Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2012 July 15, 2012

Mahela and Misbah got it wrong

Mahela Jayawardene is a good batsman and comes across as a thoughtful, astute cricketer in most of his public pronouncements
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Mahela Jayawardene is a good batsman and comes across as a thoughtful, astute cricketer in most of his public pronouncements. It was with some surprise therefore that I read his article this morning justifying Sri Lanka's decision to call off the chase in their last Test against Pakistan, thus earning themselves a 1-0 win, but generating considerable angst among many cricket fans. (The reaction to this decision is similar, in some regards, to that generated by India's calling off a chase against the West Indies in Dominica last year. There are some interesting differences as well: India were playing away against a weak team, Sri Lanka were playing at home against a weaker team as well, but one always capable of surprises.)

Jayawardene offers some cricketing reasons for this decision:

"We failed to rotate the strike because Pakistan bowled really well. When they set negative fields, we decided not to risk it either. They were 0-1 down and everything to play for. If we had needed around 90 runs at just under six an over, we would have promoted Thisara Perera. When you are up against a quality bowling attack like Pakistan's, if you give them a sniff, they could run through the batting. We had to ensure we cut out unnecessary risks, because we played close to 15 days of grueling Test cricket."

And then goes on to say:

"I don't want to argue with armchair critics who give their views on what we should or shouldn't have done. I had to make a decision for millions in Sri Lanka who haven't experienced a Test series win for nearly three years. When I took over as captain, my job was to get the ship back on track. Slowly but surely, we are winning matches, executing our game plans and a young team is taking greater responsibility. I didn't want to rattle that because of what a few people want me to do. Obviously, common sense prevailed. I didn't want to jeopardise the hard work put in by this bunch for an hour and a half of Twenty20 cricket."

This is exceedingly curious. For one thing, Jayawardene is arguing with armchair critics and committing the fallacy that what matters is who makes the critique, not the content of it. Secondly, Jayawardene seems to imagine that playing attacking Test cricket is Twenty20 cricket. This equation of Test cricket with T20 is perhaps the strangest part of the claims that Jayawardene makes (I'm leaving aside for the moment, the question of how Mahela has figured out that Sri Lankans might not have been more interested in an entertaining chase that led an emphatic 2-0 series win than this stodgy, safety-first approach.)

The idea that playing attacking Test cricket is tantamount to throwing caution to the winds, to batting in T20 style, to going for the fences all the time (or whatever your conception of T20 amounts to) is a misconception of the attacking version of Test cricket, and it surprises me to hear Mahela make this claim. Quick singles anyone? The language of 'armchair critics who want me to play T20 in a Test' suggests a great deal of defensiveness, one perhaps underwritten by a sneaking feeling that it is the only way to justify the excessive caution on display in Pallekele.

But I don't want to lay all the blame at Mahela's door. What about Pakistan? For what seems to have been forgotten in the hubbub over Jayawardene's decision is that Pakistan collaborated with him. If a captain up 1-0 in a series offers to call off the match, which captain in his right mind, one who has declared in order to try and set up a win, accepts? Why didn't Misbah-ul-Haq, on realising that Sri Lanka had no intention of chasing, simply say 'No thanks' and crowd the their batsmen with close-in fielders? Surely the Sri Lankans' evident tentativeness would have played right into the Pakistani team's hands?

Test cricket is in trouble, goes the refrain. When captains imagine that playing aggressively in Tests requires them to play T20 and when 0-1 down counterparts cannot see an opening handed to them, then perhaps one might say that it is indeed.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on January 26, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    I know this is an old story, but can't believe what I've just read. Pakistan are a weaker team? Weaker than who? Sri Lanka? No. India? Absolutely not!

    If journalists can't put their bias and prejudices aside, they should not comment on international cricket. Pakistan are a very dangerous team, and showed that by beating England 3-0. How did India do against England? Home or away?

    Mahela did the right thing, because the Pakistan bowling attack can rip through any batting line-up very very quickly.

  • Leonard Alwis on September 25, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    "I don't want to argue with armchair critics who give their views on what we should or shouldn't have done. I had to make a decision for millions in Sri Lanka who haven't experienced a Test series win for nearly three years"

    Enough said. He says he doesnt want to argue with you - you quote him in your argument. This is a waste of storage space on the internet. Thank god this was not printed anywhere - i'd hate to think they'd cut down a tree for the paper.

  • chand on September 10, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    2-0 or 1-0 does not matter much. Captain took his decision. Test cricket is all about Testing your mental and physical strength and playing with a purpose according to the circumstances. Winning a test series was the purpose. It was achieved. What's more?

  • ali on August 15, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    pak is much stronger than india in tests

  • Saleem Shaik on July 25, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Really what Mahela did was shameful for himself aswell as his team mates, bcoz,, being one of the world champions they should not have done that, scoring 90 runs in 13 overs is not a big feet for chamions, though Mahela make the team win by making match draw, he made the confident of the players and Srilankans down,, surely this should not be considered as a victory,, indirectly this will b a defeat.

  • ameer on July 17, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    to the author of this article, I really can't believe you are even qualified to be an armchair critic when you say Pakistan are a weaker side. Are you trying to compare them to West Indies? Well FYI they have one of the best bowling attacks in the world. And Sri Lanka had lost Mahela, there is every chance of a collapse. It is not Sri Lanka did not give it a go. They did, but once they lost the wickets they realized. This was an important series win for us. So I think Mahela did the right job. Even leading critics like Ian Chappel and Wasim Akram have said Mahela is the best captain around today. I don't who are you with a 2 cent knowledge about cricket and IPL mentality watching test cricket can given an opinion against a world class captain. And, all others who agree with this author are just about in the same class as him.

  • David W,Melbourne on July 17, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Mate don't be so indian biased in articles when you talk about Pakistan...they have one of the best bowling attacks in the world in any form of the game & surely everyone knows how capable Ajmal is when coming to rip apart a world class batting attack within a short period of time single handedly..The decision mahela made was absolutely perfect/sensible & smart.I'm sure you havent played atleast 2 day matches in club cricket to speak about the SL vs PAK last test and how it ended. Can you imagine how much cricket both the teams have played prior to that final day,atleast 13 days of test cricket within under 25 day period...on top of that One dayers+T20's!!! Only thing I have to say is both captains along with the teams played very smart cricket right from the word go. If you want to really talk about weaker teams try talking about India's 8 in a row losses to major test teams+ their approach to cricket with such unsportsmanlike and selfishness(eg.mankading+refusal of DRS)

  • Imran Khan on July 17, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Misbah is one of the best Pakistani captain after great Imran khan.whenever team is trouble he rescued the team and still people blame him .He may be not lucky to finish the few games game but there is other 10 players in the team what are they doing.Also I would like to ask Mr Chopra please be fair when you guys write the blog I'm not agree with you that Pakistan is weaker team Pakistan beat the world champions few months back in Dubai and please check the current icc ranking.australia ,new Zealand is the weaker teams in odi & if you talk about India what happened to them in aus & England .

  • Muhammed Naeem on July 17, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    I just like to add few comments that first all pakistan and Sri Lanka are both same kind of teams.No big difference is the ranking.As for me Sri Lankna batsman have tried to make a chase especially Sangakara, but when the wickets fall with regular interval therir position becom weak and they was on defence. If one more wicket fall down Sri lank will be in deep trouble and can be lost the match. Pakistan attack capable to destroy the batting line at any time.

    If sone one has noticed the tempo of the match he can see that the batsman are not taking any chance.Both captain was right in their decission.

  • zahoor on July 17, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    pak may be unpredictibl but not weak.pak lost all tosses otherwise pak would have won 2.0.mr sameer pak got 15 decions blatently against them.yonis was not out thrice.i suggest after ist toss it should alternat for the series.

  • Mark on January 26, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    I know this is an old story, but can't believe what I've just read. Pakistan are a weaker team? Weaker than who? Sri Lanka? No. India? Absolutely not!

    If journalists can't put their bias and prejudices aside, they should not comment on international cricket. Pakistan are a very dangerous team, and showed that by beating England 3-0. How did India do against England? Home or away?

    Mahela did the right thing, because the Pakistan bowling attack can rip through any batting line-up very very quickly.

  • Leonard Alwis on September 25, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    "I don't want to argue with armchair critics who give their views on what we should or shouldn't have done. I had to make a decision for millions in Sri Lanka who haven't experienced a Test series win for nearly three years"

    Enough said. He says he doesnt want to argue with you - you quote him in your argument. This is a waste of storage space on the internet. Thank god this was not printed anywhere - i'd hate to think they'd cut down a tree for the paper.

  • chand on September 10, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    2-0 or 1-0 does not matter much. Captain took his decision. Test cricket is all about Testing your mental and physical strength and playing with a purpose according to the circumstances. Winning a test series was the purpose. It was achieved. What's more?

  • ali on August 15, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    pak is much stronger than india in tests

  • Saleem Shaik on July 25, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Really what Mahela did was shameful for himself aswell as his team mates, bcoz,, being one of the world champions they should not have done that, scoring 90 runs in 13 overs is not a big feet for chamions, though Mahela make the team win by making match draw, he made the confident of the players and Srilankans down,, surely this should not be considered as a victory,, indirectly this will b a defeat.

  • ameer on July 17, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    to the author of this article, I really can't believe you are even qualified to be an armchair critic when you say Pakistan are a weaker side. Are you trying to compare them to West Indies? Well FYI they have one of the best bowling attacks in the world. And Sri Lanka had lost Mahela, there is every chance of a collapse. It is not Sri Lanka did not give it a go. They did, but once they lost the wickets they realized. This was an important series win for us. So I think Mahela did the right job. Even leading critics like Ian Chappel and Wasim Akram have said Mahela is the best captain around today. I don't who are you with a 2 cent knowledge about cricket and IPL mentality watching test cricket can given an opinion against a world class captain. And, all others who agree with this author are just about in the same class as him.

  • David W,Melbourne on July 17, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Mate don't be so indian biased in articles when you talk about Pakistan...they have one of the best bowling attacks in the world in any form of the game & surely everyone knows how capable Ajmal is when coming to rip apart a world class batting attack within a short period of time single handedly..The decision mahela made was absolutely perfect/sensible & smart.I'm sure you havent played atleast 2 day matches in club cricket to speak about the SL vs PAK last test and how it ended. Can you imagine how much cricket both the teams have played prior to that final day,atleast 13 days of test cricket within under 25 day period...on top of that One dayers+T20's!!! Only thing I have to say is both captains along with the teams played very smart cricket right from the word go. If you want to really talk about weaker teams try talking about India's 8 in a row losses to major test teams+ their approach to cricket with such unsportsmanlike and selfishness(eg.mankading+refusal of DRS)

  • Imran Khan on July 17, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Misbah is one of the best Pakistani captain after great Imran khan.whenever team is trouble he rescued the team and still people blame him .He may be not lucky to finish the few games game but there is other 10 players in the team what are they doing.Also I would like to ask Mr Chopra please be fair when you guys write the blog I'm not agree with you that Pakistan is weaker team Pakistan beat the world champions few months back in Dubai and please check the current icc ranking.australia ,new Zealand is the weaker teams in odi & if you talk about India what happened to them in aus & England .

  • Muhammed Naeem on July 17, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    I just like to add few comments that first all pakistan and Sri Lanka are both same kind of teams.No big difference is the ranking.As for me Sri Lankna batsman have tried to make a chase especially Sangakara, but when the wickets fall with regular interval therir position becom weak and they was on defence. If one more wicket fall down Sri lank will be in deep trouble and can be lost the match. Pakistan attack capable to destroy the batting line at any time.

    If sone one has noticed the tempo of the match he can see that the batsman are not taking any chance.Both captain was right in their decission.

  • zahoor on July 17, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    pak may be unpredictibl but not weak.pak lost all tosses otherwise pak would have won 2.0.mr sameer pak got 15 decions blatently against them.yonis was not out thrice.i suggest after ist toss it should alternat for the series.

  • Atif khan on July 17, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    hahahahhaha..........what a joke pakistan a weaker team ..............just correct your knowlegde writer.......

  • Jawwad on July 16, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    I think writer is just occupied with the success as far as global fan following and razzmatazz of Twenty20 Cricket. Writer may also be influenced by the fact India is not a good Test side and Sri Lanka and Pakistan clearly are and miles ahead. This much we all agree to be a good Test side you have to have a good quality bowling unit which sadly India does not possess at the moment therefore writers is trying to play down the importance of Test cricket. Will Test Cricket be flavor of season once India starts to win again? You betcha!

  • hemal on July 16, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    @ Mathew Knah , I borrow from you this : (this is exactly greate comment: )You Indians, under the false spell of Twenty-Twenty and forced down capitalistic ideas and new found wealth, have failed to reconcile your ideals with that of the global game. The game is still played by teams to win, much like a chess match. You Indians, with all the inferiority comples and trying to copy American football, have forgotten that India is still a poor (and may I add still a third world country). The game does not need to be played to appease the recently attained Indian lust or pseudo-capitalism. The game has survived a centuries. Samir Chopra though u r living in NewYork U cant be a american, may be leagally but not culturally or imaginatively. saying PK is weaker team, only shows your hatred towards PK team. As Sri lankan I dont think that at all.u coment of MJ & Misbah getting wrong, when u cant c u got allover it wrong!! shameless!!

  • Abdul Gaffoor on July 16, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    Our Mayya's decision is right. Given the unpredictable strength of Pakistan's bowling attack, its a wise decision.

  • Mark2011 on July 16, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    @Mathew Khan,Jude Lobo & V for Vendetta, fully agree wit u. SAMIR CHOPRA is A REAL EXAMPLE FOR ARMCHAIR Critics & has justified very well MJ's comment.in fact topic should be changed to''SAMIR CHOPRA GOT IT ALL WRONG''.instead of criticising the cicumstances that lead for a draw, the writer has gone mad with mahela's comment on 'armchair critique', so his idea is to attack him,doing so he says PK is weaker team!!! dam joke of the 2012!!! a team that defated #1 test side few months bfor.MJ has expressed decision and causes going for a draw and it is sensible and common sense he didnt want to risk, that's fair and acceptable.SL was having 1-0 lead, PK has nothing to lose if draw or lost,make nothing much bad fo PK as alredy were in loosing,if SL made mistakes in chasing,SL is gving them what they hav in their hand.how wise is that? had SL collapsed chasing,these people will laugh from back side and say instead of securing wat they had,greediness have cost them series win.WELL DONE MJ!!

  • Desihungama on July 16, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Samir Bhai - Pakistan's Test Team is a weak team? I stopped reading your article after that. I am inclining to the fact Pakistan are top 3 best Test squads and their recent surge is no fluke but testimony to their Test strength.

  • Ausaff on July 16, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    The worst article i ever read on this site..i don't know why it got published.I think author should stop writing or we should stop using this site.

  • getsetgopk on July 16, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    Not a readable article that says SL was playing against a weaker side. Pak have a better ICC ranking and the fact that we would have still remained unbeaten since 2010 if it wasn't for that horrible umpiring back in Galle, get your facts right before bothering to write something.

  • Jimmy on July 16, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    I think the decsion by Mahela is a strange one BUT the decsion by Misbah to call off the game is absolutely shocking!!! Already 0-1 down in the series. Is there any difference between a 0-1 defeat and a 0-2 defeat??? He did not have an option but to play on and try to win the game!!!

  • Jomesh George on July 16, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Just compare situations like this with that faced by the vintage WI team of 70s and 80s.They emerged as winners from situations likely for draws.Gordon Greenidge scored 214 not out while chasing 340+ score,Viv Richards's unbelievable 110 off 58 balls to give a chance to declare with enough overs remaining in the 3rd innings(both against England) and again Richards's 61 off 36 balls when WI needed 172 runs off 26 overs against India all were good examples where a draw had been converted into a victory.Also i remember Virender Sehwag's dashing 83 off 64 balls that enable India chasedown a target nearby 400.Mark Butcher's 173 no against Australia enabled England to win while chasing a score of around 350.Such brave efforts are needed for the survival of test cricket.People want to see result oriented matches instead of tame drawsa

  • Saturn on July 16, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    I am sorry to say but the author doesn't sound reasonable in saying' Pakistan a weaker team'.

    Their recent test form does not suggest that and their rating as well, not sure if the write is saying that as a neutral person.

    As per the declaration, Misbah did the early declaration to try for result. Mahela and Sanga gave up the chase quite early and the wicket was just too placid.

    I still think Mahela and Sanga were afraid of Ajaml and Junaid and didn't wanted their middle order to face them.

  • MannyK78 on July 16, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    Samir, in your article of April 6, 2012 yuo wrote "part of the game's central charms is the seemingly endless opportunity to second-guess and blame captains with the benefit of hindsight". You have fallen victim to the very same charm/tendency/guilty-pleasure. I agreed with the title to the article, but not much more.

  • pubs on July 16, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    I agree with the article. Pakistan are not a weaker team but they are weaker than Sri Lanka.

  • chandana on July 16, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    Please ban those 2 person , using "Sinhala Bad words" as a nick name. It is shame to Sri Lankans.

    Posted by: huththa gandai at July 15, 2012 12:35 PM Posted by: puke hila at July 15, 2012 12:29 PM

  • Noman Aziz on July 16, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    We can't blame Misbah. He set up an exciting finih by declaring when he could've pushed for another 30 runs and wasted 6-7 overs in the process. He declared in time to give SL the temptation to chase the total in the given time. Misbah of course though he would run through the SL batting but at the end SL was in a very strong position to push for a win. Pakistan's win was highly unlikely. A drawn result was the best Pakistan could've achieved. In the given situation, I think any captain would happily accept a draw result for an imminent loss. Misbah did the same. By the way Pak is 4th on the ICC test ranking if Mr. Samir hasnt taken a notice. On current form Pak will eat alive India without chewing!

  • Anonymous on July 16, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    What ever mates its is truth of to date Pak is up in test ranking than india so some 1 year or more b4 i was read some coments on cricinfo by some indian he was saying about its is india time came in etc..and pak will go worst and worst my message is for such guys time is not under any body control good or bad....so ppl give them respect forever who give respect to them who are under under valued ppl when he is on peak

  • Dan on July 16, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    I blame Misbah. You have a 1-0 lead and chance to win 2-0 or draw 1-1. Someone is happy to hand you a 1-0 win and your first series win in a long time. You take it. Misbah should never have agreed to it, but for Jayawardene it was a no brained. A series drawn from that position would have set them back 12 months, while a 2-0 win would have made little difference.

  • S.Fernando on July 16, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Should realize the fact that what is Test cricket. Its all about defending,hard hitting,bowlingthret, coping in field and etc. You need to defend and you need to attack when it matters. That is called Test Cricket. Both teams missed it. Mainly Srilanka.

  • Dilesha on July 16, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    Mmmm well nothing much to agree with this article. Wait.... Don't worry, test cricket is in good hands. And Mahela clearly stated during the presentation that Pakistan is a really good side. So why risking a series win after 3 long years???? All in all I think the beauty of test cricket is still there in the game of cricket. For a simple example; watch the upcoming Eng vs. RSA test series :-D Cheers Cricket lover....

  • Jayatilake on July 16, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    First of all Pakistan is not a weaker team. I go for Sri Lanka and I believe they are a better side than Sri Lanka and India at the moment. I do agree the fact the Mahela was playing defensive, but he had no choice. If the team is not confident to chase the target and they go for it, they will loose. If he went for the target and lost, he would have been criticised the other way!

  • Udendra on July 16, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Good point you make. Aggressive test cricket is NOT T20 cricket! Mahela got it all wrong. And btw, what's wrong with being an 'arm-chair' critic??

  • Kaleem Shah on July 16, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    2 top captains of the world MISBAH and MAHELA and some pple are talking about their decisions they played really great cricket. when two good team playes well equally then u must need bit of luck to win the match PAKISTAN really fought well and misbah,s all decisions were great just becos of rain we lose 1/0...

  • Vinod on July 16, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    I feel you are not justified by putting Pakistan team as weak one. Certainly not the greatest of teams, but their bowling is good enough and I do not feel that Mahela did anything wrong.

  • Amila on July 16, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    100% agreed Mahela has forgotten that lots of Sri Lankan watching TV sitting on a armchair or couch.

    - Very disappointed Sri Lankan.

  • Rehan on July 16, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    Sorry Samir - quality of your posts are going downhill. As much as you claim "Mahela & Misbah Got It Wrong" - you've got it all wrong with this one.

  • senehas Karunarathna on July 16, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    U call Pakistan a weaker side....there bowling is one of the best in the world...there batting is relatively weaker but they failed only once...Mr.Samir your Indian mentality makes you look like a joke...

  • imran on July 16, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Not commenting any further on Samir's article.. Quite a few have reviewed the article already..I did notice a miss by Pakistan in the first test that they lost at the fag end of Day 4.. At one time, there was less than half an hour (after the announcement of extended play) and Pakistan had two wickets left, which eventually perished trying to play shots in the next few overs.. My view is that the batsmen should have played safe till the end, taking the match into the 5th day.. Who knows, with the weather uncertainty in Sri Lanka, there could have been rain the next day and the match would have been saved..Although, it didn't happen but certainly there was no harm in trying..

  • Anonymous on July 16, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    mr sameer... firstly chek the records for last three years of pakistan.india and sri lanka and then talk.. pakistan is not a weaker side by any mean. mr think a bit by getting out of your indian mentality ....

  • Shyam Sunder Reddy on July 16, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    Mahela would have tried harder in the last 13ovrs Hence i go with Mahela for opting a draw as SriLanka won their first test series after Muralis retirement and this series win also makes the Lankan team and mahela more confident to go in future

  • sulaiman zaib on July 15, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    writer seems to be living in fools paradise. Calling Pak a weak test team is ridiculous. Pak stands 4th in ranking, 2 batsmen and bowlers among top ten and they lost series after more than 2 years.surprised by writer's ignorance.

  • Syed Jamal on July 15, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    Hi Samir: What do you mean? Pakistan was the stronger team for sure in Tets. They did not have match practice and lost the first test just like England and India before. They could have won the 3rd test.

  • Mubashar on July 15, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    from this article i come to conclusion that to write an article, command on english is necessary ,not the sense of what u are writing.Mahela very rightly said we must also look who is criticizing u. How on earth can anny body say a team which is has not its seven series as the weaker team and the one which has,t won its last eight series as the stronger one.Also bear in mind Pak and Sri even if they are at the bottom of the rating,never write them off.

  • Jude Lobo on July 15, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    What gives Mr. Samir Chopra the right to criticize the way two chosen captains decide on the outcome of a match in all fairness was dead from the first ball? Picking on someone like Mahela, a gentleman and an ambassador for cricket, dissecting his speech and picking holes in them? Why Mr. Samir?? because they are from poorer countries? or that they can't fight back? There is a word for someone like this...Bully ! and calling Pakistan a weak team is just plain ridiculous... your definition of weak, means that only three other teams are strong as Pakistan is fourth on the rankings...so Sri lanka is weaker...or are you just irritated that Mahela gave respect to the threat of the Paki bowlers? Even in ten overs, when chasing a big score he felt that given a chance Pakistan COULD..or MIGHT run through the batting line up and wasn't willing to take that risk...And really honestly are you just irritated that India does not have a bowling line up that can boast that?

  • Matthew Khan on July 15, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    Samir Chopra,

    You are an arm-chair analyst, as rightly pointed out by the Sri Lankan captain. Sri Lanka had won the series and decided to not take risk, after losing wickets. Pakistan captain knew that he did not have enough time, and perhaps enough runs, to force a conclusion. So, both captains played the best they could.

    You Indians, under the false spell of Twenty-Twenty and forced down capitalistic ideas and new found wealth, have failed to reconcile your ideals with that of the global game. The game is still played by teams to win, much like a chess match. You Indians, with all the inferiority comples and trying to copy American football, have forgotten that India is still a poor (and may I add still a third world country). The game does not need to be played to appease the recently attained Indian lust or pseudo-capitalism. The game has survived a century, two world wars, and numebrous disputes. India, I predict, will cease to have a test cricket team in 15 years.. watch it

  • Hussain Syed on July 15, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    yes, the weak pakistani team demolished England 3-0. The weak team that hadn't lost a test series for 2 and a half years. Good work, Mr. Chopra.

  • Zahran on July 15, 2012, 19:36 GMT

    Samir Chopra...I think you are the arm chair critic Mahela was referring to !

  • Zohaib Khalid on July 15, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    Well, if you at most of the successful captains around the world most of them would have done the same thing that Mahela did. Just have a look Strauss, the captain of the no.1 team or Dhoni whose team was no.1 just a year ago and Misbah himself who has had a lot of success in the recent past are all known to be defensive captains who are content to sit back and wait for things to happen than go for the kill. Maybe it's because of the flat wickets but captains are getting more n more defensive. Yet they're getting success through this approach. And it's not me who's saying this, Ed Smith, a very well reputed writer at cricinfo, has talked about this issue in his latest article "What's so wrong with negative fields anyway?".

  • irfan on July 15, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    no no no pak is not a weaker team . pak is best team in the world .the main thing is sometime players do not put theire effort as suppose to be .

  • Bilal Ahmad on July 15, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    Pakistan is one of the most dangerious team of the world as you have seen vs England in UAE.......... If sri lanka won the match by 11 decision made against Pakistan then that,s not mean pakistan is a weaker team..... So my suggestion is that Please think before write some thing

  • Prasad on July 15, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    I think the move made by Mahela was a well made one, its Obvious that Sri Lanka is without Dilshan who was in-form in the first two tests,and furthermore apart from Sanga, we barely had batsman who scored runs against the Pakistani bowlers, Mahela, Thilan, Angelo & even Prasanna failed in all 3 tests. we must congratulate the great Kumar Sangakkara who gave his best in the series. All the best for the Lions in the India series.

  • S on July 15, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Weaker team? Probably except a couple of good Sri Lankan players,Sri Lanka was in no way a stronger team. The first paragraph was enough to tell your viewpoint on the subject. Didn't bother to read the rest.

  • msak55 on July 15, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    Mr. Chopra seems to be drunk while writing this rubbish

  • ken aziz on July 15, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    Pakistan is an unreliable batting side, therefore should be considered a weak side. If not for their world class bowling they would be considered even weaker. Captains and Cricket Boards should be mindful they owe an obligation to the paying public, the hans that feeds them and pays their lucrative incomes. Entertain us.

  • Ranadeva on July 15, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    Think Mahela’s decision is spot on. Excusive greed for a win might have opened up the flood gates….why risk it?

  • Aamer Khan on July 15, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Have you considered, Mr. Chopra that Misbah was asked before Jayawardena if he wanted to opt for an early finish and thinking that Sri Lanka will surely go for the target, he would have accepted the offer. You being a journalist should never assume things, let alone making critique on your assumptions.

  • farhan on July 15, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    Samir and other armchair critics can only "talk".. where as Mahela and Misbah actually "walk" on the field.

  • Mehran on July 15, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    Pakistan..... A weaker team? We can expect such comments from an Indian only.

  • Ghulam Dastgir on July 15, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    I am rather more interested to make one writer on "Cricket Affairs", reading this article. Could anyone please help what it takes to get your articles published here on Cricinfo?

  • vajira.g on July 15, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    Mahela had to play defensively because we haven't won a test series since Murali's retirement... winning a test series was our 1st priority than winning it 2-0...

  • NaveedHashmi on July 15, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Samir, seems like you are only angry because as per new rankings Pakistan has sneaked past India. And had they lost 2-0, India would've been at no. 04

  • Misbahrules on July 15, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    The writer clearly hasn't played any cricket in his life as some of the things he says in this article are quite daft. And most crits had Pakistan as the favourite to win the test series before it started so the phrase 'weaker team' is out of order!

  • Atif Siddiqui on July 15, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    I was watching the game, and the decision boggled my mind. I thought and thought as to why the decision was taken. One explanation come to mind: The series loss, especially in the fashion it was lost, could it be to help make the decision easy to tour Pakistan? Just a thought any way.

  • V for Vendetta on July 15, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    Mr. Chopra, you are an armchair critic. It's one thing to watch the game on tv and make judgements, but it's another thing to be playing on the field. Sri Lanka has been prone to collapsing at crucial junctures and even by playing defensive cricket they lost Mahela and Thilan. Pakistan's bowling attack is pretty good, so they are in no manner the 'weaker' team. Junaid and Ajmal(even Gul who is unpredictable) have the potential to rip through the batting line up and make all the efforts put into achieving a test series victory after years of waiting pointless. Maybe once Sri Lanka re-establishes their position in Test cricket they will have more thrilling contests where they will go for the win putting much at stake. But for the moment, the first step in reviving Sri lanka cricket is to achieve a series' victory and Mahela provided just that. Hats off to him!

  • aasim on July 15, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    a very good article adding salt to the wounds of so many Pakistani supporters. in our part of the world we call such people phapo kutni. well done mahela and misbah for giving good cricket

  • FanCric on July 15, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    You might be right about Pakistan being a weak team because they lost a test series 1-0 for the first time in 2 years (which is the definition of a weak team).......I would love to hear your comments about another similar team which happens to be whitewashed 4-0 and then whitewashed again 4-0 within months. Did you not mention that team because by your definition it is not worthy of being called a team ?

  • ADD on July 15, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Perhaps the time has come to turn Test matches into four-day affairs with 90 overs per innings. Perhaps, also, the idea of winner-take-all one-off Tests...

  • Ahmad on July 15, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Samir Chopra, you have written this article with a true indian mentality, calling Pakistan a weaker team. Have not you seen the latest ICC test ranking? Pakistan is ranked number 4, better than India and Sri Lanka. Does that make any sense to you?

  • jaleel on July 15, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    dear samir, one of the areas i would like to highlight is that there is still 10 overs to be bowled. as spectators and viewers i hope everyone of us want to see maximum play. within that 10 overs lot of excitement would have happened and that was wht we are expecting in test cricket. an exciting finish.in this test the 2nd day was washed out. considering the above facts they would have played till the last over. as we all know cricket is an uncertain game.

  • huththa gandai on July 15, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Sri Lanka threw away a great chance to stamp their brand in test cricket.It may take a while for them to get another.

  • puke hila on July 15, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Call it what you may ,but I think Mahela did himself a great dis-service by not going for the kill in the 3rd test.I am an islander from Tonga who is also a cricket fanatic and I've always followed the SL cricket team's performances with great interest because they play the brand of cricket the West Indies used to play during Viv Richard's time. Pakis had only one bowler who could have troubled SL at that juncture viz Ajmal.Hence they should have just played his overs down and attacked the other bowlers to get the necessary runs.Poor Poor show Mahela.

  • Ahsan on July 15, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Pakistan is a weak team ? you must have a good imagination or living under a rock for the last 2 years. England , South Africa, New Zealand and even SriLanka(in UAE)and Pakistan didnt loose a single series. And the pitch was as flat as they come on the last day of the game. Mahela was at fault for not goingg for the win and not Misbah because ball wasnt doing anything for the seamers or Ajjmal.

  • Ahsan on July 15, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Pakistan is a weak team ? you must have a good imagination or living under a rock for the last 2 years. England , South Africa, New Zealand and even SriLanka(in UAE)and Pakistan didnt loose a single series. And the pitch was as flat as they come on the last day of the game. Mahela was at fault for not goingg for the win and not Misbah because ball wasnt doing anything for the seamers or Ajjmal.

  • Srini on July 15, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    As usual, irrelevant drivel about one statement in the article regarding Pakistan as weaker team. If it is not a weaker team in this series why did it trail in the series? why didn't Misbah go for victory especially when his team is 0-1 down and have to win to at least level the series? The point made in this article is spot-on and Mahela did hide behind what he thinks is playing T-20 cricket when all that was needed was quick scoring. Mahela and Misbah are not the first ones to do this and they will not be the last. It is captains like these that make the cricket purists' skin crawl.

  • Haroon Butt on July 15, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    And Samir Chopra makes the fallacy of writing a post without referring to the ICC Test rankings and recent Test form. Also, it seems the author had not seen any of the match given that the pitch resembled a motorway more than a day 5 pitch. Having said that, I agree that Misbah could/should have attacked more, but we all know that is not the Misbah way, and the Misbah way has worked for Pakistan in recent years. I also have to say that as a Pakistani supporter, I think the comments posted by Shani Khan are utterly despicable and wish the comment had been removed by the moderator. Such frankly racist and personally abusive comments have no place on a cricket forum. Kindly crawl back under your rock sir!

  • Ali on July 15, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    the author really has no idea about the current strength of Pakistani bowling.

  • Nipun on July 15, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with this article.

  • Osama Ashfaq on July 15, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Pakistan a weaker team. Samir have you seen the recent ICC Test Ranking? Pakistan is above India & Srilanka (Despite not playing at home since long). Yes, Pakistan team made some mistakes in the first test, but in both second and third test, Pakistan could have forced results if rain had not intervened. So Stop calling Pakistan a weak team.

    Here i would also like to give Misbah credit, because in both 2nd and 3rd Tests, his supporting declarations setup intriguing ends. Even in the last test, his decision to accept draw had more to do with placidity of the pitch than to any shyness to attack.

    Similarly, Mahela's decision was also rational. He respects and understands what Pakistan bowling can do. One wicket and Pakistan had at least three bowlers who can on their day fizzle out teams in minutes. So, i think both the captains were right to a large extent.

  • shadab on July 15, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    mr samir for your kind information pakistan is not a weaker team in test cricket.

  • Alan on July 15, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    i completely agree with the writer when he talks about misbah's strange decision to accept jayawardene's offer to call off the match early. agreed, that even if all the overs had been played out, the most likely outcome would've still been a draw, but when you are the one who's down in the series, you shouldn't be letting go of any opportunity to eke out a result in your favour. anything could've happened — a freak run out, a lucky umpiring decision in pakistan's favour for a change — which could've changed the complexion of the match. as a pakistani fan, although i was happy with the performance of the team in the last two tests, i was very disappointed by this particular decision of misbah's. pakistan have improved as a test unit over the last year, but they still seem to lack killer instinct

  • abdul lati f usman on July 15, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    quite true a 2-0 loss would not have mattered. 1-0 or 2-0 the series was lost so pakitan should have gone all out to attack.

  • Thaveesha on July 15, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Mr. Samir I too don't agree with mahela's decisions. At the end of the day all cricket fans need to see some good competitive cricket which was not there to see at pallekele. But when you said that pakistan was a "weaker team" i was really surprised. How can you call them a "weaker team" when they beat the world number 1 ranking side few months back? and I'm not a pakistani even! I don't know from what basis you arrived to that conclusion, then what about india who suffered 8-0 defeat? Judging by their recent form can't we call them as a weaker team as well? Anyway overall i think this article is little harsh on jayawardena and his captaincy. Yes, he might have done things which we don't agree upon but at the end of the day we won a series and that's what any sri lankan will want to see.

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  • Thaveesha on July 15, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Mr. Samir I too don't agree with mahela's decisions. At the end of the day all cricket fans need to see some good competitive cricket which was not there to see at pallekele. But when you said that pakistan was a "weaker team" i was really surprised. How can you call them a "weaker team" when they beat the world number 1 ranking side few months back? and I'm not a pakistani even! I don't know from what basis you arrived to that conclusion, then what about india who suffered 8-0 defeat? Judging by their recent form can't we call them as a weaker team as well? Anyway overall i think this article is little harsh on jayawardena and his captaincy. Yes, he might have done things which we don't agree upon but at the end of the day we won a series and that's what any sri lankan will want to see.

  • abdul lati f usman on July 15, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    quite true a 2-0 loss would not have mattered. 1-0 or 2-0 the series was lost so pakitan should have gone all out to attack.

  • Alan on July 15, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    i completely agree with the writer when he talks about misbah's strange decision to accept jayawardene's offer to call off the match early. agreed, that even if all the overs had been played out, the most likely outcome would've still been a draw, but when you are the one who's down in the series, you shouldn't be letting go of any opportunity to eke out a result in your favour. anything could've happened — a freak run out, a lucky umpiring decision in pakistan's favour for a change — which could've changed the complexion of the match. as a pakistani fan, although i was happy with the performance of the team in the last two tests, i was very disappointed by this particular decision of misbah's. pakistan have improved as a test unit over the last year, but they still seem to lack killer instinct

  • shadab on July 15, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    mr samir for your kind information pakistan is not a weaker team in test cricket.

  • Osama Ashfaq on July 15, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Pakistan a weaker team. Samir have you seen the recent ICC Test Ranking? Pakistan is above India & Srilanka (Despite not playing at home since long). Yes, Pakistan team made some mistakes in the first test, but in both second and third test, Pakistan could have forced results if rain had not intervened. So Stop calling Pakistan a weak team.

    Here i would also like to give Misbah credit, because in both 2nd and 3rd Tests, his supporting declarations setup intriguing ends. Even in the last test, his decision to accept draw had more to do with placidity of the pitch than to any shyness to attack.

    Similarly, Mahela's decision was also rational. He respects and understands what Pakistan bowling can do. One wicket and Pakistan had at least three bowlers who can on their day fizzle out teams in minutes. So, i think both the captains were right to a large extent.

  • Nipun on July 15, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with this article.

  • Ali on July 15, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    the author really has no idea about the current strength of Pakistani bowling.

  • Haroon Butt on July 15, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    And Samir Chopra makes the fallacy of writing a post without referring to the ICC Test rankings and recent Test form. Also, it seems the author had not seen any of the match given that the pitch resembled a motorway more than a day 5 pitch. Having said that, I agree that Misbah could/should have attacked more, but we all know that is not the Misbah way, and the Misbah way has worked for Pakistan in recent years. I also have to say that as a Pakistani supporter, I think the comments posted by Shani Khan are utterly despicable and wish the comment had been removed by the moderator. Such frankly racist and personally abusive comments have no place on a cricket forum. Kindly crawl back under your rock sir!

  • Srini on July 15, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    As usual, irrelevant drivel about one statement in the article regarding Pakistan as weaker team. If it is not a weaker team in this series why did it trail in the series? why didn't Misbah go for victory especially when his team is 0-1 down and have to win to at least level the series? The point made in this article is spot-on and Mahela did hide behind what he thinks is playing T-20 cricket when all that was needed was quick scoring. Mahela and Misbah are not the first ones to do this and they will not be the last. It is captains like these that make the cricket purists' skin crawl.

  • Ahsan on July 15, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Pakistan is a weak team ? you must have a good imagination or living under a rock for the last 2 years. England , South Africa, New Zealand and even SriLanka(in UAE)and Pakistan didnt loose a single series. And the pitch was as flat as they come on the last day of the game. Mahela was at fault for not goingg for the win and not Misbah because ball wasnt doing anything for the seamers or Ajjmal.