Pakistan v England 2012 February 13, 2012

Pakistan's arrested development

A whitewash means nothing when the next match begins, and Pakistan proved it in the first one-day international of their series against England

A whitewash means nothing when the next match begins, and Pakistan proved it in the first one-day international of their series against England. From the moment Misbah-ul-Haq lost the toss, and his body language betrayed his disappointment, Pakistan were a beaten team. A successful climb to the summit of international cricket requires all challenges to be treated with equal ambivalence and resolution. Still, one defeat isn't enough to deflate the feel-good factor surrounding Pakistan's progress.

England produced some excellent individual performances in Abu Dhabi, their skipper Alastair Cook's century followed by a perfectly timed two-fingered salute to the selection committee from Steven Finn. Pakistan didn't have the skill to overcome those outstanding efforts and they fared little better against a more comfortable challenge from Samit Patel. When Pakistan suck they do it with insatiable lust.

Despite all the highs of last year, Pakistan's mixture isn't quite a heady cocktail. A dearth of quality openers and allrounders poses the most serious question of Pakistan's talent pool.

Pakistan have persisted with men of considerable experience but unflattering vital statistics.

Imran Farhat and Shoaib Malik are batsmen -- and it is hard to consider Malik anything more in these latter days of his career -- with averages below 35 in both Test and one-day cricket, the product of more than a decade of endeavour. Such numbers suggest the players are still struggling to properly establish themselves, fine in a fledgling career but an untimely two-fingered salute to selection logic after so many years of opportunities.

By all accounts, Misbah personally made the call for Malik's inclusion; Farhat's relative is acting head of the national selection panel. Pakistan cricket has made a noble effort to extricate itself from the clutches of spot-fixing, what it doesn't need now is to lose its renewed power because of faulty connections. Both Malik and Farhat, at various times in their careers, have carried the hopes of supporters but those days are long gone. All they carry now is the stench of a decrepit system; they have been damned in the court of public opinion.

Farhat only occasionally produces a useful innings, and the last time Malik scored anything of note it was the love of Sania Mirza. Malik and Farhat might do well in the remaining matches of the series but any short-term success only delays the development of this Pakistan cricket team. Their pasts tell us that a correcting failure wouldn't be too far away, whereas the future belongs to others. From this squad, Azhar Ali would benefit most from the rigours of one-day cricket and Hammad Azam is a better investment than Malik. Abdur Rehman is another tempting option.

Pakistan retain every chance of winning this one-day series against England, whether or not they change the team, but selection has an important role in developing young cricketers, and the presence of Shoaib Malik and Imran Farhat in the starting XI is suffocating that development.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on April 7, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    My team 0DI & T20 team would include:

    Nasir Jamshad Mohammad Hafiz (c) Imran Nazir Shakeel Ansar (w)(wicket keeper of sialkot stallions) Shahid Afridi Abdul Razzaq (vc) Hammad Azam Umar Gul Junaid Khan Saeed Ajmal Abdur Rehman


    Awais Zia Rameez Raja jr Haris Sohail Khalid Latif Umar Akmal Adnan Akmal Tanvir Ahmed Sohail Tanvir Wahab Riaz Raza Hasan Shoail Khan Rana Naveed ul Hassan.

  • testli5504537 on April 3, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    2012 T20 World Cup Squad

    1 Imran Nazir 2 Mohammed Hafeez 3 Kamran Akmal 4 Umer Akmal 5 Misbha-Ul-Haq 6 Shahid afridi 7 Abdul Razaq 8 Hammad Azam 9 Mohammed Amir 10Umer Gul 11Saeed Ajmal 12Abdur Rahman

  • testli5504537 on April 2, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    I believe Misbah's position in the side functions as a stabilizer to an otherwise fragil batting line up that falls like dominoes. I do not blame Misbah for his playing style as it is what is needed by Pakistan. It is not his function to swashbuckle like Afridi and Umer. Our Pakistani fans seem to forget the emotional way in which our batsmen play their inning. Win or lose, Misbah's batting is just fine, and should be a motivater to the other batsmen not to lose their wickets so easily. A true leader is always patient an dreflecting rather than playing on emotion. So go Misbah!!

  • testli5504537 on March 11, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    Salam to my dear friends and ream managment I read all of ur comment and I asked about abdul razaq where he is he is better than any batsman in the pakitani team.plese bring him back into the team.he is much much better

  • testli5504537 on February 28, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    Pakistan should give chance to young players in Asia cup who doing good in BPL... 1 Hafeez 2 Ahamed shahzed 3 asad ahafiq 4 misbah ul haq 5 younus khan 6 serfraz ahmed (wk) 7 hammad azem 8 umber gul 9 saeed ajmel 10 abdul rehman 11 aziz cheema 12 afridi 13 wahab 14 nasir jamshad 15 junaid khan 16 sohab mailk

  • testli5504537 on February 23, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    If the team was only selected on meritin ODIs, then I would have: 1. Hafeez 2. azhar ali 3. asad shafiq 4. umer akmal(WK) 5.ramiz aziz(under 19 talented cricketer) 6. naveed malik(domastic cricketer) 7.shahid afridi 8.saeed ajmal 9. umer gull 10 YOUNUS KNAN 11. anwer ali(fast boller) 12.akhter (uner 19 fast boller)

  • testli5504537 on February 22, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    Where did all the Pakistani fast bowlers go? A series win few weeks ago has turned into series lost. This is the story of Pakistani cricket team since its birth. Either the team does not know the word "consistency" or they don't believe in it. One good innings for a player guarantees him to be selected in the next 5 matches and he does everything in his power to not repeat the same good performance. This is why I always admire the Australian team. They are no doubt the only team that I can call A PROFESSIONAL TEAM rest of them are all flukes.

  • testli5504537 on February 22, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    I can not understand why are they playing like a test match. Misbah is waste for ODI. He is consider for best test player. He is always playing test cricket in ODI. Give the chance for Capable youngsters from domestic cricket for the future of the Country.

  • testli5504537 on February 22, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Pakistan deserved to loose the ODIs against England . Our batting bowling and fielding were all pathetic . The Team selection was flawed . Take players such as Younus and Misbah . They dont't have the capacity any more to qualify for playing in ODIs. Shoaib Malik's inclusion has been a disaster for the Team since 2009 . Farhat should not only not be included his Father in Law should be removed as Chairman of the Selection Committee for nepotism . For T 20's if Abdul Razaq can be brought in , he will make a big difference . We immediately need to focus on Team Building for the next World Cup if we want to avoid a repeat of the very poor performance we have seen .

  • testli5504537 on February 22, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    If the team was only selected on merit, then I would have: Shahid afride Mohammed hafeez Younis khan Asad /Agahar Umer akmal Misbah ulhaq Kamaren akmal(wk) Hammad azam/ Abdul razzaq Saeed ajmal Junid khan umar gul Junid khan /umar gul

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