Heartbreak Hotel for Pakistan Cricket

Posted on January 18, 2010
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Sports
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Owais Mughal

I know I am putting this post right after our ‘I am grateful..’ post but Pakistan has just lost a Test-Cricket series in Australia by 3-0 margin. So while I am grateful, I am a little bit disappointed too. Just a little bit. Actually today’s white wash didn’t disappoint me as much as captain Yousuf’s comments later on. He has said that ‘Our team is young and I am satisfied with their performance’. Yesterday he also gave a statement which basically said that in the past Pakistan had brought star studded teams to Australia and lost; atleast he brought a young team and lost so he is better than previous Pakistani teams. As long as our aim is to lose better than previous teams, we are aiming too low. Seems like the word win was not even in the aim. Can anyone imagine such statement from our previous captains like Imran Khan or Wasim Akram? That was probably the difference between the two teams. Australia is also a very new side but they were playing with a hunger to win.

Pakistan has now not won a single test match in Australia since December 4, 1995. During second test match of this series Pakistan at one time needed only 125 runs to win with 9 wickets in hand. At that instance I was naive enough to actually put a draft post at ATP celebrating Pakistan’s win in Australia after 15 years. I did not publish that post and then I fall asleep. I woke up few hours later to see the heartbreak hotel. Pakistan had lost remaining 9 wickets in 89 runs and lost the match. I was so glad of not publishing the post earlier and then deleted my draft write-up with a heavy heart.

Pakistan’s last victory in a test series was in 2006 in a home series against West Indies. It is easy to demand resignations, sweeping changes, sending all current players home and rebuilding the team from scratch but the scary thing is that Pakistan has no batting talent for test matches besides what we’ve got in the current team.

Who can name atleast 4 batsmen of test calibre that can replace the current bunch in test matches? Only Taufeeq Umar (Age 28, Test Average 39.29 from 46 innings), Asim Kamal (Age 33, Test Average 37.73 from 20 innings), Fawad Alam (Age 24, Test average 41.66 from 6 innings) and Yasir Hameed (Age 31, Test Average 34.52 from 45 innings)’s names come to mind. And then we have Younis Khan (32 years old) with Test Average of 50.09 from 112 innings. I think it won’t be long before we see Younis back in action in Test Matches. We need batsmen for test teams with solid 40+ averages.

In the current team following are the Test-Cricket batting averages of our stars.

(1) M Yousuf: 53.07 overall and 29.66 in current series
(2) Salman Butt: 30.96 over all and 46.66 in current series
(3) Khurram Manzoor: 29.63 overall and 38.50 in current series
(4) Shoaib Malik: 36.11 overall and 38.50 in current series.
(5) Umar Akmal: 48.16 overall and 33.16 in current series.
(6) Misbah-ul-Haq: 33.6 overall and 25.33 in current series
(7) Faisal Iqbal: 26.76 overall and 24.25 in current series.
(8) Kamran Akmal: 33.55 overall and 16.75 in current series.

Besides the current team, if I may say, the tier two batsmen are not worth of 2 day matches, let alone 5 day test of test matches. I closely followed the premier domestic QeA trophy matches this year and there is no batting talent for test matches to speak of. I know I am making a very general statement but this is truly what I believe and what I saw from QeA matches this year.

Now twenty20 format is a different ball game. We will find many batsmen in Pakistan very capable for Twenty20 but the technique and temprament needed from a test match batsman seems to have got lost in Pakistan.

Fielding and catching also needs to be improved tremendously. Pakistan dropped 14 catches in 3 test matches – the highest I’ve ever known to be dropped by Pakistan.

I won’t put much blame on bowlers as I think we have got ‘OK to better’ bowling talent in the team.

What do our readers think?

26 responses to “Heartbreak Hotel for Pakistan Cricket”

  1. Nihari says:

    NOthing explains this situation than these hilarious cartoons


  2. Mkhan says:

    I too watched the last Test with great dismay. As an adoptive Pakistani, I had hope . . . Oh why Oh why did the captain send all the fielders to the fence when he had the Australians in dire straits? The commentators over here couldn’t understand it as the Pakistanis were fielding against fours and sixes, and the Aussies racked up single after single and inched back to actually win!
    Where was the enthusiasm, the brio the Pak team had initially demonstrated? Gone. That was a young team, having a ball and then they came out to field — flat, dispirited. Yet they had Australia over a barrel.

    You have a young team yes, so let them be young. Let them feel the buzz of enthusiasm and play with that. The team lost because they lost belief in themselves, seems to me.

    Sadly, the Test was no Great Escape for Australia as it’s being touted over here.

    It was a robbery.

    ODI today. Come on Pakistan!

  3. Maqk says:

    Its right that Yousuf showed no character when speaking after the white wash. He is not even fot for the job of captaincy I believe, though I am a big fan of his bating and admire him alot.

    I think, yes I, I think he is a shareef admee, and we can only expect such things from a shareef admee. The reason why Pakistan lost was missing Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal at his best ( biggest reason I believe), and 2nd test was horrible.

    We need a leader int he team a right captain. Yousuf should concentrate on Batting, fielding and Namaz. Thats his work. He should score big and fast for team, He is not good for captain.

    About Younis Khan, I cant say he was lately doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    And lastly, if any team member(s) is aiming that low, he should be FIRED, may it be my favorite Yousuf, cause you have to keep the moral and confidence sky high no matter how badly you loose, or how narrowly you win.

  4. zakoota says:

    Adil and Owais, you guys should also bring up the recent issue of utmost humiliation Pakistani Cricketers faced in india during this so called indian premier league. We, as Pakistanis, should stand up united against these kind of events which depict mind of extremist hindu leaders ruling india at the moment. I don’t expect corrupt Pakistani politicians will take any stand on this but this forum can post a story of how these cricketers were wronged and mistreated.

  5. Aqil says:

    There are several major problems which have been contributing to such disappointing performances. Yousaf’s extremely poor captaincy, the absence of a truly professional coach, player politics (which resulted in the uncalled for sacking of Shoab Malik from the captaincy among other things), the tendency of the batsmen to keep on throwing away their wickets by playing reckless shots, and the poor fielding. There is simply no justification for any of these. Even someone who has never played cricket at the club level also knows that when you have taken 8 wickets and have the opposition under pressure, you need to have an attacking field. Ditto for the stupid manner in which some of the most experienced batsmen (including Yousaf) in our team throw away their wickets. Yes our fielding has typically been a weak area but even then we were never dropping more than 10 catches per series untill recently. Lastly, there is no compulsion on the PCB not to hire a professional coach.

    Except for the fielding (which baffles me), solutions to the other problems are straight forward. The PCB needs to make it crystal clear to the batsmen that throwing away their wickets by playing irresponsible shots will have an adverse impact on their selection, and it needs to drive this home by making one or two examples, especially of the seniour players. For developing better batting talent, the long-term strategy should be to have lively pitches in domestic cricket, so that batsmen are forced to seriously work on their technique in order to score runs.

    Instead of Yousaf, either Shoab Malik or Younis Khan should be made captain, and given full assurance that he would not be removed under player pressure. Those who have a problem playing under the captaincy of a particular player should be given the option of leaving the team. At the same time, the captain should not be given a carte-blanche either, and as a check on his abuse of power, the playing 11 should be selected by a panel of the captain, vice captain, coach, and a member of the national selection committee.

    The PCB needs to hire a professional coach; Intikhab Alam, with all due respect to him, does not fit this requirement. The board must drop its ideological opposition to foreign coaches, and look for the best person available for the job, regardless of his nationality.

    However, the problem is that as long as we have the present administration headed by Mr. Ejaz Butt, it is unlikely that all this is going to be done. Remember, one of his first actions was to unceremoniously sack Geff Laweson by calling him “useless.” Earlier in 2009, even though the team had defeated the Windies by a 3-0 margin in the one day series in Dubai under Shoab Malik, he was suddenly sacked as captain when the team suffered a 2-1 defeat to Sri Lanka under the ridiculous pretext that his performance was not good enough. There are no signs that the board is about to get tough on batsmen who throw away their wickets by playing ridiculous shots, and no indication that the board is about to take a strict stance on player politics. And the selection continues to bypass merit, with the likes of Faisal Iqbal and Misbah continuing in the test team despite their poor performance, with more promissing players like Asim Kamal and Taufeeq Umar being consistantly ignored for reasons best known to the PCB. Given all this, the process of reforming our cricket has to start with the change of the PCB’s leadership. Once some more sensible people are in charge of the PCB, they should get to work on implementing the other points mentioned above.

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