Pakistan in South Africa 2013-14

Pakistan focus on batting improvement

Firdose Moonda

November 17, 2013

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Hafeez leaves the field after being run out, South Africa v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Bloemfontein, March 10, 2013
Mohammad Hafeez will hope to correct his woeful form with the bat this series © AFP
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Players/Officials: Mohammad Hafeez | Sohaib Maqsood
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of South Africa
Teams: Pakistan

For a batting line-up that is struggling and just arrived to play a series in what is widely acknowledged one of the toughest places to make runs, Pakistan have an unusual amount of confidence. Mohammad Hafeez, their T20 captain, said their showing on this soil earlier this year will serve as inspiration for the upcoming series.

"We put up a good show in the shorter formats and we believe in this part of the world, we've done reasonably well.," Hafeez said ahead of the team's first practice session at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Pakistan won the only Twenty20 that was played - the first was a washout - by 95 runs and came back twice in the ODI series to level it at two-all going into the final match, which they lost.

What is perhaps more important than how they competed in that series was how they batted. Hafeez starred with a 51-ball 86 in the T20 to lead the side to victory in that format, while there were fifties from Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and Imran Farhat. In their two ODI victories of the tour, Pakistan successfully chased the targets at hand.

None of that form was evident in the way they played recently in the UAE. Pakistan could not muster one score above 250 and alarming batting collapses - six for 17 to lose the first ODI by a single run. 3 for 17 upfront to put themselves in no position to win the final ODI. They only mustered 98 in the first T20, and then lost six for 38 in the second. They have left the impression that they will be easy pickings on spicy surfaces, and against South Africa's unforgiving attack.

Dav Whatmore admitted that this is an area of concern. He has emphasised to his charges the need to apply themselves and show greater patience and temperament. "From the depths of victory, we managed to lose games," Whatmore said. "We're painfully aware that we need to keep our heads a little longer and finish matches. They know the theory, we speak about that all the time. They need to understand to take it one ball at a time."

One player who seems to have learned that is Sohaib Maqsood. After debuting against Zimbabwe, he announced himself in the recently concluded series in the UAE as a clean striker who can hit the ball hard and work it around as well. Whatmore celebrated Masqood's coming of age as "one of the best positives," of the last six weeks.

"We've all known that he is potentially a very good player," Whatmore said. "He has had some fitness issues, but anybody who drops 10 kilograms is showing everybody he wants to play. We're all very pleased for him."

Now it will be up to the rest to follow Maqsood's example and display the type of commitment that can help Pakistan rebuild their one-day side and plan for next year's World T20. "The more we practice, the more we can get good combinations before the mega event," Hafeez said.

An opposition like South Africa, who are on an upward curve, will also help Pakistan measure their players development. The teams have clashed 20 times across all formats this year and Hafeez admitted it can get tedious, but said the familiarity can help Pakistan develop a yardstick for their own progress. "When you play too much with each other, sometimes you enjoy and sometimes you are fed up. We are very much ready for this. We're both competitive enough teams to make this a good series."

Pakistan will have the edge on South Africa preparation-wise. They will hold three training session before the first T20 on Wednesday, while South Africa only regroup in Johannesburg on Tuesday and will have a single net. Rain is forecast for match day, but both teams will hope it stays away.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 22, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

Pakistan will not win anywhere unless they solve their opening to no.3 problem. The selectors need to seriously look at this issue. They do not need flamboyance at the top. The need of the hour is batsmen in the top 3 who can play 50 overs. I think the bottom half is good with Misbah, Akmal's, Afridi & good all rounders in there. The selectors need to look at consistency & pick the top 3 accordingly.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

Pakistan will not win ODI's with only 3 batsman in squad: Misbah-ul-Haq , Maqsood & U Akmal. You need more then that to win any ODI matches, thus either bring in quick replacements i.e Azhar Ali, Khurram Manzoor, Fawad Alam for batting line-up . Don;t tell me i didn't inform you earlier about your another series loss this would be 3rd against SA within few weeks , i am ashamed are you not? i think not as you are again playing mediocre selections.Your best chance is your bowlers get them out within 180 otherwise your chances are severely dull for winning any ODI's or there's another option your opponents leave out their Best players and play with inexperienced new players to test against this side, in one way sympathy for pakistan team and another for checking there new talent. i don't like making jokes about serious things however when it's about pak team selection i don;t even have to try making jokes; its pretty much already quite a serious joke.Testing bowlers instead of batsman's.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

musbah should play in t20

Posted by   on (November 19, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

well at the moment whatever the team is we have to play with it ..... so i suggest use afridi at the top and hafeez down the order ....as both of them are not playing well at there respective positions ....and razzak at no.3 and ask him to play the big shots right through the powerplay ....because we all know he can't play the spinners well ..... so there is also no use of him down the order ......

Posted by alwaysroyal on (November 19, 2013, 11:34 GMT)

It was a treat to watch Pakistan bowlers over the years but that has faded away. Though batting has been always a problem but there were always match winners in Pakistan team. But the present team is like a pack of cards and reaching 100 runs becomes a major concern. The teams lacks match winners like Imran, Miandad, Wasim, Anwar, Inzamam, Waqar, and Saqlain. It is high time that PCB should resolve issues and keep away politics. It is really sad to see Asian giants Pakistan struggling where as Indian team is in supreme form. They should take tips from Indian veteran batsman. Hoping for a better show and good wins in SA tour.

Posted by alwaysroyal on (November 19, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

It was a treat to watch Pakistan bowlers over the years but that has faded away. Though batting has been always a problem but there were always match winners in Pakistan team. But the present team is like a pack of cards and reaching 100 runs becomes a major concern. The teams lacks match winners like Imran, Miandad, Wasim, Anwar, Inzamam, Waqar, and Saqlain. It is high time that PCB should resolve issues and keep away politics. It is really sad to see Asian giants Pakistan struggling where as Indian team is in supreme form. They should take tips from Indian veteran batsman. Hoping for a better show and good wins in SA tour.

Posted by alwaysroyal on (November 19, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

It was a treat to watch Pakistan bowlers over the years but that has faded away. Though batting has been always a problem but there were always match winners in Pakistan team. But the present team is like a pack of cards and reaching 100 runs becomes a major concern. The teams lacks match winners like Imran, Miandad, Wasim, Anwar, Inzamam, Waqar, and Saqlain. It is high time that PCB should resolve issues and keep away politics. It is really sad to see Asian giants Pakistan struggling where as Indian team is in supreme form. They should take tips from Indian veteran batsman. Hoping for a better show and good wins in SA tour.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

I think PCB should resolve the conflict within team specially senior players

Posted by   on (November 19, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Hafeez ,Shoaib Malik , Sohail Tanveer and Afridi should be replaced with 2 specialist bowlers and 2 specialist batsmen.What are Pakistani selectors doing?

Posted by ICCexpert.... on (November 19, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

The best T20 side for Pakistan : Sharjeel Khan Shahzad Jamsheed Sohaib Maqsood Umar Akmal, Harris Sohail, Hammad Azam Raza Hasan M. Talha Ajmal M. Irfan

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