ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

New Zealand v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, Pallekele

'Don't think we should panic' - Waqar

Osman Samiuddin at Pallekele

March 9, 2011

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Shoaib Akhtar erupts after Kamran Akmal dropped Ross Taylor behind the stumps, New Zealand v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup, Pallekele, March 8, 2011
Shoaib Akhtar did not enjoy Kamran Akmal dropping Ross Taylor off his bowling © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Waqar Younis
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Pakistan

Waqar Younis did well to appear considerably composed and calm after a thumping defeat that revealed the true fragility of Pakistan's challenge in this World Cup. Pakistan's coach even played along with a couple of Kamran Akmal jokes, of which there were many.

He has seen days like this in his own time, days when Pakistan unravel so swiftly and so completely, everyone feels like a fool for thinking, hey, they're looking good as a unit. But there is something about Waqar these days, a thoughtfulness and patience even, not apparent in his early, brasher years, which might just hold them in good stead over the next couple of days.

There was much appreciation of an incredible innings from Ross Taylor and a noble attempt to deflect blame from Akmal, a man least in need of avoiding blame. Shahid Afridi, at around the same time, was telling a Pakistani channel that Umar Akmal may be used as a wicketkeeper in forthcoming games. But the core message was that they need not become despondent yet.

"We are not going to panic here," Waqar said. "That's the important thing because if we panic here we're really going to struggle in this tournament. There are still big games to come, we've got Australia to handle and then we've got a quarter-final if we get there, so I don't think we should panic about it. We had a bad day. We should stop here and look forward."

The sense early on in the game was clear: some days Pakistan turn up and some days they don't. This was one of those when they didn't. Shoaib Akhtar bowled no-balls, there were wides and overthrows and misfields. The energy that had been apparent in the field in three games was considerably down and slipped further with each Akmal fumble. Afridi seemed irate, distracted.

Ahmed Shehzad, usually the bounciest in the field, was invisible, weighed down, no doubt, by three failures with the bat. The sun - this was the first time Pakistan had fielded during the day - seemed to drain them. Shehzad's form, and partnership with Mohammad Hafeez, is now officially under the scanner. In four games, the pair have put on 11, 28, 16 and now 5.

"We've got five days to recover from this defeat, it's a big defeat," Waqar said. "We've got to sit down and start talking rather than practicing because it's not on. We need to really start delivering when you talk about the opening slot, even if we have to make any changes. We might do that, yes, because it's been a worry for the Pakistan team for the last couple of matches that the opening has really not given a decent start, and that's why we are suffering."

No doubt Waqar will also bring his own considerable expertise of bowling at the death to bear now, in the harsh light of an assault that saw 100 runs given away in five, scarcely believable overs. New Zealand's timing of the batting Powerplay was cunning, forcing Afridi to bowl out himself and Umar Gul, their best bowler on the day. But Waqar would still have expected more from Shoaib and Abdul Razzaq than the buffet of thigh and waist-high full tosses they eventually served up.

"The drops were a big turning point, without a doubt," he said. "To give chances to somebody like Ross Taylor, who's a top player in their side, two chances in three balls really cost us, but we bowled poorly also in the end. A couple of overs from Shoaib and Razzaq really, 50-60 runs in two overs and you don't expect to win after that. We didn't bowl at the right areas where we needed to bowl in the block hole and with more variations, slower ones."

They are in trouble, but only if they stay as defensive as they have done so far. "We have five days to recover and think about it and don't do the mistakes which we did in this game. The tournament is still wide open, we started well and won three games. I don't think we should worry that much that we are not going to qualify for the quarterfinals but definitely we want to get some of the momentum from here on and make sure we win the rest of our games."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 12, 2011, 9:13 GMT)

Yes, no need to panic. They will again play him as a wicket keeper, he will again drop catches and miss stumps and give extras behind stumps. And Pakistan will lose matches again because of JUST ONE PLAYER. Just like pak lost matches in sydney, eng and last match, and almost lost if sangakara didnt got out after kamran missed two stump chances. Bottom line, you play akmal he will drop catches and stump chanches and pak will lose. MARK MY WORDS. Remember Boucher just dropped one catch of Fleming and SA went out of 03 world cup. Same case here... wait and see, he will cost us matches I can guarantee.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 12, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

Waqar has already panicked. All other top teams have almost finalised their team combination for the knock out round while Pakistan team management is still confused. Let us hope they win against Zimbabwe otherwise their chances of qualifying for the quarter finals are almost nil.

Posted by Iqbal on (March 12, 2011, 1:08 GMT)

I think Waqar knows what he's saying because there is every reason to panic especially when the team started so well and kept the momentum going for the first three games. The underlying reason for this callous attitude seems to be the fact that Pakistan wants to end up No. 3 or 4 in Group A as this will be more comforting for them in the quarter-finals which are scheduled to be played in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, respectively. In other words, they are refraining from taking on their opponents on the Indian soil (for obvious reasons), which is not a bad idea after all.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 11, 2011, 19:45 GMT)

I agree with Waqar but one thing which is worrying nation that we are not learning lessons from mistakes.Managment seems to be weak.Either they have not proper planning or players are not executing it in middle.We have seen in past that when our back is against the wall we perform.Make sure that we should win against Zimbawe do not wait till last game.Belive in yourself and deliver.

Posted by Amir on (March 11, 2011, 11:31 GMT)

This is the time to panic if they dont drop kamran akmal then we are gonna be out of this worldcup.

Posted by Rafi on (March 10, 2011, 22:06 GMT)

I think Pakistan team has the talent but needs to get out of the defensive frame of mind. It starts from Inti, who was an extremely defensive captain and had very few wins despite having superstars like Zaheer, Majid, Mushtaq, Asif Iqbal in his team. To have any chance of success, start with the reality that we are one player short - do not consider Kamran as part of the team. The next step - be aggressive in our approach. Bring in Asad Shafiq, Umar to do the keeping, replace Razzaq with Wahab, and finally replace Rehman with Saeed Ajmal.

Posted by Lalith on (March 10, 2011, 19:38 GMT)

@Azhar Chughtai, Yes there were 3 impact players for PAK in Karmal, Aktar, Razaq. Aktar wins 1 out of 10 for PAK, all other 9 is horrable. He is bowling No Balls, wides, Short Balls. Full tosses. He should be dropped. He is not effective against top teams. Anyway PAK are unpredictable, can go all the way to WC or get thrashed out at QF.

Posted by Iqbal on (March 10, 2011, 17:41 GMT)

Is Waqar telling us the truth by saying that they are not 'panicking' in light of the embarrassing loss to the Black Caps whom they had recently beaten 3-2 in a recent ODI series at home?. I suggest they do a lot of introspection and bouncing off of ideas within the team itself generally and among the tour selectors specifically. This is all the more important now that the BIG GAMES are just around the corner, and the next one against Zimbabwe is the perfect platform to regroup, try a more solid combination and plan/implement vital strategies with Plan A as well as Plan B in place so as to avoid the possibility of another Pallekele debacle. No ifs or buts......period!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 10, 2011, 12:31 GMT)

To be frank Afridi doesnt posses a leadership qualitie ok he is senior most and his performance specially in bowling had led by example but there are certain factor which going out of his way he is not as calm,cool compuosure when things are getting litt,e bit out of hand his frustration very much wriitten on his face plus he is the one who panics very early.And his QF not want to be play in India exposed his mental weakness.Pakistan will have to do something wxtraordinary to win the World cup

Posted by mohammad on (March 10, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

Well, when no team has given 90 plus runs in less than 5 overs , anyone in the cricketing world will raise an eyebrow. No opening batting pair and a dependable wicket keeper in more than 8 years can not be justified by any coach, captain and selector, that is the sole point. The team was definitely panicky and that is why they performed that way in all departments, captaincy to keeping to fielding. The coach should have said,"it is not expected and must not happen, rather than saying we are not panicked". The captain gave up so did not tell his bowlers how to bowl, the bowlers panicked so forget good bowling at that stage, as simple as that. After 15 years in the game these simple things should not be taught to the experienced players. The clear picture is, no real consistently strike bowler, no dependable batsman, and horrible keeper and fielders. Any coach should be panicked with this #8 ranked team who may desire to win the cup. I do not dream but realistic.

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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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