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May 4, 2009

Age of Khan

A defeat but a respectable one

Kamran Abbasi



Pakistan fans should not be too despondent at their team's defeat to Australia. Playing any international sport occasionally puts you at a disadvantage and that's before we consider the issue of neutral venues.

Most importantly, Pakistan managed to play out a scheduled series without disruption, and a blueprint has been established for the survival of Pakistan cricket until the domestic environment improves.

Had it not been for their traditional batting frailty, Pakistan would have easily won this series against a weakened Australian team. But batting skills probably suffer most from any absence from the international circuit.

As Pakistan showed in two of the matches, it is possible to gloss over frailties and lack of match practice in the shorter forms of cricket. When Pakistan return to Test cricket we will then know the true extent of their plight.

Nonetheless, it is important to take positives from this series. In particular, the spin combination of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal helped Pakistan remain competitive throughout.

Afridi, now certainly a senior statesman, extracted more turn than he usually has. We will need more evidence before we can decide if it was the environment or Abdul Qadir's influence. Ajmal impressed too, and if he can avoid a damning verdict from ICC's technical committee he will be an important addition to Pakistan's squad.

On the batting front, there was little of genuine cheer other than the final match-winning partnership between Kamran Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq, which helped Pakistan succeed from a position that usually sees them fail.

For many fans, Akmal's presence in the team defies the logic of his performances but he occasionally produces an innings of this nature that makes you wonder how valuable he could be if he could master both his trades at once.

Misbah, too, has flattered to deceive in his own way, often taking Pakistan to the brink of victory but succumbing to stupidity on the threshold of an individual triumph. Here both men held their nerve to finish the series with a respectable result for Pakistan.

The future, provided that it includes regular international cricket and the return of Pakistan's ICL cricketers, can be viewed with a degree of confidence by Pakistan. Indeed, Younis Khan's team should be able to develop into a potent force in limited overs cricket. It is in the Test arena that their lack of opportunities will hurt them.

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

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Posted by MOHAMMED ASLAM on (June 12, 2009, 10:18 GMT)

In today's match if Razzaq Is available he should open with Kamran Akmal Salman Butt has to be dropped because he as not shown well in preious fixtures.In case Razzaq is unable to play today than Shoib malik should be given chance to open the inning.n bowling Umer Ul should open the bowling with Sohail Tanvir both of them should share 8 over other 12 over can be divided between Razzak jmal Afridi and malik. I hope it will prove better for Pakistan.

Posted by Ali Ahmed Khan on (June 9, 2009, 10:38 GMT)

I think Younis Khan is not eligible 4 Captenancy.. He has'nt leader Ship Qualities..he only knows how to smile whenever we loss..(we never win,,so leave this win case)..Dispute between Shoaib Akhtar And Sohail Tanveer is going wd Captain and also wd Board..England Pitch is suitable 4 Shoaib Akhtar's. Board should played Abdul Razzak and Imran Nazir...they r in good performance..Younis Khan should be eliminated from 20-20..selection committe is committe of selecting only lazy(kaam-chor),,and approacable(sifaarshi) cricketerss.. Thanx......

Posted by aqeel bhat (kashmir) on (May 6, 2009, 13:16 GMT)

I want ensure pakistan team that there is no better place for shahid afridi accept open the innings with yasir hamid or kamran akmal pakistan should must have to do this

Posted by Mehdi Singapore on (May 5, 2009, 15:24 GMT)

Not a bad series, taking into consideration no practice or international matches.I would still say Mr Younis is the right guy.Give him a bit of time and he will develop to become a good captain.Dont think we have anyone in the team who has this temperament.The most important thing is that they should gel as a team and respect and understand each other and respect Mr Younis as a captain,wait and see success will come.20/20 is coming and WE WANT THE CUP this time BOYS!!

Posted by Irfan Mayani on (May 5, 2009, 14:51 GMT)

I think Younis Khan needs to define his role ni the batting order . I dont think he should be batting at 3. Shouuld Swap with Malik. And probably move to no.5. Pakistan should also look at the possibility of having Akmal as a regular opener, it will give them an option to play an extra middle order batman / allrounder or bowler depending on the conditions. I was just waiting to at least this. They could have used akmal at the top, and could have included fawad alam by dropping eigher ehshzad or butt. This would have given them another spinning option. Althought afridi has performed well , but i stil think his role is not defined properly. If he still considers himself as a bowling allrounder, then may be pakistan can not afford to have only 5 batsman in the team , as playing a bowling alrounder at no.6 in a lineup where the top five have two new/ out of form openers, and another allrounder ( Malik) , does not make sense. So they should move akmal to the top and play someone else at 6.

Posted by Irfan-Dubai on (May 5, 2009, 14:15 GMT)

Pakistan players have got history of losing games from winning positions, worrying point is, it has started to happen very often, captains like younus khan and malik can never inspire the team if they dodn't perform and lead from front. Younus has lost confidence in captaining the side as firstly he cann't use his brain while batting according to the situation demand and secondly, he cann't motivate the side with his negetive attitude and approach, as what i noticed in most of his comments, that they were playing to learn from aussies, some one from PCB should question his ability that what he has learnt from his years long experience playing different top inter. teams and what they just learnt from srilanka in the last ODI where all team got out at just 75. it seemed that younus was too impressed with the aussies abilities and style of play, which is a bad example to chellenge any of the opposition.

Younus says, they are learning but sorry they will never.

Posted by Md. Mohibul Hasan on (May 5, 2009, 13:08 GMT)

Congratulations on winning the last ODI which will bring some confidence in T20 world cup.But Pakistan team should improve in opening position & fielding side.If Razzak,Nazir and Yousuf are included in PAK team then their confidence level will be incresed more.And PAK team will be a roll model for another country.

Posted by Shuvro (Dhaka) on (May 5, 2009, 11:56 GMT)

Sorry that I can’t agree. Had this 2nd string Aus team not been playing after coming from SA without acclimatized, they would have won 5-0 (The condition took so much that, they lost the sting once the series was over). Nothing to do with wilderness from cricket for this stupid batting/running. My common bet with friends is that, anything over 200, Pak batters will win slogging within 40 over or loose. Be a 20-20 dash or 4th innings, if you are to chase, you have to use your head. Calculative sides as AUS or SA can defend against PAK at any time. Starting from WC96 QF, I can point several cases where brainless batting ended up loosing from a comfortable position. See, chasing 198, Aussies won from 3/2, Pakis lost from 95/0. It’s attitude, the Aussies have self-respect, commitment & discipline (We term it as professionalism, don’t this Pak batsmen are paid to do their job). Being bamboozled by spin, Watson looked inept, but hanged there until end to dominate. Pak batsmen throws it away.

Posted by DaddyMac on (May 5, 2009, 10:25 GMT)

Afridi does not merit a place in the team as a batsman. Kaneria on the other hand is a specialist spinner and if you look at the next 5 games Afridis scores would read like this...2, 5, 20, 40, 0. or 80, 1, 3, 5 17. To be frank and honest. I would rather have a specialist spinner in the team and leave the scoring to specialist batsmen. There is no room in the team for Afridi...u just heard it from his mouth...i hit 4's and 6's because of the crowd. Which serious team player in world cricket and for that matter world sport has that attitude. The same goes for Shoaib Aktar...shorten ur runup u n00b and use ur paycheck from last years IPL to sign up for jenny craig wait loss.

Cheers guys From the DANISH KANERIA ODI SUPPORT GROUP. Our motto is YES WE CAN DANISH YES WE CAN. We all know Danish is not in the team because of something he believes in... :P

Posted by Imr on (May 5, 2009, 10:06 GMT)

I wonder why nobody likes to give Shoaib Akhtar a little bit time. He is entering the international cricket after a long time. I think it will little bit time for him to settle down. But still he bowled some really good spells on these dead pitches specially the last two overs of the last match.

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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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