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September 26, 2012

World Twenty20 2012

Paradoxical Pakistan are an emerging threat

Kamran Abbasi
Imran Nazir was first to fall for 25, New Zealand v Pakistan, World T20 2012, Group D, Pallekele, September, 23, 2012
Imran Nazir's batting performances, along with Nasir Jamshed's, give Pakistan batting a rare edge  © AFP
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If it is a rare pleasure for Pakistan to thank their batsmen for a victory, twice in a row is a luxury. Bowlers win matches for Pakistan, batsmen sometimes save them. Hence several tremors of trepidation pulsed through their supporters' hearts when Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir began a chase of 176 for a win and another chase of 140 for qualification to the Super-Eights stage of this World T20. Pakistan's batsmen, in paradoxical fashion, atoned for the sins of their bowlers.

First, erratic Nazir confirmed the true nature of the pitch with a match winning knock in international cricket. Nasir Jamshed then confirmed the true nature of his talent with another notable international performance. Meanwhile, Hafeez rode an early scare to guide and occasionally smite his team to the target. On such wickets, and on such form, Pakistan's batsmen may finally come to a party.

Earlier Hafeez's bowlers had been equally surprising; a worried coach was bewildered by the short length that his pace attack persisted with. Shakib Al Hasan took candy from each baby, leading Bangladesh's brave bid for qualification. Umar Gul, once known for laser-guided accuracy, sprayed his missiles by random vectors. Yasir Arafat stole three wickets without threatening even to take one. Sohail Tanvir saved his spell with a peach in a rotten bowl of fruit. The acclaimed spin trio were tidy, nothing more. Pakistan were poor with the ball, albeit on a batsman's wicket, but worse in the field. A timid effort that invited questions about the endeavours of Julien Fountain and Mohammad Akram, specialist fielding coach and specialist bowling coach respectively.

In some ways, Pakistan are paying for the sins of selection. Mohammad Sami and Raza Hasan, for very different reasons, are unlikely to threaten the starting XI. Abdul Razzaq seems out of favour, when his all-round play would offer greater strength and depth than Arafat. All these machinations create high pressure for Gul during his overs, a responsibility he seems unwilling to accept. Indeed, rather than the spinners, for whom even a poor performance tends to be adequate, Gul's form could hold the key to Pakistan's progress in this tournament - a strength cannot become a weakness.

Expect Pakistan's bowling to improve now that they can settle into the second round. But the batting performances of Nazir and Jamshed are early warnings of Pakistan's emerging threat. Nazir requires a good wicket to unfurl his repertoire, while Jamshed is a much more substantial prospect. Both strikers backed up by Kamran Akmal's reinvigorated shot selection, and Hafeez's desire, add an explosive start to each Pakistan innings. Dav Whatmore will know that bigger challenges, and far stronger bowling attacks, lie in wait but his masterstrokes could turn out to be discovering the momentary pause button in Nazir's brain and offering Jamshed his moment at number three.

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

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Posted by S.M.Ehsanul Amin on (October 6, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

Due to lack of performance in Batting Pakistan lost the game to Srilanka.I am from Bangladesh but i love Pakistan team a lot.My heart was broken while they lost to minow Lankans.Never the else i will say T20 is a game of mad people.Best wishes for Pakistan in future........

Posted by Pakman on (October 3, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

I agree with the comments callign for Jamshed's inclusion in the test side. He has the technique for it certainly; and with the absence of the time crunch of limited overs cricket his test batting could be fabulously fluent.

Posted by WAHAB on (September 30, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

pakistan playing well in all match and my side against india as

imran nazir hafeez ( 2/4over) nasir kamran malik umar akmal afridi (4over) abdul razzaq ( 2/4 over ) yasir arafat (2/4over) umar gul ( 4over ) saeed ajmal ( 4over )

after that pakistan have more batting option

Posted by Iftikhar Malik on (September 28, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

Pakistan , as it often displays once again against South Africa showed an an unmatched capacity of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory . I hope now when it is too late Hafeez is not allowed to bring in Abdul Razaq and Sami . After Pakistan returns home after getting defeated by India as well hopefully a process of accountability will take place and non performers such as Shoaib Malik,, Imran Nazirr , Kamran Akmal and Afridi getting retired .

Posted by Ajmal Mian on (September 28, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

Continuing cronyism has played havoc as far as the Pakistan Team progressing in this Tournamentn up,to its potential . Hafeez has been determined to exclude players of outstanding merit such as Abdul Razaq and Pakistanm has had to pay the price . The performance of Hafeez,s crony,s Imran Nazir , Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal was pathetic . There is a overdue need for the selection process to be made more transparentn. Lastly , election should be made National . Inability to speak Punjabi should not be a bar for players of merit . So many players of the class of Saeed Anwar and Mandad are excluded solely because they cannot speak Punjabi .

Posted by Shamshad Ali khan on (September 28, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

Justification often cited for retaining Kamran Akmal as a wicketkeeper is that he can bat a bit . After atrocious wicket keeping today against South Africa he failed miserably in batting as well . Imran Nazir also as he does against firsttierTeams failed I batting once again . Pakistan is paying the price of cronyism . PCB should regularly publish statistics and rankings for the Team ., selection process needs to be made more transparent . Hopefully glaring cases of exclusion of players of outstanding merit such as Abdul Razaq will not happen l,

Posted by Mohammad Asif Jhumra on (September 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Bowlers both fast and spin need to be supported by good wicket keeping. Kamran Akmal has wrecked the careernof several bowlers with his very poor wicket keeping . In particular in the last five years or so he has been particularly cruel on Mohammad Sami dropping dozes of catches on his bowling . He appears to be similarly determined to wreck the career of Hasan Raza missing a very simple stumping chance in this young bowlers first over . In spiteofhis atrocious wicket keeping he manages to keep his place in the Team .

Posted by Humayun Butt on (September 28, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Kamran Akmal has very often played a leading role in key matches for the opposition with his fumbles , dropped cathes and run out opportunities . He has done the same in the key match against South Africa missing a very easy stumping chance. He is easily the worst wicketkeeper foamy side in the world .

Posted by talha arshad on (September 28, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

In my personal opinion Pakistan is playing as a unit, if they are playing with same passion there is no reason they wn't hold T20 cup. Raza Hassan is a surprise package and it should be included against team Like Africa.... Sohail Tanveer is the weakest link of all he cant field cant bowl other some ordinary leagues. A place which has erupted so much debate is inclusion of Afrat rather than Razzak.....

I wish good luck to team PAKISTAN.

Posted by Ismail Merchant on (September 28, 2012, 7:14 GMT)

I for one hope that Hafeez will play his Cronus Shoaib Malik , Imran Azim Nazir and Sohail Tanwir in the match today . I am sure they would like to rested today from,the matc against South Africa . Today,s match will also be a test for Afridi . As a batsman he has not performed for years . My predictions: If South Africa bat first they will,score 200 plus . Then we will have a real,test in place of Pakistan,s capacity to,chase . The weaknesses of Pakistan were fully exposed in their last match against Bangla Desh l

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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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