Twenty20 World Cup 2010 May 4, 2010

Compete now, experiment later

 
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Choosing Mohammad Hafeez, a non-specialist spinner, to open the bowling against Australia was unwise, and it was worse to persist with him © Getty Images
 

Pakistan’s immediate future hinges on Australia’s ruthlessness. Luckily for Shahid Afridi’s team ruthlessness is second nature to the Aussies. On the evidence of events in St Lucia and the relative merits of Pakistan’s opponents, Bangladesh require a near miracle to progress in this tournament. Miracles are least miraculous in cricket’s shortest format, especially if Messrs Duckworth and Lewis intervene, but Pakistan should be able to continue the defence of their title.

Pakistan have problems. The tour management are struggling to juggle a squad that they didn’t entirely wish for, and a couple of their early calls have been questionable. Choosing Mohammad Hafeez, a non-specialist spinner, to open the bowling against Australia was unwise, and it was worse to persist with him. It also exposed Pakistan’s lack of bowling depth and the extent of their previous reliance on Umar Gul.

West Indian wickets have thus far suited batsmen and Pakistan could add another specialist bowler to their starting XI. Pakistan’s excellence in T20 cricket has largely been thanks to attacking, specialist bowlers. Wicket taking has forced their opponents to lose momentum, and Gul has been the best practitioner of this strategy.

Of the current line up, only Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal have shown the form expected of them. In these circumstances, and considering the thrashing both Hafeez and Mohammad Sami received, it is hard to understand Mohammad Asif’s omission?

Afridi afterwards claimed that he had been experimenting in the field against Australia. A World T20 group match seems an odd time to try your luck. While flexibility is essential, Pakistan should have stuck to the game plan that has proved so successful in the last two World T20s. By the time Afridi’s experiment was over Australia had reached a match winning total that any batting line up would have struggled to overtake.

Of the three challenges that I set out in my last blog, Pakistan have done most to overcome the opening batting conundrum. Salman Butt is surprisingly hinting that he might be able to rise to the occasion. Whereas the middle order didn’t need to do much against Bangladesh, and the Australian target was always going to be unlikely to be reached. The jury is still out on both these matters.

But the loss of Gul is an urgent one to resolve for Pakistan. The answer isn’t to open with Hafeez but it might be to add another bowler on these friendly West Indian wickets. Either way, Asif may not have the best notion of law and order but his absence is almost criminal.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Asad on May 13, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    I am disappointed that I had to search hard to find any article on Pakistan's encounter tomorrow with Australia - as a matter of fact there is nothing on the main page of cricinfo about it..even bbc has something on it and cricinfo is a cricket site. Wonder what the reason might be? I'm also a bit tired of Chappel repeatedly dismissing Pakistan cricket as rubbish while he obsequiously praises India at every turn. Despite the problems the Pak team has had they made the highest score against AUS in this tournament by a big margin of 22 runs. If there is a team that can topple AUS it is PAK and despite all the tough talk Aussies will go into tomorrows match expecting a fight.

  • Imran Khan Lodhi on May 13, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    I have to disagree with Kamran here. I understand his concerns but i feel that the seam bowlers availble on this tour are not firing and the loss of Gul has left us no other option but to rely heavily on spin. Sami is unreliable and Asif is out of form and seems as though he is lacking match fitness. Hafeez is a good option but should not be bowling his full quota unless he is bowling well but should merely be used for a couple of overs. He definetely shouldn't be batting so high but instead provide some support in the lower order incase we have a collapse or for a little cameo. He is taking balls away from Umar Akmal and the likes of Afridi and Razzaq. I could also be effecting Misbah's game who we should definetely not write off. He has magnificent hitting ability and he will come good at 6 for the final overs. Fawad Alam needs to bat at 5 and rotate the strike as we do struggle in doing that in the middle overs. He's a busy player and not a shot or block man like alot of our batters

  • Bharath on May 7, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    I feel that Alam's place in the team is not justified. You need either a specialist bowler or a batsman at number 7. He is not a big hitter, nor is he a regular bowler. Looking at Hammad's performance in the U-19 world cup, I think he can surely be given a chance. There were many instances where he showed good temperamant n grit. Afridi has not been at his best both with the bat and ball. Gul's absence is being felt particularly at the death. Sami once again proved as to why he does not deserve a place in the team. The middle order lacks a sensible batsmen (like Yousuf). Shoaib malik's absence is felt particulary in the middle overs as he would rarely allow a spin bowler to settle in. And finally, THE FIELDING. They have again proved that they are one of the worst fielding units in the world. Salman Butt must be given a kick on his back. He is just 25, but his fielding is pathetic. They have do something to improve theri fielding.

  • Raja Altaf on May 6, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    The team of 2007 was better but lost to India who were even better that particular year. The team of 2009 was not so good as 2007 but won WC partly because two good teams were knocked out early and we had less competition on our way to WC plus England pitches suited our bowlers and our normally pathetic batters somehow managed to perform in semifinal and final. That’s why we won WC in 2009.Our blind patriotism and joy of winning the cup made us loot other way and ignore our shortcomings. We fooled ourselves into thinking we are the best. YK and Malik were our silent consistent performers whom we failed to appreciate and gave demigod status to Afridi instead who played a lucky innings once in a blue moon. Our deficiencies had to catch up with us sooner and this WC shows us how low in world ranking we actually exist even in T20. In our blind patriotism we coaxed ourselves to beleive what we wanted to beleive rather than accept what should have been accepted. Loss to SA & NZ is sure.

  • illi on May 6, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Salman butt is a sifarshi, simple is that.. No matter he drops billion catches he won't be kicked out. Had it been any other player in any team, especially in Australia, England or S. Africa he would have been thrown out, no matter how many runs he scored for this crap in the fielding... & that too in a T20. At least I am ashamed as a Pakistani in watching fielding like that

  • Owais on May 5, 2010, 21:20 GMT

    Agreed about Hafeez - his bowling is not up there and batting wise he is a big under performer. However I am surprised at some of the comments like: 1) Razzaq is a good bowler ???? Common guys he is only good when the other team is already under pressure or when pitch is favorable. Otherwise I have seen him being hit all over the park. His good days in field (bowling-wise) are few and far apart. 2) Fawad Alam - guys I guess he has to be one of the most unlukiestest of crickers. Eternal 12th man because of exceptional fielding. But he never gave up, reinvented himself to be a dependable batsmen. Please send him up the order. He is better than Akmal and Hafeez. 3) Why is Akmal on the team - he always starts his innings at -25 - meaning he has already dropped two catches. And then most of the times he only gets his score to 0 and gets himself out. His 74 against BD was an anamoly. 4) Finally what hell is wrong with Butt's catching (still same butter finger as 5 years ago)

  • Jay on May 5, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    What's the big deal? Pakistan always loses to Australia. Some of their big names like Inzy, Afridi, Yousuf and all have pretty ordinary records against the Aussies. Now India on the other hand..

  • WAZIM on May 5, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    they need to get Asif in the team

    1.Salman 2.Kamran 3.Afridi 4.Umar 5.Misbah 6.Razzaq 7.Fawad/Sami 8.Aamer 9.Aasif 10.Ajmal

    Razzaq is not at his best, so wouldn't mind swapping Fawad/Sami for Razzaq !!

    whatever said and done, Butt has the potential to deliver, if he doesn't then would be nice to see Razzaq being tried as an opener...he can surely hit the new ball, and he needs a bit of time to get into the game

  • Javed Akhter on May 5, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Afridi, What is the role of fawad alam in your team,is he bowler or batsman ?

  • Mohammad Asad on May 5, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

    Inclusion of Hafeez in the squad is still a mystery to me.......You guys (management, coach, captain) are NOT missing Asif ??? My dear Captain...please utilize Razzak propoerly. He can bowl well.. After so hard camping/practice...still catch drop. In this format..any mistake....is very very tough to recover.. Anyway keep your (Pak team) morale high..You CAN make it..You CAN do it..YOU are capable.....Good Luck.....guys

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

  • Asad on May 13, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    I am disappointed that I had to search hard to find any article on Pakistan's encounter tomorrow with Australia - as a matter of fact there is nothing on the main page of cricinfo about it..even bbc has something on it and cricinfo is a cricket site. Wonder what the reason might be? I'm also a bit tired of Chappel repeatedly dismissing Pakistan cricket as rubbish while he obsequiously praises India at every turn. Despite the problems the Pak team has had they made the highest score against AUS in this tournament by a big margin of 22 runs. If there is a team that can topple AUS it is PAK and despite all the tough talk Aussies will go into tomorrows match expecting a fight.

  • Imran Khan Lodhi on May 13, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    I have to disagree with Kamran here. I understand his concerns but i feel that the seam bowlers availble on this tour are not firing and the loss of Gul has left us no other option but to rely heavily on spin. Sami is unreliable and Asif is out of form and seems as though he is lacking match fitness. Hafeez is a good option but should not be bowling his full quota unless he is bowling well but should merely be used for a couple of overs. He definetely shouldn't be batting so high but instead provide some support in the lower order incase we have a collapse or for a little cameo. He is taking balls away from Umar Akmal and the likes of Afridi and Razzaq. I could also be effecting Misbah's game who we should definetely not write off. He has magnificent hitting ability and he will come good at 6 for the final overs. Fawad Alam needs to bat at 5 and rotate the strike as we do struggle in doing that in the middle overs. He's a busy player and not a shot or block man like alot of our batters

  • Bharath on May 7, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    I feel that Alam's place in the team is not justified. You need either a specialist bowler or a batsman at number 7. He is not a big hitter, nor is he a regular bowler. Looking at Hammad's performance in the U-19 world cup, I think he can surely be given a chance. There were many instances where he showed good temperamant n grit. Afridi has not been at his best both with the bat and ball. Gul's absence is being felt particularly at the death. Sami once again proved as to why he does not deserve a place in the team. The middle order lacks a sensible batsmen (like Yousuf). Shoaib malik's absence is felt particulary in the middle overs as he would rarely allow a spin bowler to settle in. And finally, THE FIELDING. They have again proved that they are one of the worst fielding units in the world. Salman Butt must be given a kick on his back. He is just 25, but his fielding is pathetic. They have do something to improve theri fielding.

  • Raja Altaf on May 6, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    The team of 2007 was better but lost to India who were even better that particular year. The team of 2009 was not so good as 2007 but won WC partly because two good teams were knocked out early and we had less competition on our way to WC plus England pitches suited our bowlers and our normally pathetic batters somehow managed to perform in semifinal and final. That’s why we won WC in 2009.Our blind patriotism and joy of winning the cup made us loot other way and ignore our shortcomings. We fooled ourselves into thinking we are the best. YK and Malik were our silent consistent performers whom we failed to appreciate and gave demigod status to Afridi instead who played a lucky innings once in a blue moon. Our deficiencies had to catch up with us sooner and this WC shows us how low in world ranking we actually exist even in T20. In our blind patriotism we coaxed ourselves to beleive what we wanted to beleive rather than accept what should have been accepted. Loss to SA & NZ is sure.

  • illi on May 6, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Salman butt is a sifarshi, simple is that.. No matter he drops billion catches he won't be kicked out. Had it been any other player in any team, especially in Australia, England or S. Africa he would have been thrown out, no matter how many runs he scored for this crap in the fielding... & that too in a T20. At least I am ashamed as a Pakistani in watching fielding like that

  • Owais on May 5, 2010, 21:20 GMT

    Agreed about Hafeez - his bowling is not up there and batting wise he is a big under performer. However I am surprised at some of the comments like: 1) Razzaq is a good bowler ???? Common guys he is only good when the other team is already under pressure or when pitch is favorable. Otherwise I have seen him being hit all over the park. His good days in field (bowling-wise) are few and far apart. 2) Fawad Alam - guys I guess he has to be one of the most unlukiestest of crickers. Eternal 12th man because of exceptional fielding. But he never gave up, reinvented himself to be a dependable batsmen. Please send him up the order. He is better than Akmal and Hafeez. 3) Why is Akmal on the team - he always starts his innings at -25 - meaning he has already dropped two catches. And then most of the times he only gets his score to 0 and gets himself out. His 74 against BD was an anamoly. 4) Finally what hell is wrong with Butt's catching (still same butter finger as 5 years ago)

  • Jay on May 5, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    What's the big deal? Pakistan always loses to Australia. Some of their big names like Inzy, Afridi, Yousuf and all have pretty ordinary records against the Aussies. Now India on the other hand..

  • WAZIM on May 5, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    they need to get Asif in the team

    1.Salman 2.Kamran 3.Afridi 4.Umar 5.Misbah 6.Razzaq 7.Fawad/Sami 8.Aamer 9.Aasif 10.Ajmal

    Razzaq is not at his best, so wouldn't mind swapping Fawad/Sami for Razzaq !!

    whatever said and done, Butt has the potential to deliver, if he doesn't then would be nice to see Razzaq being tried as an opener...he can surely hit the new ball, and he needs a bit of time to get into the game

  • Javed Akhter on May 5, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Afridi, What is the role of fawad alam in your team,is he bowler or batsman ?

  • Mohammad Asad on May 5, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

    Inclusion of Hafeez in the squad is still a mystery to me.......You guys (management, coach, captain) are NOT missing Asif ??? My dear Captain...please utilize Razzak propoerly. He can bowl well.. After so hard camping/practice...still catch drop. In this format..any mistake....is very very tough to recover.. Anyway keep your (Pak team) morale high..You CAN make it..You CAN do it..YOU are capable.....Good Luck.....guys

    Mohammad Asad from USA.

  • desihungama on May 5, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    Every opener in Pakistan is a bad fielder. Why?

    During their hey days in School or Departments or whatever Institution they have come from, the openers are usually good cricketers and do not work hard to field OR are usually sent to dressing room to rest. THIS TREND MUST CHANGE. No matter you are good cricketer or not, ALL must field. Secondly, all these bad fielders should not be placed at key spots on field.

  • desihungama on May 5, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    The story of Pakistan - You walk into a hospital complaning headaches and might as well walk out with a removed kidney.

    Dropped catches, dropped catches, dropped catches...I do not need to say more.

    All it takes in Twenty20 is ONE GOOD CATCH to change the game. Remember Afridi running backwards taking that absolute stunning catch last T20 Cup?

    If Afridi truely wanted to experiment and surprise then he should have put Hammad Azam in to bowl not just to serve drinks. I guess Afridi will learn as he goes..

  • ariez on May 5, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    i think we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves. Anyone can have reservations about the playing 11. And maybe they're right. But that doesn't mean we couldn't win the other day against Aus with the 11 that played. there were a few crucial moments in that match: a) Sami's mega over. he bowled well apart from that over. very costly. we could've been chasing 15-20 runs less otheriwse b) Butt dropping the catch. he still hasn't learned, has he? again, very costly c) Umar Akmal's silly shot. he's young but the shot was silly. apart from that the batsmen did a decent job. not a great job but not bad either.

    Apart from that Ajmal bowled brilliantly cuz he was bowling it slow while Afridi and Hafeez were hell bent on darting their balls. So all in all if Pakistan do progress, its these small little things that need correction and perhaps a better insight from the Captain on the 'little things' going on in a match that are so important in deciding the outcome.

  • Dr. Mubahir Hanif on May 5, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    Assalamolikum! Who wins in cricket? Nerves is the answer. Hold your nerves at the hour of need and you are a champ. I think something has happened in the camp again, Asif has been sidelined and Abdul-Razzaq was also sidelined in the match. Do you remember it was him who turned around tables in the last T20? Do you remember him scoring many precious innings up the order in ICL? We come back to the same old problem of management and rule of law, the khussi ruling elite and the non-deserving people running the PCB and Pakistan. Is there some one out there in PCB or our camp keeping an eye on whats happening in the cricket world?is some one responsible reading these blogs? If you would just get rid of your fear, and make a startegy based on these blogs, you would perform much better. But, alas!look at all the sacked ex-captains. Shall I dare to say that Afridis end is approaching fast? well that is how things work in Pakistan. Make a captain and then break a captain. Keep it simple yar!

  • Adnan on May 5, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    If we qualify, remaining matches will be played at a bit faster wicket, so don't drop a batsman. Rather bring in Asif and drop Sami. Sami has no sense of T20 and has no variety and Hafeez was always a liability when ever he came in pak colors. Salman, for God sake learn to catch lollypops at least. You have dropped every single catch I have ever seen coming ur way. Whats wrong man, its even bellow club level, I mean small town clubs. Umar Akmal will vanish in the darks as many of youngesters do

  • Amanzeb Khan on May 5, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    its easy to criticise when things dont work. i thought under the circumstances, without Gul, it was a brave move to open with Hafeez. had it worked it would have given us a lot of flexibility for later games. I completely agree with you on Asif. He should be brought in for either Razzaq/Fawad Alam. We should open with him and if things go ok then let him complete his quota up front since he is not as effective later in the innings. Fawad Alam if played needs to come in earlier. Hafeez looked out of sorts with the ball but I was up against the most in form player in the world right now, so i will spare the criticism.

  • ANILA, Copenhagen on May 5, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    1)Afridi made many bad choices. Bad captain. 2)Sami has little variety. its test match bowling 3)Salamn is doing allright in batting. but he dropped every catch which came his way in 2010 including australian summer.His ground fielding is worst in the world. Even Kaneria is better. Salman should not field at the boundry. 3) Razaq is not utilized properly.He is the most important player if we have to win. 4) Hafeez has never been a good player while in national colors. So no use talking about him. 5) Afridi needs to bowl faster on these tracks. 6) We need Afridi or Razaq to open with salman and bring kamran down the order. 7) Umar Akmal, wake up u were supposed to be a pakistani star 8) No one wants to dive for stopping boundries. At least 4 boundries were there to be stopped by a little effort in aus-pak match. Why we have to be the worst fielding side among the 12 teams. BD, India, Zim, SL and Afg, all are better than us. Shame on players,if u read my comment. Dont u feel bad

  • Yesiiiir on May 5, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    I think it is not fair to say that Sami has received a thrashing...he has had a good tournament so far, his numbers in the match against australia looked bad, because he had ONE bad over, which worsenes your economy rate a lot in T20...his performance against bangladesh and australia (except one over) have been excellent in my opinion! the author does not even mention, that his numbers are down because of one poor over! salman butt is in good form, they should stick to him, which would make him more confident! Yasir from Germany

  • Omar Qazi on May 5, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    Stop accusing Afridi of bad captaincy. Everyone can analyse AFTER overs have been bowled, and runs have been given. I think Afridi made a bold move giving the ball to Hafeez when he did. He took a chance at a crucial stage against a strong team, which could have gone either way. I'm glad we now have a captain who isn't afraid to take chances and has faith in his players. The only thing left for Afridi to impress us with is whether he can learn from these decisions.

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on May 5, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Kamran Bhai,

    Since you have posted this article, it will be a good idea for me also to participate in this debate. As a whole, to do experiment is not a bad idea but the way they have utilized them is a poor idea. Pakistan is a talented team and do always something extra ordinary. But what I feel is that they would have beaten Aus provided that they have composed, utilized the team better and give some surprise. If Waqar/Afridi & Co. wanted to do experience, it would have been a good idea to play with Hamad and Asif instead of Fawad & Sami. I do not understand if in T20 six batsmen could not do the job then how come seventh batsman will win the match. The bowling is Pak strenghth and I feel it is first time the attack was toothless. Thanks for heroic and record performance of Aameer and convey my thanks to keep it up for the rest of the games. It is hard time to use brain. The strategy and planning were poor and attention needs to done to avoid harassment. Go with your full stenght

  • KASHIF on May 5, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    What really matters is that Pakistan still continue to drop catches, the only 2 batsmen who scored where dropped. Why is this being overlooked? Australia would have struggled to about 140ish, which would have been alot easier to chase.

  • Nadeem on May 5, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    Afridi: Open the inning and try to clear the circle fielder only don't go for sixes in early of the inning this may cause you out. Only clear the fielder and hit 4 only, after 3-4 over when your eyes get set go for six, by this way you would score good run and help to win the team. If you can bring back Imran Nazir and Shoaib Akhtar then please bring them back as Nazir has the explosion who can help in opening and shoaib has the fire in hand...Please open the inning ..........go for open and bat sensibly...clear the inside fielder and don't hook in early stage ...go for open.....

  • cricketmind on May 5, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Pakistan was lucky to win against Bangladesh. It was not a polished performance given the way middle order performed. They should have scored more after a record breaking opening partnership. Ashraful's missed catch of the Pakistani opener helped Pakistan win the match. 1. Dropping of lollypop catch by butt of Hussey is criminal. Remember it was dropped catches that harmed Pakistan most in Australia. Unless they improve on this, nothing will change for Pakistan. 2. persistence with Hafeez and not bowling a proven match winner Razzak by Afridi is mind boggling. This proves that Afridi is feeling insecure due to razzak's presence. A rift between these two is coming 3. Throwing the ball on the spot again and again when Sami was being hit for sixes defies any logic. One wide or bouncer could have done the trick for him. Pakistan doesn't need a mindless bowler like Sami

  • Salman on May 5, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    IThrowing my 2 cents in we should get rid of hafeez and bring in asif. Promote razzaq in top 5. butt for time being is doing ok. fawad alam is niether batting or bowling. i guess he is there for the fielding. a top order of butt,kamran, umer, afridi, razzaq and misbah is more then enough for twenty overs. sami and aamer are decent enough hitters. and you also have fawad in case of collapse. this gives room for two more bowlers which are ajmal and asif. fawad has potential to be inernational sla bowler. but he an only do this if given overs in the middle. sami could be used like umer gul. with orders to try and bowl six out of six yorkers.

  • Gohar on May 5, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    Kamran, I think Fawad alam has no place in this team. Bring Asif or Abdul Rehman to strengthen Bowling Attack, sending Fawad at no.8 is not a good idea. And one more thing try Hammad instead of Razzaq, he might be handy for opponents

  • kamran awan on May 5, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    Team selection has failed to click right balance uptil now.a specialist bowler like asif is needed in the team.it will improve our bowling ability in the first six overs.Afridi should always remember sending in our best players early in so that they have enough time to get set and flourish.He has got to learn to use razzaq in the most effective manner.We have seen in the two matches that cutting a batsman and bringing in a bowler will not hurt much as pitches are mostly batsman friendly.Team is looking a little subdued owing to the extra pressure which comes with the crown of being the defending champion.Team has to play aggressive as there is no use of taking unnecessary pressure...body language of waqar and ijaz has to improve...even sitting poker faced like intikhab is better then the nervous nale biting these guys are showing...

  • Faisal on May 5, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    I think the loss of Umar Gul cannot be overstated....but thats in the past. Afridi shows himself to be a defensive NOT experimental captain by stuffing his team with three poor-man's allrounders (him inclusive) who do not bring their A game in both disciplines to every match. Agree with the writer, they need specialists....drop hafeez or razzaq and get asif in...no need to drop sami (his only fault is a fragile temperament that gets shattered when attacked - if it were any self-respecting pakistani pacer...david hussey would have worn at least two on the helmet in that over). Also, the captain is in poor form - and the sharks will be circling. Going forwrd in this tournament, I expect the myth of big hitting abilities of Razzaq and Afridi to be exposed..get in the specialists early...thats Pakistan's best chance.

  • Gulab on May 5, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    Actually this will happen in Pakistani team for ever. Our whole country in each field is full of politics. Mr Afridi which I always think as a immature person and also player has clear differences with Razzaq because he is senior to Afridi. Afridi do not want to give him opportunity to give good performance than Afridi and become captain in the T20 format. This is lone and inherited problem that Afridi is not giving Razzaq a chance to play. This is very bad with people of Pakistan that in every field we have dictatorship from political party’s upto games. These dictators (like Afridi) do not care for our country and they just want to play for themselves and remain captain for infinite time. Our team is capable to win but we are missing one thing that our intentions are very bad. We do not want to play for PAKISTAN we want to play Gulab for Gulab, Afridi for Afridi etc. If we have such bad intentions Allah will never give us a single success. The immaturity is clear to use a non-bowler as attacker and sit the specialist fast bowler (asif) outside.

  • Muhammad Asif Siddiqui on May 5, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    Sorry Kamran, I don't agree with you on Butt. If you recall, it was he who dropped a sitter from Hussey, in addition to (his trademark) poor fielding, and Hussey went on hitting Sami all over the park. When you drop dollies on such stage of a match, you are asking for trouble.

    Yes, you are right about opening the bowling with Hafeez was a mistake. I hope the skipper learns from his mistakes.

  • MG on May 5, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Drop Fawad alam bring in Abdul Rahman and replace Sami with Asif in the next game.

  • khalil on May 5, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    I think they should open with Hafeez for the simple reason that he is an opener & has been doing the job in domestic cricket. Kamran should come at no. 3,followed by Umar. Rest you can shuffle. Coming to bowling, specialist bowlers has always been our strength. At no stage Sami looks to be a 20/20 player,whose average in ODI,s & Tests is around 50. Don,t go for his speed. He is not that a tear away fast like Tait,Bond or steyn. Misbah should come at 5 & be entrusted with the responsibility to carry till the end. Not much is left .Pak should follow a game plan & show some discipline in its ranks. Forget about winning or losing. Try to perform upto your potential.

  • Haroon on May 5, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    Bring in Asif in place of Sami and split 4 overs between Razzaq & Hafeez. Next wicket will be different for sure, hopefully a bit more quick and bouncy. Pak will reach semi. Winning cup this time looks improbable but you never know. Go Pakistan

  • Aasim on May 5, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Afridi: You must open the inning as 6 over are very vital and two fielder are out of the ring, you can utilize the PP. The team who can score big in PP specially when chasing can win (SA lost to IND). You can go and see the records that your team opening is not made for T20 and your team always handed you and Razzaq very bad situation in every 8 match out of 10. both of you (Afridi and Razzaq) can not win matches every time in pressure and get out sometime by your mistake and some time by great fielding effort. You can not transform the mentality of a batsman like Butt, look the record of your opening with the other team likes of IND,SLK. Go for open the inning in every matches and if you get out early promote Razzaq both of you can score run in first 10 over would be enough for other team...both of you are useless at last specially your opener are very bad even they can't score 50 on 35 ball. I wish S. Akhtar I.Nazir should be here..best of luck.Please Open..you would be champion..

  • Mohammad Aslam Kuwait. on May 5, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    Realy I do not understand reason of giving bowling to part timer M.Hafeez instead of to Ajmal and Afridi himself.And Why Abdul razzak is not given bowlling?Our bowllers have no variation in their spell like other team bollwers bowls different variety to rouble batsman.Fawad and M.hafeez must be replaced by Azam and M.Asif in the coming matches.Batting order must be changed.Abdul razzak must be sent No.3 or 4 to get some quick runs.and then Afridi and Umar Akmal.There must be 2 batting and bowlling plan for each game and just stick on one plan which not at all workable in this format.Hope coach manager and Captain will think over it and defend the title or at least reach semi final.all over the world the pakistani and cricket fans and praying for pakistan team.Far the team the players should hold the easy catches and forget difficult catches because catching is not the hobby of pakistani players.GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN AND WE ALL PRAY FOR YOUR SUCCESS.SALAAM TO ALL..

  • illi on May 5, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    I fail to understand the presence of Razzaq; Pakistan should have two extra bowlers not one if Razzaq is not fit enough to bowl, then he should be sent one or two down. And then may be add two bowlers, be them all rounders or specialists.. Because I have a feeling in T20s, teams need to have at least 1 extra good bowler

  • Nadeem Majid on May 5, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Abdul Rahman and Asif have to be added as soon as posible in the teem, and for god sake see the catches which other teems are managing to hold, and see the efforts of Pak teem.

  • zahid hamid on May 5, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    What do yooooou think i personally believe that pakis wil lift this cup again and losing is a part of game and dont start commenting sitting at your homes and love pak as much as your life

  • Teme on May 5, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    afridi behi you should called for shoaib akhtar he is fit and he is trying to get himself in the team so please bring him to our team.

  • Tahir Rashid on May 5, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Like all die hard pak fans I too am saddened by the fact that we lost to Aussies yet again and we shall continue to lose to tougher oppositions unless we lift our fielding! A lot of people here are angry that Hafeez and Sami are to blame for the loss. However, I agree both performed poorly, Hafeez more so than Sami but bottom line is we are not taking our chances in the field. Aussies were dynamic in the field, their catching was superb and they saved runs and whereas we only gave away easy runs. I don't even want to comment on our catching, Salman Butt dropped a sitter. Any player that drops an easy catch should have his match fee docked by PCB.

  • Ray on May 5, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    Its unfair to blame Sami when he had Hussey dropped by Salman Butt. Similarly, Watson was dropped twice, granted that one was a difficult catch, but the first one should've been taken. Maybe Hammad Azam should be brought in for Fawad Alam and Hafeez should open with Akmal - Butt is not suited to this game, especially because of his fielding. And Asif should be in as well, maybe for Sami.

    Its kind of difficult to point out the exact changes, because of the players available. Why not try Razzak as an opener - if he can get going in the power play that helps Pakistan, and then have someone like Azam in the later stages to finish things.

  • Reza on May 5, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    Well firstly can anybody explain why Kamran Akmal insists on slicing the ball to square point or 3rd man when it's easier to loft it over the vacant spaces in front of the wicket. Also his brother needs to think about playing each ball on merit - the shot he got out to would have been played at junior schoolboy level.

  • MARLO on May 5, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    Some players will make a thousend come backs but turn out to be the same time n time again. Hafeez is one of them and Sami isn't different. AFRIDI IS AGRESSIVE IN STYLE BUT HAS NO BRAINS TO CAPTAIN A SIDE. A VERY BIG DISAPPOINTMENT BASED ON HIS CHOICES.

    My MAN IS RAZAQ, Afridi is taking his confidence away. He should bowl with new ball. Razaq should open with Butt. Asif should come in and Sami should take some holidays on the beach. Razaq Butt Kamran Afridi Umar Hafeez Misbah Fawad Aamer Ajmal Asif Bowling: Rotate-Rotate-Rotate (bowler bowling 1st and 4th (not 3rd.) can still stay in rythem.

    Aamer-Razaq-Aamer-Said Ajmal-Razaq-Asif-Afridi-Asif-Afridi-Said ajmal-Hafeez....

    Wider ball near to wide crease are super. use them more. BUT RAZAQ IS MY MAN

  • Shahid on May 4, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    AFRIDI AS CAPTAIN A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. MADE SOME OF THE WORST DECISIONS. I've following to add. 1) Have faith in RAZAQ. He should baowl with new cherry. it will compensate for his speed. AAMER should only bowl 2 overs in first spell, keep one for middle when going gets tough and one for end. 2) Throw Sami out and bring in Asif. It's a crime to chose that loser and not Asif. Just look at sami's 28 run over. He goes on serving the same ball, no slow ball, no wide edged ball, no slow bouncer, no yorker...he got what he deserved. 3) Hafeez is 2 over utility bowler, don't over use him. If u need to open with a spinner it has to be a single over by ajmal (off spin) followed by afridi (leg spin) bowlling bit faster deliveries. 4) Ask fast bowlers to bowl wider balls on the edge too. That delivery is paying the best according to statistics i compiled through the tournament. 5)Consider Opening with Razaq and Butt and Kamran at 3. Razaq is a hitter of fast bowlling and can clear the inf

  • hamid on May 4, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    Losing to Australia doesn't necessarily mean the team performed poorly. In fact the very fact that Afridi tried something different by opening with Hafeez shows at least he is thinking and trying. Agree the decision proved wrong but then the beauty of Afridi's cricket is not cold calculated decisions rather boldness and improvisation. In that he succeeded. And I am sure he has learned from his mistake. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20, and hence post-match analysts are so smart. Unfortunately, hindsight doesn't exist on field.

  • saiful ansari, Leesburg, VA, USA on May 4, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    I watched both the games against Bangladesh & Australia. Pakistan struggled to go past Bangladesh which was a weaker opposition & was soundly beaten by the Aussies. Does Afridi have faith in his regular bowlers? He played a part timer like Hafeez and the Aussies sent him all over the park. If Hafeez was chosen for his all round skill, time to recruit Hammad Azam in the side. Razzak is a proven allrounder and a match winner. He is currently sidelined. Razzak can help the team win, if Afridi can employ his services both with the bat and ball. Sami is a poor substitute for Gul. Why is Asif sitting out? Asif & Ammer are Pakistan's best pace bowlers. Bangladesh by some miracle can still go to the next round at the expense of Pakistan. That probability is small. Aussies & Pakistan are most likely to go to the next round. Pakistan should be careful in selecting the best side for their second round game. Waqar&Afridi should know better than to experiment against great sides at this level.

  • cricket_fan on May 4, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    In any form of cricket, a good line and length is a key to success for any bowler. For that matter, spinner or pace bowler does not matter to me unless the wicket is suited for certain type, which I don't think is a case here. Using Hafeez with a new ball was very odd and Razzaq never got to bowl(another odd). It is good to see Salman trying to do something but his fielding is as pathetic as ever. He is definitely not that of a strong batsman to be compromised over fielding, somebody should replace him. He have been hearing board and captain clashes for years now and I think we need to leave these issues aside when season starts and focus on the game. I am also fed up of relying on few instead of the whole team. Why lookup to Afridi for bang and boom, why not put responsibility on everybody. If one fails others should play their part. We praised Umer Akmal too much in the past, when was the last time he really saved the team?

  • Ahsan on May 4, 2010, 21:28 GMT

    I still fail to understand why Afridi persisted with Hafeez when Razzaq was available. Granted, Razzaq is just as capable of giving up 11.75 rpo. But, what Razzaq does have is the ability to take wickets in quick succession.

    Going forward, I don't see Hafeez or Sami contributing much on these pitches. Pakistan would be wise to bring in Asif and Azam.

  • Faisal Taquie on May 4, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Afridi has really shown his inexperience with captaincy with no sound and experience brians (Younus, MoYo, and Shoaib M.) around him. What was Abdul Razzaq doing in the match? He did not bowl and bat for two balls. Hafeez is neither a T20 batsman nor a bowler. Afridi came in when the match was all but lost. 1 down and 2 down positions are still most vital, regardless the format. They should be occupied by Misbah and Afridi (remember 2009?).

  • Faisal Khan Durrani on May 4, 2010, 21:20 GMT

    Rightly said Kamran. The game was blown open with the introduction of Hafeez, but then it could have paid off also. Pakistan is missing a specialist bowler and I am afraid Afridi is not at the top of his bowling at the moment. Umar Akmal is not living upto the expectations since he has been involved in politics alongwith elder brother. The initial shine that we had seen in his batting is missing, the will to bat longer is missing and selection of shots is very poor. Pakistan is missing Gul and Shoaib Malik in this format, because the mdidle order looks very fragile.

  • Assad on May 4, 2010, 20:51 GMT

    The answer is to injure Mohommad Hafeez and send him back to Pakistan. Then send in one of Pakistan's freaks like Mohommad Irfan or Sohail Tanvir who are always choosing the T20 world cup to announce themselves to the world. Better yet get Umar Gul back and play him. Even if he is 70-80% fit he is a champion T20 bowler who won us the last world cup. It would have been worth a gamble to go into the world cup with a half-fit Umar Gul. But no, Mohsin Khan, retard that he is, decided to send a useless left arm spinner instead...

  • Rizwan Younus on May 4, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    Salam to all. Very well said kamran saab our team at the moment is wrong and this needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. Why is hafeez in the team?? he is absolute rubbish. With hafeez playing we have 10 men playing because he doesnt count his skills are non existant so lets take him out but asif in then the pakistan show will begin! like i always say starting slow is a good sign for our boys!! keep faith!! salam.

  • Ahsan on May 4, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    I personally have never rated Mohammad Hafeez. True, that his performances in domestic season have been brilliant but thats all about him. He is good in domestic cricket and thats it. Why he was chosen for the tournament boggles me. What has he done in his previous international chances to merit his place this time. Shahzaib has played a T20 World Cup, he would have been a wiser choice along with Talha.

    In regards of Asif, I dont know why anyone would include Sami at cost of Asif. Asif is clearly a better bowler with better control over his line and length. Sure Waqar Younis should know this having been a bowler that he himself was!

  • Die hard paki fan on May 4, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    I wud say im not so convinced wit dis sqaud i badly wish couple of players like butt, hafeez or fawad alam gets injured n dey call up imran nazeer, shahzaib hasan n shoaib akhtar coz butt, fawad n hafeez have been tried n tested million times and as far as i remember never dey did anythng memorable rest of da guyz look ok dey shud've tried out hammad in a 1st round coz now as u said kamran no time 2 experiment and ya dey shud open da bowling with amer and razzaq n sami(only yorkers, slower balls or quick bouncers)ajmal shud bowl death overs afridi can handle middle overs nicely

  • Iyer on May 4, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Pakistan lost to Aussies coz they were ruthless as pointed out by the author. No qualms for the loss. Any team ld loose to Australia in their present form. They ll be firm favourites to lift the cup. Presently my team India and Kiwis too look in good nick. A word on the hosts too. Pakistan has to raise their game else this ll be a futile trip. Gul is missed a lot.

  • Umair_umair on May 4, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    Kamran, You and Usman samiuddin; what did you guys wrote about Salman Butt, in your pre-tournamnet blog? Would you guys like to go back and read.

    Then Semi, actually he won PAkistan that match aginst Bangladesh.

    Even in the match aginst AUS, Semis tarted well with success and later catch dropped on his bowling and that one match went bad. Please Kamran, take it easy. Its much easier to write while sittingback in you comfortable chair. I guess, team management knows better. Waqar, Afridi, played much more international than you? right? got much more international events comapred to you? several worldcups right? Winning or lossing apart, there is nothign worng with team slecetion. what if Asif in included in the next match and goes for runs?

  • Naveed on May 4, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    Rightly said. Pitches in WI are gripping in nature this time around so Asif might be the key to exploit these conditions. Having said that, what is Razaq doing out there, sure he needs to bowl as well.

  • waseem on May 4, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    Afridi: I could not understand the reason why you applied Hafiz though he was going very expensive..you must be flexible as the game needs. If you wanted or want to apply spin early then why you chose part time spinner why didn't you tossed the ball to best like you and Ajmal. had you or Ajmal bowled the second over Ausies wouldn't have got the confidence and they would have got out somehow but you chose part time and they got confidence. you did very bad captaincy in this match you should have open the bowling with Aamir and Sami. go for it 1.Open with yourself (Butt is not made for T20, try to evaluate the opening of other team with you, only 6 over to utilize and your opener play like playing one day or test) 2. exit Hafiz or Fawad bring Asif 3.Razzaq at no. 5(you can promote him if you gets out early) 4.your team handed you very bad position in every match and you can not win every time in very bad situation so go for open and do best what you can do rather late and out in pressure

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  • waseem on May 4, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    Afridi: I could not understand the reason why you applied Hafiz though he was going very expensive..you must be flexible as the game needs. If you wanted or want to apply spin early then why you chose part time spinner why didn't you tossed the ball to best like you and Ajmal. had you or Ajmal bowled the second over Ausies wouldn't have got the confidence and they would have got out somehow but you chose part time and they got confidence. you did very bad captaincy in this match you should have open the bowling with Aamir and Sami. go for it 1.Open with yourself (Butt is not made for T20, try to evaluate the opening of other team with you, only 6 over to utilize and your opener play like playing one day or test) 2. exit Hafiz or Fawad bring Asif 3.Razzaq at no. 5(you can promote him if you gets out early) 4.your team handed you very bad position in every match and you can not win every time in very bad situation so go for open and do best what you can do rather late and out in pressure

  • Naveed on May 4, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    Rightly said. Pitches in WI are gripping in nature this time around so Asif might be the key to exploit these conditions. Having said that, what is Razaq doing out there, sure he needs to bowl as well.

  • Umair_umair on May 4, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    Kamran, You and Usman samiuddin; what did you guys wrote about Salman Butt, in your pre-tournamnet blog? Would you guys like to go back and read.

    Then Semi, actually he won PAkistan that match aginst Bangladesh.

    Even in the match aginst AUS, Semis tarted well with success and later catch dropped on his bowling and that one match went bad. Please Kamran, take it easy. Its much easier to write while sittingback in you comfortable chair. I guess, team management knows better. Waqar, Afridi, played much more international than you? right? got much more international events comapred to you? several worldcups right? Winning or lossing apart, there is nothign worng with team slecetion. what if Asif in included in the next match and goes for runs?

  • Iyer on May 4, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Pakistan lost to Aussies coz they were ruthless as pointed out by the author. No qualms for the loss. Any team ld loose to Australia in their present form. They ll be firm favourites to lift the cup. Presently my team India and Kiwis too look in good nick. A word on the hosts too. Pakistan has to raise their game else this ll be a futile trip. Gul is missed a lot.

  • Die hard paki fan on May 4, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    I wud say im not so convinced wit dis sqaud i badly wish couple of players like butt, hafeez or fawad alam gets injured n dey call up imran nazeer, shahzaib hasan n shoaib akhtar coz butt, fawad n hafeez have been tried n tested million times and as far as i remember never dey did anythng memorable rest of da guyz look ok dey shud've tried out hammad in a 1st round coz now as u said kamran no time 2 experiment and ya dey shud open da bowling with amer and razzaq n sami(only yorkers, slower balls or quick bouncers)ajmal shud bowl death overs afridi can handle middle overs nicely

  • Ahsan on May 4, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    I personally have never rated Mohammad Hafeez. True, that his performances in domestic season have been brilliant but thats all about him. He is good in domestic cricket and thats it. Why he was chosen for the tournament boggles me. What has he done in his previous international chances to merit his place this time. Shahzaib has played a T20 World Cup, he would have been a wiser choice along with Talha.

    In regards of Asif, I dont know why anyone would include Sami at cost of Asif. Asif is clearly a better bowler with better control over his line and length. Sure Waqar Younis should know this having been a bowler that he himself was!

  • Rizwan Younus on May 4, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    Salam to all. Very well said kamran saab our team at the moment is wrong and this needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. Why is hafeez in the team?? he is absolute rubbish. With hafeez playing we have 10 men playing because he doesnt count his skills are non existant so lets take him out but asif in then the pakistan show will begin! like i always say starting slow is a good sign for our boys!! keep faith!! salam.

  • Assad on May 4, 2010, 20:51 GMT

    The answer is to injure Mohommad Hafeez and send him back to Pakistan. Then send in one of Pakistan's freaks like Mohommad Irfan or Sohail Tanvir who are always choosing the T20 world cup to announce themselves to the world. Better yet get Umar Gul back and play him. Even if he is 70-80% fit he is a champion T20 bowler who won us the last world cup. It would have been worth a gamble to go into the world cup with a half-fit Umar Gul. But no, Mohsin Khan, retard that he is, decided to send a useless left arm spinner instead...

  • Faisal Khan Durrani on May 4, 2010, 21:20 GMT

    Rightly said Kamran. The game was blown open with the introduction of Hafeez, but then it could have paid off also. Pakistan is missing a specialist bowler and I am afraid Afridi is not at the top of his bowling at the moment. Umar Akmal is not living upto the expectations since he has been involved in politics alongwith elder brother. The initial shine that we had seen in his batting is missing, the will to bat longer is missing and selection of shots is very poor. Pakistan is missing Gul and Shoaib Malik in this format, because the mdidle order looks very fragile.

  • Faisal Taquie on May 4, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Afridi has really shown his inexperience with captaincy with no sound and experience brians (Younus, MoYo, and Shoaib M.) around him. What was Abdul Razzaq doing in the match? He did not bowl and bat for two balls. Hafeez is neither a T20 batsman nor a bowler. Afridi came in when the match was all but lost. 1 down and 2 down positions are still most vital, regardless the format. They should be occupied by Misbah and Afridi (remember 2009?).