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October 3, 2009

Champions Trophy

The balance in Pakistan's favour

Kamran Abbasi
Mohammad Aamer celebrates an early wicket, Pakistan v West Indies, Champions Trophy, Group A, Johannesburg, September 23, 2009
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Pakistan are confident, they are even favourites for yet another tournament semi-final against New Zealand. One simple factor puts them in that position. It is the same factor without which Younis Khan would have been unable to lead this resurgence in Pakistan cricket. Right-arm, left-arm, legspin, offspin, Pakistan's attack has it all. An almost perfect balance that makes them challengers in any contest. But balance isn't enough. All the elements must be performing optimally. And here, just as in the World Twenty20, that is the happy circumstance. Such has been the excellence of Gul, Aamer, Rana, Ajmal and Afridi that Pakistan can resist their usual knee-jerk reaction of recalling their most famous bowler. This exquisite balance should prevail again, provided the wicket is not unfairly balanced in favour of the side bowling first.

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

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Posted by Clemento on (October 29, 2009, 23:53 GMT)

In truth, immediately i didn't understand the essence. But after re-reading all at once became clear.

Posted by Kouba on (October 27, 2009, 19:08 GMT)

Hmm... I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i'll be your constant reader.

Posted by M.N.A.Rahman on (October 22, 2009, 6:05 GMT)

Hi this is A.Rahman from Sri Lanka. I like to to something to PCB. Pakistani fans of Sri Lankans are not happy with Yonus returning as a captain for OUR SIDE. Because we are thinking BOOM BOOM is the right choice @ the moment. & Please take the batting POWER PLAY when two batsmen in the PICTH with form. Do not take the batting POWER PLAY when bowlers are in the picth with out form.

Posted by mislam on (October 6, 2009, 5:09 GMT)

Pakistan missed a golden opportunity to win the semi final and which could make the final very close game, like the group match with australia. If I were the selector, I would have played Mesbah in place of younus, for his injury plus failure to score run. And inclusion of Asif was a must in place of Navid or Gul. If you take a vote, at least 75% would support this view. A vice captain leads when captain is injured. You need an effective vice captain not to sit down in the side line. It has been the case in last few months. If younus was not injured, he would take the catch, and in all likelyhood, pakistan would win the game. Who had to make the decision in such a critical game you play the injured captain and let the vice captain sit down on the side line. Both had about the same contribution in the series. Mesbah played few good match he had a better chance of playing a good innings than his injured captain. I think the captain and the selector for the semifinal did not do a good job

Posted by Faisal Kamal on (October 4, 2009, 22:30 GMT)

Pakistan's loss in the semi can be attributed to the following.

1. Mohammad Asif should have been played over Rana Naveed. Rana has a history of being belted around in one dayers. 2. Power play should have been taken much earlier. This shows weaknees in team managmenet and captaincy.

In the long run Pakistan should retire/drop the following players because of inconsistant performance especially on foreign pitches. The are more liability than asset.

a) Younas Khan. Over age and an average captain. b) Shahid Afradi. Horrendous one day batting average. Bowling average is also ok. c) Rana Naveed. Nothing special about his bowling. No room for an average medium pacer in team.

Posted by Akhtar Syed on (October 4, 2009, 18:32 GMT)

I believe,it is now about time that Rana's bowling coach needs to pay more attention to his run up. He has to stop those no balls. Imagine at a time when Pakistan is required to decrease runs per over rate against NZ, he ends up pitched 2 no balls in an over. That is not acceptable in such type of international cricket . It’s very aggravating, especially in a crucial game like this semi final. I noticed this is not the first time he has done like that. Being a test player he has to do better than that. In my opinion we need a replacement The other thing I observed during the semi that Mr Gull had hard time breathing after each delivery, I wonder, was he completely fit against NZ

Posted by Akeel Kazmi on (October 4, 2009, 17:47 GMT)

I think the sad india fans should look at their own team's performance before taking digs at Pakistan. Pakistan knocked out India by beating them first and then losing to Australia, India again have gone home empty handed before the serious cricket. Pakistan Twenty20 champions and Semi finalist in Champions Trophy is a pretty good performance all things considered. NZ well played, its about time they beat us in a semi as we have been doing that to them since the 92 world cup when they were favourites. I hope NZ beat the aussies!

Posted by Khalid on (October 4, 2009, 16:05 GMT)

Can somebody tell Pak captain/coach; you don't have to wait till 45 over to take the power play. They committed the same mistake against Aus and NL. Should have taken it around 40th over when both set batsmen were at the crease and not when tailenders were exposed. This way they could have added at least to 30-40 runs, enough for wins in both games.

Posted by EAMiran on (October 4, 2009, 14:12 GMT)

Lessons learnt in defeat: 1. Regular opening batsmen must be cultivated. Nazir is a T20 specialist and not fit for ODI's and Test cricket. Akmal Sr. should bat lower down where he adds a little more fire power. 2. YK should not bat 1 down as this position is required in action during power play overs. Instead he should bat when the field has opened out & balls can be dinked for 1s and 2s. 3. Akmal Jr. should be promoted up the order (No.3) during power play. 4. When Plan A fails i.e; "Miandads-play-slow-dont-lose-wkts-wait-till-the-last-5-overs-to-slog", there must be Plans B and C. 4. Umar Gul has become a 1 trick pony i.e; a T20 specialist like Nazir. All Yorkers and bouncers and no other deliveries makes Gul a dull boy. 5. Afridis so-called maturity as a batsman was just another false dawn. 6. Malik is simply not a consistently good batsman. Can't bat, can't bowl. 7. Rana o Rana! When the ball doesn't swing Rana is cannon fodder. 8. Must cultivate another 140+kph bowler.

Posted by H.Malik on (October 4, 2009, 13:36 GMT)

There You are dear Kamran praising the proven time again and again The YOYOs . Either you are not learning from the past or your so called Patriotic zeal is blocking your past memory or even learning habits. I for one was sure , the Pures will defeat themselves in this Semi final as they have done many many times before in any series Test , ODI or innagural T20 . Their success of 2nd T20 was short lived , The Yoyos have defeated themselves in the Group match against Australia and no matter how big mouthed claims Yonus or his Yoyos put forward , I for once knew it , they will defeat themselves even against the Kiwis ....... You can not expect any consistancy from these egoostic selfish driven big mouthed so called "Stars" and if you do then you are making a fool of yourself . I have lost hope in them ..........

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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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