One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Hi all,

Once again, it's review time and the team under the spotlight today is none other than our arch rivals Pakistan.

The Pakistani team this time, as always, has a list of talented youngsters with a few thouroughly experienced guys to help them through. They are probably the most unpredictable team in world cricket with performances that touch mercurial heights one day and ocean depths the very next. They are the same team who beat Australia in Australia in an ODI series and the same team who lost to Bangladesh in a World Cup encounter !

Their strength lies in their bowling attack, which, according to me, is the best in the world at the moment. Wasim and Waqar could very well have been spelled as 'W-i-c-k-e-t', they are the two leading wicket takers in the ODI format of the game with 899 wickets between them. Wasim has 490 while Waqar has 409. Once the two Ws are through their first spells, we could see the 'fastest' bowler of our times Shoaib Akhtar in action. Followed by the person who is ranked 7th in the list of highest wicket takers in ODIs, Saqlain Mushtaq. (new find) Sami, Azhar Mahmood, Abdur Razzaq and Afridi are no cakewalks as well and it would take a very good batting side to score runs off this attack.

The problem area is definitely the batting, which is markedly inconsistent and fails to provide their bowlers a defendable total on a regular occasion. It is this that other teams would try and capitalise on. The batting also has an inexperienced look to it with youngsters Salim Elahi, Taufeeq Umer set to play key roles in the line-up at the top of the order. Inzi and Yousuf Youhana would bolster the middle-order while the rest of the batting depends heavily on all-rounders Abdur Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood. Although Saeed Anwar was re-selected in the squad for the World Cup in place of Imran Nazir (an excellent fielder), Akhtar nearly ended the World Cup campaign for him by hitting Anwar's hand with an express delivery (hee hee). It seems Anwar is available for the first game against Australia but would not play the warm-up games. Afridi is like a lottery ticket but doesn't look comfortable on pitches which offer even a bit to the bowlers.

Pakistan is also one of the most 'consistent' teams when it comes to performances in the World Cups (I am not referring to all the losses to India). Take a look at their progress in all previous World Cups and you shall know what I mean ...
1975 Group stage
1979 Semi-finals
1983 Semi-finals
1987 Semi-finals
1992 Winners
1996 Quarter-finals
1999 Runners up

They were ousted in the Group Stage only once (in the first Cup) and since their worst performance has been a Quarter Final send-off. The conditions at South Africa should favour their fast bowlers but the batsmen would have to do their share of the work as well.

Lastly, going 'purely' by historical tendencies, Pakistan are definitely one of the favourites again, unless IF they clash with India in the semi-final or the final .... touch wood.

Pakistan XV
Batsmen: Saeed Anwar, Taufeeq Umer, Saleem Elahi, Younis Khan, Yousuf Youhana, Inzamam-ul-Haq
All rounders: Shahid Afridi, Abdur Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood
Bowlers: Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Mohammed Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq
Wicket keeper: Rashid Latif


0 Responses to “”

Post a Comment