Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The neighbors on the western front!!!


So, Pakistanis have also announced their team. Like our own team, I cannot claim to make a self proclaimed educated comment about their team. So I relied upon a renowned writer from the other side of the border. But they have not chosen a captain or a vice captain.
PCB pays additional allowances to their captain. May be PCB is not in a position to do so. After all, PCB’s financial condition is as stable as their team has been in last two years. Paying additional allowances to a captain not only brings disparity in the team but it also gives others a chance to cast aspersion on the captain. Since they do not have a captain, they cannot have a vice captain also.

But who will lead the side. May be it will be decided just before the match. We will come to know of it by seeing who comes out for the toss. May be the captain will be decided during the match. In such a case, either entire playing XI will come out for the toss or PCB chief himself will come out. Or maybe the captain will be decided after the match. Winning a cricket match is also a lot about surprising your opponent. This is Pakistan’s strategy to surprise their opponents.
Teams like Australia are known for targeting the opposition captain. Consider a scenario (it is on the evening before Australia – Pak match)

Lee: Mate!!! We are playing Pakis tomorrow. Who should we target?
Clarke: Target their captain mate. Let him face some chin music. Make sure you beat the shit out of him!!!
Lee: Yeah Mate!!! But who is their captain?
Clarke: Don’t you know mate? Who comes for the toss?
Lee: All of them, bloody all of them.
Clarke: Then watch the fucking videos. Who sets the field?
Lee: I have seen it all. They just go and stand wherever they want.
Clarke: Yeah but someone must be coordinating.
Lee: No mate. They stand wherever they want. In the match against India, all of them were standing at the third-man when their retired bowler was bowling to SRT.
Clarke: Who makes the bowling changes?
Lee: In the first match, all of them fought for the ball. Their retired bowler snatched the bat from the batsman and started beating others. Referee intervened and since then, it is the umpire who decides it.
Clarke: Let’s visit the umpires then. Hurry up.

By the time everyone celebrated the arrival of 2009, most of the teams had started preparing for WC. Lot of them had a pool of players which was certain to play. As far as Pakistan is concerned, no one would have guessed that certain pool. Good chunk of the current 15 was unknown quantity then. Even a better chunk was retired. However, here is my take on the team -

Shahid Afridi – It was 1996 when I heard that a 16 year old Pakistani batsman scored a 37 ball 100. I thought Pakistan had discovered their own SRT. While SRT has been consistent throughout, he has grown up from a 16 year old kid to 37 year old stalwart. Afridi is different. While his performance fluctuated more violently than his batting, his age remained 16 for almost a decade. But he is dangerous while bowling. He is murderous while batting. Indian pacers claim to bowl fast and bowl in 120s, Afridi claims to bowl leg spin and keeps slipping in 120+ deliveries. May be he will lead the side.

Misbah-Ul-Haq – He has ability to take a game close from a hopeless position. Just that when the game is close, he hands over the hope to opposition. During last two years, he has averaged 30 in 15 games. And he is still in the side. He is talented no doubt but in absence of results, talent remains a promise e.g. a batsman from Borivali. But what can PCB do? Their best batsman was expecting PCB to call him out of retirement. Other options are fighting lawsuits or something. Pakistan will be hoping this Haq to fire during this WC like another Haq did in 1992. They will also be hoping that when THAT crucial run is needed, he doesn’t try to manufacture a shot and favor leg side. I think he will either be the captain or the vice captain.

Kamran Akmal – Recently, he has dropped more than he has caught. But what options does PCB have? One of their options is seeking an asylum in UK. Other one comes from Akmal family. They already have another Akmal in the side. 3 Akmals in the side would have lobbied and failed the strategy of “No Captain surprise” - hence him and not Adnan.

Umar Akmal – He looks like a slightly improved version of Imran Nazir who would have been a king of batting records if ODIs were 5-overs a side game. Alas, there are 50 overs to bat. I have heard he is the future of Pakistan’s batting. We will see.

Younis Khan – They consider him their best batsman. May be he is but with a career average of 33? But he has been a captain. May be he will lead the side.

Shohaib Akhtar – I do not know what to say. He is coming out of his third retirement or may be four. I am not sure. But even at an age of 35 odd (he looks 40+), he can bowl at 145+ and bowl well. Akhtar will surely spoil atleast one team’s party. Then he will party. Then he will take part in Jhalak Dikhla Ja. Since he will not return to Pakistan in time to play SA, PCB will issue him a show cause notice. He will retire. Doesn’t matter, he will come back. But one thing is sure; he will not lead the side.

Sohail Tanvir – Strange action. Good bowler. He can bat a bit. He is unlikely to lead the side.
Umar Gul – Very good bowler. He might turn out to be too good for lot of batsmen. He is unlikely to be a captain but may be announced as a vice captain.

Saeed Ajmal – First there was Saqlain Mushtaq. Then there was Shohaib Malik. Now there is Ajmal. He is a good bowler. Not a candidate for any kind of leadership position.

Abdul Razzaq – Like phoenix, he has risen back from the ashes of ICL. He used to be quite nippy. He used to be a dangerous batsman. I don’t know much about his bowling skills but he is still very dangerous and explosive as a batsman. He is one of the senior most to play in WC11. But he is one of the least likely candidates to lead the side. Seniority may result in him being a vice captain.

Rest – I don’t know much about them. Some of them may never play after WC. Some of them may retire after WC. Some of them may seek an asylum after the WC. I don’t know.

But do not forget. When a Pakistani side seems to be in a complete mess, it turns out to be most dangerous. So beware of them. I hope we get a chance to crush them again.

1 comment:

Spiff said...

I think misbah will be chosen the coatain,,,they just didnt want to announce it then and there as there will be calls like why wasnt the captain consulted for the team etc