Saad Shafqat May 22, 2011

Pakistani men can't bat

How long can you last in international cricket without being able to bat
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How long can you last in international cricket without being able to bat? This sounds like one of those impossibly existential how-many-angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin type of questions. In this case, however, we have an answer. Evidence suggests you can last a pretty long time in world cricket without being able to bat. Potentially many decades, as Pakistan's example shows.

Okay, I'm being harsh. It isn't that Pakistani men can't bat at all; every now and then you'll see a fifty or two, and once in a generation someone will come along who could be selected as a batsman in a more successful international side. But no one would call Pakistan a nation of batsmen. And based on current form, Pakistani batting is certainly at the bottom of the heap. Over the last two years, even Bangladesh have scored more Test runs per wicket than Pakistan.

Fans lament the decline of batting in a country that once produced the likes of Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad. But objective assessment suggests this complaint is based on a fallacious premise. Zaheer, for example, was a run-machine no doubt, but only when the stars were aligned, which wasn't all that often and certainly seldom when most needed. And while Miandad was unquestionably a batting genius, he remained overshadowed by greater Indian, West Indian, and Australian contemporaries – as it happened with Pakistan's other authentic batting hero, Inzamam-ul-Haq, a decade later.

Of course there is the legend of Hanif Mohammad, who once after following on made a triple-hundred that is still the highest Test score away from home. That's more than enough to earn the choicest of batting stripes. He also bettered Bradman, creating a new first-class record – with his innings of 499 – that stood for 35 years. Clearly, Hanif's impeccable technique and enormous concentration have cast a long shadow on cricket history. But Hanif's batting instincts weren't indigenously Pakistani, as he was already well into his teens by the time organised cricket first emerged in Pakistan. More likely, the secret of Hanif's batting prowess may lie in his Indian roots. He hails from a region (Junagadh) that happens to be in the same approximate part of India that gave rise to Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavasker. Coincidence? Maybe, but maybe not.

Then there are a host of other batting names that various segments of Pakistan supporters keep trotting out to substantiate the nation's batting credentials. Prominently figuring among this lot are the likes of Majid Khan, Salim Malik, Saeed Anwar, Saeed Ahmad, Mudassar Nazar, and Mushtaq Mohammad. Each of these players has one or more definitive match-winning or match-saving performances to his credit. But a handful of special knocks are not enough for a hallowed reputation. In fact, none of these batsmen even has a Test average over 50, which ends this whole line of argument right there.

Some would cite Imran Khan as a world-class feather in Pakistan's batting cap, and in fact they would not be far off the mark. Although his bowling overshadows his batting gifts so much that Imran is rarely thought of as a frontline batsman, this is a gross misperception. Imran is very much a proven batting match-winner, and you need look no farther than the ’92 World Cup final if you doubt this. Even more convincing is that over the 48 Tests that he captained, Imran's batting average exceeded even that of Javed Miandad. That's a phenomenal statistic proving Imran's great fight and resolve at the crease. Yet it also begets the question: where was all that fight and resolve when he was batting under the captaincy of other men? So Imran, too, it will have to be said, falls short in this calculus.

The cherry on the cake is that even the two world-class batsmen who have graced the Pakistan side in recent times – Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan – have been harassed and victimised beyond belief. Their accomplishments have already placed them in the Pakistani batting pantheon, and you'd think that in a country where batting skill is at such a premium, they'd be treated like kings. Yet both have been kept out of the side on petty whims, dragged before dubious disciplinary committees and parliamentary commissions, caricatured in the media, and demonised in back-room cricket board politics. Instead of the PCB helping them achieve the height of their potential, it has throttled their talents to ensure that they are kept from giving their best.

One is amazed at how far Pakistan have actually come despite this handicap. Batting, along with bowling, fielding and captaincy, is one of the four key departments of the game. It is simply stunning that Pakistan won Tests against England and Australia last year, and managed to reach the World Cup semifinals this year, with two major departments – batting and fielding – virtually threadbare. Adding competent batting to this mix could make them almost unbeatable; that is surely worth aiming for.

Sickened to the core by collapse after batting collapse, the fan base keeps demanding a quick fix, but of course there isn't any. Everybody's favourite remedy is to appoint the most awesome batting coach possible, which is just magical thinking. If only the acquisition of great batting skills were that simple.

No doubt a batting coach is needed, but a lot more is needed besides. The hard truth is that improving Pakistan's batting resources requires a long-range strategy and a patient mindset that is prepared for delayed gratification. It has to be approached like the grafting of a lengthy innings, not a wham-bam slog. There must be tremendous rigour in domestic cricket and nothing but merit in all team selection. These measures must be unfailingly sustained for at least a generation before thinking about reaping the rewards. Needless to add, a stable administrative infrastructure is a prerequisite. Perhaps at some future point all this will come to pass, but from today's vantage it appears a very tall order for Pakistan.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ranganath on June 3, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Like Australia , India, England, Pakistan should play atleast 15 tests a year, then one can filter a best batsman and another and a good team will be available in 2 years time no doubt. For that they should play india in Neutral venues liks South africa, Australia, Westindies, England. Then 15 tests will be in line.Also they can play neutral tests in other countries like south africa , australia, newzealand .

  • Ranganath on June 3, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Persist with youngsters with younis and yousuf at helm. Play more tests especially with India on a regular basis, may be in neutral venues like Australia, England , South Africa, Srilanka, so that when these sides play the tests in those countries, the youngsters from both countries get sufficient exposure and expereince.Plan this asap.This rekindles the interest in the youngsters and brings out the best in them

  • Ranganath on June 3, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Why doesnot the Pakisthan establishment bring Mudassar Nazar, He has a good technique and has a excellent record in subcontinent.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 26, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    @Hassan; Anyway, let me give you a good idea of how good Inzamam was against the top 2 bowling attacks he faced in his entire career. Let's talk about Tests first. He averages 31.40 against Australia with just 1 century. Against South Africa, he averages 32.27 with 0 century. In Australia, he averages 30.87. In South Africa, he averages 31.78. Let's move to ODI cricket. Against Australia, he averages 31.96 with 0 centuries. Against South Africa, he averages 30.21 with 0 centuries. In Australia, he averages 26.09. In South Africa, he averages 27.85. The man has just 1 century in 120 international innings against Australia and South Africa combined. That's how he performed against the 2 better bowling attacks he faced. And before you bring up his Test centuries coming in wins (due to him having outstanding bowlers by his side), Michael Slater of Australia has 11 of his 14 Test centuries in wins which equates to 78.5% success rate. Now that's better than Inzamam's success rate.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 26, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    @Hassan: I didn't post Tendulkar and Miandad's contribution in Test victories out of the blue. A Pakistani fan questioned Tendulkar's contribution in wins, which is what made me post those stats. And you talk about Inzamam's runs in wins, do you know it takes the bowlers to take 20 wickets for his side to win? Inzamam didn't enable his team to win matches of his own, he merely set those matches by scoring runs. Ultimately the outstanding bowlers from your team made sure those runs came under wins by knocking off the 20 opposition wickets. Inzamam has Wasim, Waqar, Akhtar, Saqlain, etc to make sure most of the times he scored runs, those bowlers knocked off the 20 opposition wickets and helped his team win. Tendulkar has had the worst bowling attack in his side for most part of his career, and even if he managed to score big runs, those pathetic bowlers still struggled to take those opposition wickets. Despite that he averages more in wins than Miandad, who had class bowlers by his side

  • Anonymous on May 26, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    I think the article is very harsh as if you start knit picking any batting line up there is no batting line up that is faultless.

    It was not long ago that Pakistan boasted a line up of Younis Khan, Mohammed Yousuf and Inzamam ul Haq. Stats as Saad has used can make anyone look good or bad.

    For example the 4th innings of a test match considered to be the most difficult time to bat and the most important as it is the final innings is when Tendulkar has only managed 3 centuries and 5 half centuries, Rahul Dravid with only 1, 4th innings hundred to his name is easily overshadowed by Younis Khan who has outscored both the Indian batsmen with 4 centuries in less than half the amount of 4th innings played. Inzamam has scored 17 of his centuries in winning causes where as Dravid has scored only 13 and 17 of dravids centuries have come in draws no doubt in games where india has ammased a stupendous score on flat tracks. Inzi only has 6 in draws. Illustrating true quality over numbers.

  • Hassan on May 25, 2011, 23:15 GMT

    @Ritwik Bhuyan Mr Ritwik its not the runs that count. Its the WINNING runs that count and in my view NO ONE can beat Inzi as far as that stat is concerned. You posted somewhere the average of Sachin in winning matches and you compared it with Javed , I would love you to compare Sachin's winning average against Inzi. ( by winning average I mean average in winning matches). A batsman is complete when he enables his team to win !!!!! Let see you post the stats or not ???

  • Waleed on May 25, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    whats is people saying about shahid afridi influencing other players........every player has its own skill and ability.... shahid afridi is a natural power hitter of the ball and he did not come to international cricket as a batsman he come to internationl crikcet as a bowler....... and other players have brain they should think and play there PROFESSIONAL players. They just need the right guidence which means the right batting coach which can sort them out mentally and teach them and practise the right techinique and skill so they can become better batsman.practising is to perfect the right skill and technique if they are practising the wrong skills and techniques they are not perfecting their skills and technique because they have not got no batting coach which can quide them and tell them their strenghts and weaknesses.once the players know their strengths and weaknesses they would practise these in the nets and make their weaknesses strong so they become better batsman.

  • Samrat Saran on May 25, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Being an Indian, I am tormented by dreams of Inzi knocking the bowlers all over the park followed by some great wicket keeper innings of Rashd Latif of Moin Khan. Yousuf Yohana and Younis Khan were a pleasure to watch and I remember plenty of innnings just praying for them to make a mistake.

    While I do agree that Pakistan may never have had the batting depth that some other teams did, they always brought their game on matches against India. Sadly, this is no longer the case and as a fan of India vs Pakistan matches, its a very sad feeling watching these two teams play each other now.

    What saddens me the most though, is that PCB has ruined what used to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in cricket. Shame on them ! I wish someone like Imran would rise up and make Pakistan an awesome team again.

  • aamir maroof on May 25, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    ys ,it z ri8 that Pak batting z strugling just an year ago but now PAK has found good plyrz like asad,umar usman and ahmed.some senior r also now improving like misbah and hafeez.

  • Ranganath on June 3, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Like Australia , India, England, Pakistan should play atleast 15 tests a year, then one can filter a best batsman and another and a good team will be available in 2 years time no doubt. For that they should play india in Neutral venues liks South africa, Australia, Westindies, England. Then 15 tests will be in line.Also they can play neutral tests in other countries like south africa , australia, newzealand .

  • Ranganath on June 3, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Persist with youngsters with younis and yousuf at helm. Play more tests especially with India on a regular basis, may be in neutral venues like Australia, England , South Africa, Srilanka, so that when these sides play the tests in those countries, the youngsters from both countries get sufficient exposure and expereince.Plan this asap.This rekindles the interest in the youngsters and brings out the best in them

  • Ranganath on June 3, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Why doesnot the Pakisthan establishment bring Mudassar Nazar, He has a good technique and has a excellent record in subcontinent.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 26, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    @Hassan; Anyway, let me give you a good idea of how good Inzamam was against the top 2 bowling attacks he faced in his entire career. Let's talk about Tests first. He averages 31.40 against Australia with just 1 century. Against South Africa, he averages 32.27 with 0 century. In Australia, he averages 30.87. In South Africa, he averages 31.78. Let's move to ODI cricket. Against Australia, he averages 31.96 with 0 centuries. Against South Africa, he averages 30.21 with 0 centuries. In Australia, he averages 26.09. In South Africa, he averages 27.85. The man has just 1 century in 120 international innings against Australia and South Africa combined. That's how he performed against the 2 better bowling attacks he faced. And before you bring up his Test centuries coming in wins (due to him having outstanding bowlers by his side), Michael Slater of Australia has 11 of his 14 Test centuries in wins which equates to 78.5% success rate. Now that's better than Inzamam's success rate.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 26, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    @Hassan: I didn't post Tendulkar and Miandad's contribution in Test victories out of the blue. A Pakistani fan questioned Tendulkar's contribution in wins, which is what made me post those stats. And you talk about Inzamam's runs in wins, do you know it takes the bowlers to take 20 wickets for his side to win? Inzamam didn't enable his team to win matches of his own, he merely set those matches by scoring runs. Ultimately the outstanding bowlers from your team made sure those runs came under wins by knocking off the 20 opposition wickets. Inzamam has Wasim, Waqar, Akhtar, Saqlain, etc to make sure most of the times he scored runs, those bowlers knocked off the 20 opposition wickets and helped his team win. Tendulkar has had the worst bowling attack in his side for most part of his career, and even if he managed to score big runs, those pathetic bowlers still struggled to take those opposition wickets. Despite that he averages more in wins than Miandad, who had class bowlers by his side

  • Anonymous on May 26, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    I think the article is very harsh as if you start knit picking any batting line up there is no batting line up that is faultless.

    It was not long ago that Pakistan boasted a line up of Younis Khan, Mohammed Yousuf and Inzamam ul Haq. Stats as Saad has used can make anyone look good or bad.

    For example the 4th innings of a test match considered to be the most difficult time to bat and the most important as it is the final innings is when Tendulkar has only managed 3 centuries and 5 half centuries, Rahul Dravid with only 1, 4th innings hundred to his name is easily overshadowed by Younis Khan who has outscored both the Indian batsmen with 4 centuries in less than half the amount of 4th innings played. Inzamam has scored 17 of his centuries in winning causes where as Dravid has scored only 13 and 17 of dravids centuries have come in draws no doubt in games where india has ammased a stupendous score on flat tracks. Inzi only has 6 in draws. Illustrating true quality over numbers.

  • Hassan on May 25, 2011, 23:15 GMT

    @Ritwik Bhuyan Mr Ritwik its not the runs that count. Its the WINNING runs that count and in my view NO ONE can beat Inzi as far as that stat is concerned. You posted somewhere the average of Sachin in winning matches and you compared it with Javed , I would love you to compare Sachin's winning average against Inzi. ( by winning average I mean average in winning matches). A batsman is complete when he enables his team to win !!!!! Let see you post the stats or not ???

  • Waleed on May 25, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    whats is people saying about shahid afridi influencing other players........every player has its own skill and ability.... shahid afridi is a natural power hitter of the ball and he did not come to international cricket as a batsman he come to internationl crikcet as a bowler....... and other players have brain they should think and play there PROFESSIONAL players. They just need the right guidence which means the right batting coach which can sort them out mentally and teach them and practise the right techinique and skill so they can become better batsman.practising is to perfect the right skill and technique if they are practising the wrong skills and techniques they are not perfecting their skills and technique because they have not got no batting coach which can quide them and tell them their strenghts and weaknesses.once the players know their strengths and weaknesses they would practise these in the nets and make their weaknesses strong so they become better batsman.

  • Samrat Saran on May 25, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Being an Indian, I am tormented by dreams of Inzi knocking the bowlers all over the park followed by some great wicket keeper innings of Rashd Latif of Moin Khan. Yousuf Yohana and Younis Khan were a pleasure to watch and I remember plenty of innnings just praying for them to make a mistake.

    While I do agree that Pakistan may never have had the batting depth that some other teams did, they always brought their game on matches against India. Sadly, this is no longer the case and as a fan of India vs Pakistan matches, its a very sad feeling watching these two teams play each other now.

    What saddens me the most though, is that PCB has ruined what used to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in cricket. Shame on them ! I wish someone like Imran would rise up and make Pakistan an awesome team again.

  • aamir maroof on May 25, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    ys ,it z ri8 that Pak batting z strugling just an year ago but now PAK has found good plyrz like asad,umar usman and ahmed.some senior r also now improving like misbah and hafeez.

  • K. Tauhid on May 25, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    How can anyone says that Pakistan's batting is not good. Then how come they were in the semi final in recently concluded world cup. They played as a team. Throughout the tournament their body language was very positive. Barring South Africa, no other team has any balance these days. Someone is playing based on their batting and someone is basing on their bowling. Pakistan can give tough time to any team. Eversince I am watching cricket Pakistan never had any reliable batting this is not today.

  • salman siddiqui on May 25, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    I believe pakistan is going well in last year or two, the only problem is how much chances Pcb is given to a player As everyone knows practics make you good . There are some loopholes but intiAllah with in coming time and tours they Will overcome - but we should remember we are a powerfull nation and our team will intiAllah prove this in the coming Future. God bless our country and team . Ameen

  • Farhan Khan on May 25, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    Great piece by Saad Shafqat! couldn't agree more. Even without the first choice bowling attack, when our batting clicks and we hold on to chances in slips, as we did in the 2nd test of the recently concluded series against WI, Pakistan looks so superior and can challenge the best in the world!

  • buzzer on May 24, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    Kids with some extraordinary talent are found playing on the streets in the subcontinent. It is the boards duty to look out for these kids to groom them properly in cricket academies.

  • Rauf on May 24, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    It's not just Pakistan although Pakistan's demise is quicker because of pathetic management and infrastructure.

    20/20 cricket will eventually bring the world wide batting talent to "if you can swing it hard and it connects... you are in the team".

  • kashif mir on May 24, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    it would bi=e childish and puerile to say it that pakistan's bating is belowpar bangladesh's.Having said that pakii batiing beeds an impetus moreso within the country and through a batting coach of international repo.whats a point not empowering zaheer abbas the pakistani batting coach?wont he want to serve his nation for what he know it makes a smile on a 5 year old and 90 year old .ok! commitment matter wahy doesn't the detatorial pcb under a person who thinks from stomach get morphed which would indeed bring an insight to the national selection. moreover,afridi hasnt harmed the batting skills it is opportunity miss is a life twist in pakistan which we kashmiris can feel from india...i hope,the radiant era and aura regains its feat ....salam

  • chaudhry chaudhry on May 24, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    pakistan have very good batting butt they play much games like other team if they play more game you will sea the difrent then

  • Muhammad Waqas on May 24, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    Pakistan Must Have a Batting Coach, so Mr. Javed Miandad is Best for Pakistani Team to Built in Line. The PCB Should think about removing Ijaz Butt, this will better decision for Pakistani Team and for Us also.

  • Desihungama on May 24, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    On a third note: Miandad is the only batsman in the history of the game to (Read, history of the game) to maintain a Test average of 50 above from the 1st Test to his retirement. Beat that. Bradman couldn't.

  • Desihungama on May 24, 2011, 1:37 GMT

    On the second note; One Anonymous has rightly put. They can't bat but By God no one else can bat against them either. I am proud of you boys and I know you have lot of well wishers around the World from India to SL to Bangladesh to Aussies to Kiwis to English to WI to Irish and many others.

  • Anonymous on May 23, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    @Rashid..Pakistan shambolic batting art made India's toothless attack look so great (Nehra 3-32/Munaf 2-40) that India will be force to keep him for another year or so. LOL :)

  • meraj on May 23, 2011, 18:42 GMT

    It is only ijaz butt is responsible

  • Ehsan on May 23, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Mohammad I Mirza........ you are spot on.....Pakistani team is not playing too many games from approximately 2 years and playing all cricket away from home. If a team like Bangladesh beat NZ at home 4-0 one should agree how much psycologically boosting is a home series as compared to an away series, to me stats are acceptible for a team playing all its cricket on foreign soil or in other words not playing at its strength if compared to any other cricket playing nation in the world.

  • avinash misra on May 23, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    Can a similar argument be made for pace bowling and indians? @amir raza , you hit the nail on the head. The other immediate impediment to the pakistan cricket is your board of cricket - you might as well replace it with a boiled potato - and for all you know that may well be the secret chairman of the PCB. I cannot for a moment believe that a country that produced someone like saeed anwar and Inzi suddenly does not know where to look for solid batsmen. I also cannot believe that upright men like Imran Khan and Rameez Raja are not stepping up to confront PCB.

    The other argument is that there are always cycles of greatness and mediocrity.. Look at windies.

  • MOHAMMED MUSA on May 23, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    Am a Kenyan and genuine cricket fan. I must admit i find this article annoying. Pointing to the weaknesses of Pak batting is welcomed but to rubbish the great batting tradition of Pakistan by looking at the last 3 yrs when they have been in turmoil is unfair.Only Don Bradman averages more than inzamam in won matches, you play to win. dont eat the stats in piece meal, go back and learn how to write. Zindabad Pakistan.

  • Truemans_ghost on May 23, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    It strikes me, as a fairly uninformed outsider, that the strength of Pakistani cricket has always been fast bowling. Fuelling this was the production of tremendous athletes and in admiration for athleticism. Imran, Wasim and Waqar had great skill and intellegence, but this was built on them being magnificent, strutting physical specimens. This doesn't hold true for batting. sure, batsmen are all more muscular than in the past, but athleticism is not a prerequisite for a batsman- Richards had it but Gavaskar did perfectly well without. If you apply this macho approach to batting you end up with Afridi - a fine thing no doubt, but not something to build a test team on. This almost completely contrasts with their neighbour to the east with much less of an athletic culture and who produces world class batsmen but only a decent fast bowler once in a blue moon. Feel free to shoot me down on this, but it is a thought....

  • chts on May 23, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    Agree with most of your comments - but your argument

    "In fact, none of these batsmen even has a Test average over 50, which ends this whole line of argument right there."

    is just ridiculous if not stupid ... if you go by average - sehwag is a better test bat than lara and trott is better than tendulkar, miandad, hobbs, sobers and richards ...

    different times have different standards ... the list of amazing bowlers in the 80s-90s doesnt end ... the list of amazing bowlers in 2000s doesnt start .... the game has become more batsman friendly ... equipment is different ... the amount of cricket played is different ... you cant make a blanket statement like that ...

    i would much rather have saeed anwar on my team than gambhir and mushtaq mohammed than samaraweera

  • Shiva on May 23, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    It's just like how bad India is with the bowling. When India can be Test No.1 with such a mediocre bowling line up, Pakistan can be at least somewhere in the middle with their bad batting. Cricket is just purely a batsman's game these days and Pakistan are on the wrong side of it, FULL STOP.

  • Mujeeb on May 23, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    There might not be superstar batsmen in the Pak side however Pak batting has always been a team performance and as a team it has produced wining batting performance many times. So let's not equate lack of superstars on the Pak side with the pathetic batting perfromance as this article seems to suggest.

  • Sachal Lakhwani on May 23, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    I beg to disagree with some points of this article, especially the one about Miandad...Miandad was not overshadowed by anyone in his playing days..Miandad, Martin Crowe, Gavaskar were all treated as the best among the best..Saeed Anwar is amongst the best openers produced by Pakistan, along with Hanif and Majid so to say he wasnt a great batsman doesnt make sense...Yes Yousaf and Younas should have been given more respect, but again Yousaf was not a good Captain, I remember a test we lost in New Zealand we lost because of his timid captaincy....Afridi is a better captain but that said even my 12 year old daughter can be better captain than Yousaf....cheers

  • Arsalan Ghouri on May 23, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    Player like Afridi smack the Pakistani cricket, not only batting. Hes glued with team for no reason since last 15 years. How can consistently inconsistent player can get a place in national side.

  • Azfar on May 23, 2011, 12:30 GMT

    Saad, I agree that Pakistand batting has been extremely shaky and unpredictable in the last decade or so. But I don't agree with the way you have tried to belittle the achievements of some of Pak batting great of the past. Everything considered I think Javed Miandad can be considered the best Pakistan has seen. And he was one of the top batsman in the world in his time. I agree that Zaheer Abbas was dodgy against top pace and was really the king of spin. Inzamam is highly underrated. He has performed against top bowling and has been a match winner when Pakistan was in decline. But Pakistan's batting suffers in comparison to their bowling. They would have been much more successful has they got more solid batsmen who were prepared to play long innings, someone like a Sunil Gavaskar. In fact Indian batsmen had the reputation of backing off against pace. But Gavaskar changed that and that paved the way for an array of great batsmen.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 23, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    Anyway, to give you an idea of the type of batsman both India and Pakistan has produced, let's have a look at their averages in Tests outside the subcontinent(Asia), bar performances in Zimbabwe. Among all Asian batsmen in history, only 3 batsman average more than 50 outside Asia, and all 3 of them are from India - Rahul Dravid(54.38), Sachin Tendulkar(53.40), Sunny Gavaskar(51.57). From Pakistan, the batsman the averages the highest outside Asia is Javed Miandad(46.38). Here are the players with better averages than Miandad outside Asia - Dravid(54.38), Tendulkar(53.40), Gavaskar(51.57), Amarnath(48.40), and Laxman(46.80). Inzamam, Yousuf, Anwar, Younis, Hanif and Zaheer, all of whom are highly regarded by Pakistani fans, have sub par averages outside Asia. Inzamam averages 44.18, Yousuf averages 44.11, Anwar averages 43.03, Younis averages 42.55, Hanif averages 42.23 and Zaheer averages 38.41 outside Asia.

  • Aasim on May 23, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Could you please further elaborate the following sentence? You've mentioned -- "Over the last two years, even Bangladesh have scored more Test runs per wicket than Pakistan"

    Can you be kind enough to name the oppositions, matches played and venues and scored against BD per wicket.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 23, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    @Ehsan: Inzamam was 37 when he retired, not 36.

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 23, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    @Mohammad I Mirza: In Test match victories (Tests won by India), Tendulkar averages 67.56, which is considerably higher than what Javed Miandad, the best batsman produced by Pakistan, averages in Test match victories (Tests won by Pakistan) which is 59.65

  • Ritwik Bhuyan on May 23, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    @Asif: Ponting never played under Border. Border retired in 1994, while Ponting made his debut in 1995. Tendulkar never played under Sunny. Sunny retired in 1987, while Tendulkar made his debut in 1989.

  • Gizza on May 23, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Srashta S, I don't agree that the style of cricket structure and culture in a country affects whether a team is bowler or batting strong. India's organisational structure is still not that good. Yes more small town cricketers are coming through but it still heavily metro-based. Anyway, you say Australia's structure is strong which it is but why can Australia produce some many good fast bowlers? Even now their fast bowlers are quite good just missing a good spinner. And England has an organisational structure but it is more like Pakistan. Good bowlers, not as good batsmen (Even on flat pitches). In the case of Sri Lanka, I believe they are more based on talent than training like Pakistan but their batsmen and spinners are better than their pacemen (Only Vaas and Malinga are somewhat decent and that too mostly in shorter forms). The Windies used to have great batsmen and bowlers and now not much of either (but still few batsmen) throughout which they have had an unorganised structure.

  • Mohammad I Mirza on May 23, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    The analysis cmpares Pakistan to India & bangladeash. Not infact batting prowess of the country and its failure. How many matches have won India because of great sachin? All Pakistani batsmen to the analyst are minnows, techniqueless and not worthmentioning. Indian media started writing Tendulker as endulker, but India selectors did not drop him for the very reason. The men take birth in the field, but are nourished by organizations. unfortunately we were playing very less cricket as compared to India in all times, and since terrorism excuse have isolated us. How much cricket B.D and India played as compared to Pakistan? Look at the figures, and let everyone know the recipe of producing better batsmen.

  • munna on May 23, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    pak should take imran nazir in there side he is good batsman

  • Yassar on May 23, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    It is not that Pakistan has no batting talent. It is more a case of batting development. very rarely will youngsters come in and just continously perform on talent alone. Cricket is a sport and batting in particular that also requires experience. So while the PCB should look to develop young talent they should also look after their more succesful and experience players like Yousuf and Younis. It will be batting alongside these players in matches that the yougsters will learn the most. I'm afraid it is the governance of the game in the country that is letting Pakistan down and not the talent the country posesses

  • Ehsan on May 23, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    PCB has had a history of demoloishing careers for batsmen when they reach 32-33 years of age and never is blended youth with the old mastery, too much politics in game, Examples 1. Miandad 2. Yousuf Mohamed 3. Khan Younes 4. Inzi well after 2007 WC at 36 5. Saeed Anwar 6. Recent example Abdul Razzak I deem is a better batsman than Hafeez and Omar Tufeek 7. Don't know why Alam Fovad not playing 8. Assem Kamal 9. Malik Shoeb 10. and many others

  • Nasir on May 23, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    I don't feel we particularly lack batting talent, it's all about application. Many great batsmen in the past and present have techinical faults but what they have in abundance is the sheer single mindedness to score as many runs as they possibly can. This insatiable apetite is what makes batsmen concentrate and battle on tough pitches and take advantage of flat pitches by scoring big. To be a great batsman you need talent (goes without saying) but what is crucial is the desire to stay at the wicket through good times and bad. I believe, especially in the new crop of Pakistani batsmen, that they just don't have the levels of concentration or the hunger to stay in there when the going gets tough. Just look at how many of them get to a nice looking 30 or maybe even a 50, or even how often they collapse when the ball is moving around. Just my 2 cents

  • Uzair Tanveer on May 23, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    Well I am speechless after reading this article.The writer sees the batting woes of Pakistan but is unable to comprehend that not a single team excluding Australia exceed in all three formats i.e batting,bowling and fielding.India has severe bowling problems which are comparable to the problems Pakistan has in batting department.South Africa hasn't produced a world class spinner yet.England's batting outside England has been as inconsistent as Pakistan's.Every team has some positives and some negatives but we don't say nonsense like India can't bowl,RSA cant spin etc

  • eddie on May 23, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    look, i think he has a fair point, although i'm pretty confident that inzimam and saeed anwar would count as extremely talented batsmen and should not be considered merely average.

  • hanees on May 23, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    when selecting the team , I think, Pakistan should look not only the current form of the player's but also the player's overall form in domestic matches. In domestic matches, there are some players like hassan raza, Fawad Alam have over 50 runs average. Enough chances should give to those players. I think , can not estimate batsmen's consistent and talent in one or two season. They have to show their consistent for long.

  • Maaz Ajaz on May 23, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Pakistan batting is not a new issue for the fans of Pakistan Cricket Team.. Pakistan Always show strength in there bowling department but anyhow batting is also a major part in a match and now they have U Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali & Hafeez who shows some of there batting talent in the past serious.. Pakistan have to make stragery in there domestic format to make batsman from the bottom of the game to the international level..

  • Jalalluddin Mohd. Akbar on May 23, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    sachin Tendulkar Home, M-79, Runs - 6547, Avg. 56.93 Away, M-98, Runs - 8145, Avg. 56.95

    VVS Laxman Home, M-54, Runs - 3469, Avg. 49.55 Away, M-66, Runs - 4434, Avg. 45.71

    Rahul Dravid Home, M-67, Runs - 5279, Avg. 50.75 Away, M-83, Runs - 6784, Avg. 53.84

  • Anonymous on May 23, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    Pakistani Men cant bat and no man can bat against them ;-)

  • Jag on May 23, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    Pakistan have always had problems in finding the right opening pair since the days of s.anwar and a.sohail. pakistan have tried so many different openers but none have worked, s.butt, i.farhat, t.umar, y.hameed, k.akmal, s.afridi, s.malik, m.hafeez, n.jamshed and im sure ive missed a few more names. afridi is a dangerous player, he can field and his bowling is amazing, but he is not a threat with the bat at all these days. he has not scored a hundred for years and hasnt scored too many 50's in the last 3 years. just like 2 say that i find Arshad Akaash's comment unbeleivable, to not have u.akmal in the TEST team. Umar Akmal is pakistan young exciting prospect with fantastic talent with the bat. in the world cup he was pakistan's best batsmen by far. pakistan need u.akmal in all 3 formats of the game batting at 4 or 5!

  • Usman Ali Rehman on May 23, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    i would rather suggest all of you to stop criticize Pakistan batting, the boys under the circumstances doing well, i will as Mr.saad Shafaqat, the writer of this article, when did Pakistan played test/one day at home, if you are playing all of your matches abroad how would you adjust the conditions too offently , look at other countries playing cricket at home, scoring tons of hundred due to home pitches, we havent played on some good batting wickets in Pakistan, since last 5 year,s how would out batsmen will get form, so please write some good about them the way are they playing in other countries,. when teams were coming to Pakistan, i remember yousuf was the highest test runer of the year, and kinera the wicket takers, so why these performance, due to playing cricket at home pitches, this ultimately give you advantage. i bet you if Australia / england will come to Pakistan it wont be easy for them,

  • shahid on May 23, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    It's good analysis, but lacking one major fact. Young pakinstanis learn batting playing in Pakistani wickets and Pakistan hasn't played at home in last two years making it v.hard for young players to score in england and aus wickets. If you look at Indain cricket team's (1st in Test) batting record at home compare to away you can see pakistani batting is no diff to other teams. Last time Pakistan did play at home Younis Khan scored over 300 in one ing.

  • Anonymous on May 23, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    Once Dhoni said about his team mates that We play cricket for the country and not for the fans....fans always want to see sixes and fours...but you got to adjust ur game according to the situation. Pakistan batsmen in the past were lot more patience than this new generation ones...and thats why they were good...Everytime i see pakistan playing...their batsmen just want to hit the ball out of the park...and thats what pakistan fans want as well...so pakistan team right now playing cricket not for the country but just to please their fans...and in the process losing matches they could have won..for example india vs pakistan 2011 semi fianl...they just need to tell their batsmen to calm down a little bit...play according to the situation....and get the basics right....

  • Insha on May 23, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    Having watched Pak cricket for 30 odd years I am baffled by peoples attitudes.

    Not so long ago we were challengeing for the top 1,2 or 3 spots in tests, late 80s early 90s We have until last 3/4 years always been a good odi outfit capable of beating anyone, (except the Best Aussie team ever). An awful cricket board that does nothing to enhance our global reputation, throw in having to play away from home constantly and you have the problems faced by us now. Every team forms then performs then deforms. Look around West Indies, Australia ?? India and England terrible through 1985-2000, now doing w We dont have the infrastructure nor stability politically or financially to nurture talent,or to attract proffessional fielding coaches, sports psycologists etc. We are a very poor nation in a constant state of turbulence. Frankly i am grateful we can put 11 guys on the pitch! Let alone compete. Fair play to all Pak fans and players keep the faith do your best and make the most of them

  • Zahid on May 23, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    The kind of criterion that the writer is suggesting for a "good" batting nation, most of the teams don't fulfil it. If all the above said batsmen don't qualify as good, who does, in English or West Indian side, for instance? As a matter of fact, apart from India and Australia, name any batsmen who average above 50 and are "good" in the last two decades. From England, for instance-I'm not sure if Mike gatting and Graham Gooch should be counted in this era-who else? Graham Thorpe? Michael Atherton? Alec Stewrat, A Flintof? Michael Vaughn? A Straus?...I wonder if all of them belong to the class that the writer is referring to. Same case could be made for the rest of the teams. The pedigree that the writer is talking about is rare anyway. Having said that, I do recognise that Pakistan've almost always had big problem with producing quality batsmen.

  • Noman on May 23, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Pakistan batting will improve with time, they need to play more international cricket and with time I can see players like Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal and perhaps Shafiq being regular names in pakistan cricket. The problem is we must give them more opportunities. We can not play 10-12 test in 3years. We play so much ODI 20/20 and not enough test. The results will get better with time. As for the senior players like YOYO's I think the board does not want them. Its not about winning or loosing here, its what the board wants the board gets.

  • Malik on May 23, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    What a pathetic article, Worst way to put a truth ...

    A stupid argument about Hanif's batting skills being his because he 'hails' from another region ... you have got to be kidding me! Sick stuff!

    It's in fact a truth that Pakistan is no batsmen cricketing nation ... But this article is just a non-sense

  • farhan on May 23, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    the problem with pakistan cricket board is that, Mr Unfits are running such setup from decades, these people have high influence in selection, faces comes and go and back again, but there are influential persons who always make things worse by their bullsh-- decisions. need to setup selection Quota with every province merit wise. otherwise u will see same match fixer and incompetent players again and again. some one has to come and minimze atleast by 70% the influence of such people who selling bad eggs.

  • Shahid Saeed on May 23, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    given you have waqar, aquib & inti known least for their batting skills in charge of this team; lets start with appointing a batting coach to begin with and then worry about the near impossible task of overhauling the domestic structure with this sorry lot in charge of pcb affairs.

  • Rajitha Gurusinghe on May 23, 2011, 9:38 GMT

    A less simplistic assessment may have thrown up the following reasons for Pakistans current problems with the bat : A poorly managed administration, the effects of terrorism, the fact that they cant play at home, the neutering of pitches, the powers certain boards have over the allocation of tests... and on and on we go.

  • Rajitha Gurusinghe on May 23, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    The writer makes too many sweeping generalisations in this article. The claim that Miandad was overshadowed by other more illustrious batsmen needs clarifying. Every interview i have heard or article i have read puts him right up there, in terms of temperament, audacity and pure batting class. Even if the claim is true that he was overshadowed by others, its not saying anything at all in the context of the article.

    Furthermore to insinuate that batting prowess has something to do with ones "national roots" is as ludicrous a statement as i have read on this website. Its as deplorable as the claim that human intelligence is regionally or culturally based.

    The truth is pakistan have produced some exceptional batsmen over the years. The pace bowling being world class generally overshadows this facet of their game. By all means analyse and asses the current batting problems that the pakistani team are facing. But do so in an analytical, cogent way.

  • Hammad on May 23, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Saad,

    I think your assessment is spot on and no one dares to say it. Ive always felt that even our batting greats didn't measure up to the international greats, taking nothing away from them. Sadly as has been overstated recently, poor administration or the total lack of it compounded by poor cricketing structure and culture (tape ball) are to be blamed. The youngsters want to emulate Afridi and not Mohammed Yusuf!

  • Hammad on May 23, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    "Posted by: ARSHAD AAKASH at May 22, 2011 1:24 PM pakistan batting is good if the following player are in the team 1)hafeez/s.malik 2)salman butt 3) asad shafiq 4)younus 5)umar akmal 6)afridi 7)kamran akmal 8) razzaq 9) aamir 10) gul 11) asif/ajmal this is the one day team . in test make three changes bring yousuf,misbah kaneria for hafeez,umar akmal ,afridi test team salman kamran younus asad yousuf misbah razzaq aamir gul asif/ajmal kaneria oneday captain shahid afridi test captian younus khan"

    I couldnt help but comment; i think noone broke the news of the banning of the 3 players for spot fixing to Mr. Arshad or he's been in slumber for a year?!

  • Mohammed Meeran on May 23, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Pakistan should look for the team under the age of 30 ( Max 32)

    In Tests & ODI they should look for U-19 or U-21 Players whose batting average is 40 Plus.

    PCB Should note the following points

    A. PCB should choose players in this format (4 Batsmen, 3 Bowlers, 3 All Rounders & a Wicket Keeper Batsman)

    B. PCB should hire a Fielding( Foreign ) & Batting Coach ( Foreign or Local).

    C. PCB should choose single captain for all the formats of the game.

    D. PCB should conduct a meeting with the players & coaches at least once in a month for the improvement in the game & discipline.

    E. PCB should pay a good scale to the players & management.

    After following all the above points, none of the international team can beat Pakistan in any format.

    I hope PCB will do this to become the top team in all forms of cricket.

    Thanks for Reading.

    Have a nice day.

  • Rahul on May 23, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    @ qasim raza. 1. They aren't "so-called" greats, they are among the finest of modern batsmen. 2. They don't play 70% at home. 3. Not all the pitches in India are feather beds, there are many slow turners, which are not suitable for strokeplay. This requires technique to negotiate. 4. Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid, and Sehwag all average above 50, both home and away in the last 3 years - you can look it up if you want to. 5. The article focuses on Pakistani batting and how to improve its consistency. There's no need to make false claims about India's batting.

  • Theena on May 23, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    Good article though I can't say I am in agreement with some of your reasoning. For instance, the argument that a lack of better organized talent catchment system via a more streamlined domestic structure being a reason for not unearthing good batsman fails when you think the conveyor belt of fast-bowling talent that the country consistently produced from the 80s onwards. If the same structure caused for undisciplined batsmen then how could it produce the likes of Imran, Wasim and Waqar for instance?

    My own belief is that Pakistan cricket in general plays a more instinctive game - one where forethought and rigorous self-analysis of technique - like, say, a Sachin, Dravid, Ponting, Lara, de Silva, Sangakkara, Jayawardene etc., - that typified batsmen elsewhere of this generation. I can't pass judgment on pre 90s crow (I was too young and didn't understand the game) but Mianded too, I would argue, was a similar mould. Except he didn't lose common sense in the heat of the battle.

  • Mohammad Taha on May 23, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    the problem is not the men. its the PCB! haha lolz

  • Naveed on May 23, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    Really good article ! very well done. Let me also add that despite of recent batting legends such as Inzi, Yousaf and Younus, almost 95 percent of Pakistan wins over the last decades have to be attributed to thier bowling capabilities. No doubt if the batsmen had matched half of the bowler's capabilities and efforts, Paksitan would have been ahead of Austriala in ruling world cricket.

  • Nutan on May 23, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    @Asif, Tendulkar was only 14 when Gavaskar retired in 1987.He debuted in 1989 couple of years after Gavaskar retired.

  • qasim raza on May 23, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    do anyone realize before criticizing that pakistani players are not playing at all at home for almost 3 years.Home conditions and crowd does make a significant difference.specially indian pitches are batting featherbeds and india is playing almost 70 percent of its cricket at home.Can u tell me the batting averages of so called great indian batsmen in home and away series in last 3 years

  • Rashid on May 23, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    Before the world cup started I strongly believed that if Yousuf was in the team we had a solid chance.In the semifinal, I wish he played and stabilized the middle order.We were not chasing a huge total against a toothless bowling attack[may be one tooth,Zahir khan and India use him with respect,they do not have board of idiots].I know India has a great batting line but they did not put a formidable total. We lost a good chance of winning the cup.Anyway at least we need this board to be out Pakistan for the future.Misbah's batting that day raises many questions.

  • waterbuffalo on May 23, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    Give them a nice deck and Pakistan scores 202-3. The track in the first test was terrible, no one could have batted on that minefield, you must take into account the pitches we play on, and keep the knee-jerk reactions on hold. I am sure on the flat decks, our boys can have respectable scores, young as they are, obviously Yousuf , Younis, would have made Pakistan a better batting team. but the fact is Azhar Ali can bat, so can Umar, they are just very young and inexperienced, one must take into account all factors, not just criticize Pakistan for the sake of criticizing Pakistan.

  • Nadeem Syed on May 23, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    If I am not making a mistake this guys saad Shafqat comes on TV as a cricket analyst as well. His lack of knowledge and utter nonsense comments on tv makes him a person who doesn't know what he is talking about. I am not sure how he gets this job to comment on TV when he himself doesn't know much about cricket. This article proves that he is just taking his anger out on Pak team without any knowledge about the game. I agree that Pak team is not known for batting currently and many players are below Par compare to others but the way he criticised x players are nothing but shame.

  • Fainan on May 23, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Pakistan's should more attacking batsman

    when they will play positive then can find success. team is as under

    1.N Jamshed 2.S Afridi 3.M Hafeez 4.yunis khan 5.Asad Shafiq 6.U Akmal 7.K Akmal(wk) 8.A Razzaq 9.W Riaz 10.U Gul 11.S Ajmal

  • Fahim Aziz on May 23, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    There is a simple solution. First, sack Ijaz Butt, and rthen set up an independent committtee to elect a Chairman who has a proper reputation, is educated, and has a sane mind.

    Throw our Ijaz Butt.

  • Asif on May 23, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    All I can say is give them time to settle down. If you look at pakistani side today there is no senior player in terms of match played even misbah. See the history of players like ricky ponting, tendulkar, kallis, lara, they all played under senior players initially and got groomed afterwards. Ponting played under border, waugh, tendulkar under gavaskar, kallis under kirsten, lara under richards. they all took time. The problem is "BUTT" in pakistan not allowing players to unite and play as a team.

    It doen't matter if you are playing tape matches batting and temperament all comes with experience and with proper guidance under scrutiny by a senior member. Just give them time and they will perform.

  • Aina on May 23, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    There you have it! What differentiates Yousuf, Younis, Inzamam, Imran, Miandad and all, from our current lineup, is attitude. These people were immensely talented, but attitude was the secret of their success. Imran Khan is the best example of how the right attitude can make you the mainstay of the lineup. His batting is said to have drastically improved after he became captain. He was hardworking and determined to "lead from the front", and he did it. I think our current team can look up to him as much as to the prodigy Inzamam and the classy Yousuf. I disagree with the notion that Pakistanis can't bat.I think they can. Its all an attitude problem. People like Umar Akmal engender ire when they squander their talent. I fear he will never realize his potential because he simply isn't trying hard enough, and lacks discipline. This is why I think a batting coach CAN wave a magic wand. Especially for people like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal. Basically they just need to "grow up".

  • Anonymous on May 23, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    There is undoubted talent in Pakistan but, unless and until the PCB doesn't sort itself out, the players can do nothing. They need sound planning, which is adrift. They need everything, that they don't have. Faith and discipline would be two good starting points.

  • brian on May 23, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    They have young talent....but the monent they fail in the team Pak kick them out and bring a younger player in and he fails after a few months then Pak kick him out...so they ge no where---simple

  • Anonymous on May 23, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    @Srashta totally agree with your assessment.

  • vicky on May 23, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    how about bringing back inzamam ul haq back as a captain in all formats??

  • Abde-Ali Bohra on May 23, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    Pakistan batsmen are bad is not true, the thinking they possess is like Pakistan bowlers, which is to attack. The bowlers attack the wickets, and batsmen look for boundaries. So, training to stay at wicket is required, how it will be done, is by doing mental & physical exercises. Mental exercises could be playing scrabble or chess or kerum board, or reading books/newspapers for 4-5 hours. These 4-5 hours which they will spent on doing one particular task, will tune their minds to remain focus on the wicket for at least 4-5 hours, playing 60-70 overs, which means at bad runrate say 2.5 runs per hours, each batsman will be at least able to score 50 plus runs. While physical exercises could be throwing arrow in the centre for 4-5 hours, swimming, swimming and even table tennis or badminton. Pak batsmen were great of old and now. And will always be great, they simply need to be polished. Imran, Miandad, Zaheer, Saeed Anwar, Mohd. Yousuf, Inzamam, Hanif, Salim Malik just to mention few

  • cricket lover on May 23, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    if you go by avg then mark waugh and damien martyn weren't that good batsmen either..both avgd in the mid 40s by the time they retired!!!

    avg don't always show the full picture of a bastman. its only a guaging device. i once avgd over nearly 50 in my season of club cricket, why i had quite few not outs in 10s and 15s. but my aggregate was just over 300. this didn't make me the best batsman in the side!

    its unfair to say saeed anwar and others weren't pak greats. without them do we have any others!!??

  • Nick@Nite on May 23, 2011, 1:55 GMT

    In my day,Pakistan produced batsmen like Hanif Mohammed, the original "Little Master," somebody who could bat with the finesse of a maestro. Now, some ignorant people call Tendulkar the "Little Master." In fact, Tendulkar has usurped Hanif's title. Hanif demolished the Indian, Australian and West Indian bowling in many matches. Also, it seems that many Pakistani fans are anti-Misbah. He is your saving grace.

  • Shabut on May 23, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    Pakistan's poor batting is a true fact however comparing that with Bangladesh's runs per wicket is a very poor comparison since Bangladesh's runs don't translate into any test victories where as Pakistan has still managed to win test matches against best of the best in the last couple of years.

  • Srashta S on May 23, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    Batting talent is unearthed through an organised system and infrastructure such as the ones in Australia and now in India. The more organised your cricketing infrastructure, the greater the possibility of scouting and harnessing batting and fielding talent. Due to lack of sporting and per se infrastructure in Pakistan, both of these aspects have taken a beating.

    On the other hand, street cricket promotes raw talent, which is helpful in unearthing fast-bowlers. Which is probably the reason why Pakistan seems a bottom-less pit when it comes to fast bowling talent. Organised cricket structures usually kill raw talent - hence the lack of genuine quicks in India.

  • Liaqat Ali on May 23, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    DeemiZafar,you are right, but also consider that our nation spends less than 1% of GDP on education. What portion of this is spent on sport?. An uprising of the scale of Tunisia/Egypt is required.Spend all on sport,education and health and what is left should go towards the rest.Street cricket and tennis balls are the only possibilities available to our kids. Provide them with proper pitches and level grounds in the villages first, then expect Hanif Mohammads and the like.Untill then swing bowling only,you see , it does not require a proper pitch or a level playing field.

  • arch on May 23, 2011, 0:13 GMT

    Imran ended up with the third highest batting average for captains playing test cricket which is a: mind blowing b: and asks the question shafqat poses

    Perhaps we can only make excellent batsmen of our players by making them captain :) like misbah, and unlike afridi, who is a lost cause to start with anyway

  • Deemi Zafar on May 22, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    I agree with the text. But there is one malady we overlook. The foundations of batting are laid when one learns to handle the bat. At that stage, we encourage our children to play with taped tennis balls, hitting hoo-ha and not caring about footwork. The LBW law is not brought into play. No importance is given to fielding or taking singles. The worst part is playing 6 overs-a-side or at best 10 overs-a-side. By the time our players graduate to international cricket, it is too late for them to alter their "technique" acquired by years of batting reflexes.

  • Saeed-USA on May 22, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    Besides Akmal, do you see any other flaws in this team?

    1-Afridi, 2-Akmal (wk), 3-Younis, 4-Yousuf, 5-Misbah, 6-Asim Kamal, 7-Shoaib Malik, 8-Abdul Razzak, 9-Abdur Rehman, 10-Umar Gul, 11-Wahab Riaz.

  • Karim on May 22, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    Pertinent article. The PCB could start be getting rid of the ridiculous 'Boom Boom' logo as I think that the current crop lack the mindset, they have ability but although not the same as some of their more illustrious predecessors, if they only applied themselves better and had more self-belief they could do well since talent alone only gets you so far. Zaheer Abbas's name is always mentioned in lists such as these but how many people know that he never actually scored a century against the West Indies? The mark of a great batsman would be if you scored 100s against them during the era when they were dominant and he never did which shows that he lacked the temperament and courage which marks out a true champion. So he cannot be classified as a batting great. In fact in the top tier the only Pakistani batsmen would in my view be Miandad and Inzamam and probably Mohd Yousuf, and then tiers below comprising the Saeed Anwars, Hanifs,Mohsins and Majids.

  • youngkeepersdad on May 22, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    A very interesting question, yet one that is not Pakistan's alone. Batting has always changed, but not all changes are for the better. Once you have the role models sending less-than-ideal messages, things can start to go downhill rather quickly. Of course, for a while all will look fine. Good performances will come with poor technique. They just won't come often enough over a long period and that is where the difficulty in getting the message through comes from - a blazing innings when all goes well will reassure the outwardly cocky youngster that he is on the right track. However, temperament is not an outdated word.

  • mack on May 22, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    @ teacher3469 pakistan could never able to produced great batsman like tendulkar , gavaskar , shehwagh or bradman

  • qasim on May 22, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    Its pretty simple. Young kids in pakistan play cricket with a taped tennis ball through their late teens until they start playing hardball in clubs. Taped balls lasts only for a few minutes. Then they are playing with a torn, worn off taped ball..with no bounce and seam. So its very hard for the ball to come onto the ball. Indians on the other hand play with sort of a rubber ball, which has some level of bounce and seam. Which is why pakistan produces good ballers and indian good batsmen. So Answer is pretty simple : BAN THE USE OF TAPED TENNIS BALLS IN PAKISTAN

  • Shahid-Copenhagen on May 22, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    I see a lot of potential in Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Osman Sallahuddin and Navid Yasin. I think these players are technically sound but may need finishing touch. I also feel that yousef, Younis and Misbah still are better than many renowned batsmen in other teams. They could still make a strong middle order for next two years. Some of the factor which make a huge difference are (1) Selection committees which are cheat and have vested agendas. For exmple, a player like Ahmad Shehzad has basic errors in his technique which are there to see for any one who knows even a little about cricket but he went on to stay in the playing 11. Adnan Akmal gave a supurb showing but was dropped to accomodate Salman. (2)PCB spending millions on nothing but doesn't want to produce some 50 batting coaches for young crop of batsmen. They go on and on to look for Miandads help who is not a proper coach but only a great batsman. (3) Youngesters lack concentration for longer stay on wicket, they play rash shots

  • majid khan on May 22, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    it's not about the batting coach, they don't have the talent. what kind of talent is umar akmal & hafeez who never score more than 30, umar akmal has got only one stroke to score, come down the track and hit for six. Misbah's family should be banned from playing cricket after that shambolic blocking against india in WC.

  • majid khan on May 22, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    it's not about the batting coach, they don't have the talent. what kind of talent is umar akmal & hafeez who never score more than 30, umar akmal has got only one stroke to score, come down the track and hit for six. Misbah's family should be banned from laying cricket after that shambolic blocking against india in WC.

  • Ashraff on May 22, 2011, 21:33 GMT

    My heart bleeds to watch pak playing d cricket now a days..there were world class batsman in 90 s now world class ghosts.

  • bhaiyagi on May 22, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Please explain why Pakistan has won and progressed in major tournament..... there seems to be a general dislike of Pakistan that is expressed as ........

  • Suleman on May 22, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    Pakistan have the talent !! THEY DONT HAVE THE GUIDE !! 2 BOWLING COACHES (AQIB AND WAQAR) AND NOT EVEN ONE BATTING COACH !! Its all PCB fault !! If yousuf was in there now ge could guide the young players, that includes someone like azhar,umar and shafiq !! From someone like yousuf or younis you can learn so much !!! SO PLEASE GET YOUSUF BACK FOR TEST PCB !!!

  • roomi on May 22, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    Pakistan keeps treating its talent with disdain! Saeed Anwer was pushed into retirement despite his world 100 aginst India in a semi final that pak lost. Younis and Yousaf despite averaging 50 plus were treated pathetically by the board. Its PCB diabolical managment that has killed batting talent. A batsmen needs confidence of his place in the side to perform. With a highly political boaard and team a player is not sure of his place and is always going to play to protect his place and not for the team and would not be a confident player. unfair in the article to blame 70's cricketers who helped by Inetrnational standard County Cricket produced great batsmen. The figures dont show since Pakistan played far less Test Cricket or was given fewer matches compared to the likes of England Australia West Indies or India. Hence Zaheer Majid Mushtaq and Asif did not produce the great records of their contemporaries in other teams. Saleem Malick could have been great!!!

  • AN on May 22, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    @ Safwan: You are right. Saad's analysis shows the unpredictability that is happening as we speak. He laments (and rightly so) the lack of resolve and technique in batting (and fielding) to assist the above average to excellent bowling that the team has always had.

    And @ James you are missing the point. Saad is referring to a bigger picture and not to a "cherry picked" stat based on a series or two. Many "good" batsmen have such numbers but only a few go on to have the consistency to be called "great". A few in the English media may regard Atherton as an all time great but a hard nosed analysis shows otherwise.

  • teacher3469 on May 22, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    Useless article- how can a team that has consistently produced results against the best since its inception have no batsmen? India are a very good test side and are rightly at No.1 in the rankings but they have still to produce a truly great fast bowler in the mode of a Lillee, Imran, Wasim, Waqar or the greatest Marshall. Are they a team that cannot bowl???

  • anand91 on May 22, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    More than the technical aspect the batsmen should improve their mental strength and patience. Batsmen like umar akmal simply throw their wickets away. Fielding has to improve as well......

  • Danish iqbal on May 22, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    just a lack of good planning by pcb, mow Pakistan team facing a [roblem at middle order specially in test matches.

  • vid on May 22, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    @ james

    nice analysis and this is totaly incorrect, there are still test players in existent team but the problem is Pakistan team managment who dont care about merit ,,like shahid afridi is kicked for no reason what a non-sense

  • Amir on May 22, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    Very poor analysis, the writer mentions bangladesh having performed better in the last 2 yrs but faild to mention that pakistan have not had even 1 match on home soil??? Look at bangla and others away runs per wicket than make a comparison to pakistan. Having played through the grueling tour of england and playing australia in england, nz in nz, South africa in u.a.e? Are you kidding me??? put another team thru that and we will see how many centuries they score. Granted pakistan is not known for its batting but the reasons for the last two years are pretty evident.

  • Safwan on May 22, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    Its just hilarious how the Pakistanis are batting quite amazingly right now, and this article says they can't. Sad...

  • Umair-Canada on May 22, 2011, 19:24 GMT

    PCB is a unit of Pakistan and Pakistani nation. Its obvious where we are heading. Sports is no different.

  • Syed Jaffery on May 22, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    Saad is absolutely on the mark regarding Pakistan's batting. Just look at the Indians and Sri lankans. Their consistency is totally because of their great batting resources and they seems to have endless line of batting talents. Without doubt Yousuf and Younis are two great batsman with averages in 50s and they should always be in the side. None of the Pakistan's young batsman possess any technique to be called a world class batsman. Sometimes it is sickening to watch them struggling against Bishoo and Part timers like Sammy. With the great fielding side they have (dropping 5 catches per inning) and off the field adventures (bookies and fighting among themselves), they future doesn't look to be too bright. But atleast they bring Yousuf and Younis in the side

  • Faraz on May 22, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    They can bat, but they don't have the temperament. Learn to realize the difference. With that I rest my case. And someone please replace the author. Thanks!

  • James on May 22, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    With all due respect this is nonsense. You are speaking utter nonsense. Take the example of Anwar. He did not average over 50 so that means he was not a top class batmen? Pure ignorance. Try comparing him with other openers from his era, take Michael Atherton for example who was considered a world class opener. Atherton averaged 37.69 while Anwar averaged 45.52, much better average than Atherton which tells you everything about Anwars greatness. Furthermore he averaged over 59 against Australia and was severe on both McGrath and Warne. He has the highest average amongst all batsmen in matches featuring McGrath. He played McGrath better than any other batsman, better than Lara and Tendulker. This was just one example of the nonsense that is contained in this article. I could go on, but the point is that this article is incorrect.

  • asimationr on May 22, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    batting is some thing that require patience and concentration we lack both as a nation and losing more and more so it is unlikely that we will do well in this department

  • Saim Cheeda on May 22, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    Im baffled by the fact that Yousuf has still not been chosen for the team, the batting cannot be worse than at the moment and Yousuf should be given a shot

  • Syed A. on May 22, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    well they have a player with a 57 domestic average not getting selected and a management doesn't plan for anything but hopes for miracles like a drawn test series or test match so they can go back and say "We're improving" (yeah you've been improving for the last 10 years). Pakistan cricket will die in a couple of years as no youngster would want to play cricket because it has become a disgrace.

  • Ali on May 22, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    @zohan99 the reson Miandad didn't accept the role is because of Waqat Younis. Didn't you see his difference with Afridi. I bat Miandad needs full liberty to work which he reckon he wouldn't get as long as Waqar is coach.

  • Nisar Ahmad on May 22, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    @Amir Raza, your points are worth noting.

  • avinash on May 22, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    I think its with the culture..pakistan embraces bowling more..and they have bowling heroes..but fortunately they have chosen the right trade.good bowling alone will keep them in reckoning for a long time..but good batting alone cant win you matches..eg. bangladesh...

  • Adeel on May 22, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    I reckon pakistan desperately need a batting coach. Shahzad, Asad & Umer needs to be tough batting technicians. For sure they have talent but their talent need to be polished. If Miandad don't accept the job then take Zaheer Abbas services. Also there are good young batsmen who are playing good cricket in under 19. We can bring then under the wings of a batting coach. For all this we need sincere effort from PCB which I don't expect till Mr Ijaz Butt (who think from his stomach) is there.

  • faisal khan on May 22, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    Good article.

    Miandad was overshadowed not because of lack of batting ability (he was 2nd best after Richards during his time; and it’s sad that Imran failed to acknowledge that) If he had the social skills of Imran, he would have been hailed by the west and been in the top 20 of the Wisden's all-time list than in the top 50.

    I completely agree that the way Younis and Yousuf have been treated is deplorable. They should have both been in the test team and Younis should be captain.

    Ijaz Butt has ruined Pakistan cricket beyond belief!

  • Hayat on May 22, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Afridi really altered(damaged?) the psycheof Pakistani cricket. He epitomizes Pakistan cricket: flighty, non serious, passionate(not a negative triat though) and completely brainless. Slog, slog and more slog.

    With this attitude, no wonder it is going down the WI way. While India and Sri Lanka have surge ahead and now put application to enhance raw talent, Pakistan still adheres to old ways of passion triumphing over all else. But this can only achieve a vicotory here and there and not sustain high standards.

  • shahidshah on May 22, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    the reason why Imran got better batting average while he was captain is when he was not captain he was not given proper oppurtunities. He used to bat at no 9 when he was not captain. It was only when he became captain he promoted himself up and started performing with great effect. Actually his batting talents were never realised by captains in 70s and early 80s. Also he got the best batting average for any pakistani captain in the history of the game. That itself makes him as one of the best batsman ever produced by pakistan.

  • sohail on May 22, 2011, 16:26 GMT

    One Fails to understand why Mohd Yousuf is being kept away from Pak Team , last week only he showed his brilliance in County by scoring a brilliant hundred , Yousuf still has few years to deliver at international stage and it would be a good mix and youth and experience if few youngsters are groomed along with Younis But PCB never thinks of Team and Future ahead and rather is interested in short term arrangements

  • IdioffCot on May 22, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Very Interesting Blog! Thank You For Thi Blog!

  • IdioffCot on May 22, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    I find myself coming to your blog more and more often to the point where my visits are almost daily now!

  • Pratik on May 22, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    Pakistan would fare much better in the batting department if the youngsters looked up to Mohammad Yousuf rather than Shahid Afridi. Yousuf is a class act. Afridi plays for the highlight reel. The highlights dont last as long as the real game and therein lies the root cause of batting collapses. Pakistan team will do well in 20-20, a game designed as a highlight reel. But there are doomed to fail in tests, where patience and character is required.

    Umar Akmal, Shafiq, Hafeez are perfectly good batsmen; but mortally afflicted by the Afridi synodrome. More than a batting coach, the team needs a mental conditioning coach who can pull them out of bam wham thank you ma'a, mentality.

    Yes, Afridi's 37 ball century might have made it to the record books, but caused more damage to Pakistani batting than anything else.

  • Aamir Raza on May 22, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    Pakistan's lack of batting skills are due to two fundamental problems. Cement wickets and tennis ball cricket at local level. Batting is all about foot work and balance. Playing on cement with cricket ball or playing with tennis ball does not teach these two skills all you need is good hand eye coordination and good wrist work. That is why apart from a few most of Pakistani batsmen have bad skills to begin with.

  • dmqi on May 22, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Great article indeed. It is the PCB and PCB only who have not done the right job to groom players for a long term. It is the poor attitude of PCB and the selectors year after year that has systematically ruined career of many talents. As long as that practice will continue, the decline will continue too. Now there are half dozen players in Indian team who can lead that number one team, but there is not a single player in the current Pak team beside Misbah, who deserve to lead a test side. The Pak culture of player in fight supervised by administration is another factor. You need to overhaul many things before they go to # 10 position. Feel sorry for Hanif, Zaheer and Miandad, the legends of Pak batting.

  • Srini on May 22, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    Bad planning during the mid 2000s caused Pak's batting woes. Yousuf, Yunis and Inzi formed the backbone of batting and pulled the team out of troubles time and again, PCB failed to recognize and correct their long outstanding problem: Opening batting. Pak still doesn't have a reliable opening pair since the days of Sohail, Anwar. Middle order bats are being regularly exposed to new ball in alomost every match. I think once that is corrected, they should be OK.

  • ARSHAD AAKASH on May 22, 2011, 13:24 GMT

    pakistan batting is good if the following player are in the team

    1)hafeez/s.malik 2)salman butt 3) asad shafiq 4)younus 5)umar akmal 6)afridi 7)kamran akmal 8) razzaq 9) aamir 10) gul 11) asif/ajmal

    this is the one day team . in test make three changes bring yousuf,misbah kaneria for hafeez,umar akmal ,afridi

    test team salman kamran younus asad yousuf misbah razzaq aamir gul asif/ajmal kaneria

    oneday captain shahid afridi test captian younus khan

  • zohan99 on May 22, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    I think that the reason for pakistans poor batting is pressure from the media and also what it mentions a batting coach.Pakistan would of had a batting coach but i have no idea why javed miandid did not take the job . Also in pakistan every one smashes in the streets while the best players arent sloggers for example tendulkar ponting they are all eligant stroke players.Finally to end they reliy to heavily on players such as umar akmal , younis and mohammed hafeez and if u havent realised umar akmal is still very young only 20.

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  • zohan99 on May 22, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    I think that the reason for pakistans poor batting is pressure from the media and also what it mentions a batting coach.Pakistan would of had a batting coach but i have no idea why javed miandid did not take the job . Also in pakistan every one smashes in the streets while the best players arent sloggers for example tendulkar ponting they are all eligant stroke players.Finally to end they reliy to heavily on players such as umar akmal , younis and mohammed hafeez and if u havent realised umar akmal is still very young only 20.

  • ARSHAD AAKASH on May 22, 2011, 13:24 GMT

    pakistan batting is good if the following player are in the team

    1)hafeez/s.malik 2)salman butt 3) asad shafiq 4)younus 5)umar akmal 6)afridi 7)kamran akmal 8) razzaq 9) aamir 10) gul 11) asif/ajmal

    this is the one day team . in test make three changes bring yousuf,misbah kaneria for hafeez,umar akmal ,afridi

    test team salman kamran younus asad yousuf misbah razzaq aamir gul asif/ajmal kaneria

    oneday captain shahid afridi test captian younus khan

  • Srini on May 22, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    Bad planning during the mid 2000s caused Pak's batting woes. Yousuf, Yunis and Inzi formed the backbone of batting and pulled the team out of troubles time and again, PCB failed to recognize and correct their long outstanding problem: Opening batting. Pak still doesn't have a reliable opening pair since the days of Sohail, Anwar. Middle order bats are being regularly exposed to new ball in alomost every match. I think once that is corrected, they should be OK.

  • dmqi on May 22, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Great article indeed. It is the PCB and PCB only who have not done the right job to groom players for a long term. It is the poor attitude of PCB and the selectors year after year that has systematically ruined career of many talents. As long as that practice will continue, the decline will continue too. Now there are half dozen players in Indian team who can lead that number one team, but there is not a single player in the current Pak team beside Misbah, who deserve to lead a test side. The Pak culture of player in fight supervised by administration is another factor. You need to overhaul many things before they go to # 10 position. Feel sorry for Hanif, Zaheer and Miandad, the legends of Pak batting.

  • Aamir Raza on May 22, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    Pakistan's lack of batting skills are due to two fundamental problems. Cement wickets and tennis ball cricket at local level. Batting is all about foot work and balance. Playing on cement with cricket ball or playing with tennis ball does not teach these two skills all you need is good hand eye coordination and good wrist work. That is why apart from a few most of Pakistani batsmen have bad skills to begin with.

  • Pratik on May 22, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    Pakistan would fare much better in the batting department if the youngsters looked up to Mohammad Yousuf rather than Shahid Afridi. Yousuf is a class act. Afridi plays for the highlight reel. The highlights dont last as long as the real game and therein lies the root cause of batting collapses. Pakistan team will do well in 20-20, a game designed as a highlight reel. But there are doomed to fail in tests, where patience and character is required.

    Umar Akmal, Shafiq, Hafeez are perfectly good batsmen; but mortally afflicted by the Afridi synodrome. More than a batting coach, the team needs a mental conditioning coach who can pull them out of bam wham thank you ma'a, mentality.

    Yes, Afridi's 37 ball century might have made it to the record books, but caused more damage to Pakistani batting than anything else.

  • IdioffCot on May 22, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    I find myself coming to your blog more and more often to the point where my visits are almost daily now!

  • IdioffCot on May 22, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Very Interesting Blog! Thank You For Thi Blog!

  • sohail on May 22, 2011, 16:26 GMT

    One Fails to understand why Mohd Yousuf is being kept away from Pak Team , last week only he showed his brilliance in County by scoring a brilliant hundred , Yousuf still has few years to deliver at international stage and it would be a good mix and youth and experience if few youngsters are groomed along with Younis But PCB never thinks of Team and Future ahead and rather is interested in short term arrangements

  • shahidshah on May 22, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    the reason why Imran got better batting average while he was captain is when he was not captain he was not given proper oppurtunities. He used to bat at no 9 when he was not captain. It was only when he became captain he promoted himself up and started performing with great effect. Actually his batting talents were never realised by captains in 70s and early 80s. Also he got the best batting average for any pakistani captain in the history of the game. That itself makes him as one of the best batsman ever produced by pakistan.