India v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Gwalior November 15, 2007

A series lost and nothing gained

Pakistan lost the series today, to Tendulkar's majesty, but for all intents and purposes, it was the uncertainty and instability around the team since Shoaib Malik's captaincy began, that lost it for them
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As a batting side, only two positions are fixed in Pakistan's line-up: Younis Khan at one down and Mohammad Yousuf behind him © AFP

Behaving like a twenty-something when you're actually 34 is frowned upon in the real world. In sport, of course, it is craved, especially if Sachin Tendulkar insists on playing the burden-bearing, pressure-free behemoth of his youth. In which case very little can be done about it.

There shouldn't be any shame in being eclipsed by such an innings, even if it is the losing of a series. Pakistan lost the series today, to Tendulkar's majesty, but for all intents and purposes, it was the uncertainty and instability around the team since Shoaib Malik's captaincy began, that lost it for them.

Replace the shame with real worry and concern instead for Pakistan's march in to a new era has now officially become a stumble. The worry is not over losing a series or two, for that would've been acceptable had something even a little solid, something a tiny bit concrete emerged from those losses about how this Pakistan team will shape up in this new age.

But since May, over the course of 12 matches, what has emerged? No clear vision, no sense of planning. Captains are expected to impose a way, a personality when they begin: how does Malik want his team to play, what does he expect from his seniors, how does he fit into those plans? None of those questions seems to have been answered since he took over.

As a batting side, only two positions are fixed in Pakistan's line-up: Younis Khan at one down and Mohammad Yousuf behind him. Above and below those nothing is set. In those 12 matches, Pakistan have shown only haste as tasteless as OJ Simpson's last book, already using eight different opening pairs and seven different players.

Considering the troubles they have had in recent years, one of the first priorities you would've thought would be to bed in one pair and give them an extended run. Three pairs have been tried in this series alone. So to no great surprise, there has been only one fifty partnership in those 12 matches - the one between Imran Nazir and Salman Butt in Abu Dhabi against Sri Lanka - in the very first match under Malik.

Pakistan are fortunate the two Ys are in such touch for without them, as Graeme Smith observed last month, they are regularly up a creek without a paddle. Shahid Afridi has batted in three different positions in India, Kamran Akmal has opened and played No. 8: flexibility, as Malik wants, is fine but there is a difference between that and simply not knowing what your best batting order is, as appears the case presently.

Injuries and absences to bowlers have been out of his control admittedly but it hasn't helped Malik and Pakistan that they haven't been able to bring Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif together for even a Twenty20 game. Even in matters in his control, like giving Rao Iftikhar Anjum an extended run, Malik has fluffed. Anjum was Pakistan's best bowler over five matches against South Africa as well as today, yet he sat out the last game after just two poor performances.

The uncertainty is everywhere. Vice-captaincy is often lambasted as a dud role, but most sides are happy with sticking to one, no matter how nominal the role. Pakistan have had three in those 12 ODIs. Akmal didn't drop a catch today, a source of pleasant surprise given he had dropped at least one in each of his last five matches. His form has been poor before too, but instead of trying out another keeper, Pakistan bizarrely and blindly insist that Akmal is second only to Adam Gilchrist.

But the most vivid impression they have left through this series is of a disparate bunch of individuals, not fractious, but just not glued together. Occasionally players have sparked something fantastic, but there doesn't appear to be a direction. That fizz, that unique Pakistani mirch (spice) has been absent, leaving a very bland taste in the mouth. An appalling over-rate has showed up their sluggishness.

The situation isn't by any means unsalvageable. Even his predecessor, that most inert of leaders, Inzamam-ul-Haq, brought this team together. However he did it, it worked for a brief period, so there must be hope with Malik. Young leaders of Pakistan have rarely been given the time and crucially the support they require. Malik seems to have both these precious, rare gifts. But in that time, he has to announce himself, take his team by the collar, give it a kick up the backside and give it some semblance of shape and direction.

Osman Samiuddin is the Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zagoo2000 on November 18, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    I really agree with 'Isaacking'. Its pretty obvious that psycologically Shoaib Malik is still feels the pressure of having senior team mates. If we contrast it with todays match, where his team mates were quite young, we could notice a team captain, a leader playing on the field. Though he is a great all rounder but unfortunately under these conditions i really believe it will take sometime to see a great captain with in him.

    I am dying to see this team playing together: Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Yonus Khan (c), Mohammed Yousuf, Shoaib Malik (vc), Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Muhammed Sami, Umer Gul and Muhammed Asif. I would hope to see this happening soon. Good luck pakistan!

  • moosabhai45 on November 18, 2007, 8:01 GMT

    i thnk we should find a better opening pair i think imran nazir is a very good batsman but sometimes he does not play responsibly but if we give salman butt and imran nazir a long run for about 10-12 matches they will start getting some confidence and start building partenerships they are only going to get better as well as kamran akmal has to be replaced ASAP he has had too many chances to prove himself he has failed on most occasions we need some new blood SARFRAZ AHMED about yousuf not being a team player if he does not play like he plays we would not score too many runs he stops his wicket and plays sensibly. if he palys and tries to hit it out everytime there is a big chance of him getting out. so he has to anchor his wicket and score with singles and doubles and some time the odd boundary and about our bowlers they have been doing a real good job but we have to get akhtar, sami, asif and gul to see how the opposing team. and malik is the goign to be a great captain he needs time.

  • pksmen on November 17, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    The observations are too pessimistic. Salman butt and Misbihul haq were really excellent . Yousuf and younis didnt do bad either by the law of averages. Malik Kamal and Afridi could have done better. At least three of the first five have to perform well to keep a winning chance. This did not happen because they did not want it and that is cricket. This has happened with India too and with many other teams. I feel that it is their bowling department which has lost its teeth.Shoaib is accurate but his an over rated player. Most of hisballs above 144 kms looks to me as deliberate chukking. An occasional deliberate chucking cannot be found out by testing. Recall the confession of Chalrlie Griffith. Umpires do not want to call during a match. Umargul looked only a shadow of what he is capable of. Anjum did well. The comments about Inzumamul Haq was un warranted.

  • MuneerDar on November 17, 2007, 14:35 GMT

    Apart from technical qualifications, I think leadership qualities is a prerequisite and the most important factor for a sucessful captain. Sorry to say but I cannot see any of the ingredient in Malik. I suggest to pakistan selection committe not to waste time in experimenting but to lay a solid captain selection formula without any prejudice.

  • Amani on November 17, 2007, 12:33 GMT

    Firstly, I'd just like to comment on kika's comment, what a loada` rubbish? I'd like to see you do any better as opening batsmen for Pakistan see how you can do, Taufeeq Umar has had an awful start to the Pakistan first class season with three ducks in 4 matches. Afridi at no. 8? He'll either score you a quick 30+ in a few balls or get out, what's the problem in that? He's no use at 8...

    This is a comment from a 14 year old, read it before you write, ok?

    Amani.

  • zahaib on November 17, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    i think malik needs to either send one of the more experienced players to open or persist with himself coming in. You've got to face the newball upfront with your best batsmen and get on with the challenge. i mean you look at all the better teams in the world and they have their best batsmen coming in to open, take india, south africa, australia and even srilanka for example. putting up under-confident guys against the new ball is just preparing them for furhter failure..!

  • tariq-siddiqui on November 17, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    we really welcome Mohamed sami to come back in the side but why Afridi is dropped from the test squad? He can be better than Abdul Rahman. Afridi is 3 dimension where as Abdul Rehman is only a bowler & diffcult to be impresive against Indian batsman. By adding Afridi Pakistan can play with 3 fast bowlers & 2 spinners also that will help our batting. I think Afridi should be the part of team otherwise team will missed the aggression. Please convey this to selectors not to drop Afridi from the Squad, in my opnion, he can be wicket taker against Indian team not Abdul Rahman.

  • cricket_fan_1 on November 17, 2007, 3:56 GMT

    Hi, There is so much hoo haa about nothing. Osman, i expect you to be more responsible rather than writing just to get comments and create controversy. Just because Pakistan has lost to india, it seems that the pakistan team is groping in the dark. You can't win everyday. The team showed solid fighting spirit by chasing >320 in the 2nd ODI. Shoaib is a good captain, he needs some direction in high pressure situations. For any pakistani captain playing in India is the highest pressure. Only one thing i would like to echo from Salman Butt, find your 2 best openers and stick with them. Everyone is given time to settle except the openers.

  • English on November 17, 2007, 1:14 GMT

    I think that Pakistan take things too easily. If you look at the match in which Salman Butt got 129- Butt wasn't trying to smack out of the ground when Pakistan needed 46 off 29 or something like that to win, he was just taking the singles. The only person who I think is trying is Younis Khan. He is accelerating at the right time and I think it was because of him that Pakistan won the 2nd ODI. They should push Sohail Tanvir up the order, because when he bats, he is swashbuckling. Yes, Mohammad Yousuf is playing well, but he just takes his own time. He seems to want to improve his stats more than win the match for Pakistan. I think Sarfraz Ahmed should replace Kamran-it's no good playing a injured player. Sarfraz is also a good hitter, as far as I have heard.

  • ndogcricfan on November 16, 2007, 21:28 GMT

    I am Indian fan, but even I think this article is a little harsh on the paks. They have a state of emergency at home; how concentrated will they be on cricket? Also, the games they lost were played well, but India played better. Dhoni has been a superb captain, making things different for the paks. I'm sure game five will be interesting; maybe some more boom boom from Afridi, and Praveen kumar might play

  • zagoo2000 on November 18, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    I really agree with 'Isaacking'. Its pretty obvious that psycologically Shoaib Malik is still feels the pressure of having senior team mates. If we contrast it with todays match, where his team mates were quite young, we could notice a team captain, a leader playing on the field. Though he is a great all rounder but unfortunately under these conditions i really believe it will take sometime to see a great captain with in him.

    I am dying to see this team playing together: Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Yonus Khan (c), Mohammed Yousuf, Shoaib Malik (vc), Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Muhammed Sami, Umer Gul and Muhammed Asif. I would hope to see this happening soon. Good luck pakistan!

  • moosabhai45 on November 18, 2007, 8:01 GMT

    i thnk we should find a better opening pair i think imran nazir is a very good batsman but sometimes he does not play responsibly but if we give salman butt and imran nazir a long run for about 10-12 matches they will start getting some confidence and start building partenerships they are only going to get better as well as kamran akmal has to be replaced ASAP he has had too many chances to prove himself he has failed on most occasions we need some new blood SARFRAZ AHMED about yousuf not being a team player if he does not play like he plays we would not score too many runs he stops his wicket and plays sensibly. if he palys and tries to hit it out everytime there is a big chance of him getting out. so he has to anchor his wicket and score with singles and doubles and some time the odd boundary and about our bowlers they have been doing a real good job but we have to get akhtar, sami, asif and gul to see how the opposing team. and malik is the goign to be a great captain he needs time.

  • pksmen on November 17, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    The observations are too pessimistic. Salman butt and Misbihul haq were really excellent . Yousuf and younis didnt do bad either by the law of averages. Malik Kamal and Afridi could have done better. At least three of the first five have to perform well to keep a winning chance. This did not happen because they did not want it and that is cricket. This has happened with India too and with many other teams. I feel that it is their bowling department which has lost its teeth.Shoaib is accurate but his an over rated player. Most of hisballs above 144 kms looks to me as deliberate chukking. An occasional deliberate chucking cannot be found out by testing. Recall the confession of Chalrlie Griffith. Umpires do not want to call during a match. Umargul looked only a shadow of what he is capable of. Anjum did well. The comments about Inzumamul Haq was un warranted.

  • MuneerDar on November 17, 2007, 14:35 GMT

    Apart from technical qualifications, I think leadership qualities is a prerequisite and the most important factor for a sucessful captain. Sorry to say but I cannot see any of the ingredient in Malik. I suggest to pakistan selection committe not to waste time in experimenting but to lay a solid captain selection formula without any prejudice.

  • Amani on November 17, 2007, 12:33 GMT

    Firstly, I'd just like to comment on kika's comment, what a loada` rubbish? I'd like to see you do any better as opening batsmen for Pakistan see how you can do, Taufeeq Umar has had an awful start to the Pakistan first class season with three ducks in 4 matches. Afridi at no. 8? He'll either score you a quick 30+ in a few balls or get out, what's the problem in that? He's no use at 8...

    This is a comment from a 14 year old, read it before you write, ok?

    Amani.

  • zahaib on November 17, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    i think malik needs to either send one of the more experienced players to open or persist with himself coming in. You've got to face the newball upfront with your best batsmen and get on with the challenge. i mean you look at all the better teams in the world and they have their best batsmen coming in to open, take india, south africa, australia and even srilanka for example. putting up under-confident guys against the new ball is just preparing them for furhter failure..!

  • tariq-siddiqui on November 17, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    we really welcome Mohamed sami to come back in the side but why Afridi is dropped from the test squad? He can be better than Abdul Rahman. Afridi is 3 dimension where as Abdul Rehman is only a bowler & diffcult to be impresive against Indian batsman. By adding Afridi Pakistan can play with 3 fast bowlers & 2 spinners also that will help our batting. I think Afridi should be the part of team otherwise team will missed the aggression. Please convey this to selectors not to drop Afridi from the Squad, in my opnion, he can be wicket taker against Indian team not Abdul Rahman.

  • cricket_fan_1 on November 17, 2007, 3:56 GMT

    Hi, There is so much hoo haa about nothing. Osman, i expect you to be more responsible rather than writing just to get comments and create controversy. Just because Pakistan has lost to india, it seems that the pakistan team is groping in the dark. You can't win everyday. The team showed solid fighting spirit by chasing >320 in the 2nd ODI. Shoaib is a good captain, he needs some direction in high pressure situations. For any pakistani captain playing in India is the highest pressure. Only one thing i would like to echo from Salman Butt, find your 2 best openers and stick with them. Everyone is given time to settle except the openers.

  • English on November 17, 2007, 1:14 GMT

    I think that Pakistan take things too easily. If you look at the match in which Salman Butt got 129- Butt wasn't trying to smack out of the ground when Pakistan needed 46 off 29 or something like that to win, he was just taking the singles. The only person who I think is trying is Younis Khan. He is accelerating at the right time and I think it was because of him that Pakistan won the 2nd ODI. They should push Sohail Tanvir up the order, because when he bats, he is swashbuckling. Yes, Mohammad Yousuf is playing well, but he just takes his own time. He seems to want to improve his stats more than win the match for Pakistan. I think Sarfraz Ahmed should replace Kamran-it's no good playing a injured player. Sarfraz is also a good hitter, as far as I have heard.

  • ndogcricfan on November 16, 2007, 21:28 GMT

    I am Indian fan, but even I think this article is a little harsh on the paks. They have a state of emergency at home; how concentrated will they be on cricket? Also, the games they lost were played well, but India played better. Dhoni has been a superb captain, making things different for the paks. I'm sure game five will be interesting; maybe some more boom boom from Afridi, and Praveen kumar might play

  • abusafa on November 16, 2007, 20:47 GMT

    I think Captain's own role as a player is a major problem. Shoaib had a few opportunities to lead by example but so far has failed to deliver. Captain needs to be an outstanding or leading player. His record, both as an ODI and a test player is very ordinary indeed. He needs to play a couple of match winning, extra ordinary innings, to get he team going.

  • jkView on November 16, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Dear Fans, I am very happy that India won series. I think, India and PAK should lift the Game bit more up in tempo such that when take other good teams ( from far way places such as Australia and West Indies) it is easy for us to win them. In fact, India and PAK should work out plan for common Ranji match such that player learn from each other and also improve team strength. And also i wish Cricket should do good things and connect PAK with India in all sense for Good life ( free life) in South East Asia. Let us hope for the best.

    Best Regards jk

  • AmMaR_KhaN on November 16, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    i want to say as the commentators r saying from the first ODI, Pakistani batting is all of same type, there is no one who can change the game any monment instead of afridi, who is the biggest risk, hez not trustworthy, wut i want is to bring back abdur razzaq, we really need him, as we saw in last 10 to 12 matches that we really need a match winner and razzaq is one, and the other suggestion is dat give imran nazir a chance in middle order, i have seen him playing , he got God gifted timing, actually the problem is wid him is that he plays carelesly while opening and i am 101% sure that he can play great in pressure, we are changing positions of every player , why not give him a chance in midle order, he will be lethal,

  • salmantarar on November 16, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    Pakistan has to change its batting line up..caz it doesn't let them build up on its muscle..You've got an opening pair in Butt and Nazir ..Malik to come 1 down caz he is an easy goer earlier on and rotates the strike better then younis Khan, Yousuf though deserves a 2 down spot..Younis and Misbah after him and then the all rounders come in..like afridi, and the new w.k..and then you have room for three specialist bowlers in Shoaib Akhtar, Muhammad Asif and Gul or Sami..In this line up you have very strong batting side coupled with very strong pace attack..In this team your two all rounders in Malik and Afridi will have to ball there quota of ten overs..which is essential they are both good bowlers and will have to concentrate on there bowling to keep tidy in the middle overs.So,1.Butt 2.Nazir 3.Malik 4.Yousuf 5.Khan 6.Haq 7.afridi 8.keeper 9.Akhtar 10. Asif 11. Gul or Sami. This is a balanced team that can give you high totals and best bowling attack with individual responsibility

  • ravivarma on November 16, 2007, 17:03 GMT

    The credit should go the Indian bowling and fielding. They have put the Pak team under pressure right through with control of line, length and extras given. In the not too distant past most overseas players struggling for form would find Indian bowlers and fielding easy picking. Players like Akmal struggling to get runs have been checked. Our Indian team should be commended for their efforts.

  • salmantarar on November 16, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    Pakistan after Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail has finally two triffic and talented openers in Imran Nazir and Salman But, they both have all the strokes in the book...and they are young! the only policy you need now is to keep them playing and have them settled, have them play against all the bowling attacks in the world ....So that by the next world cup you have two settled mature and flamboyant stroke makers on the top..That would be complete injustice to there talent and Pakistan team that this policy is not picked up...know your talented and have your bet on them always, this is an investment that will start paying off as it goes....enough said ....Kamran Akmal is full of it....Catches win Matches! and he has droped more than his fair share....a nick used to be considered as dismissal hands down with Moin Khan and Rashid Latif ...now you have bowlers thinking other ways then a nick caz Akmal ain't gonna catch....

  • ravivarma on November 16, 2007, 16:37 GMT

    The credit should go the Indian bowling and fielding. They have put the Pak team under pressure right through with control of line, length and extras given. In the not too distant past most overseas players struggling for form would find Indian bowlers and fielding easy picking. Players like Akmal struggling to get runs have been checked. Our Indian team should be commended for their efforts.

  • ravivarma on November 16, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    The credit should go the Indian bowling and fielding. They have put the Pak team under pressure right through with control of line, length and extras given. In the not too distant past most overseas players struggling for form would find Indian bowlers and fielding easy picking. Players like Akmal struggling to get runs have been checked. Our Indian team should be commended for their efforts.

  • almostmadetheteam on November 16, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    This team of Pakistan reminds me of the team in 70s. Several big names but no synergy between them. I totally agree with Rameez that Yousuf has become a selfish player who only cares for his stats. Yes, by the time his innings is finsihed, his strike rate goes up but it only happens towards the end when they have already lost the cause. If a player is in form, he carries the team and a player like Yousuf should plan his innings accordingly. Secondly, I strongly believe that India as a team is much much stronger than Pakistan. And main reason for that is, the support Dhoni gets from his seniors. Shoaib does not have that.

    Jamal Syed

  • maraeen on November 16, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    i 100% agree with the osman that shoib malik captain of pakistan team have to show his presence not just to his players but to the opposition too, he needs to be more agrasive and smart to out smart the opponents, 11 players have to play like team not just to save the skins by playing for themself, shoib have to be more vocal in & out of field and should stop making silly excuses, his body language has to be improved, he looks so tense in & out of the field and infront of the camera that other teams takes lot of encourgement by listening to his negative talk, he is young but he needs to overcome all that and learn the hard way.

  • crickter04 on November 16, 2007, 14:34 GMT

    I been playing cricket all my life and i follow cricket every where happened in the world first of all i will congrulate to indian team for their serious win i think they found the best leader in the shape of MS Dhoni for the future and now come back to pakistan team we been hearing since child hood the basics of cricket play straight and on merit specialy as a opner with new ball but its the other way around the put their bat on should and try to hit every ball after paying big bucks no common sense and the bowlers the basic is ball wicket to wicket do not do too much ball witin urself but u can see what bowlers are doing six differnt balls in a overs with extra deliviers all the time and i think they should learn their lesson from AUSTRALIA and SA you know what the do the best they played togather and doing the basic things So i am worring about the future of pakistan in 160 million people they cannot find a good keeper for the last 1 1/2 year they lost because of KAMRAN AKMAL SHAME

  • sharon on November 16, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    pakistan team seemed lackluster and players looked selfish for their spot in the team. when you have ten overs remaining and 6 wickets in hand then what is the trouble going after the bowling. the players seemed to be unaware of their role in the team and go about the things as they wish or wat comes at them. captain hasn't got that charisma required to lead a team. he seems most dejected in tough situations. there should have been a guy who had some respect in the team w.r.t his own performance which shoaib sorrily lacks. with this all going in future i suspect pakistan will stand nowhere.

  • kika on November 16, 2007, 12:16 GMT

    Pakistan should be serious about their opening pair! Since almost a decade they are not able to find a good opening pair. And Kamran Akmal is the worst wicketkeeper. The Afridi matter: put him at no. 8. He is a more an important bowler than a batsman. The team should get some new faces. Shoib Malik is ok as a captain. He definetely has to improve. He will. Maybe he should keep on opening the innings with maybe Khalid Latif (a new youngster). And get Taufiq Umer back, he can do wicketkeeping as well.

  • Hate_Paki_Love_Bangladesh on November 16, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    I think pakistan must have to change captain , so that shoaib malik can bat freely and not just that many of the players in this team are capable allrounders and if they got a thinking veteran captain, that will be very helpful for the players and for team . And blaming someone without reason is not good. All great players once have to face some bad time and for shoaib that came very early in his career . He is still young and can learn a lot through this kind of experiences. One day he will defenitely make a mark of his own.

  • gudu on November 16, 2007, 12:04 GMT

    Talent-wise we have the best pools of resources and can beat anyone however we have SA and AUS coming to our countries and kicking our butts, why?.. because we lack planning to find, groom talent. There is too much politics. Simplest thing to do is make all players play a certain number of domestic game every year keep on giving them cumulative points and select top 14-15 players based on points. I am a hard core Indian fan but if there is any team i like other than India its

  • nadeem1969 on November 16, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    The problem is not so simple. The root cause is not the capability of the captain alone. It is the state of things that the whole country in general and the sports in particular are these days. There is no planning, no strategy, no vision and no heroes. Look at Pakistan's performance in hockey, athletics and other sports. Cricket is no exception. These cricketers are no magicians. They are a product of whatever incorrect policies have been adopted in the last 5-10 years. Dont expect consistency from them. When we as a nation are not consistnt in any sphere of life, how can these cricketers or other sportsmen be. Its not their mistake alone. If Pakistan is to coe out of this stop-start syndrome, the Administration would have to devise a national sports strategy and then stick to it.

  • heavens on November 16, 2007, 10:20 GMT

    I agree with th comments upto some extent. Pakistan cricket is going through a very bad patch at the moment and there are many reasons for that failure. My biggest problem at the moment is wicket keeper and we have to accept that we lost this series because of bad wicketkeeping, Kamran Akmal had dropped catches at key moments and if we look at the last 4 or 5 series pakistan played, we have to admit that we lost most matches just because of bad wicketkeeping and it is really bizarre to compare kamran akmal with adam gilchrist. on the basis of his performance he can not even get a place in Pakistan-A team as well. All blame should go to selectors really and also Malik himself is an average batsman and he suits more to pakistan team an all rounder opening batsman not just a middle order pure batsman. Misbah should play at number 5.

    Another strange thing for me is why pakistan do give chance to young players like of Fawad Alam and Sarfraz Ahmed. Time has come to play with young guns

  • sunny_deol on November 16, 2007, 9:53 GMT

    Dear All,

    Adityavpratap is bang on target . Both India and Pakistan have doemstic cricket but its not respected and not used properly to groom talent for international team. Talentwise we have the beast pools of resources and can beat anyone however we have SA and AUS coming to our countries and kicking our butts, why?.. because we lack planning to find,groom talent. There is too much politics. Simplest thing to do is make all players play a certain number of domestic game every year keep on giving them cumulative points and select top 14-15 players based on points. I am a hard core Indian fan but if there is any team i like other than India its Pakistan.

  • VineetM on November 16, 2007, 9:33 GMT

    First up...Pak experts shud give a break to Mohd. Yousuf. Despite me being Indian, he is one batsman I just love watching. Experts like Rameez Raja and Aamir Sohail have been going on and on as to how he bats for personal goals and bats to slowly. His strike rate yesterday was the same as Tendulkar's and its not his fault that pak lost. Others ought to have taken up more responsibility. He plays his role to the T and its only that people above and below him in the order except for Younis Khan are not settled and not given clear goals.

    Shoaib Malik must be given some time for him to come good. And he must look at other opening options like Yasir Hameed. That guy tormented Indians the last time and its unbelievable that he can't find a place in the side.

  • aparnalok on November 16, 2007, 9:27 GMT

    I do not quite agree. The problem with evenly matched teams (and contests) is that that the end results are more often decided by outcomes of few 50-50 situations. To appreciate, we have just to consider those numerous 50-50 situations that happened in course of the matches and realise what would have been if only a few among them had come differently. Take another case, during 2004-05 ODI series between India and Pakistan which Pakistan won 5-2 or during 2005-06 ODI series between India and SriLanka which India won 6-1, were the losing teams in both the series so inferior as the scoreline suggested? The answer is quite clearly 'NO'(Notwithstanding the reaction of few overzealous fans!). The reality (most often) is that when a team loses it never really was very far from winning it but for the outcome of those 50-50 situations. Therefore such damning assessment by Mr Sami seems merely a over reaction.

  • Isaacking on November 16, 2007, 9:24 GMT

    It not the team where the problem lies, it with the selections of team.Pakistan need someone who is aggressive in his own way & for that reason alone they need to bring Abdul Razzak & Mohammad Sami with them they will bring pace & big hitting power they is missing for last 12 matches.Malik & Butt need to open with the understanding that if they both bat till 30 overs Pakistan will always reach 300 plus.As Imran use to say allow Shoiab & sami to attack the opponent with pace. Pakistan without 2 pace bowler is in their rank is never going to be Pakistan. Please bring Saqlain back if possible.

  • OneMoreBinge on November 16, 2007, 9:06 GMT

    I am an Indian and I know that the fear pakistani bowlers used to strike in hearts of Indian fans. That fear is missing now and it is the aussies that worry the homeside. Yet, pakistani team is new and will be a force to reckon with by next year. By contrast, Indian team will lose its 3 major batsmen and batting strength in tests may not be the same again. Twenty20 win notwithstanding. I do not agree to Ramiz raja's comments abt yousuf. 99 runs out of 104 balls is on par with Tendulkar. It is younis and yousuf and nobody else who is worth international class. Afridi is a flash in the pan and bowlers have sorted out rest of the promising batsmen. Akhtar and Asif have to bowl in tandem if bowling has to be a threat. Right now, only thing worth watching is speedometer when they bowl. In any case, the frustration of pakistani fans is fair but they should know Pak will rise again, but they need time. Selectors have doen a good deed in appointing shoaib malik for a long tenure.

  • Truegreen on November 16, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    It is amazing to see the comments above. First of all Osman noone is an overnight captain. Secondly it is amazing that you say Inzi got the team together. i think you are forgetting what the team was up to during his reign and in my view the best cricket coach ever (Bob Woolmer) was ineffective as he could not fight religion.

    I am fortunate enough to get the buzz from the inside camp and all the players including the seniors who initially were not sure are really happy with Sohaib and his captaincy. He is a young captain and is not blessed with the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Yuvraj so it will take time. Look at Salman Butt. He has shown how good he is. In my opinion anyone who can score a 100 against Australia in Australia can bat. simple !!!

    dont just dish on Sohaib simply because you have to write something contraversial. For the gentleman who is talking about Imran, sir he is not interested in giving back to Cricket what can truely help us. let him rot !

  • shumit on November 16, 2007, 7:24 GMT

    Cmon guys lets give this team a break! Its a wonder they are able to even put up a fight after the turmoil back home. Half of them would be living in dread of what might happen to their loved ones.

    The pakistan team is very talented. Malik is a very good batsman, and a good leader. After all, he led his team to the T20 finals!

    Do not victimize this bunch just because they are losing regularly to India. At present the Indian team is on a high, and led by a fearless, street-smart captain. Let us see what the tests bring to the table...

  • YoungLion on November 16, 2007, 7:08 GMT

    I think we should give due credit to Shoaib Malik and the Pak cricket board/management. The entire series has passed by without any untoward incident or any disciplinary action against any player outside the ground. I think we shodul give credit to the captain and manager for this. Lot of times, we take these things for granted. Regarding the performance, it is part of the game and we should accept victory and defeat with equal guts! If you look at cricket's history over the last 30 years, every team has gone through turbulent times, highs and lows, so chill out guys and lets appreciate the good things! I totally disagree that there was nothing to gain from this series for Pakistan!

  • Vamsi13 on November 16, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    The focus in on the pakistan team and I think it is more to do with selection issues. There is a lot of stick for Yusuf and Younus but these are the corner stones of pakistan cricket. You need to good opening combination and also some dahsers to finish it in the end. Afridi is not the only solution - you need to come up with more. In the bowling department - how can u omit players like Asif and Kaneria who are world class. Shoiab was definitely a faulty inclusion and the numbers sure show up. I think it is a good learning curve for the pakistanis but they need to to look at team selection very closely.

  • hank on November 16, 2007, 6:34 GMT

    I agree to some extent to your comment Osman , I think what Pakistan needs is have Shahid Afridi take more responsibility, and give him a bigger role he could be a great Captain and have Shoaib Malik be a vice Captain,What Afridi brings is pure aggresiveness,and that is what has been missing since the great captains of Pakistan Era ,Imran Khan ,Waqar Younus, and of course my favourite Wasim Akram,it is too bad we never gave time to Afridi to grow up with the game with little guidance from his seniors in the old days.it is still not too late.....

  • Raja_rox on November 16, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    I think Malik havn't got Good batting line up as India. Indian batting line up is world class so it is very difficult for only two Paki bowlers to bowl them out. I am talking about Shoiab and Umer Gul. They are only two best bowlers Pakistan have in this series. Pakistan is also missing Razzaq and his batting in last overs.

  • Stylishcricketer on November 16, 2007, 5:58 GMT

    This team is very unpredictable. They lose their way in the crucial ways i.e. they can't handle the pressure even playing up to 300 ODI's. The fire power always works when their is a little need not when there is more need. Blaming one man in the team is not the excused. The team management will have to make a strategy to over come this long term problem.

    Hope Pakistan plays well in the last time to salvage their pride and best of luck for Test matches.

  • Appleshesh on November 16, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    Osman, most of your assessment is pretty accurate but on the whole, it seems like a typical article from one of us those in the Indian subcontinent - Strip the captain and his team naked and spank them when they lose and point out every single shortcomings and if they win ...oh well - we parade them in Bombay or Lahore !! Malik needs some time to weave the team together. I am sure its not easy keeping the likes of Akhtar on leash or dictating terms to the likes of Younis and Yousuf. Yes, one thing I would agree is that Malik lacks that aggressive approach of a Javed Miandad or an Imran Khan, but he will learn.

  • sachidananda on November 16, 2007, 5:36 GMT

    Well....congrats for Dhoni and Co for snatching series.It was a good win.Both the teams played some good games with the top teams in the world.But when some teams play against top teams in the world,they should learn some thing from that and try to adopt that in the future.Dhoni team did that very well here because they overcame there past mistakes from the australin series and excecuted very well.But pak repeated there same mistakes what they did in the South African series.Right now they are definately lacking purpose and energy.Shoaib Malik must take some brave steps and he should talk with there senior players and should tell there role in the team. Why they are using Shoaib Akthar when he's not fully fit.It clearly shows that they are afraid to experiment with the new players.As long as they won't do such experiments with the new players and try to still play with such patient players,they will be definately lacking there energy and purpose............

  • adityavpratap on November 16, 2007, 5:24 GMT

    Hi, first of all, I completely agree with Junaid. To me, an Indian supporter, it does appear that Pakistani team is passing through a phase that Indian team was passing through some time back. Indian team is yet to come out of its bad phase completely. Unless we, both Indians and Pakistanis, develop our domestic cricket, we can not hope to measure up to international standards. We have to learn something from the Aussies. Indian team may look strong today, with players like Sachin, Yuvi, Dhoni, etc., going great guns. But they still lack the mental toughness and acumen to beat Australia consistently. Once again my heartiest commiserations to the Pakistani team and good luck in future. One plus point I have seen in this series is the growing rapport between the two teams.

  • Mythsmoke on November 16, 2007, 5:11 GMT

    There are a few questions that someone in the Pakistan cricket set up needs to answer: 1 - Can you ever play shahid afridi and shoaib malik in the same team: test or one day - both are all rounders in the sense that they are mediocre with bat and ball. 2 - is this the first time we have had a non-performing captain 3 - Is younis khan and mohammad yousuf's prosaic selfish style of batting really helping pakistan..sure they are consistent....just cant win you any matches 79 runs in power plays when these two batted.....the difference between these two and inzamam was that he would go on to make it count after a sluggish start 4 - When will Shoaib Malik stop being defferential towards his team mates and call it for what it is....it will be all too predictable at the end of this tour to see him as a bitter man complaining about the lack of support from the seniors

  • Eyeofthetiger on November 16, 2007, 4:58 GMT

    Hey Osman! You are absolutely right! This Malik seems like a useless captain. Even a junior school-level captain has better instincts and strategies. He gave up before the match even ended and let Salman Butt bowl. This proves he was hopeless and this negative attitude reflected on other team players too. Well I believe in one thing, what goes around, comes around. When Malik was flying high, he dumped his wife, to whom, he conveniently denies he was married to, funny really, when he had declared the news himself. Now it is his turn to be dumped!

  • PraveenK on November 16, 2007, 4:47 GMT

    The difference between current pak team and the last time they visited India is Inzi??? That means big gap of respectable leader, I believe Shoaib Malik is a good batsman than a good leader. He is young, given the pak team nature it will be very difficult to lead the team for him, It will be good idea to give up the captaincy and be a vice captain of the side for a while then take up the role and it will happen sooner or later. Younis Khan is ideal to lead the team, if not, Yousuf, he is not that old, he will be around at least for another 4 years, so, why not to give a chance to Yousuf?

    The problem of current team is Openers, Other than that there is no issue with the team, and good start is crucial for every match, in either format of the game.

    I really like the Osman's cricket analytical writings, keep it up Osman; I bet I haven't missed your articles.

  • esenian92 on November 16, 2007, 4:41 GMT

    Dear OS You have raised some very valid points but I fail to understand ramiz Raja's reasons for calling Yousuf a stats-guru. He has been one consistent batsman for Pakistan. I wish I could understand why Younis as vice captain does not contribute more to the team. If he can come in within the first over, why can't he be there for the first over? I mean why can't he and Butt open for Pakitan and give more options to the team. Instead of heaping more responsibility on hapless Kamran and depending on Mr.Unreliable Afridi to open the innings, wht can't Younis officially do what he is unofficially doing? Malik seemed under a lot of stress. Throughout the match he was grimacing and chaffing and no team member went up to support him. I am a great fan of Pakistan team. Win or lose, at least our body language should not be this defeatist.Chance should be given to young Sarfraz in last match. He has been specially flown over. At least try him out. The series is already lost.Good luck Pak Team.

  • cricketology_department on November 16, 2007, 4:31 GMT

    I enjoyed most the comment by Mr Junaid_Akram "i think overall Pakistan team is good but needs to improve in these aspects of game: bowling, batting, fielding, fitness, character, approach, mental strength, and the rest that i've missed." How a team that needs improvement in all areas be called "good" dear? Main article by Mr. Osman is harsh. I dont agree to give more time to some players. I wonder who was the last batsman making debut for Pak? How much time would you give to Imrans (Nazir & Farhat), Hafizs', Yasirs and Salmans. Look at their test and ODI averages. Regular openers have an ave above 40. How Pak selectors think they are openers is an enigma. An opener should negotiate opening overs when the ball swings. They must be good judge of pace, bounce and swing. You see many well-left and slod defensive blocks from openers. From Pak openers we only see a wild swing resulting in miss, four, six or dissmisal depending upon his luck on that day. Try fresh 20 some-thing now.

  • Farce-Follower on November 16, 2007, 4:21 GMT

    What this Pakistan team has done is make some mediocre Indian players look good...I just cannot see this same Indian team giving a fright to Australia in Australia...Let us see if Pathan can restrict the Aussies with a stump to stump line or if Sourav Ganguly can run three runs when he hits to the deep...

    I am not taking credit away from an Indian victory, but I am disappointed that the Pakistanis have not stretched them.

    Easily the most boring and inane Indo-Pak series ever.

  • sahilsahil on November 16, 2007, 3:41 GMT

    well well well! here we go again! when pakistan chases 322 then they become a FORCE! and when they lose they are just a bunch of jokers! dont you think we are being too harsh with this team! you talk about the talent! indian batting is world best right now!they can bat till no. 10 and what have we given Malik! two batsmen and two bowlers and a a declining wicket keeper and asked him to do wonders and win the series agianst worlds best batting line! dont you think we are just asking too much of this team! i think if pakistan even wins one test match, it will be a great series for them, just look what we are dealing with,GANGULY,TENDULKAR,DRAVID,LAXMAN,KARTHIK,YUVRAJ,DHONI,(6 OUT OF 7 OF THESE ARE WORLD CLASS GENIUNE BATSMEN) AND US younis and yousuf! comon let us be practical, let us not undermine what this team is doing right now! they are TRYING and trust me that us the best they can do! well they can go wrong at times but then if team like india can lose then we are no specail

  • Sanjeev on November 16, 2007, 2:01 GMT

    Give Shoib Malik a break, Osman. I usually agree with you but think today's article was a bit knee-jerk (though perhaps an honest assessment) after the series loss to India. The Pakistani team does perhaps need a 'kick up the backside' but you know better than I do that there are too many fractious forces in Pakistani cricket for a young newbie to suddenly heal. Whether he has the chutzpah to stand up to the powers-that-be and the senior team members to shape the team and glue it together to whatever extent possible ...only history will tell. But right now, 12 matches into his career as captain, is too early to put the blame on his young but capable shoulders. (Also, I think his lack of form makes him an easy target after the series loss. Rameez Raja and many other Pakistani ex-cricketers and commentators are going to come down harshly on Shoib Malik in the days to come - esp. if Pakistan lose the test series too. Still.. I say...give him time.)

  • HH_pink on November 16, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    "Flexibility, as Malik wants, is fine but there is a difference between that and simply not knowing what your best batting order is, as appears the case presently."

    EXACTLY, Osman. How else can Malik come to know what the best batting order is, if not by trying out different combinations, in real matches? Sure, sometimes experimentation like this clicks, like it did for India in the first year under Greg, but more often than not, it takes time, even upto a year, to get settled when the team has a new look to it. So have some patience (and you aren't supposed to be like any random fan would be) guys (includes Kamran Abbasi).

  • Euceph on November 16, 2007, 1:04 GMT

    It is sad that Malik hasn't taken a stance of any kind on Imran Khan's arrest. I wouldn't be surprised if the thought never occured to him. At the least, the team should've played with balck arm-bands or something. But, what can you expect from cricketer's for hire? Conformity! Expecting leadership from stooges is too much. The team would've at least had a valid reason for losing.

  • kaiser1 on November 15, 2007, 23:57 GMT

    I'm at a loss to understand the strategy of Pak Team in this series. When they know that Indian batsmen are capable of chasing down any modest target then why do they choose to bat first after winning the toss esp when u know that your team lacks the fire power to post an imposing target. You know you can't restrict them or bowl them out under your modest of targetsthen why don't you choose to field fisrt esp when you have won the toss. They should have given the first chance to their bowlers and then try out to reach the target and asses your batting abilities. It plainly looks that Pakistan is trying to bowl full quota of overs after batting first as they have to bat again to beat India. Pakistan never looked in command against Indian batting line up so to say that they will win a game agaist them by sheer bowling ability. batting line then should have been given a task at least today to try and reach the the target. I fail to understand the criticism of Ramiz Raja against M. Yousuf.

  • Nrao786 on November 15, 2007, 22:54 GMT

    Osman,

    I couldn't agree with you more, the team appears to be very bland or flat. It is almost as if our agression...the very indgredient which has enabled to explode and implode has been removed...a bit like Mike Tyson after one of this sedatives....i've felt most of the team have been star-struck or tourists in awe since their arrival...cricket the last thing on their minds (perhaps SRK)!

    The logical approach is to give Malik time, yet i feel the team is a reflection of its leader (perhaps worryingly vice versa). Either way he is too defensive whereas Dhoni has taken the old Pakistani approach of fearless cricket - certainly role reversal in team characteristics.

    The issue with Malik as captain, is that he is not an automatic choice in the team...furthermore does not appear to be a natural leader, as a result his defensive nature is hurting the team as inspiration isn't coming from his actions or words!

  • Qachee_XI on November 15, 2007, 22:00 GMT

    i think the biggest lesson we can take from the series is to relegate salman butt to city status from international level and secondly we really really need to find some urgent openers ... the ones at present should be given ultimatum to prove themselves in domestic session but bear in mind salman doesnt even deserve that chance.....

  • Dkhan on November 15, 2007, 21:55 GMT

    Shoaib Malik is taking Inzi's place for sure. coming 3 or 4 down is not attacking cricket either he should open the innings or make Younis Khan open and come one down.... also in third ODI bowing him self a head of a Specialist spinner on a turning wicket was poor captaincy those 5 Overs cost us the game.

  • third_eye on November 15, 2007, 21:17 GMT

    Hi, I would like to comment on Osman Samiuddin's statement that Pakistan board thinks that Kamran Akmal is the 2nd after Gilchrist.....I couldn't stop laughing after I read this.And specially after last few months performance given by him,only god can help him from becoming worst and get out of Pak team.And it doesnt make sense that due to absence of someone, they r losing series..

  • Junaid_Akram on November 15, 2007, 20:35 GMT

    Yousuf and younis have definitely been the backbone of pakistan team but being the senior members, they have to provide the venom to team as well. Yousuf's and Sachin's innings in todays match were statistically not very different; same number of runs form same number of balls. but the difference was in character and approach. sachin's innings set the tone and momentum for india's run chase. I think with all the opening and lower order mess that pakistan is going through, its younis khan who can play the anchor role. he should be more aggressive in his approach, which will make yousuf's innings like today a more worthwhile effort.

    i think overall Pakistan team is good but needs to improve in these aspects of game:

    bowling, batting, fielding, fitness, character, approach, mental strength, and the rest that i've missed.

    In short, team Pakistan is a mere reflection of what is going on within the country... i think we all need to broaden are VISION.

    Good Luck team Pakistan

  • Doconcall on November 15, 2007, 20:15 GMT

    I really dont agree with Osman's comments for Malik. Malik is still a young player given the burden to carry forward a team, which did not make it through the first round of world cup. The team was demoralised, lost one of its best player (Inzi), lost players like Shoaib at crucial moments and still they were the runner-up in 20-20 format. It was the young force under a young captain which flourished in that format of the game. What happens next? The ODI batsman are back in the game (Younis-Yousuf) leaving two of the 20-20 players out and Pakistan is shceduled to play the best teams (SA and India). There is no shame in losing a series to a better counterpart. Malik now has to play his two elder batsman at number 3 and 4. Both these batsman are world class, but after the inculsion of powerplay, these batsman look without any power. They waste these crucial overs playing at a strike rate around 70. Instead, the chance should be given to Afridi and Misbah to explore these overs.

  • Hope on November 15, 2007, 19:50 GMT

    I agree with your general observation about lack of direction and lack of fighting spirit but I think you are being little harsh with Shoaib Malik. In the end you talk about two virtues, time and support. So, to start with, give him some time to settle down.

    Talking of support, I am not sure if he is getting full support from his board and the team. Case in point, Shoaib Akhtar. About a month and half ago, everyone in Pakistant and the rest of the world seemed to agree on one aspect, Pakistan team is better off w/o Akhtar. What happens next? He gets a largely symbolic ban and he is back in the team. Looking at his performance, he didn't do himself too much harm but at the end of the day, PCB has to assess how he impacts the team morale. Whatever little I have seen of Pakistan in this series, they missed whole hearted effort from the entire team. I am not concluding that it was because of Akhtar but one can imagine that the Pak camp would not be at ease with the underlying currents.

  • Fatmi on November 15, 2007, 19:43 GMT

    The difference between Pakistani players and other country team players is energy. The other thing is purpose like Shoaib purposely opened today what he should have done earlier than that becuse Pakistan have not been able to find a correct pair for last almost two years. They keep on changing the opening batsman almost every third game. Shoaib Malik has been opening for last 5 years in Pakistan Domestic Cricket(From PIA) successfully . He must keep thi positing as he must lead from the front like other captains are for e.g Gream Smith, Ricky Ponting, Mahela. He should keep this position for atleast next 3 series or tournaments in both cases clicking or not.

  • nsidd75 on November 15, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    Pakistan lacked everything. I totally agree with Osman's column. Pakistan has not one positive to look at in this series. The batting has been average, the bowling pedestrian and the fielding downright pathetic.

    At least Pakistan could have blooded a new opener and a wicket keeper, at least there may have been respectability in this loss. We are now looking down the barrel at a 4-1 series defeat. I hope the team can comeback for a win in the final game and turn their act around for the Test series, otherwise as things go in Pakistnai cricket, there will be tremendous turmoil within the team whcih will lead to yet more personnel changes and we will all be back to square one.

    Unlike our country where we return to square one with still the same personnel. Amazing.

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  • nsidd75 on November 15, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    Pakistan lacked everything. I totally agree with Osman's column. Pakistan has not one positive to look at in this series. The batting has been average, the bowling pedestrian and the fielding downright pathetic.

    At least Pakistan could have blooded a new opener and a wicket keeper, at least there may have been respectability in this loss. We are now looking down the barrel at a 4-1 series defeat. I hope the team can comeback for a win in the final game and turn their act around for the Test series, otherwise as things go in Pakistnai cricket, there will be tremendous turmoil within the team whcih will lead to yet more personnel changes and we will all be back to square one.

    Unlike our country where we return to square one with still the same personnel. Amazing.

  • Fatmi on November 15, 2007, 19:43 GMT

    The difference between Pakistani players and other country team players is energy. The other thing is purpose like Shoaib purposely opened today what he should have done earlier than that becuse Pakistan have not been able to find a correct pair for last almost two years. They keep on changing the opening batsman almost every third game. Shoaib Malik has been opening for last 5 years in Pakistan Domestic Cricket(From PIA) successfully . He must keep thi positing as he must lead from the front like other captains are for e.g Gream Smith, Ricky Ponting, Mahela. He should keep this position for atleast next 3 series or tournaments in both cases clicking or not.

  • Hope on November 15, 2007, 19:50 GMT

    I agree with your general observation about lack of direction and lack of fighting spirit but I think you are being little harsh with Shoaib Malik. In the end you talk about two virtues, time and support. So, to start with, give him some time to settle down.

    Talking of support, I am not sure if he is getting full support from his board and the team. Case in point, Shoaib Akhtar. About a month and half ago, everyone in Pakistant and the rest of the world seemed to agree on one aspect, Pakistan team is better off w/o Akhtar. What happens next? He gets a largely symbolic ban and he is back in the team. Looking at his performance, he didn't do himself too much harm but at the end of the day, PCB has to assess how he impacts the team morale. Whatever little I have seen of Pakistan in this series, they missed whole hearted effort from the entire team. I am not concluding that it was because of Akhtar but one can imagine that the Pak camp would not be at ease with the underlying currents.

  • Doconcall on November 15, 2007, 20:15 GMT

    I really dont agree with Osman's comments for Malik. Malik is still a young player given the burden to carry forward a team, which did not make it through the first round of world cup. The team was demoralised, lost one of its best player (Inzi), lost players like Shoaib at crucial moments and still they were the runner-up in 20-20 format. It was the young force under a young captain which flourished in that format of the game. What happens next? The ODI batsman are back in the game (Younis-Yousuf) leaving two of the 20-20 players out and Pakistan is shceduled to play the best teams (SA and India). There is no shame in losing a series to a better counterpart. Malik now has to play his two elder batsman at number 3 and 4. Both these batsman are world class, but after the inculsion of powerplay, these batsman look without any power. They waste these crucial overs playing at a strike rate around 70. Instead, the chance should be given to Afridi and Misbah to explore these overs.

  • Junaid_Akram on November 15, 2007, 20:35 GMT

    Yousuf and younis have definitely been the backbone of pakistan team but being the senior members, they have to provide the venom to team as well. Yousuf's and Sachin's innings in todays match were statistically not very different; same number of runs form same number of balls. but the difference was in character and approach. sachin's innings set the tone and momentum for india's run chase. I think with all the opening and lower order mess that pakistan is going through, its younis khan who can play the anchor role. he should be more aggressive in his approach, which will make yousuf's innings like today a more worthwhile effort.

    i think overall Pakistan team is good but needs to improve in these aspects of game:

    bowling, batting, fielding, fitness, character, approach, mental strength, and the rest that i've missed.

    In short, team Pakistan is a mere reflection of what is going on within the country... i think we all need to broaden are VISION.

    Good Luck team Pakistan

  • third_eye on November 15, 2007, 21:17 GMT

    Hi, I would like to comment on Osman Samiuddin's statement that Pakistan board thinks that Kamran Akmal is the 2nd after Gilchrist.....I couldn't stop laughing after I read this.And specially after last few months performance given by him,only god can help him from becoming worst and get out of Pak team.And it doesnt make sense that due to absence of someone, they r losing series..

  • Dkhan on November 15, 2007, 21:55 GMT

    Shoaib Malik is taking Inzi's place for sure. coming 3 or 4 down is not attacking cricket either he should open the innings or make Younis Khan open and come one down.... also in third ODI bowing him self a head of a Specialist spinner on a turning wicket was poor captaincy those 5 Overs cost us the game.

  • Qachee_XI on November 15, 2007, 22:00 GMT

    i think the biggest lesson we can take from the series is to relegate salman butt to city status from international level and secondly we really really need to find some urgent openers ... the ones at present should be given ultimatum to prove themselves in domestic session but bear in mind salman doesnt even deserve that chance.....

  • Nrao786 on November 15, 2007, 22:54 GMT

    Osman,

    I couldn't agree with you more, the team appears to be very bland or flat. It is almost as if our agression...the very indgredient which has enabled to explode and implode has been removed...a bit like Mike Tyson after one of this sedatives....i've felt most of the team have been star-struck or tourists in awe since their arrival...cricket the last thing on their minds (perhaps SRK)!

    The logical approach is to give Malik time, yet i feel the team is a reflection of its leader (perhaps worryingly vice versa). Either way he is too defensive whereas Dhoni has taken the old Pakistani approach of fearless cricket - certainly role reversal in team characteristics.

    The issue with Malik as captain, is that he is not an automatic choice in the team...furthermore does not appear to be a natural leader, as a result his defensive nature is hurting the team as inspiration isn't coming from his actions or words!

  • kaiser1 on November 15, 2007, 23:57 GMT

    I'm at a loss to understand the strategy of Pak Team in this series. When they know that Indian batsmen are capable of chasing down any modest target then why do they choose to bat first after winning the toss esp when u know that your team lacks the fire power to post an imposing target. You know you can't restrict them or bowl them out under your modest of targetsthen why don't you choose to field fisrt esp when you have won the toss. They should have given the first chance to their bowlers and then try out to reach the target and asses your batting abilities. It plainly looks that Pakistan is trying to bowl full quota of overs after batting first as they have to bat again to beat India. Pakistan never looked in command against Indian batting line up so to say that they will win a game agaist them by sheer bowling ability. batting line then should have been given a task at least today to try and reach the the target. I fail to understand the criticism of Ramiz Raja against M. Yousuf.