Sports

Last chance for Team Pakistan!

Written by Omair Alavi

By: Omair Alavi Pakistan and India are arch rivals in Cricket but the way their matches have ended prompts us to think about the one-sided rivalry again. Not since 2009 has Pakistan been a formidable opponent to India, except for on a couple of occasions when Shahid Afridi has boom boomed his way to victory….

SAMAA | Omair Alavi – Posted: Jun 6, 2017 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

By: Omair Alavi

Pakistan and India are arch rivals in Cricket but the way their matches have ended prompts us to think about the one-sided rivalry again. Not since 2009 has Pakistan been a formidable opponent to India, except for on a couple of occasions when Shahid Afridi has boom boomed his way to victory. The Greenshirts go blank when they face India – be it in India or anywhere else in the world. It wasn’t much different in the ICC Champions Trophy where Sarfraz Ahmed’s XI tried to come up with out of the box ideas and finished as the team sent out of the park by the opponents.

My question to the management present in England, to the selectors in Pakistan and to the hierarchy of PCB is – do the followers of the game know more about Cricket or you are really that stupid. The only person who was hoping for Pakistan to bowl first at Edgbaston was Virat Kohli because the pitch was ideal for batting. Yet Pakistan bowled first as if they were as good as chasers as Sri Lankans were during the 1996 World Cup. Sarfraz Ahmed must also be asked about the inclusion of an unfit Wahab Riaz over Junaid Khan because I am not buying the ‘Hasan-Junaid same type bowlers’ theory by Mickey Arthur. He is the same coach who toiled with three left-armers and failed miserably so the coach-captain duo has to come with a better explanation. Wahab Riaz must retire if he has a little shame but we both know how the coach feels about him and Imad Wasim – the two English speaking individuals who don’t seem to do justice with whatever talent the selectors believes they have.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli was so right when he said that Pakistan plays the same XI when they face India and that must serve as a point to ponder for the geniuses in our camp. India includes newcomers and surprised Pakistan; Pakistan on the other hand included most of the players who have played against India and suffered. What was the reason of not selecting Fahim Ashraf when clearly he was the only reason why we won the warm up match against Bangladesh; why was Wahab asked to bowl after he had gone for runs in his first 4 overs; why did a clueless and spin-less Imad Wasim continue to bowl when there were Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez in the playing XI? Did Pakistan really chose to bowl first so that they could chase a reduced target because if that was the thinking then Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz deserve to pack their bags and go for good.
Enough of the management, let’s talk about the usual suspects – Had Ahmed Shehzad taken the review for his dismissal, people would have made sure that when he returns, he doesn’t reach his home in one piece. Azhar Ali started slow before changing the gear but thanks to the ‘courageous’ batting of Mohammad Hafeez, he too perished after scoring 50, just as Babar Azam had due to Azhar’s slow batting earlier. Imad Wasim is not a batsman and the sooner we expect that, the better. He is just a mediocre bowler who seems to prefer fashion over practice and must be dropped for players who could do better. Shoaib Malik was unlucky to have been dismissed for he looked the only batsman who wanted to win the match; Hafeez should have sacrificed his wicket because a) he couldn’t score runs and b) he wasn’t even hitting the ball properly.
As for Shadab, he is a leg spinner and India plays leg spinners very well – everyone knows that except the Pakistan Cricket team management and that’s why he wasn’t that effective; using Hasan Ali as a death bowler was always going to be tricky and that’s the reason why he went for runs. It was a good thing Wahab got injured otherwise he might have become the only player from either side to score a century – with the ball. His fielding like most of his teammates including Ahmed Shehzad was also questionable as he kept returning throws as if doing a favour; the only time Rohit Sharma took a chance to complete a single and couldn’t was when Babar Azam threw the ball to the keeper. Pakistan still has two matches to play in the event but the way they ‘performed’ in the first one shows their intent – even God doesn’t help those with negative mindsets.

They take on South Africa tomorrow, the team that is not only in form but also full of match-winners. Imran Tahir, the former Pakistan Under-19 player, is the top-ranked bowler in the world and he will be all geared up to tear apart the fragile batting line up of his former countrymen.

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Omair Alavi