ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

New Zealand v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Pallekele

Pakistan dismiss concerns about balance

Osman Samiuddin in Pallekele

March 6, 2011

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Shahid Afridi is overjoyed after bowling Harvir Baidwan, Canada v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 3, 2011
Shahid Afridi is the leading wicket-taker in the World Cup to this point © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Pakistan

Pakistan may have a 100% record halfway into the group stage of the World Cup but concerns about the balance of the side refuse to go away. On Thursday, they completed an ultimately comfortable, but mostly tense, 46-run win against Canada, but their batting flopped under grey skies as they were bowled out for 184 in just 43 overs. In the end, Pakistan were indebted to captain Shahid Afridi, who ripped through Canada's chase, ending with his second five-for in three games.

The opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad were separated early for the third straight game, but it was the inability of the lower middle order to rally that will be of greater concern. Pakistan have selected a deep batting line-up, with Abdul Razzaq coming in as low as number eight, to guard against precisely the kind of top order stutter they suffered against Canada. They have persisted with selecting only three specialist bowlers, relying on allrounders such as Razzaq and Hafeez to complete the fifth bowler's ten overs: so potent has Afridi been that he is increasingly a specialist bowler.

"Everyone has the right to give his opinion but we have not closed our eyes and ears," Intikhab Alam, the team manager, said on Sunday after a practice session. "The team management is doing its homework and whatever is in the best interest of the team they do it. In a cricket match 7-8 players do not perform every day. It is two, three players who get the job done."

The side takes on New Zealand in Pallekele on Tuesday and a win would all but ensure a quarter-final spot. The teams recently played a six-match ODI series in New Zealand, which Pakistan won 3-2 (one game was washed out) but conditions here will be starkly different to those in New Zealand in January. For one, the venue is at considerable altitude. "This place is 2000 ft above the sea level and altitude affects the breathing so we're working hard on that," Alam said.

"It's a tough game against New Zealand. We won the series against them but here the conditions are different. We will try to keep our 100 per cent record intact."

As has been the case through the tournament, Pakistan underwent another focused practice session. On Monday, Alam said, the team will do batting and fielding practice only in order to give some players enough recovery time. Abdur Rehman, who missed the game against Canada with a leg injury, did train with the side and will bowl on Monday, though Alam said, "It's too early to say with which combination we will go into the game against New Zealand."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 41 
Posted by Amjad.Amu on (March 9, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

Trust me it was heartbreaking display from Pakistan cricket team, in all form of game. They have dommed in all depatment of the play. I don't know what they are expecting from their present openers. They have to go long way from here. They have displayed a satisfactory action. They don't deserve the mighty cup, if they would continue such performance. I would say its a jolt & alaram for the big battle which are still they have to face. we have just crossed 30 journey of the tournament. There are still no favorate. Shahid bhai Please shuffle your line up. Try to choke every moment in the game. Never give chance to your opponent & surpass yout strategy. Call S. Malik or Md. Yusuf. so that batting will become more formidable. Keeping edging ur feilding & keep talking & encouraging to your team mates. We will make it Insha allah we will land you the dream land.

Posted by khurramsch on (March 8, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

well todays match against nz showed clearly that balance is not right shehzad failed 4th time in a row. replace him with a bowler / asad shafiq. bowling has a weak link and more importantly captaincy. he just stock to dressing room plan of bowling with spinner when bowl was moving. poor display & yes balance is 100% wrong. every bowler wants to bowl old bowl every batsmen wants to bat up in order. kamran at 3 just doing nothing and moving every 1 down the order.

Posted by mr.cruizy on (March 7, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

the comments about including malik in the team is not a bad one but droping asad shafiq for him is no good. the guy is new in the team and he is getting confidence just being in the WC squad. lets not destroy his confidence. and i totaly agree to the pak managment for the selection.we r in perfect position in every departmenet (lets not talk about fielding as its not considered part of cricket in our country unfortunatly).promoting Razzaq to no.3 is useless.we need solid starts and not necessarily FAST/PASY starts because we can deal with big hittings lower down the order starting from MISBAH+UMAR AKMAL+AFRIDI+RAZZAQ and that is only possible if we get a good solid start. becuase we have kamran at NO.3 who can counter attack the bowling any time any day IF AND ONLY IF the oppeners give us a good start plus ahmad shahzad is NOT a slow batter he is aggressive by nature so we can deal with that too at the top. the only problem is STAYING AT THE CREASE.Rest, bowling is WORLD CLASS.go green

Posted by aamed33 on (March 7, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

Why doesn't Pakistan follow example set by Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka,  who are arguably the three of the best one day teams at the moment, and play four  fast/seam bowlers. They are fortunate to have two batsmen who can bowl spin anyway, in Hafeez and Afridi, and this will give them so many more bowling options. We don't need three spinners to bowl thirty odd overs, which normally yeald two to four wickets. If the four speedster were to bowl 30 to 35 overs in each match, I'm sure they would roll over the opposition for a lot fewer runs than the combinatin is doing at the moment. The Aussies done it against England, beating them 6-1, and they are doing the same in the sub-continent, as are SA and SL. India just don't have enough quality quickies, but Pakistan, but unlike the W Indians we've never ever utilised them to their full potential. Play to your strength, Pakistan, give it a try - you might find youself winning a lot more.

Posted by Hrazapak on (March 7, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

I think Pakistan must continue with Ahmed Shahzad and Hafeez as openers, Kamran at no.3 does a fine job if not Spectacular. Younis and Misbah guard the middle overs and nudge the ball around till the 38th or 40th over.This provides a nice base for the lower middle order to hit out If Pakistan can score about 190 runs at the end of 40 overs with the lose of just 4 wickets , then they can easily score 280 runs or more in their alloted 50 overs. But I still prefer Ahmed Shahzad and Hafeez to open instead of Kamran

Posted by amjonline on (March 7, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

Pakistani openers should have practice with all new ball and if they can get a chance for bating practice they should go o the middle3 of the ground instead in the net. Openers should learn to handle the new ball and fielding restrictions rest is ok for the team.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2011, 7:56 GMT)

I think Ajmal will replaced by Shoib Malik becouse he able to bat very good and also will be proved reasonable bowler on this types of pitches.

Posted by RehanAhmad on (March 7, 2011, 7:44 GMT)

No point in sending AR at top, he is a devastating batsman who can single handedly change the game scenario from his stunts at the death overs. Intead, Afride should send him at no. 7 and drop himself to 8. Kamaran Akmal should open the inning instead of Shahzad and Asad Shafiq should fill no. 3 spot.

Posted by msidd on (March 7, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

I dont know why people are posting such bizarre comments of promoting razzaq at number 3 or above .... this is a world cup not a regular tour against a lowly rated team where you experiments these sort of things ... face it razzaq is best when it comes to dealing with depth overs he has loads of experience there we dont have 4 or 5 matches to see if he is suited for top order positions or not..... Pak team is well balanced only need shahzad to fire... inshallah he will i think he has it in him.. ;)

Posted by crazyguy_2011 on (March 7, 2011, 7:25 GMT)

my playing 11 against the new zealand are 1 hafeez, 2 kamran akmal, 3 younis khan, 4 misbah ul haq, 5 umar akmal, 6 shahid afridi, 7 abdul razzaq, 8 umar gul, 9 shoeib akhter, 10 saeed ajmal and 11 junaid .. shazhas is a good palyer but they should consider him in the test matches and he is most suited for the game , where as in the one day games they always need to hitter like a sehwag. So i always want to selected the imran nazir, we also saw him earlier to contribute to pakistan cricket and i hope this comment could be consider. pakistan never find a solid oppener after The Great saeed anwar.

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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