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July 15, 2009

Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

Pakistan rediscover the challenge of Test cricket

Kamran Abbasi



Pakistan's opportunities to win both matches in this series illustrate the fascination of Test cricket but were false hopes. Test cricket is an examination of skill way beyond the Twenty20 variety. A win in this series would have been even more remarkable than the events in England, and Pakistan fans should reserve their judgment.

The fundamental problem for Pakistan's players is their lack of international cricket, and in particular Test cricket, over the last 18 months. There is no substitute for match practice and Pakistan's cricketers have suffered. Add to this an inadequate domestic structure and you have the recipe for the kind of failures that Younis Khan's team has just experienced.

Clearly, there are areas for improvement, and they are the same ones that have been discussed for a decade. An unsure and unsettled opening partnership. A middle order that fires sporadically but rarely when it matters. And a collective psychology and spirit that can turn victory into defeat rather than the other way round.

Younis will work on these areas. He will be bitterly hurt by these defeats and the failures of his senior colleagues, players he should be able to rely upon. Yet he is right to say that his team deserves time. Failures of technique and temperament can be masked in a Twenty20 sprint but Test cricket exposes the slightest weakness.

Pakistan's plan in Test cricket has to be set over the next two to three years. It will require that amount of time to build a team that consistently challenges in Test cricket. What's more, success in Test cricket cannot be achieved without a proper coach and management to support Younis and that requires the PCB to get its house in order.

Yet Pakistan should take away some positives. Mohammad Aamir impressed in the first Test, and can become a bowling hero. Fawad Alam was finally awarded an opportunity and it says something about his mindset that he scored a debut century in a crisis situation.

Pakistan could have been crushed in this series. In the end, both wins proved comfortable for Sri Lanka but Pakistan did compete enough to suggest better days ahead. The fact that they might have won both matches was the biggest surprise of all.

Pakistan have simply rediscovered how tough the challenge of Test cricket truly is.

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

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Posted by Aquil Ahmed Siddiqui (Dubai) on (August 24, 2009, 15:57 GMT)

In the batting line up, there are two types of Batsmen. The First type of Batsmen are who either put the team on top or when they are failed put the team under pressure. The examples are Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan, Aamir Suhail, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazeer. The other type of Batsmen are who either put the team on top or able to recover the position from under pressure. The best example for this type are Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq.With some grace points we can put Imran Khan and Younus Khan also in this catagory. Recently we have noticed Shahid Afridi is switching himself from catagory first to second which is a good sign for Pakistan. Considering the abilties and their success ratio, the Batsmen should be selected with a fair amount of combination of both catagories. These Batsmen should be told what are their duties. First catagory Batsmen come naturaly and we can find any where but the second catagory is the one we need badly.

Posted by Usman on (August 23, 2009, 22:22 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi,

Please hurry up and write a blog about your thoughts on Pakistan's squad for the Champions trophy.

I am very impatient to hear your thoughts about it! :)

Posted by kamran on (August 15, 2009, 3:07 GMT)

Kamran Abbasi: You are at vantage point to make our voices heard by atleast dabbling into how England refused Pakistani blind cricket team to go to England. This is not only unjust but biased and inhumane. I wish you or someone has the heart to write something about it... Where is ICC now

Posted by Talha Khan on (August 10, 2009, 17:56 GMT)

first of awl the middle of Pakistan cricket team is going through the worst time of ever...the experience players like misbah and shoaib malik are not performing at regular intervals...they are failing again and again..misbah who is a senior member of the side needs to take responsibility and play sensibily...and if he can't do so than leave the space open for players like umar akmal, azhar ali and fawad alam...secondly pakistani team desperately needs a specialist batting coach that could help improve the batting of the side..and could teach some useful lessons regarding the traits of international arena to youngsters like umar akmal and fawad alam...who are genuine talents...and just needs some shining. And talking about Aqib Javed he has really disappointed us with us work..a bowler like umer gul which shined and emerged as the main bowler for pakistan when waqar was the coach but aqib has failed to shine his skills more..and the result is obvious in the test matches.

Posted by MK on (August 7, 2009, 8:13 GMT)

I think there must be complete overhauling of the system / structure which has never done before. So far, we dont have any PCB legal struture / constitution. It has been running on Adhoc basis. We always looking for a change of management whenever team performing bad. There must be transparency in all that. Cricketers need to do more than what they are doing today. The game has changed so much than what it was previously. Technically, mentally, physically, psychologically, etc all do matters. Our players should cope it with that take it as a great challenge. one man show or single handidly performance by a player will only lift the team to ceratin extent or for a short period after that its all team work. . . participation frm all is required as we see in case of aussies.

Posted by Ali on (August 6, 2009, 13:20 GMT)

I am disgusted at some comments from former players after the tests and 3 one days. Abbass statement of sacking everyone tells a tale of a sick mindset. System based problems need system based solution while personnel based needs personnel based. We lacked in both and solution is not change of gaurd rather fortification of it. The team feeding source of domestic cricket does not prepare them for the big show, pressure games on unfamilliar circumstances. Lack of opening partnership stems from technique errors which are rooted from domestic pitches and our batsmen inherited sence of what to expect. Lack of penetration into opposite rank can be looked at lack of venom in line, length, patience and speed of bowlers in that format. Solution to pb is not chopping of head rather diversifying coaching methadology and system of error check and responce placement.

Posted by abdul haseeb on (August 5, 2009, 20:32 GMT)

i havnt seen our team(pakistan) like this before... they hav everythng, good bowlers (Gul, Ajmal, Aamer), good allrounders like (Afridi, Razzaq, Rana), good middle order (Yousaf, Misbah, Malik, Younis), good opener (Nazir), good wicket keeper (Kamran), good youngsters (Fawad, Aamir, Umer Akmal)... after all these players, no one is expecting such poor performance they hav shown soo far... the spark is not there, the kind of energy, enthusiam is missng... hunger for victory z missng... i think they havnt choosed right team composition

Posted by Eesa on (August 5, 2009, 16:04 GMT)

Kamran where are you?

We are dying to get your take on the shambles that has been the Sri Lanka tour!

Posted by Muhammad Saied on (July 23, 2009, 18:30 GMT)

I am afraid that there is huge chance for Srilanka to make world record chasing the targeted score 493 runs, in the fifth day of the last test seemingly will go for better to bat easily for Srilanka's remaining batsmen already 7 wickets intact, and they should do this, as a Pakistani fan, I am really get disturbed, distressed, anxious and wondering the performance of Pakistani Batsmen what they had done in previous 2 test matches, throwing their wickets very nakedly, disruptive mannered way and especially strongly batting like a irresponsibility character they are. Pakistan cricket board should inquire the full investigation about the nasty /unbelievable defeat what Pakistani Batsmen had just recently made and also to very important that are the all players are friendly organized, co-operative minded and honesty exists on them ?!

Posted by syed fayaz ali shah on (July 19, 2009, 15:44 GMT)

i love cricket.but in present day pakistan senior player like misbah and yousof will break my heart. i like younas captancy but why he dropped razzaq & in abdurrauf.

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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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