Champions Trophy September 27, 2009

The Miandad effect

One major effect of a Miandad innings was that he would urge the best from his partners, coaching them throughout their stay in the middle

As Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf built their unhurried partnership on Saturday, my mind went back to Javed Miandad sneaking singles at will during the middle overs. It is a discipline that he mastered and executed consistently as Pakistan built their reputation in one-day cricket in the 1980s and early 1990s. Now Mohammad Yousuf perfectly played the Miandad role in Pakistan's victory, and proved his critics wrong - including me - in the process.

Miandad's success was not simply down to his brilliance in the role. For his early career he was a dasher capable of throwing away his wicket with the adrenaline rush of over confidence. In later years, he banished recklessness from his repertoire. Moreover, he played the pivotal innings for Pakistan with the regularity of a metronome. One major effect of a Miandad innings was that he would urge the best from his partners, coaching them throughout their stay in the middle. He also did his best to upset the opposition.

Yousuf has the technique to fulfil this role for today's Pakistan. But upto now he has failed to deliver consistently when it has mattered. His match-winning partnership with Malik offers a glimpse of what he might be able to offer in this post-ICL stage of his career. If he can consistently make a difference in this way, allow others to play around him while he rotates the strike, he will turn his sharpest critics in his favour.

Pakistan have a beautifully balanced bowling attack that will make them competitive in almost any encounter. When the senior batsmen perform as they did against India, Younis Khan's dreams of lifting trophies become much more real.

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

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