West Indies v Pakistan, 1st Test, Providence May 17, 2011

Ex-cricketers criticise Pakistan's batting

ESPNcricinfo staff

The continuing struggles of Pakistan's batsmen has come under scrutiny again after posting totals of 160 and 178 in their loss to West Indies in Providence. The performances, on an admittedly tricky surface on which West Indies also struggled, shone a light again on the inexperience in the line-up, particularly the middle order, and an over-reliance on the captain Misbah-ul-haq and the currently absent Younis Khan.

A number of former cricketers have jumped in with their thoughts on the problem, a debate carried out as talk of the need for a batting consultant or coach in the set-up also increases. According to former Pakistan captain Hanif Mohammad, the problem lies in the demands of the format. "Test cricket is a different ball game altogether and it needs more concentration on the technical aspect," Hanif told the Express Tribune. "Most of our players fail to understand the difference between limited-overs and Test matches and they play both formats with the same approach."

Hanif's comments are vindicated to an extent in that that there has been only one Test century by a Pakistan batsman in the last twelve months; Younis Khan, against South Africa in Abu Dhabi. Plenty of batsmen have got half-centuries - Misbah alone has seven - but haven't gone on to convert.

It is not as if the batsmen have been raking in the runs in the one-day format either. The last time Pakistan scored more than 300 runs in a one-dayer against a Test-playing nation was against Bangladesh in June 2010. They struggled with the bat during the World Cup and didn't manage anything more than 248 over five one-dayers in the West Indies.

Hanif also pointed to a weakness against swing as one of the reasons for the loss in Providence. "Pakistan have always struggled a lot against swing bowling and this is one of their weakest points," he said. "In our first-innings we went on the back foot and lost wickets, while in the second-innings we struggled against swing bowling."

Pakistan could not cope with swing on their now infamous tour of England last summer and were bowled out for less than a hundred thrice during the Tests there. Since then, there have been improved performances thanks largely to Misbah's form since being given the captaincy. They have come across friendlier pitches in the UAE and then did well to notch up substantial first-innings totals in New Zealand, but batting long - individually or collectively - has proved problematic in the absence of men such as Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis.

In Providence, they also struggled against the legspin of Devendra Bishoo in their first innings, before being troubled by the swing of Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy in the second. The seven dismissals Sammy managed in the Test - five lbw and two bowled - were similar in impact to the way Nuwan Kulasekara troubled Pakistan with inswing in Sri Lanka, in 2009.

Aamer Sohail, the former Pakistan opening batsman, said the problem went beyond playing swing bowling or spin, and there was a need to improve young batsmen's technique at a nascent stage. "Basically we have to improve our batting technique at the grass-roots, club and first-class level to prepare better batsmen to cope with all kinds of situations," he told the Dawn.

Meanwhile, another former Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas has said it is up to Pakistan's board to remedy the problem. "Pakistan's batsmen have been struggling throughout the tour, so I think the PCB will have to do something to overcome this problem if they want to form a good side," Abbas told the News.

The PCB did bring in Javed Miandad as a batting consultant before both the New Zealand and West Indies series, but have not appointed a permanent batting coach. On that subject, Hanif said Pakistan do not need one. "I don't think we need a special batting coach as the current players are experienced enough to tackle things on their own," he said.

The next Test between Pakistan and West Indies starts May 20 in St Kitts.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    The Pakistan selectors should not select a batsman on their batting performances based upon ODI's and T20. They should see the ability of the batsmen in long duration matches like 3 days 4 days and more importantly in 5 days matches. If a batsman can stay on the crease for long time with correct batting techniques then only he can be declared a batsman. Within the rank of these batsmen, there should be some who score very slowly, some score frequently with some tricks and some score very aggressively. The batsmen who score slowly and who score frequently should be included in the Test team. In the ODI team the batsmen who score frequently should be included and in T20 the team should be combination of Frequently scoring and very aggressively scoring batsmen. Selectors keep close eyes to the capabilities of a batsman and place them in that sort of categories. The other important capability of a batsman should be in mind how quickly he can adjust himself in changing weather conditions.

  • akil on May 18, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Instead of commenting, all formers should take the responsibility and step up to serve as a full time batting consultant. Pakistan batting has been needed the full time batting coach since they lost the world the 2007 world cup in West Indies not recently. Since Pakistan does not play any international cricket at home they should really consider to hire International experienced coach. I would also consider to get Fawad Alam back in test squad instead of Umar Akmal. They also need a full good time keeper (Not Kamaran Akaml) who really can bat at all level of cricket.

  • Farhan on May 18, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    It was a simply dismissal performance from the Pakistanis. Blame cannot be given to the pitch. When you have been playing for so long, and against a minnow team, such a performance is unacceptable. I don't think, Salman (WK) and Taufeeq would be selected on the next tour. Salman was unable to impress anyone. I am sure Pakistan houses far more better players than him, bring back Sarfaraz Ahmed. Moreover, speaking of Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis are irreplaceable, hence we need to be little patient with our batting. Eventually it will pick up, our players are far more talented than what they showed us last test. This is the same team who defeated NZ at their home, and drew with SA. Next test Pakistan would win.

  • Ejaz on May 18, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    I would disagree with Hanif Mohammad, Apart from Misbah there is no experience in our batting. They think, Azhar, Asad, U. Akmal, Salman etc are experience batsman.

    1- They have genuine mistakes and Pakistan must appoint a batting coach to rectify it.

    2- You must have a teach/supervisor even in PhD classes, then how can we say that these guys are perfect and don't need a coach.

    3- U. Akmal is Pakistan's best batsman (way batter than Asad Sahfique, Not saying Asad is bad). We must not tie him with tale. He is the only aggressive player in our side. He should come at 3 or 4 so that he can play his shots. But at No6, we will be under pressure and confused whether to play or not as team would be in problem at that stage.

    So, Imran Khan says, The best defense is attack and we have only one batsman who can attack.

  • Steve on May 18, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    The way Pak batsmen batted in first test, it looked like they were lacking basic technique as well as patience, both crucial skills to have to succeed in tests. Even though they may have reached international stage, they seemed like unfinished products and must be trained on different types of pitches before every tour to counter all playing conditions.

  • rob on May 18, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    West indies shouldn't get too carried away by 1 win against Minnows. Pakistan team would struggle to beat even Afghanistan.. So pakistan cricket experts should cut the slack. This pakistan team was able to compete with Windies, I think they should be happy with that. Who knows there might be ceremonies congratulating team for only losing narrowly, just like they had after world cup.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Pakistan needs time...its a new born team...Replace salman with akmal....technically the best batsmen pakistan has of present ( leaveing out younis and yousuf)...He is a decent keeper but hell of a batsmen....and umar shud be up the order at number 5...Its useless to bring back players like taufiq umar...evn if he had scored a century i wud still say this....Let azhar open with hafeez...and misbah and asad in the middle...umar to follow them...replace salman with kamran and put in yousuf for tests if he is fit....if he isnt then you can call on younis...takin taufiq out gives u a choice for a better batsmen....or an allrounder...as far as bowling is concerned..it has always been our strength...Misbah is a content captain...not a hungry one...so i think he always looks to defend the game...rather he should look for oppurtunities to grab the match....You'll definitely loose test matches....but then u will win far more to remember defeats...

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Mohamed Yousuf must in the batting line up for Pakistan cricket future is concern, Younis khan is also the same. otherwise Pakistan Team has never stopped by anyone to going down the rank after Zimbabwe

  • A on May 18, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    I would blame this batting DEBACLE on Jawed Miandad...He is just waisting time and PCB's precious money. Miandad just wants to go take foreign tours and have some fun,he is not capable of helping Pakistani batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    I wonder why the selectors have discarded Mohd Yousaf from the test team. He should have been there for atleast the next couple of years to groom youngsters like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq. There would be no team in the world that would dispose off a class act like Yousaf.

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