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September 13, 2012

World Twenty20 2012

An instinct for T20

Kamran Abbasi
The Pakistan team with the trophy for the Twenty20 series, Pakistan v Australia, 3rd T20I, Dubai, September 10, 2012
A recent T20 series triumph over Australia is further evidence of Pakistan's aptitude for a quick joust  © AFP
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The world is not enough for some cricketers who crave the riches of mercenary T20 tournaments. But the World T20 about to unfold in Sri Lanka is the competition to win. It might not make you rich, although it will put you in the shop window. You might even enjoy making your nation proud of you. Romantics like to think that there are higher instincts than a hunger for cash.

For Pakistan players, absence from the Indian Premier League now matters less since T20 thrashes in Australia, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka began to offer an outlet for talent and an influx of foreign exchange. Yet the World T20 remains important to Pakistan in the midst of its current political and cricketing plight. Indeed, the format plays to Pakistan's strengths. A recent T20 series triumph over Australia is further evidence of Pakistan's aptitude for a quick joust.

Historically, Pakistan perform well in World T20 tournaments. Two exhilarating finals and a dramatic semi-final defeat speak of the highest pedigree. But T20 cricket is as much about luck as it is about talent. It is also about instinct--and the longer a game of cricket the more tactical and less instinctive it becomes. Pakistani cricketers thrive on their instinct to smite or beguile. Perhaps those instincts create their own luck?

A tournament in Sri Lanka means that Pakistan start among the favourites by default. Familiarity with the conditions and strength in spin bowling are inevitable arguments in their favour. But Pakistan are by no means favourites--no team can be in such a tournament. And their opening group is a tricky one with Bangladesh and New Zealand both dangerous. Even making the second stage will be a mini-triumph.

Still, Dav Whatmore and Mohammad Hafeez will guard against complacency. Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, and Umar Akmal will excite and disappoint at the least predictable moments. Abdul Razzaq will attempt a sober version of spectacular heroism. Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Sami, and Sohail Tanvir will wonder how long they can prosper from the nostalgia of selectors. Kamran Akmal will thrill and spill. Asad Shafiq will play a long game in a short match. Raza Hasan will offer a glimpse of new horizons. Shahid Afridi will Boom Boom and Umar Gul will Guldoze. Meanwhile, Saeed Ajmal, the undisputed champion of the world, will be the rock that breaks wave after wave of enemy attack, a Titan in a sea of raging turmoil.

At the end of all this, Pakistan might win the World T20 again--they have as good a chance as any. Or they might bomb out--they have as good a chance as any. Such is the unpredictable maelstrom of T20 cricket. But if they do get close again we might conclude that the game of T20 is about instinct and that Pakistan's maverick cricketers are as instinctive as they come.

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

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Posted by Ahmed Yar Khan on (September 26, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

The Pakistan Team has done well to qualify inthe SuperEights . They now face their toughest match whichi is against South Africa .They will need to get their act together for this match . South Africa Ida very strong and balanced side with strong batting , bowling and very good fielding . This will be the real test forPakistan . Pakistan,s biggest weakness is its fielding including wicket keeping ., India may not be a big challenge for Pakistanm . While they have a strong batting side , they are weak in bowling . Pakistan strongly needs the inclusion of Abdul Razaq fort the next two matches . He needs to play at number 4 / 5 position . Cronyism isa luxury Pakistan cannot afford it wants to qualify for semi finals .

Posted by aftab from VB on (September 26, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

If we learn anything at all from the group stage, it will be that the teams came with the right preparation. Those who think that they know better than Hafeez who should be there, try getting there like he did. This tournament so far has shown more intent to win the trophy by leading teams than any other ever. It also has closed the case on T20 being an ad hoc format - the differences between ranks are the same as would be in test matches. T20 is the winner so far. Let's hope Pak team keeps pushing for lifting the trophy.

Posted by Mian Mohammad Hasan on (September 25, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

Pakistan,s weaknesses were badly exposed: very poor fielding , very poor wicket keeping , dropped catches . They were also lucky that an easy catch of Imran Azim by BanglaDesh saved them from presure . At the match with South Africa they will not be so lucky to get away with bad fielding , dropped catches and poor wicket keeping . Also importantly , Abdul Razaq is badly needed to be included . He is a very superior player forT20s and he will be badly needed in the match against South Africa .

Posted by Javed Ahmed Mufti on (September 25, 2012, 17:00 GMT)

Pakistan may win the match today but they made a pathetic display of very poor fielding , bowling , field setting and of really poor wicket keeping as well . But for Bangla Desh dropping Imrannazir,s catch when he was on one , Bangla Desh could have put presure onPakistan .,pakistan Team if it plays the way it did today against. The better Teams it will loose badly .,

Posted by Ismail Merchant on (September 25, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

Important lesson for Pakistan : Bangla Desh dropped an easy catch when Imran was on 1 .they lost a golden opportunity to put pre sure on Pakistan . Imran Nazir would not have been so lucky against the First Line Teams .

Posted by Mohammad Hanif Jhumra on (September 25, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

Onevp of the most surprising thing tom see is the contnuing exclusion of Abdul Razaq . He isva much better batsman and bowler as compared to Shoaib Malik and is alsoa far better bowler as compared tomSohail Tanwir.

Posted by Asad Ali Khan on (September 25, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Bangla Desh in scoring 176 did not show any brilliance in their batting . It is just that Pakistan,s bowling , fielding and catches dropped were a pathetic sightnto watch . Itbseemed Pakistan was determined to play badly and they did just that

Posted by Javed Whyne on (September 25, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

In my 50 years of watching Pakistan play I have not seen such poor fielding and wicket keeping as in today,s match against Bangla Desh . Looks like the Team is determined to loose to Bangla Desh .

Posted by Chaudhry Amjad Iqbal on (September 25, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Pakistan,s fielding has always been very poor . However , inn today,s match against Bangla Desh it has sunk to the lowest level ever . Is the Team determined to loose ? Why was Abdul Razaq not included ? The performance of the Team looks pathetic.

Posted by Javed Malik on (September 25, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

It is very painful watching Kamran,Akmal keeping wickets . It is clear no side in the world has a worse wicket keeper . It is mind boggling how he manages to be in the Team .

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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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