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March 27, 2012

Asia Cup 2012

No victory too small

Kamran Abbasi
Hammad Azam swings across the line, Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup final, Mirpur, March 22, 2012
Hammad Azam looks a bright prospect for Pakistan  © AFP
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The Asia Cup hasn't always been memorable but this year's edition is finding it hard to go away. Pakistan won the cup, Bangladesh won hearts, and Sachin Tendulkar won back his poise thanks to a landmark hundred.

Three nations coming away with something to cheer about is an ingenious outcome for a tournament with four competitors, although Bangladesh spoilt the win-win atmosphere with their attempt to overturn the result of the final. Did Aizaz Cheema deliberately block Mahmudullah in the last over? Possibly, but a cricket board should refrain from appealing an umpiring decision after a match has finished.

Indeed, Bangladesh's plea is symptomatic of a frazzled relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board, whose earlier assumption that Bangladesh would be the first to tour since 2009 was premature. The Bangladesh board has a duty to look after the safety of its players but, that said, it also has a duty not to mess with the psyche of fans. To offer a lifeline to Pakistan and then pull it away by suddenly changing the criteria for the trip is amateurish and seems disingenuous. Restoring home fixtures to Pakistan is a major step, and one that requires clear decision-making, not whimsical posturing from either side.

Pakistan's reality is that the cricket board remains politically isolated, a sentiment that will be reinforced when the Indian Premier League takes centre stage again. Instead of fretting over a tournament of questionable benefit, except to a player's luxury items fund, Pakistan should focus on firming up their international programme at neutral venues and creating a thriving domestic game.

The last 18 months have proved that Pakistan has the talent pool to remain competitive, and possibly excel; take shelter from the storm until fair winds usher international teams to Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar.

Pakistan aren't yet entirely convincing on the field, notably in limited-overs cricket, but winning the Asia Cup with room for personal development is an optimistic sign -- and a welcome recovery from the dismal performances against England in the United Arab Emirates.

Questions about Misbah-ul-Haq's cautious approach are unlikely to disappear, although he now has a more aggressive coach, in Dav Whatmore, to push him into more adventurous territory.

Whatmore was unlucky to miss out on the coaching job when Geoff Lawson succeeded Bob Woolmer in 2007. He has a weaker team to develop than he would have acquired last time but Whatmore's business is polishing rough diamonds. Indeed, after Woolmer, Whatmore is the most accomplished coach ever hired by Pakistan.

Whatmore will already have identified the weaknesses in his team. He won't waste time. He will want his team to play tough and hard. Luckily, the Asia Cup proved more helpful than simply a successful first tournament with Pakistan.

Nasir Jamshed, Hammad Azam, and Sarfraz Ahmed each made claims to problem positions in the Pakistan line up. Of the three, Hammad looks the brightest prospect. Sarfraz is the best of the one-day keepers, and a more capable batsman than Adnan Akmal. Nasir may find it hardest to convince, but he took his chance in Bangladesh.

No victory is small for Pakistan cricket in its current state, and the Bangladesh fans gave the Asia Cup an importance it has rarely enjoyed -- enough importance to suggest that with the emergence of a genuine fourth contender, the Asia Cup has more of a future than was previously imagined.

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

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Posted by Alexander on (August 2, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

The composition of the team has to chgane. In my opinion we need to carry 2 specialist spinners for all test matches and even one dayers and get upul tharanga as a regular test match opener.why is he only kept for one dayers he has the right technique,skills & experience to play for the team in all forms of the game compared to many others who are been experimented with to no avail.come on selectors have faith in the tested players and bring about the chganes if you want to win matches. (+2)

Posted by DB on (April 22, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Pakistan team is immensely talented but bit short on experience .. They will do much better if they get proper exposure to play against the top opponents.. Series against Bangladesh won't help.. have to say this is very cheap from Bangladesh.. But then you expect this from them.. What they did after ASIA cup final proves everything .. They will take everything but will bite you in return.. thats their nature.. be aware of them from now on... Just keep playing well and things will fall in place..

Posted by asad on (April 4, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Raza Hasan – a slow left arm young bowler is very talented and must be given a chance in national T20 team. He can swing the game. In last Faysal T20 series, he played with Rams and bowled a 'super over' which gave his side a victory. This time he was with Stallions - he produced an excellent last over in the final game which made a huge difference. He was not with Rams this time and Rams lost all 3 games.

Posted by Talha Arshad on (April 4, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

i have just read this article when Faysal Bank T20 has finished. The participation, enthusiasm, support and lastly the love for the game by Pakistani have been witnessed all over the world during this tournament. PCB should take this opportunity as "Blessing in disguise", as Bangladesh is not coming to tour PAk, Domestic tournament of various formant can be arranged to full fill the appetite of hungry PAKISTANI FANS.........

Posted by Himayat Ali on (April 4, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

My T20 team 1. imran nazir 2. Ahmed Shahzad/nasir jamshed 3. kamran akmal 4. umer akmal 5. rameez raja/haris sohail 6. Mohd Hafeez 7. shahid afridi 8. Hammad azam 9. sami/sohail tanveer 10.umer gull 11. saeed ajmal

Posted by Ali Jafari on (April 2, 2012, 14:31 GMT)

I sent an email of my appreciation to Bangladesh for their endeavor and fighting like true tigers in the final of the Asia Cup. Being a Pakistani I did rejoice in Pakistan's victory but my heart went out to Bangladesh. Unfortunately two things happened. One, my email bounced back from the email address given on the website of Bangladesh Cricket Board, secondly and more disastrously they complained about Aizaz Cheema's perceived blockage. They spoiled all the goodwill they had earned by this display of being bad losers. I still wish them lots of success in their future endeavors and would advise them to take defeat with good grace - even if they feel they have been wronged. That's what cricket stood for in my youth.

Posted by mansoor on (April 2, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

pllzzzz bring up imran nazir he is most dangerous batsmen in ths world.............em a india but i like imran nazir have to play in the team,,,,,pcb dont play politics with cricketers..........

Posted by SN Qazi on (April 2, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

We should have a regular wicket- keeper for all formats of the game . Having Kamran Akmal has proved to be a disaster for several years now . He has been the worst wicket keeper for any Team under Test , ODIs or T 20s . Adnan Akmal is no better . We should give Sarfaraz a fair chance . The few times he has been given a chance he has performed well both as a Keeper ( which is the key need for the Team ) and also , he has been a good batsman . In spite of Pakistan having one of the World's best bowling attack our Batsmen have let us down in Tests , ODIs and T 20s time and again . Misbah , Younus most definitely have not performed in ODIs and T 20s . In Tests also the performance of these two is very marginal . They have tended to perform in one onnings out of about six . We need to begin our Team building by strenghening our Batting by retiring the non performing so called senior players . For strengthening our fast bowling good performers from Bangla Desh League should be considered .

Posted by Vish on (April 1, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

Pakistan Cricket players are not allowed to play in IPL, but Pakistani Hockey stars like Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Adnan Maqsood and Zeeshan Ashraf are taking part in the "World Series Hockey (WSH)" in India, and playing for IPL-style Indian city-based Hockey teams. Shakeel Abbasi is the Captain of "Delhi Wizards".

Posted by dr hassan on (April 1, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

AOA brother its better add kamran akmal as a keeper in t20 rather than keeping with umer akmal.....u can play with regular keeper other than akmal in one day and test.. we have given him enough punishment to him

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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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