It took nine overs for South Africa to make the 44 runs, required to win the Durban test match by 10 wickets. 36 runs came of the 5 angry overs bowled by Sami, a senseless display of short-pitched bowling , the equivalent of banging one's head against a wall.

By contrast, England made Australia sweat it out for the 107 runs it needed, losing 5 wickets. It was an inspiring piece of cricket.

England bowled with passion, pride and commitment, qualities of heart missing in Pakistan effort. It would have been nice if Pakistan had taken a wicket or two. It goes to show a frame of mind, an attitude.

Waqar Younis, perhaps, believes that he himself is two bowlers because he goes in with a bowler short in both versions of the game. In the Durban test match, Pakistan played 4 bowlers and to compound the mistake, won the toss and sent South Africa in, as if it had McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne in the team.

The first calculation, a captain must do, is whether he has the bowling resources to take 20 wickets to win a test match. There's no point in packing the batting if you can't get the other side out.

Besides, if your top five batsmen don't fire, what can we expect an additional batsman to do? Shahid Afridi does not seem to fit into the team management's planning, for whatever reasons, what is Mohammad Zahid in the team for?

In the three-day game preceding the test match, by some quirk of fortune, or absent-mindedness, Mohammad Zahid played and he took 5 wickets. Perhaps, this was not considered good enough. Sent in, South Africa made 366 in ideal bowling conditions.

True there was no Wasim Akram or Shoaib Akhtar, one back home and the other still in Durban, ostensibly undergoing treatment though hardly incapacitated: All the more reason to have batted first and put some runs on the board.

Batting was always going to be difficult and Shaun Pollock let loose his battery of quick bowlers and they blasted Pakistan out. The openers, about whom so much concern has been shown, gave Pakistan a solid start but once Taufiq Omar was out, the door was opened.

Inzamam got out to a brute of a delivery and, suddenly, the South African bowlers seemed to grow horns. Hanif Mohammad was in the dressing-room, watching the proceedings as the batting coach. His mind must have flashed back to his monumental innings of 337 against the West Indies and Gilchrist was part of the attack and Gilchrist was ferociously fast and he 'chucked' his bouncer and the batsmen wore no helmets.

Hanif the batting coach can pass on some tips but he can't pass on the application and steely resolve he brought to his batting. He put a very high price on his wicket.

It is not that the Pakistan batsmen are not talented. It is simply that they don't bat as a team. Pakistan batted better in the second innings. Another hundred runs and Saqlain could have won the match for Pakistan.

The batsmen should see the videos of how they got out and they will be able to see how poor the shot selection was. Youhana twinkled like a diamond. But he played an ambitious shot seeing that a fielder had been posted at fly-slip and he took the bait.

One hopes that Pakistan will do better at Capetown. It will be the last international match before the World Cup and Pakistan needs to take back some pride from South Africa before it returns to do battle.

Teams that refuse to play in Zimbabwe will forfeit match points. This is not enough. Zimbabwe as a venue is a part of the package of the World Cup.

The pressure is coming from England even the government has weighed in with Claire Short, a cabinet minister saying it would be "shocking and deplorable" if the England team went to Zimbabwe. The irony is that Zimbabwe's team is mainly made up of whites.

Yet, they seem to be willing to play but the high-minded English find it morally repugnant to play in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. By introducing politics into sport, the World Cup is being put to risk. People like David Graveney are entitled to their opinions but are singularly unqualified to make political judgements.

I would guess that they have no idea about the imperatives of Zimbabwe's politics nor any idea of the white man's rule in that country and how the best lands in that country were 'stolen' from the Zimbabwe blacks. It is a shameful history. The ICC must take a tough stand.

Pakistan's team for the World Cup will have been announced when this column appears in the print. I expect to see no surprises and if they are, I will comment on them next week.

But one hopes that no one will be picked if he has a question mark hanging over him about his fitness. It's time that PCB's medical panel showed some teeth. Players who carry injuries don't get better by playing.

This would seem fairly elementary to even a layman. And unfit players are bad for the morale of the team and morale is a key component of a team. This too is elementary.