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October 22, 2011

Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2011

Misbah's words more positive than deeds

Kamran Abbasi
Misbah-ul-haq plays a sweep, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 3rd day, October 20, 2011
Misbah-ul-haq said he was satisfied with Pakistan's efforts in Abu Dhabi  © AFP
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Anybody in search of final day heroics was best advised to look away from the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan toiled in attack, Sri Lanka toiled in defence. The result wore down viewers, not least because Pakistan failed to take up a challenge created for the age of T20 cricket.

Misbah-ul Haq, Pakistan's captain, said he was satisfied with his team's efforts, extracting positives not negatives from the performance. Ironically, it was his own negativity that ended up being scrutinised; first Mohali, now this.

In fairness, Misbah has a point. Pakistan's achievements in both first innings were impressive, especially Junaid Khan's five wicket haul and Taufeeq Umar's double hundred. Pakistan are troubled by the loss of Mohammad Amir; Junaid and Wahab Riaz are some solace. Pakistan have been troubled far longer by inconsistent openers; it is 19 years since a Pakistani opener, Amir Sohail, scored a double hundred.

Importantly, Pakistan dominated the Test until halfway into Sri Lanka's second innings, an unexpected position since Misbah declined to bat first on a docile track. Yes, Pakistan might have scored faster, but had fielders held simple chances Pakistan would have won by an innings.

Misbah blames the catching difficulties on a lack of confidence. He might also wish to examine selection? On such tracks, fast bowlers and wrist spinners are essential to force a result. Aziz Cheema is a worthy trier but Wahab's extra pace poses a greater test to batsmen. Unfortunately, our chief-selector turned coach failed to find himself a wrist spinner for this series, although spinners of all varieties require support from fielders to succeed.

Since last year's cursed tour of England, Pakistan have only lost one Test out of 8; they had lost 8 Tests in the previous year. Sri Lanka are difficult opponents, as Kumar Sangakkara proved with his rearguard double-hundred.

Despite the draw, then, Pakistan's cricketers have stopped the rot of previous years and Misbah has played a valuable role. But he needs to be careful. Thus far, Misbah's words have been more positive than his team's performance. A negative approach--justified or not--tends to sit uncomfortably with the Pakistani psyche.

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

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Keywords: Technique

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Bufordk Rodenizerh on (June 10, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

Hello.This article was extremely remarkable, especially because I was investigating for thoughts on this matter last Saturday.

Posted by Ali majaz on (January 3, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

People who are good at writing, criticise players who are definately better than them at playing this game , so this blog action with little logic and a ocean of heavy words is a total failure , how about Kamran Abassi pads up and sits in the dressing room waiting to go in next ...and then write a article about Cricket , positivity , pressure , Nerves , It takes a strong character , nerves of steel to go out there and play this game and lead this pakistan team the way Misbah has ,where as kamran abassi has got a big thick thesaurus on his desk.

Posted by Nelda on (December 23, 2011, 3:15 GMT)

One or two to remmeebr, that is.

Posted by SN Qazi on (December 6, 2011, 13:49 GMT)

One of the big mystery of Pakistan Cricket is how players like Shoab Malik continueto play for Pakistan when they have ceased to perform for more than two years . Just look at his pathetic record as a batsman and bowler for 2011 .would he have continued to be given opportunity to continue the team if hewas from Karachi ? He would have been given his marching orders morethan a year back . Srafaraz drops one catch ands he gets dropped . Akmal had dropped dozens of easy catches and stumping chances buthewas kept onforsucha long time .

Posted by Danishdinamite on (November 1, 2011, 3:19 GMT)

It's very normal that sports fans get excited as you guys are but it's only a 1/200 chance that a team can score 170 in last 21 overs of a test match on fifth day. Those who are giving the example of Mushtaq Mohammads team which scored 160+ against india in karachi are forgetting the fact that pakistan had already won a test and they didn't risk losing the sries by taking that chance. Secondly, the time has changed and now a days bowlers are more restrictive than in those days. Mr. Abbasi calls it a 20/20 era but forgets to mention that it goes for the bowlers too. The bowling team can choose to use their best bowlers, ask them to bowl on off and then take 7 players on the offside, and then there are no powerplays.

Posted by Akbari on (October 30, 2011, 12:02 GMT)

Finally Pakistan has learnt to play a test match. Players like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzak are not meant for Test cricket and can only produce incoherent effect on other TEST players. Present team will go a long way if they persist with the hunger to patiently build an inning. Good luck and have a lot of patience.

Posted by Sh.Xulqi on (October 29, 2011, 15:10 GMT)

Wahab should be given a chance in the next test!! We have seen the ball reverse swinging and wahab is the best available for the reverse swing!! Itx difficult to play a new bowler in a pressure of series lost so thats also a plus point which supports wahab to be in pak 11!!!

Posted by khanaikan on (October 27, 2011, 18:16 GMT)

Abbasi needs to know test & t20 are technically two different formats of cricket.Misbah understands limitations of test players so he opted to remain defensive instead of chasing 170 runs in 21 overs.Misbah has gained deep respect for developing decent team in a short span.

Posted by Mustafa on (October 27, 2011, 4:31 GMT)

Dude stop hating on cheema! id take that attitude of his over a show pony any day of the week!

Posted by osama on (October 27, 2011, 0:53 GMT)

why should misbah not look for positives. everything about Pakistan was positive in the first test. they dominated for 4 days but they could not force a win because of the dropped catches. and anyways apart from that pakistan was the team that got 20 wickets. srilanka only managed 6 and never looked like getting any more Pakistan were always creating chances and as far as the defensive approach of misbah goes well aggression comes with success and confidence you cant expect misbah to tell his batsmen to go for all out attack when he knows how fragile our batting line up. i dont see the point of people criticizing everything for no reason . had they been reckless and thrown their wickets away all of u would have been after their heads. And mister author the cheif selector cant just pluck a wrist spinner out of the ground there has to be one around for him to find him. If u have any names that u think deserve a place in the national team please do mention them

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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