  • Michael Jeh on May 2, 2009, 23:44 GMT

    Thanks for the excellent comments thus far from everybody. To be fair, I should have made it clear that it is difficult to expect this current team to play like Imran's 1992 team. They had quality international cricketers from 1 to 11. Many of that era would have made a World XI but if you look at the current team, would any player be selected in a current World XI or even a Second XI? What disappointed me most (as a neutral observer) was the lack of thinking that went into their tactics. Afridi esp is a high-risk player so the only chance he really has to win the game with the bat is to allow him the freedom of the powerplay. Kamran Akmal has been really disappointing too with the bat. Why did they move him down the order after his good innings in the first ODI? Shoaib Malik probably deserves some latitude but Misbah looks more interested in fancy shots than playing with a straight bat. You don't see Clarke, Watson etc trying fancy shots. They just play percentage shots.

  • muhamad on May 2, 2009, 22:59 GMT

    I'm inclined to think that a lot of Pakistan's on feild problems stem from a lack of self-belief and confidence.

  • Umer Chohan on May 2, 2009, 22:41 GMT

    I feel the team has no passion to win. There are few players who are trying to deliver because they are under pressure like afridi,akhter and those who are new. While others who have been around for sometime like Salman, Misbah and Akmal are just waiting for captaincy to change hands because they will be the top contenders if it happens. The team doesn't look united they all don't have one goal. Some are trying to make their place in the team. Some are trying to prove that they still have life left in them. Some are waiting for captaincy to change hands. A 100% effort from every player would have resulted in better results. The Imran Khan team is history after that many captains followed. But the team only performed when it was united.

  • Javed on May 2, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    There have been lot said about Younas Khan leadership, batting and team is having respect for him. I dare to say here that he is not having potential to be a strong leader, a great article highlighting the real weaknesses of Pakistan team. We all love to see Pakistan performs at their best but we have wasted the chance to beat Australia. They are not weak but Pakistan will not going to get a a change like this again. Why everyone is a fan of Misbah; he is having terrible record so far a part of herocis in T20 world cup or few games in India. We are still waiting for Yousaf to come back.... come on where is the new talent.... look at Ahmad Shezad... he is only 18 and he is playing. If we are not going to give chances to new talent and asking old horses to come back and run we might not be able to able to survive in world cricket.... why are we looking at Old ICL players to come back.... for Pakistan sake let us try new talent. Yes we will loose to be successful one day.

  • Arman Zain on May 2, 2009, 20:34 GMT

    You are right some critical mistakes were made as far as decision making was concern. Beside that I think we cant compare this Pakistan side to one of 90s as the talent level is just not there and talent that is coming up is not being nourished in right way. Pakistan bowling attack doesn't hav that buzz about it and Batting has never been the Ace department for Pakistan cricket but right now it is Some where below average and I am sure I dont need to mention Pakistan fielding skills. May be more match practice against formidable sides will imporve the situation but I think PCB have to reconsider bring Yousaf along with some other ICL players back to Pakistan Team if they want to be a respected side in world Cricket.

  • HR on May 2, 2009, 19:12 GMT

    What to talk of Imran Khan he is hell bent on wasting his time after politics!I am afraid Yunus Khan was a sad sad let down. Not only his own batting is shambolic, his captaincy is inept followed by pathetic excuses. Intikhab never won anything of substance in past, niether as a captain nor a coach. Intikhab MUST go before Pakistan is humiliated any further, Yunus must be given some sensible advice, he should see the way Dhoni captains his side.We all thought Yunus will be an attacking captain, how wrong we were!!Pakistan batting is in shambles and yet no batting coach!Will we ever hear any good news from Pakistan Cricket?

  • Assad on May 2, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    Younis Khan is a new captain, insecure because of his poor form. Imran was captaining Pakistan for ten years before the world cup of 1992, so I'm sure that if you give that much time to Younis Khan, he would have that degree of confidence and bravado in his decision making. For the time-being this Pakistan team is highly nervous and tentative due to their lack of match-fitness(which is not just physical fitness but their mental ability to make tough decisions at crucial times). Besides, there are no players of the calibre of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Inzamam in this team. This current team is obviously not as naturally talented as the troops Imran had under his wing. The bowling is steady at best. Wth two medium pace trundlers and an injury-pronged Shoaib Akhtar in your team, do you really expect to be ultra-aggressive?

  • Malik on May 2, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    regular cricket is what they all say,they've been talking about it so much even the guys on the field have an excuse now they need to get the ICL guys back and they need to get rid of salman butt and shoaib akhtar, with guys like yusuf, reza and the 'farhats' the arrogant bunch who think they are indispensable at the moment will be put under pressure, thats how the aussies get the best out of their players and thats how all the good teams in the world operate, plus imran would have never played a series to 'learn' from an opposition, he was a fighter a man who took the field to win and knew what to say to the media, all this 'we will learn if we don't win' attitude is rubbish, 50,000 people don't turn up at the stadium to watch this hopeless bunch of players learn. Imran's side had a totally different approach, even though ijaz ahmed knew nothing about batting or bowling he was in the side for his 'never say die' attitude. With Imran out of the system pakistan cricket will never change

  • omar hussain on May 2, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    I think the present Pakistani team is very ordinary and it is irrevelent to compare them with the great sides under Imran.Even with Imran Pakistan sometimes whilted under pressure which is inherent in many present and past players.The Australians won simply beacause it is in their nature to fight until the last ball and never accept defeat.Also because they are team players.

  • Jameel on May 2, 2009, 15:19 GMT

    The problem with pakistan is not who the captain is or who the coach is. The problem is the way we think when we play australians or SA or any teams except BD, ZIM that we have a mindset that we will never be able to beat those mighty teams. Pak team need to change its thinking and need to develop a killer instinct that we used to have when imran was captain. We need to strategize every over when we bat or bowl. Bringing Shoaib akhtar back in the attack when australia needed 15 runs was a stupid decision by YK, he shouldve brought him back when there were 60-70 runs needed. YK stinks as a captain btw. Other problem we have in pak team is 80% of the players are selected in the team because they have contacts- parchi, they dont get selected based on their skills. Adding/Dropping players is not working for pak in fact it doesn't work at all. So all in all, pak team need to select players that have skills develop them, may take a year or two but only then they'll be somewhere.

  • Talal on May 2, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    @ramakrishna ...you r very funny ..Unless there is peace in pakistan cricket wont never improve...what does country state has to do with cricket ..sir plz dumb people r not allowed to comment here ... india cricket teams is playing really well ..u think india doenst have problems ..wait for 2011 worldcup we will see whose county state is bad ..pakistan or india .. What does round comes round my friend .. Cant wait for 2011 world cup to be cancelled while its going on in india and thats what gona happen..

  • Aditya on May 2, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    The "Deconstructing the batting powerplay" article that Mike wrote a few days ago spoke about exactly this situation. Another batting powerplay that has been wasted by waiting till the innings is well into the slog overs (and several wickets down), another match lost...

  • Vaseem siddiqi on May 2, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    We should not expect too much from this Pakistan team. Firstly, it has been deprived of top international cricket for sometime. Secondly, number of its talented players have been banned because they joined ICL. Thirdly, Pakistan no longer possesses the quality of players they have produced in the past. In conclusion this is the worst Pakistan team in forty years since I have been watching cricket apart from the only other time when Pakistani players were banned for joining Kerry Packer and Wasim Bari was captain.

  • sami on May 2, 2009, 13:07 GMT

    Cricket world is losing Pakistan. Its true that Pakistan team does not have the same talent once they used to have but they are always so unpredictable, you never know that in couple of years a player or two of astonishing talent will come from nowhere. On the other hand by isolating Pakistan by the ICC and other countries , they are not doing anything but digging a grave for Cricket.

  • Ayaz on May 2, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    All that has been said in the article is rite. But what is more important that our team has to be united. its not a matter of winnning and loosing, whatever it is, winning or loosing, we have to back-up our team as it is Team Pakistan. And why to blame Cricket Team while as a whole nation we are not able to have that Tiger Instinct mentioned in the article. Are we doing what we were suposed to do? most of the people will answer NO. So make it YES first, after that say anything to others.

  • Ramesh on May 2, 2009, 10:37 GMT

    Pakistan had a great cricket team too, well marshalled by Imran. The young Akram, who burst out of nowhere, Inzamam, Saeed Anwar and Miandad were the other brilliant players. Where is the brilliance now? The fact that they are also playing so little cricket does not help. All of us who are connoisseurs of the game want Pakistan to once again surprise the world with selection of little known but brilliant cricketers. Really, the game is a bit stale now!

  • Abbas on May 2, 2009, 10:12 GMT

    The instinct has gone, I fail to undertsand that looking at Afridi's career span, he has never been consistent so why these dummies don't put him upfront to get some momentum. We all know that the only success he had batting was opening. I plead to Cricinfo to some how convey this message to Alam to open with Akmal and Afridi, we have failed in four matches so why not try another ploy... it might work.

    They should also put him in tests now because Kaneria is tootless.

    Misbah has been in the team solely for his T20 WC innings (2 of them), 1 of them cost us the WC. He should be replace by Faisal Iqbal.

  • Fahad Imam on May 2, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    good article .. certainly to win a match tere is always requires a good game plan.. a very good point mentioned by Michael Jeh tht when shoib malik was looking good in his batting nd afridi was sharing a good partnership with him ten why PP did nt take ..it was a very good chance to overwhelm the Aussies ...ten another shocking decision in the last match was to rest Gul nd gave chance to sohail ..now for me it is quite perplex still to realize that why the gul rested in the must winning match although he was performing quite well in all matches..it was poor game planning or some thing else??? .... PCB now needs to take immediate action against this disappointing performance of team...

  • Jamshed on May 2, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    What are we really talking about, comparing the team in the 90s to current team ridiculous. Pakistan at the moment does neither have a world class batsman nor a match winning bowler. With quality bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain & batsmen like Inzi, Saeed Anwer, Amir Sohail, Salim Malik as well as Javed & Imran himself. Also lets not forget Mohammad Yousuf. Pakistan was a formidable side in late 80s as well as all the way through 90s. So lets not compare that era to the current period. Unfortunately at the present moment does not have any quality talent. I dont see anyone coming close to Wasim & Waqar,Javed or Inzi, but again talent like that comes rare. So no specials for Pakistan at the moment all the present lot of players are bits & pieces. No genuine batsmen nor fit genuine bowler. Younis maybe to a certain degree, other than him middle order looks pretty flimsy & not to mention the absence of a permanent partner for Salman.

  • Azfar Shahzad on May 2, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    To be fair a team which had so little exposure to international cricket has snatched one game from World Champions.............. One thing though, a spineless performance.....they lost it well before they should have, no attacking field when there was no other way i mean when your back is on the wall ehat difference would it make if you lose quickly....you could have afford to attack.... Best of luck in future...

  • Azfar Shahzad on May 2, 2009, 9:00 GMT

    To be fair a team which had so little exposure to international cricket has snatched one game from World Champions.............. One thing though, a spineless performance.....they lost it well before they should have, no attacking field when there was no other way i mean when your back is on the wall ehat difference would it make if you lose quickly....you could have afford to attack.... Best of luck in future...

  • Irfan Khan on May 2, 2009, 7:56 GMT

    I think Pak Team is psychologically weak as well the captain.I would have suggested to go all over without fear of loosing the game starting from 1st one day just to loose the arms but they feared that that might them loose the position in team. Definitely the game plan is very important, Power Plays, change of bowling, change of tactics of playing needs guts. However its sorry to see Pak Players so vulnerable :(:(

  • MHKarne on May 2, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    PCB and indeed the whole of Pakistan have very high hopes of Yonus Khan as captain. Batting colapses are not uncommon in cricket but Pakistanis are masters at it. They seem to lack imagination and sheer guts and determination when it comes to the crunch. Lets hope for Pakistan cricket's sake they are able to find and inspirational leader like Imran Khan.

  • srivathsan on May 2, 2009, 7:34 GMT

    I was sad to watch the match yesterday.There was no salt in the match. When u are defending a small total & that too getting 2 wkts for nothing , I expected an attacking field & not a defensive one.The momentum was lost .While batting , being a subcontinental side known for playing spinners well, it was disappointing to see the sedate aproach. ur right on pp3.Afridy was turning the ball like warne. If only proper field placements were ,I mean attacking,set the match would have swung pakistans way. I dont demean the good work of aussies but the match was handed to them in a silver platter.if dhoni is winning it is just his attacking nature & out thinking the opposition For which imran khan was known for. Pakistan gave away the series .

  • Muhammad Atif Ikram on May 2, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    True, Pakistan needs to seized the opportunities to have momentum shift. I would add we do not have "Thinking Cricketing Brain" in present set-up. We need a Thinking Cricketer who can foresight the opportunities. We need pro actors not just reactors. Presently, there is no such cricketing brain available in present pool of players.

  • Hussain on May 2, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    I agree. And it was not just the batting. Even with a score of 197, we could have had a chance if the field settings was more aggressive. With two spinners baffling the australian batsmen, it made no sense to have most of the fielders in the boundary. Yes, they would have scored a few boundaries with an attacking field, but at least it would have given Pakistanis a chance for a wicket or two. Unfortunately, there is no one in the pakistani team with a mature mind and the charm a leader should have, to lead them. The third match was absolutely a winner for the pakis. If bowlers are bowling good its understandable, but throwing away your wickets with silly shots (read misbah ul haq) when there is no need, just shows lack of maturity and I doubt we are going to see it anytime soon

  • ramakrishna on May 2, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    unless and untill there is peace in Pak cricket wil never improve.

  • Abde-Ali Bohra on May 2, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    Indeed rightly said, Imran Khan, in 1992 victory did things, which only if current & future captains of Pakistan review it, and Imran Khan is there to consult, things for Pakistan cricket will change drastically, as it happened in the 1992 world cup, from five matches just 3 points, and ultimately the world cup winners. Learn from Imran Khan, he is still the best Pakistan can seek, i hope our cricket management and captains realize, that it is never too late

  • jawad on May 2, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    its not the first time that pakistan side has failed in a pressure game over the years they have consistently developed habbit of playing without a gameplane and throwing away whatever opportunities come to them here i would lke to bring your attention to the game between pak and southafrica two years back chasing a modest total of 220 in lahore on aflat deck from aposition 150 for 2 the side clapsed all out for 200 may god save our cricket

  • Aamir Akhund on May 2, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    What can i say about this whole sorry affair. This was suppose to be our golden chance to beat the one day champions and bring some passion back in Pakistani Cricket. I think Michael has got it dead right that the time to shift the momentum has long come and gone. Yonus Khan has to get a few things straight into his head. The whole nation is behind him to continue on as captian of the Cricket team but he has to realise that with respect comes responsibilities. His ever easy go luck sort of attitude and the stupid sort of excuses given at our losses by him and the management are only hurting the team and our Cricket Some tough desicion have to be taken. ICL player have got to be bought back to the national fold and get our cricket moving in the right direction. I was shocked when at the begining of the series only i was the one who was will to put money on pakistan in my office out of almost 20 people. The rest told me that we would never be able to beat Aussies Were They Right?

  • Maxxter on May 2, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Great Article.. NIce points raised. Pakistan is not the same cricketing force as it was in the 90's. Still if they keep playing regular cricket, things might change.. But the days of the W's bowling in tandem and Inzi chasing with that calming influence wont come. Still, we should hope to get another Wasim or Waqar so that the public starts taking more interest in the game.

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  • Maxxter on May 2, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Great Article.. NIce points raised. Pakistan is not the same cricketing force as it was in the 90's. Still if they keep playing regular cricket, things might change.. But the days of the W's bowling in tandem and Inzi chasing with that calming influence wont come. Still, we should hope to get another Wasim or Waqar so that the public starts taking more interest in the game.

  • Aamir Akhund on May 2, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    What can i say about this whole sorry affair. This was suppose to be our golden chance to beat the one day champions and bring some passion back in Pakistani Cricket. I think Michael has got it dead right that the time to shift the momentum has long come and gone. Yonus Khan has to get a few things straight into his head. The whole nation is behind him to continue on as captian of the Cricket team but he has to realise that with respect comes responsibilities. His ever easy go luck sort of attitude and the stupid sort of excuses given at our losses by him and the management are only hurting the team and our Cricket Some tough desicion have to be taken. ICL player have got to be bought back to the national fold and get our cricket moving in the right direction. I was shocked when at the begining of the series only i was the one who was will to put money on pakistan in my office out of almost 20 people. The rest told me that we would never be able to beat Aussies Were They Right?

  • jawad on May 2, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    its not the first time that pakistan side has failed in a pressure game over the years they have consistently developed habbit of playing without a gameplane and throwing away whatever opportunities come to them here i would lke to bring your attention to the game between pak and southafrica two years back chasing a modest total of 220 in lahore on aflat deck from aposition 150 for 2 the side clapsed all out for 200 may god save our cricket

  • Abde-Ali Bohra on May 2, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    Indeed rightly said, Imran Khan, in 1992 victory did things, which only if current & future captains of Pakistan review it, and Imran Khan is there to consult, things for Pakistan cricket will change drastically, as it happened in the 1992 world cup, from five matches just 3 points, and ultimately the world cup winners. Learn from Imran Khan, he is still the best Pakistan can seek, i hope our cricket management and captains realize, that it is never too late

  • ramakrishna on May 2, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    unless and untill there is peace in Pak cricket wil never improve.

  • Hussain on May 2, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    I agree. And it was not just the batting. Even with a score of 197, we could have had a chance if the field settings was more aggressive. With two spinners baffling the australian batsmen, it made no sense to have most of the fielders in the boundary. Yes, they would have scored a few boundaries with an attacking field, but at least it would have given Pakistanis a chance for a wicket or two. Unfortunately, there is no one in the pakistani team with a mature mind and the charm a leader should have, to lead them. The third match was absolutely a winner for the pakis. If bowlers are bowling good its understandable, but throwing away your wickets with silly shots (read misbah ul haq) when there is no need, just shows lack of maturity and I doubt we are going to see it anytime soon

  • Muhammad Atif Ikram on May 2, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    True, Pakistan needs to seized the opportunities to have momentum shift. I would add we do not have "Thinking Cricketing Brain" in present set-up. We need a Thinking Cricketer who can foresight the opportunities. We need pro actors not just reactors. Presently, there is no such cricketing brain available in present pool of players.

  • srivathsan on May 2, 2009, 7:34 GMT

    I was sad to watch the match yesterday.There was no salt in the match. When u are defending a small total & that too getting 2 wkts for nothing , I expected an attacking field & not a defensive one.The momentum was lost .While batting , being a subcontinental side known for playing spinners well, it was disappointing to see the sedate aproach. ur right on pp3.Afridy was turning the ball like warne. If only proper field placements were ,I mean attacking,set the match would have swung pakistans way. I dont demean the good work of aussies but the match was handed to them in a silver platter.if dhoni is winning it is just his attacking nature & out thinking the opposition For which imran khan was known for. Pakistan gave away the series .

  • MHKarne on May 2, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    PCB and indeed the whole of Pakistan have very high hopes of Yonus Khan as captain. Batting colapses are not uncommon in cricket but Pakistanis are masters at it. They seem to lack imagination and sheer guts and determination when it comes to the crunch. Lets hope for Pakistan cricket's sake they are able to find and inspirational leader like Imran Khan.

  • Irfan Khan on May 2, 2009, 7:56 GMT

    I think Pak Team is psychologically weak as well the captain.I would have suggested to go all over without fear of loosing the game starting from 1st one day just to loose the arms but they feared that that might them loose the position in team. Definitely the game plan is very important, Power Plays, change of bowling, change of tactics of playing needs guts. However its sorry to see Pak Players so vulnerable :(:(