Pakistan v South Africa, World T20 2012, Super Eights, Colombo

Hafeez banks on value of quicks

Abhishek Purohit in Colombo

September 27, 2012

Comments: 94 | Text size: A | A

Umar Gul bowls at a nets session, Dubai, September 4, 2012
Mohammad Hafeez has backed his premier fast bowler, Umar Gul, to put in a big performance © AFP
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Players/Officials: Mohammad Hafeez | Umar Gul
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: Pakistan

Fast bowling has always been Pakistan's most prized asset. To borrow from finance, it has been akin to a treasure chest of US government bonds, usually one of the safest investments on the planet. The batting in recent years has been like mid-market stocks, capable of volatility. Spin bowling has become a productive investment of late, with blue chips in Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi. But as capital from across the world flees to the safety of US government bonds in times of uncertainty, Mohammad Hafeez is confident his fast bowlers will recover from the expensive outings in the group stage and bowl like the match-winners they have been as the World Twenty20 gets tighter.

"We are blessed with some of the greats in Twenty20s, especially Ajmal and Afridi," Hafeez said. "This is our strength, even though we rely on our fast bowlers who unfortunately could not do well in the group matches. We are hoping they come up with good performances. Umar Gul is one of them."

The economy rates of Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat after two games are 11.71, 9.66 and 9.25 respectively. The form of Gul, the joint-second highest wicket-taker in T20Is after Ajmal, is particularly worrying for Pakistan. Hafeez, though, said Gul was experienced enough to handle the issue.

"He realises when he is not doing the basics right," Hafeez said. "The good thing from what we can see is that he is very focused and working hard in practice. Bowling coach Mohammad Akram is working with him. We know he is our match-winner.

"Pitches in the group matches were really good for batting. Our bowlers tried hard to get something out of them but sometimes you can have an off day. Anyone can have an off day, anyone can bowl badly. But with the positive attitude among our bowlers, I am confident they can return to rhythm soon."

Pakistan played both their group games in Pallekele but Hafeez said that with the side having experience of playing in Colombo, the change of venue for the Super Eights would not make much difference. "I know the conditions will change from Kandy to Colombo, adjustability will be a factor. We have played enough here in Colombo, we know the conditions well."

Hafeez said playing the Super Eights in Colombo gave the Pakistan spinners more opportunity to make an impact. "The pitches in Colombo in the tournament have been batting pitches so far. Spinners play a role here, there is some turn. There was not much turn in Pallekele. We feel with the kind of spinners we have, we will do well here in the Super Eights."

While Afridi's role as legspinner will be crucial, Hafeez said Pakistan were also looking forward to his contributions with the bat. "We are relying on Afridi with both bat and ball. And we are very happy with his attitude during practice. He is batting very well during practice, and when the time comes, he will surely win the game for us."

The return of Kamran Akmal to the side has also boosted the batting, Hafeez said. Kamran smashed an unbeaten 92 as Pakistan came back from 91 for 5 to successfully chase 186 against India in a warm-up game. He also made an unbeaten 22 against Bangladesh, hitting the winning runs after Pakistan had sealed their qualifications to the Super Eights. "Kamran has been an excellent package for Pakistan as a wicketkeeper-batsman. Our batting has been strengthened by his comeback after a year."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Areeb_Pakistan on (September 28, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

@STRIKER14: Man your both predictions have gone wrong , Australia and Pakistan are the winners now !

Posted by Areeb_Pakistan on (September 28, 2012, 14:43 GMT)

@ STRIKER14 , Now what you say man ??? Your one prediction has been dusted to ground by Pakistan !

Posted by Sanjiyan on (September 28, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

@Sohaib_khalil.10 Winning by 7 runs is hardly a crushing. Pakistan played exceptionally well in that match, and as i recall Afridi was the one who did it for pakistan. Lets hope pakistan dont have to rely on him again

Posted by STRIKER14 on (September 28, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

Pathan should play today.Warner will always play in leg side.The bowling sholud be low and outside off stump.If u put that delivery he will get out.

Posted by STRIKER14 on (September 28, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

Pakistan and Australia will loose today.SouthAfrica and India will qualify to semifinals.

Posted by EvilAvi on (September 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Pakistan has been very consistent when it comes to World T20s. But Still they need to bat well against the duo of 'styne' and 'morkel' and also have to be careful while fielding against the world's best fielding team. Hoping to see a great competition when Pak face us on 30th...

Posted by baranasai on (September 28, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

For Pak Akmal brothers and Ajmal and Afridi are awesome Same here In SA Hasheem,Devilliers and Dale are very good. Iam sure it will be a mouth watering contest . Let us pray it turns out to be a red hot game.

Posted by mu05 on (September 28, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

shame on those people who still thinking to bring aamri i dont think Pakistan need him we have lot of young talented fast bowler but important thing Pakistan board and selector should give them proper chance . after wasime and waqar pakistan have not any fast blower played 50 test matches coz we are always see we see short term advantage not planning for long tarm

Posted by nagios on (September 28, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

Best of luch green shirts....May the Almighty Allah grant you the full strength and wisdom to win this and all rst of matches for Pakistan

Posted by Always_be_Pakistani on (September 28, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Crucial Match for Pak Team... I think If Pak team Wins the Match Against SA (Hope & Trust) then the major contributors in the team will be,,

Batting:: Akmal Brothers & Nasir Jamshed,, Bolwing:: Gul,Ajmal & Afridi

For those who criticize the selection of Umer Gul, The Top 3 wicket Takers in T20I and umer Gul is one of them..

Yap umer Gul doesn't performing well since 2011 but every player has a bad patch in the career so as Shahid Afridi also has.... but why people doesn't criticize him too ??? Because people knows that the "LALA" can be a match winner in any circumstance when the day belongs to him, so as the Umer Gul Case, when his line n Length comes back to the form, NO one can survive against his Superb yorkers... so Please be Positive and Always supports Pakistan in any case.

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Tournament Results
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West Indies won by 36 runs
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