Sports

Misbah must be aggressive against Australia

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi In a matter of hours, the Cricket teams of Australia and Pakistan will take the field in what is going to be the first day-night Test encounter between the two sides. While the hosts have a new look squad, the tourists are likely to field the usual suspects and that is one reason…

SAMAA | Omair Alavi – Posted: Dec 14, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago

Omair Alavi

In a matter of hours, the Cricket teams of Australia and Pakistan will take the field in what is going to be the first day-night Test encounter between the two sides. While the hosts have a new look squad, the tourists are likely to field the usual suspects and that is one reason why they will look more hapless against the already hapless Aussies.

First of all, the tourists will have to get rid of the three-pronged left-arm attack mindset; its either Amir or Rahat or Amir or Wahab – it can never be Amir, Wahab and Rahat! What about Imran Khan who took 6 wickets in his only outing in 2016? What about Sohail Khan who was instrumental in English conditions although he needs to work on his fitness. Rahat Ali is one of the finest bowlers in the world but sadly, only in Captain Misbah ul Haq’s world because he doesn’t even know where his next ball would pitch!

Then there is the batting order; aggression is one aspect that Pakistan Cricket team lacks and no one in his right mind would expect Azhar Ali or Sami Aslam to go all guns blazing. Babar Azam would be perfect at number 3 with Younis, Misbah, Asad and Sarfraz following in succession.

They all must bat upto their potential and be ready for quick deliveries that bounce as it is being said that Gabba this year will be more supportive to pacers than WACA and when they couldn’t handle the medium paced Kiwis, the ‘quicker’ Aussies might be too fast to handle!

All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz in place of a pacer can be an option but again, he is a left-arm spinner that will only strengthen the claim of one-dimensional attack. Yes he has done better than the batsmen in the practice match but his primary role is that of a left-arm spinner and you can’t have 2 spinners who turn the ball from leg to off in a match where the pitch is likely to support the quickies.

Yasir Shah who will be an automatic selection if fit will be the key but only if the fielders help him otherwise he will face the same fate as Mohammad Amir whose ball touches the edge of the bat but ends up on the ground.

Since the first Test of the series is a day night match where toss will play an important part, Pakistan needs to learn a thing or two from the South African team that won the series 2-0 in absence of Dale Steyn (injured during first Test) and AB de Villiers.

They must devise a strategy to counter the inexperienced Aussies otherwise they might end up on the losing side. Misbah ul Haq will have to be less defensive and more aggressive if he wants to win the first Test in Australia since 1995.

Yes, the fast bowlers may play an important role in the match but only if they are multi-dimensional, selected on merit and have the ability to take the match away. Pakistan couldn’t win in Australia despite having Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir in their ranks six years back because captain Mohammad Yousuf didn’t go for the kill. Misbah can and must take the bull by the horn if Pakistan is to start their campaign in Australia with a victory!

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Omair Alavi