.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sight Screen

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The POMS have landed(-worma)

And they are off to the goodwill generation activities for the tour. Vaughan and some others visited the earthquake affected areas.

Meanwhile Pak have announced their 16 man squad, with no surprises to spring. The eminently readable Osman Samiuddin, in this cricinfo piece, is not very pleased.
The headline-grabbing decision will be the inclusion of five spinners; three specialist and two part-timers. Much has been made - too much perhaps? - of the part spin is likely to play in this series; Mushtaq Ahmed's recall two years after his last, depressingly flat appearance, has been and will continue to be the focal point of the argument.
and also
But another less immediately apparent, and eminently more bizarre decision, also merits remark only because it poses a greater and longer-term concern. Not very often are 16-man squads chosen with only one man who can be deemed a specialist opener. And over six Tests, Salman Butt has only twice hinted at being special.

Gradually, over the course of ten Tests, nine different opening combinations and six different players, panic has attached itself to the openers' dilemma. Partnerships that could have been developed - and even the most failed surely deserve more than two Tests together - have been shunted out. The solution, on the evidence of this squad, suggests that openers, as an entity, have ceased to exist in Pakistan; that Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed are not in fact, as we have come to regard them, openers.
Nine combinations and six players in ten tests!!...and we complain about our selectors not being consistent enough ;-)

And did you know that Alex Loudon, the young English offspinner selected for his debut tour to Pak, learnt to bowl the doosra from an Indian!
"I had a friend at school called Gurikk Maan who showed me how to bowl the ball," he said. "His father was a famous Punjabi pop star, apparently on the same level as Robbie Williams in England.
I presume the singer in question here is Gurdas Maan? Anyone?

And meanwhile, the BCCI has 'promptly' announced the itinerary for the Eng series after much pushing and prodding from ECB. Must've come as a relief for the tourists. Ohh..O..hang on....I see a test match proposed for Ahmedabad. Hmm...more fireworks coming up for Diwali season I guess :-)

39 Comments:

  • Mushy's recall reminds me of Narendra Hirwani's recall for Waugh's final frontier.That never materialised..wonder how this is gonna go especially with Kaneria around.
    Regarding the scheduling for the Eng series,I have always believed that Mumbai,Kolkata and Chennai should be default venues for big series'(Aus/Eng/Pak).No disrespect to the other centers but I think these places have the most appreciative and knowledgable Test crowds and deserve the big matches.

    By Blogger AR, at 14:52  

  • on the topic of shuffling openers and pak selection tactics... surely the bcci has company! lol but, it doesn't have to be that way. dont know much abt pak players, but surely the bcci doesn't need to be so inconsistent..oh well, i can wish and horses will fly! :)

    By Blogger saum, at 15:15  

  • saum...our test selection policy is much more consistent now...giving enough chances to most of the newcomers....I mean when you compare how long Das, Chopra etc got with what Taufeeq, Yasir, Farhat etc got...it really shows thing in perspective. And. according to me, some of these Pak openers that I saw, looked much more talented than Das, Chopra etc.

    ar: Kolkata and knowledgable crowd? Don't you remember the recent history of that venue? I would say some of the smaller venues like Mohali are much better in all aspects.


    Btw....we have 10 test centers...and matches alloted on rotational basis. I think most countries do something similar?

    By Blogger worma, at 15:33  

  • Worma,

    "Kolkata and knowledgable crowd? Don't you remember the recent history of that venue? I would say some of the smaller venues like Mohali are much better in all aspects"

    What history are you referring to?

    To put things into perspective, I think that to claim that one city has more knowledgeable crowd than the other is silly. Large sample is a good equalizer. Every city has got its share of knowoledgeble folks and idiots, distributed equally.

    By Blogger bouncer, at 15:43  

  • I am aware BCCI's rotation policy and I comepletely expected that comment about Kolkata.But tell me,where else in India would you get 70000 people on the first morning of a test match.They deserve the big games just for the numbers that they turn up in.Chepauk also has always had near full houses for Tests and probably has the most sporting crowd in the country,of which I have been a part of many times.Have you ever seen anything close to a full house in Mohali for a test match?It may be the best stadium in the country but they just don't turn up in big numbers there.

    By Blogger AR, at 15:52  

  • bouncer, zigackly! (as obelix said) To think that crowds in Metros are more 'knowledgeable' is as asinine as some of the comments on the other thread on this page.

    On another topic (and with no reference to worma's comment on venues here), recently the intellectual level of this blog has dropped to that of ihateganguly.com.

    Pro or anti ganguly, it's being peopled by morons with dogmatic views but little cricketing knowledge.

    Sad, that people have nothing else to talk about... and even when they do, it's more venom and vituperation rather than logic, on either side.

    And really, really sad, that prem's blog should have degenerated to this. And i say that as someone who has been reading, if not posting, from day one.

    By Blogger indian_idle, at 15:54  

  • And of course, the pro or anti Kolkata comments are the same wine-turned-vinegar, in a different bottle!

    By Blogger indian_idle, at 15:56  

  • Indian_Idle:
    I wasn't making any pro or anti kolkata statements.I have nothing to do with that city but i just think eden gardens is the best test venue in the country.I based my comments on the history of test matches in the three cities that i mentioned.I have nothing against the other test venues and i still say that the top three test centers in india are mumbai,kolkata and chennai.

    By Blogger AR, at 16:06  

  • I think the 'incident' is the SEMI Fianl incident against SL in the WC ..

    By Blogger @mit, at 16:16  

  • ALL TEST VENUES ARE GOOD AS LONG AS THEY ARE FILLED TO THEIR CAPACITY. THERE ARE SOME GOONS IN EVERY STADUIM. IT DOES NOT MATTER THE PLACE AND CULTURE.

    By Blogger ramshorns, at 16:17  

  • I'm sorry, but though i would agree that they are the best test venues, i would not agree that now, crowds there are more 'knowledgeable' any more.

    Hang on for a bit, coz i'm actually debating against myself here too, but please consider the fact that cricket was not much of a small town game earlier; by the current team composition itself, you'll see that the penetration -- ie the following and understanding of the game has increased manifold in smaller centers. Just because we can chat on a blog here doesn't mean that while most big town chaps go to watch a game to appreciate its nuances, guys in nagpur can't do the same...

    It's a matter of changing one's perceptions man, that's all i'm saying. Of course bigger centers like Kolkata and chennai have hosted some of the greatest matches and have produced some of the best crowds (though the former has also produced some rather forgettable incidents in terms of crowd trouble); but you must give smaller centers a chance with the best matches. And of course, it's not like they've shifted all tests out -- mumbai has got a test.

    That's all; no offense meant man; just really pissed off at what i was reading on the other thread.

    cheers!

    By Blogger indian_idle, at 16:20  

  • bouncer...and ar and others...I am talking about the crowd trouble that we have recently witnessed in Kolkatta...the Pak test in 99, the WC semifinal in 96 were the biggest examples.

    And I talk about the reputation of a venue objectively (as does ICC, when it rates venues, and decides which ones to ban etc). I have no knowledge, and no intention, of talking about the people of Kolkatta or any other region of India. Not in this forum atleast :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 16:20  

  • And since ramshorns was the main contributor on that thread and has now seen it fit to infect us with his presence, i will take your leave.

    good night, from my perspective!

    By Blogger indian_idle, at 16:22  

  • and btw....I think having test matches in more 'mature' venues is already taken care of, in a way, sort of.

    Consider this...we have more than 20 ODIs venues...but only 10 test centres. Why? I guess it has something to do with facilities etc? Which, in turn, has something to do with the growth, development (in a social and commercial sense) and cricketing interests(in how much importance is attached to the local cricket structure...the stadium facilities etc).

    By Blogger worma, at 16:25  

  • ok..that was misleading....I *do* have knowledge of people of some region of India ;-)...but ok..no intention of discussing it here

    By Blogger worma, at 16:32  

  • Guys,I don't know if Worma has already brought this to your attention..check it out.
    http://htcricket.com/htcricket/7856_1532524,001601100003.htm
    I'm not posting this for the views on Ganguly,but for this sentence about Sachin.
    'Today, when Tendulkar is not sure how long his fitness will last and realises that immortality and mortality go hand in hand, he is back defying the logic of safety'.

    Tell me if I'm misinterpreting this,but Pradeep Magazine seems to attribute SRT's resurgence to his insecurities about his fitness and longevity in the game.I sincerely hope that is not the case and its because SRT realises that this is simply the best way for him to play.I beleive he has a good 4-5 yrs left in the game.C'mon he deserves to be a part of a WC winning team and a team thats placed on top of the test table.He really does.

    By Blogger AR, at 17:02  

  • I'm very disappointed with the selection of some of the venues for the England tour. I would prefer a strategic selection of the venues. The English rely on fast bowlers that put in a lot of effort into each delivery they bowl. Would it not have been wise to send them to the searing heat of Chennai? I reckon if you send them to such a hot and humid venue, the English team management would have to seriously reconsider thier 4 seamers and 1 spinner composition of attack. I suppose they would consider going with an offie- Udal or Loudon. I'm sure the Indian batsmen would much rather face one of them than either Hoggard or Simon Jones. Additionally, judging by the last Test played at Nagpur, I certainly hope a similar pitch (greentop) is not on view. I would much rather prefer a dry surface like the one prepared for the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka. I like the Mumbai selection since recently that has been a spinner's paradise. Bottom line- if we produce conditions not suited to the English team-- hot and humid; flat, turning tracks-- the English team would likely be forced to change that bowling combination that has worked so well for them in the recent past. Why not have a pitch like the one we prepared against Australia in Mumbai? Maybe it does not have to be to that extent, but something close that turns and bounces from day 1. It would help remove one of our weaknesses (2nd seamer support for Irfan Pathan) and greatly hurt their attack. We could play to our strength and go to an 3 spinner, 1 seamer attack of Kumble, Harbhajan, Kartik, and Pathan. This theory, of course, is considering the sole objective is winning, which I believe it ought to be.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:49  

  • BTW guys,
    Sorry, I won't be able to respond to any of your replies to my post above, for a while at least, as I have to go to the masjid to break my fast. Later though...

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:51  

  • cool dude...sahir. why are u fasting????

    By Blogger tombaan, at 18:12  

  • I think Enland are more likely to succeed in Pakistan than India. It will be cooler in Pakistan which will suit the English. In India the temperature is likely to be well above the 30s in summer. This will work against them...then again if Jones is fit....

    By Blogger Jiet, at 18:13  

  • guys, i have seen few test matches (no odis) in chennai, mumbai and calcutta and i have to say, eden gardens is by far the best. both in terms of a true test match experience, the overall environment and the vast crowd that is unparalleled. i dont think mohali or any other smaller center can compare to that kinda experience (even though infrastructure, etc may be far better). and the crowd is as knowledgable (as well as more passionate) as anywhere else in the world..definitely met lot of keen students of the game but must say chennai was the place where crowd seemed most sporting. both mumbai and kolkata should spend more on infrastructure...but the sheer number of people that can get in and out the eden gardens within 30 mins was a sight. outside india had the pleasure of watching games at the lords, mcg as well as few grounds at the west indies and lords was my favorite although had more fun at jamaica and trinidad with the crowd. mcg looked really good but did not really see any international match unfortunately

    By Blogger indianfansrcrazy, at 18:27  

  • Problem with almost all the openers we have tried since the end of the Saeed Anwer-Aamer Sohail era is that they have got too much talent, far too impulsive our young lot - we need some one with a relaxed temperament, who isn't easily excitable, but I'm afraid I don't think Shoaib Malik and Butt fit that bill, but they're both extremely good players, crisp hitters of a cricket ball, and I badly hope for our sake, that they prove all my skepticism wrong. I do believe their judgment can improve with experience, I'm just not all that sure of how they'll do in the immediate future, in this series for instance. Malik hit an outstanding 170 odd in one of the warm up games against a very strong attack that included Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Arshad Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Mansoor Amjad (who is a talented up and coming leggie) in the build up to this series, and he opened there too, so I am hopeful he'll continue that form.

    Apart from that I'm still in 2 minds about Mushy's recall, its the kind of thing that will either work very well or fail very badly. I'm not sure what will happen. But I am nevertheless very dissapointed that Umar Gul has missed out, Imran Khan the other day actually called him 'Pakistan's best hope' and he can't even get into a 16 man squad! Arshad Khan is waste of space there, he should have been replaced by Gul, Osman Samiuddin would have wanted another opener, but apart from Bazid Khan (with whom I'm ready to sympathise) I wouldn't consider any of the others, but they have picked Hasan Raza in the squad, so all is not lost. I'm a big fan of that, he's got just the kind of temperament most of our other younger lot don't (patience, and the ability to wait for a bad ball, not get excited), he's essentially middle order player, but our selectors have converted almost everyone to an opener in the past, so we could ask him too.

    Over all, I don't get the kind of feeling I would liked to have got when I see this squad. Something just doesn't seem right. But I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    PS: I'm wary of doosra, Loudon's or anyones, very few (if any) people can bowl it legally. And bowlers get obsessed with it, to an extent that they over bowl it, and it loses the element of being a surprise ball. Especially those who have just learned to ball one.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 18:37  

  • The piece strikes me as very funny, solely for this line - We had to decide on the venues for the series quickly as the ECB wanted to finalise their travel schedules.
    The emphasis on the word "had" is my own, but it looks like the BCCI was trying to do the ECB a favor by deciding the schedule ahead of time. But is anybody looking at the ICC's calendar for the next year (available here)? It looks like every other country has iternaries figured out well in advance. In fact the last date on the calender with play scheduled is 10th September '06, when Pakistan meets England in Egbaston for the 5th ODI of their series. And even India's away tours have been finalized. On July 4th next year, India's WI tour is ending with the last day of the 4th Test at Kingston. But hey, the WI Board is the one responsible for that!

    By Blogger anantha, at 18:45  

  • zainub, other than not really liking the squad, how do you rate pakistan's chances against england? i think it has all the ingredients of being a classic and would slightly favor pakistan getting the better of england. however, i feel they should not overdo the spin attack..only kaneria and mushy can be tried initially ...as i would like to see the pitches not favoring too much spin so that shoaib and sami can have a real go at the english batting order. however, i feel razzaq will be sorely missed..

    By Blogger indianfansrcrazy, at 18:47  

  • Im extremely disappointed that Kolkata is not a venue for one of the tests agaiast England. I remember going to all the days of the test there in 93 and it was sort of a turning point in Indian cricket after the horror tours of SA and Aus. Azhar was under pressure and he responded magnificiently with 183 after India batted first. The English team was a bunch of complaing and whining morons and loonies and promptly went on to lose the 2nd and 3rd tests as well.

    Regarding crowd knowledge, I do beleieve that Kolkata had and continues to have a very knowledgeable cricket crowd. All the touring teams playing there have testified that. Any good performance was appreciated regardless on which side the performer belonged to. Not to mention the fact that the ground itself is awesome. Simply the best. Mohali can pretend, but its nowhere close to Eden Gardens. Also , notice the fact that no touring team has ever complained of playing there ; even Pak played there this year after the 99 troubles. The behaviour of a few people bought a bad name to the crowd.

    The history of violence on this ground however doesnt start with 96 wc. It dates back many days before that. In a test when India batted on and on for about 4 days in 80's Gavaskar's wife met with serious abuse from the crowd. Rumours say that Gavaskar promised after that never to play a test in Eden again. Some skeptics also link that to his fishy dismissal in the 87 world cup semis against England. But thats besides the point.

    The incidents of 96 WC and 99 are nothing, simply nothing compared to what happened in a test in the 67 test against West Indies. A CAB official was killed on the ground mistakenly by the police and then riot broke out. At one point, some spectators, which included my dad, found themselves running on the same road with the West Indies players like Charlie Griffith and Wes Hall towards the grand hotel, towards safety. Only Conrad Hunte remained, lest the flag of his country burn due to the fire set to the stadium. Im pretty sure that just like an incident like that didnt make Eden bad , the incidents of 96 and 99 are mere abberations. ( not that i support the acts, but what I am saying is that its wrong to judge Calcutta with all the history there based on 1/2 incidents. I might sound biased, but the charisma and the electricity of the ground outweighs or annuls those stray cases. Ask foreign cricketers. Ask Indian cricketers.)


    There is a certain charisma to this ground. At full capacity, its one of the best sights of cricket. I have enjoyed many many great matches on that ground, the 87 world cup final, the hero cup in 93 , the 98 test against Australia when Australia were intimidated and ripped apart, with Warne looking more a comedian than the champion leggie and the Test against SA when Azza made a century like a cornered tiger against Lance Klusener, Aravinda's half century in WC 96 semifinal. However, the best has to be 2001. I consider myself priveleged to have been on that ground on all 5 days of Laxman's match . It will remain to me forever, as the best Test match ever played.

    For a brief history of the ground, read here. (http://userpages.umbc.edu/~achatt1/Calcutta/eden.html). And Id also like to add that the least Jagmohan Dalmiya can do such passionate fans who throng the stadium is to provide better facilities like clean toilets and better seats, not just pamper the rich VIPs at the press boxes, people who are far less knowledgable about the game than the connoisseurs on the cheap stands.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 19:10  

  • zainub: Good analysis there, mate about the openers tried in recent times. Exactly what I thought...too impulsive...too many shots...trying to do too much on their own. So the exact nature of the problem....not enough guidance I would say. Which is surprising given the kind of guidance Woolmer is able to provide to the ODI setup! Which is why, comparing them with the Indian openers of recent times, I only did it on the talent basis. I think the Pak openers that I have seen in recent times are all more talented than some of our past Indian ones, which were persisted with....tried to develope them,..define the role for them etc.

    And btw, Yasir Hameed to me looked like the one with good head to go with lots of talent. I felt he could have been developed into a mature opener. After all playing shots is not bad for an opener...as long as the attitude is correct and the role well defined.

    Ofcourse Malik seems like a short term solution to me as well...although he is, IMO, a good enough batsman to play as a test batsman. I would actually like them to play Malik as the batsman/alllrounder/second spinner. And play a regular batsman in place of Afridi(unless he can play more responsibly) and a regular bowler in place of Razzaq(unless he can get the old bowling form back...which I think is gone).

    About Mushy, as I've often said in this forum, I dont think he's gonna play in the XI. I think thats just a ploy....esp because there's surely going to be Afrdid and Malik. And they are both almost regular spinners. The other reason being that if Shoaib plays, then a 3rd seamer is all the more needed....otherwise you have a spinner bowling the 11th over of the day! (since Shoaib is used in small spells). Even about the effectivity of Mushy...I'm not so sure how much motivated he is.

    But coming back to the openers...dont you think you should, once the talent is visible as in Hamid or Farhat or Umar, try develop them with right guidance rather than looking at the next bet in Bazid or Raza or another one?

    About the 'doosra'...ahh well...the effectivity of Doosra lies in how well you bowl the 'pehla' :-)..not sure Loudon is anywhere there.

    Btw...I think Saqlain, besides inventing the doosra, bowled the best and cleanest version of it...and even the amount of 'leg-spin' was the maximum I've seen in any doosra

    By Blogger worma, at 19:22  

  • Shahryar Khan does make some ridiculous comments.
    (http://www.dawn.com/2005/10/29/spt1.htm)

    """"PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan said that it was a balanced side selected with the consent of coach Bob Woolmer and captain Inzamamul Haq and expected the team would give a tough time to England.

    “Shoaib Akhtar bowled well in the trial match and coach and captain were satisfied with his performance while Mushtaq is the part of our planning against England,” he said.

    He said that Pakistan’s fast bowling department was better as compared to England and his side would not play defensive game."""

    Pakistan have a better pace attack..aha.
    Id be really very surprised if Shoaib plays or lasts the distance of the 3 tests.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 19:31  

  • Also from the previous article :"Hasan made his debut at the age of 15 way back in 1996 against Zimbabwe in Faisalabad. He played his last Test for Pakistan also against Zimbabwe in 2002."

    I mean..er...rest of the world measures one year of age by the passage of 365.25 days . Any ideas as to how many solar days does a Pakistani's teenager/ late teenager's year make?

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 19:34  

  • zainub...btw...is Raza also an opener?

    ..also agree with imran's rating of Gul...I think he's the best of the current lot (behind a fully fit Shoaib ofcourse).

    By Blogger worma, at 19:36  

  • Nirmal Sekhar...on Sourav Ganguly in today's Hindu.

    http://www.hindu.com/2005/10/30/stories/2005103007572000.htm

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 19:39  

  • Boycott will be back on BBC
    - By IANS



    London, Oct. 29: Cricket legend Geoff Boycott —better known as the Yorkshireman’s Yorkshireman — is back on British television with a bang after a lay-off during which he grappled with cancer and was also convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend. BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and the Sun dropped Boycott after his 1998 conviction of assaulting Margaret Moore.

    He is now back with the BBC.

    BBC has announced that he would be employed to summarise England’s Test matches in Pakistan in a programme called Test Match Special. Boycott has also been suffering from cancer but recent reports say he has recovered, and the good news has been followed by employment by Channel 4 and an invitation by MCC to deliver the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ lecture at Lord’s.

    Delighted at his rehabilitation in the public eye, Boycott is about to launch his own website, www.geoffboycott.com. A BBC spokesman said: "He has been chosen because of his wealth of experience. And because he is outspoken. That is one of his many qualities, isn’t it?"

    Boycott is currently in Singapore with ESPN-Star Sports that have contracted him over the past four years. He is commentating with Sunil Gavaskar on the India-Sri Lanka limited-overs series. After that, he will travel to Pakistan in time for England’s first Test November 12.

    Boycott had lost his court case involving his former girlfriend in France, which went to a retrial and ended with him being fined £5,300 and given a three-month suspended sentence.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 19:54  

  • worma et al:
    the venue selection nowadays is guided by prospective voting in BCCI elections, nothing else!

    By Blogger SS, at 20:02  

  • Some more articles:

    Derek Pribgle on Alex Loudon

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/10/28/scprin28.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/10/30/ixcrick.html

    Sclyd Berry on the India team selection:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/10/30/scnews30.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/10/30/ixcrick.html

    Andrew Baker on Mike Gatting:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/10/28/scbake28.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/10/30/ixcrick.html

    Mihir Bose talks to Imran
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/10/27/scbose27.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/10/30/ixcrick.html

    Osman Samiuddin in today's Guardian:
    http://sport.guardian.co.uk/cricket/theobserver/story/0,10541,1604504,00.html

    The London Times on Loudon's doosra:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,426-1846580,00.html


    Tony Cozier is covering the AUS WI series for the Independent. His report on Samules's innings:
    http://sport.independent.co.uk/cricket/article323389.ece

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 20:07  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 22:38  

  • dark nights....on SMG and Eden Gardens...it was the wife incident that did it...the WC87 semifinal against Englan did not take place at Eden Gardens, but at Wankhede...why am I so sure? I saw it live mate...and yeah the dismissal was totally fishy, in fact the whole match had the smell of being...oh how shall I say this.... "arranged" (fixed was not in the lexicon then)....Vengsarkar drops out at the last minute, and Chandu Pandit, a second wicket-keeper for God's sake, gets drafted in his place...

    By Blogger The Straighter Neo, at 22:54  

  • Raza as I said before is not an opener, he might have opened in first class cricket before once or twice (can't be sure) but essentially he's a middle order player.

    He has though said before that he'll accommodate wherever in the batting order the team needs him to - and as I said too his game is probably suited to opening, in fact it is such, it's probably suited to all positions in batting order from 1-5.

    I'd didn't mean to suggest we should have Raza in as an opener right away, but merely that it could be one of the options we could consider in the long term. For the moment though I’m willing to test out Butt and Malik, it is not ideal, yes, but it’s the next logical step given how things have gone in the lead up to this series.

    Now that we’ve made the decision though, I’d like to see them showing some faith and stick with this pair for this entire series if not more, and then we can see where to go from.

    I don’t understand what good we have achieved with the constant chop and changing after each test, it has not helped any of the players we’ve tried, not even one, and I can’t see how that can change. So that madness should definitely stop.

    Also, I don't think Shehrayar must have actually said those very words, as you see too Dawn haven't put inverted commas on those remarks which is always a good hint, perhaps he meant something else, but his views were given a forward spin by the reporter. He's a reasonable man usually. However if he has said that, then that’s the daftest things he’s ever said.

    How do I rate our chances? Mixed. Like Imran I believe that if all our players perform to the best of their potentials (Shoaib fires, Sami comes to the party, everyone else is not suffering from any kind of hangovers), then we’ll have a very decent chance.

    If however, we keep on going on the same track that we have in the last year (Shoaib in indifferent mood, batting only waking up after losing the first test) then I think we’ll scramble a 1-1 draw, after losing the first test pretty badly or may be lose 1-0, or possibly if we go AWOL, like we did in Australia, then 2-0 or 3-0.

    I have actually have been having this very weird feeling that it could all come down to Inzi, when he plays well we don’t lose that many, so I’m really pinning my hopes on him. But it’s not easy to predict things you know, in Pakistan cricket the only thing that’s predictable is unpredictability.

    And did some one mentioned Yasir Hameed? I briefly had a few hopes for him too, but time has now led me to the conclusion that he, and Imran Farhat, both had an identical problem; none of them are never really set – just as likely to get out when they on 0, as when they’re on 100.

    Watching him bat during some of his innings, a couple in Sydney in Australia last year, and another one at the Basin Reserve the year before that against NZ, was definitely one of the more mentally testing experiences I’ve had watching cricket. He’s so frustrating to watch I tell you, so frustrating.

    One moment he seems totally in his zone, hitting one of his favorite cover drives, that he plays with a massive flourish of the blade, and follows it with an extended, extravagant follow-through, by which time the ball would have raced, quite literally in between two fielders, but then immediately after that, just when you thought he had got a feel for things, he plays the most irresponsible, most horrendous looking shot you will have heard of, of a totally needless delivery he should have given a Helium bat to.

    I don’t know what went on in his mind, but I would like to. And get it sorted out, because he had some great shots in his repertoire, and he could have been an asset to the team.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 23:44  

  • ps: of course Saqi bowled the best 'doosra', he invented it after all! :)

    By Blogger Zainub, at 23:49  

  • tombaan,
    Sorry to reply so late to you earlier query:
    I am fasting because it's Ramadan (Muslim holy month)- we fast from dawn till sunset during the month

    By Blogger Sahir, at 01:47  

  • zainub, great analysis.

    I think Pakistan's biggest weakness in their opening pair (or lack of it).

    It will be interesting to see England's strategy on this tour. Last time (under Hussain), they were very defensive and the strategy was to draw the first two Tests. They reasoned (and correctly) that the 'public' pressure would be on Pakistan in the third test and they would panic, which is exactly what hapened.

    However, this time around, they recon they can win, so will be more attacking. It will be fun to watch...

    Also, I think the Kaneria's bowling will be the key. If the English think they ave 'conquered' legspin by losing a mere 40 wickets to Shane Warne this summer, they are in for a surpise.

    Kaneria is one of the best in the business...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 04:51  

Post a Comment

<< Home