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Pakistan cricket

July 29, 2013

Ugly is the new beautiful

Osama Baig, Pakistan

Misbah-ul-Haq reverse sweeps the ball, West Indies v Pakistan, 4th ODI, St Lucia, July 21, 2013
Can a picture-perfect cover drive match the beauty of the near-permanent asterisk next to Misbah's score? © WICB Media
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Teams: Pakistan

"Younis Khan is the ugliest to watch." That was me speaking about one of the only two Pakistani centurions in their recent tour of South Africa. I was talking to an unconditional and biased Afridi fan-girl.

"I think Afridi is the ugliest," she responds. She speaks of a man who has picked up two Man-of-the-Match gongs during the tour of West Indies, and was the second highest run-getter in the team in the ODI leg of the South Africa tour.

"Misbah is the ugliest to watch after Younis Khan," I add to the conversation. Misbah is the highest run-getter in ODIs so far this year, and the only Pakistani to figure in the top ten of the ICC ODI rankings. His consistency earned him the Player of the Tournament award in the West Indies.

"Hafeez is the prettiest to watch." - I stick with the basic sentence structure. Dale Steyn's bunny, Hafeez managed scores of 6, 2, 17, 0, 18 and 0 in the South Africa Tests. "Hafeez is the prettiest in the subcontinent," she says, revealing her soft spot for Hafeez. I should have known - her Pakistan jersey has his name stenciled on the back. Hafeez has made 148 runs in his last ten ODIs against ICC Full Members, a tally inflated by a solitary half-century amid a string of sorry scores.

This very insightful discussion threw up a question in my mind. Is ugly the way to go for Pakistani batting? It certainly seems to be doing a far better job than the man who is unanimously rated the most stylish batsman in the country. Thing is, we Pakistani cricket fans have been deprived of consistency for so long that we may as well change our definitions of 'ugly'. Misbah's consistent run and his stubborn survival at the crease has its own charm. If nothing else, I've begin to admire the tiny asterisk mark that accompanies his score almost always on the TV scorecards. (Yes, Pakistani batting can get that dull that I start focusing on asterisks). And Afridi, with all his madness and ugliness, has still managed to contribute with the bat. He is as consistent as I think he'll ever be.

So maybe for Pakistani batting, ugly is indeed the way to go. We might as well bring in ugly Younis for an upcoming test series. Ugly Misbah and ugly Afridi can stay too. Ugly is the new beautiful.

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Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 30, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

Very uninspiring and non cricketing article I have read in a long time.

Posted by kapilesh on (July 30, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Beauty hasn't got much meaning its the performance that matters. Rohit Sharma is most beautiful to look at right now but what he has to show for performances.

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 30, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

The Most Ugliest article i have ever come across.. Ooops!! Beautiful Indeed! :)

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 30, 2013, 2:21 GMT)

what happened to Azhar Ali ?

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 29, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

But this article is not beautiful...simply ugly

Posted by Ata on (July 29, 2013, 19:43 GMT)

In every player career, there is some period, or few years where he perform very well and he scores too many runs, and then difficult time also comes, so now is the best time to Misbah he is scoring more runs, so Comparing Misbah one good year with Younis Khan's or Muhammad Yousaf's bad times is not good comparison. In fact Misbah was given chance in Team in 2001, but Younis and Yousuf were more better to make place in that Pakistan team in presence of Inzi and Saeed, it is like Survival of Fittest. Same for Muhammad Hafeez, now his good days seems past, So if you want to compare, Hafeez, Misbah and Younis Khan, Compare there complete Career, Younis Khan is better batsman, he is a good fielder, and he was best of the captains, who could make right decisions at right time and he was more aggressive captain.

Posted by Sabeeh on (July 29, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

Misbah is gritty, Afridi is an eyesore.

Best ODI/T20 batsman in Pakistan both aesthetically and based on results is Umar Akmal. Aggressive batsman who can play all the shots, great at rotating strike. Knows how to build an innings.

He just needs to mature. PCB should take care of this great young asset Pakistan has.

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 29, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

Younis khan is way beyond his peak, it would be unfair to compare the sehwag of today to current team members than sehwag in 2002-2009. Anyway,I think Hafeez needs to be pushed down the order, and played as a full time bowler, he is a v good bowler, very economical. He struggles against the moving ball so why have him open?He also plays the spinners relatively well, so it makaes sense to push him down.We just need one or two players who can handle pace bowling on top. Between Umar Amin,Shehzad and nasir jamshed, theres a lot of promise.We might need another two batsmen to eventually replace misbah and afrid(even if one of em plays WC2015, We need bench strength).a Wicketkeeper umar akmal has added a lot of strength to our batting.Now if he can only concentrate on his keeping,i dare say his keeping has been bett4er than his brother already(save over-enthusiastic appealing).

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 29, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

I am not a Pakistani fan but i will surely say that out of the players mentioned here Younis was the best to watch with his sublime feet movement. Misbah is the most grittiest of these all but he has to be like that given his team's fragile top order. And if i would have been a coach i will always go with the a Misbah than a more stylish Hafeez and a all-but-attacking Afridi...

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