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Sight Screen

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Heading for disaster?(-worma)

Despite acknowledging that its still probably too soon for making a definitive call, the recent events of Eng tour still do evoke interest and some sort of notice, don't they? Consider this:

Eng batting lineup collapsed three times out of four. In fact, the slump was so acute that the English camp hailed their second innings score of 256 allout a 'success' of sorts. This against an attack shorn of any candidate in the immediate queue for a national cap (I know Asif has played a test, but Umar Gul is much higher in the prospective list, waiting for a call-up). Even in their 'successful' innings, only couple of batsmen crossed 50, none threatening to go on to make a big one.

And, this time, their bowling didn't fire either. Pak A won the match with 6 wkts in hand, chasing down a considerable 4th innings target of 245 in the process. Surely an achievement any international team would be happy of, against this current Eng attack.

To top it off, Vaughan looks likely to miss the first test. In fact, is in some danger of missing the entire tour if the ligament damage is of a serious nature. And Eng is unable to find a suitable replacement since Key and Shah, two likely candidates, aren't fit either. Probably good opportunity for Joyce?

The good news, from Eng perspective, is that Giles seems to be in good nick, both with bat and ball. And Udal was also good at Pindi, although again the quality of opposition there needs to be taken into account. Boycott, in fact, promotes the case for playing Udal. His argument - the ball won't help the Eng seam and swing attack. So probably someone like Anderson may not be handy
I don't think everybody's realised the balls are going to be different. They're going to use the Kookaburra which is made in Australia and will not swing as much as the English balls
To me, frankly, playing Udal looks much bigger gamble than Anderson, or preferably Tremlett? Pak batting isn't exactly vulnerable against 'normal' spin bowling...they scored big time in India recently.

Meanwhile on Pak front, Raza was impressive with his 71 notout in the Pak A victory. He's one of their future prospects, from what I've read, and is currently fighting with Asim Kamal for the sixth batsman's slot in the Pak lineup for first test. Their bowling reserves looks good, with Shoaib and Sami fit to take the lead, Shabbir and Rana waiting in the wings, and the likes of Gul, Asif and even Arafat in the fringes. Arshad Khan wasn't impressive in this match, but anyway its most likely a toss between Mushtaq and Shabbir for the final bowling spot.

Azhar Mahmood, who turns columnist for this tour atleast(or did he write earlier?), says Rana should be picked above Sami. And obviously Pak camp is upbeat with the English struggle. So the early advantage goes to Pak, as much as any team can hope for before the start of actual battle. Now its upto them to make best use of it.


  • Here is anyalysys which prooves kaif is an overrated player
    He has 2 hundreds and 14 fifties. Strake rate 74 is not great considering he bats very low or very high in the order
    His hundreds
    1 : 111 against ZIM. i know its under pressure. But this was agaisnt a pathetic zimbabwe side in sriankan wicket
    2: 102 agaisnt NZ. Although he scored it agaisnt newzeland, the match had no sigificance. Also shane bond was rested. Their attack withought bond is mediocre
    Of the 14 fifties, 3 against ZIM 1 agaisnt BD and 1 against WI
    That leaves us with 9 innings. We will go through them
    1 : 95 agaisnt SA. This was at flat dhaka wicket. And almost everyone scored in this match. Team scored 307. And Willoughby is the opening bowler for SA
    2 : 68 agaisnt NZ. India was chasing only 146 . Also he took 129 balls.
    3 : 64 agaisnt NZ. This was an okay innings. Took 108 balls though.. The match lost !.
    4 : 93 agaisnt NZ. This was also an okay innings. The match lost !
    5 : 51 agaisnt Eng. Took 73 balls while chasing 308. The match lost!
    6 : 50 agaisnt Eng. Took 79 balls. The match lost !
    7 : 78 agaisnt Pak on a Kanpur wicket.Dravid batted better than him. The match lost !
    So all these 7 are nothing average or below average. That leaves us with 2 innnings
    8 : 71 agaisnt Pak. I admit this is a good innings. But still it was Rahul dravid who took the game away from PAK. Dravid scored 76 and he was the one who started attacking initially.
    One thing to note is that he doesnt have a strike rate of 100 or above in any of those 15 innings. (The closest is 111 of 112 agaisnt a pathetic ZIM attack)
    So that leaves us with 1 innings
    9: 87 agaisnt Eng. I think this is the only great innings played by him in his entire career.
    But still he didnt do singlr handedly here.. I think yuvraj gets equal credit for this win.
    Of the 16 innings i mentioned this was the only innings his strike rate crossed 100 :-)
    His record agaisnt Australia : Played 6 matches. total score 20 with a highest of 10 and an avg of 5.00. That proves he is pathetic agaisnt good pace attack
    His record against Lanka : Played 12 matches. total score 206 with a highest of 41 and an avg of 25.75. That proves he is pathetic agaisnt spin attack too

    By Blogger idli vade, at 07:41  

  • worma good analysis hope pakistan beats england it will give us a better chance to whoop them also

    i am all for a pakistan win here

    By Blogger tombaan, at 07:51  

  • pakis winning??
    it all depends on kaneria

    By Blogger idli vade, at 07:53  

  • I wouldnt read too much into the tour matches - not because I believe that England would deliver on the big day - but because knowing Pakistan's propensity to shoot itself on its foot come the big day - especially if the opponent is not India.

    This is possible - Suppsoe I am shoaib Akthar or Yasir Hameed - I will think like "ok Patrons second eleven screwed this England side so me, the big great shoaib (or Yasir or Salman), should just turn up to kick ass".
    And on the big day? Hara kiri!

    Sounds plausible? It does to me.

    By Blogger Gangs of Calcutta, at 08:02  

  • yah ofcourse. because i think rana is pakis answer to freddie. maharoopa is lankans answer. watson is aussies answer. agarkar is indias answer.

    By Blogger idli vade, at 08:07  

  • tombaan: yeah ofcourse Eng demoralised on subcontinent is good for us :-) Ideal scenario, for me, would be a drawn series...with Pak winning on their spin strength...and Eng batting failing most of the time, their bowling (and Flintoff) getting them a win. That way I don't see either Pak or Eng ending the series on a high note...good for us since we face them in succession :-)...see..how simple my wishes are ;-)

    gangs: ofcourse its a tour match...and ofcourse most players perform better in big matches....still atleast *something* should be read into these as well, no? Their batting lineup, I can believe, was trying desperately to strike form after the first failure, and still didn't do too well? And what about the bowling? Atleast that should, even at a much lower intensity, have easily gone through this Pak A (and Patron's) lineup?

    Ofcourse you're right...they do have tendency of letting opponents off the hook...I'm hoping that's where Wooler would come in...try to build on this early advantage. As for Shoaib, I've got a strong feeling that it would be an end-of-the-road series for me...if he tries to pull his antics one more time.

    By Blogger worma, at 08:09  

  • adding to my revious blog, lankans have 2 freddies in maharoopa and lokahettige..

    By Blogger idli vade, at 08:09  

  • ooops...'end-of-the-road series for him..' not for me ;-)...I can play active role in many more series to come :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 08:10  

  • maharoopa + lokahettige == 2* freddie ??

    By Blogger idli vade, at 08:12  

  • doesnt the english stuggle seem like a replay whcich happened some 4 months back (Aussies strugglign in start of the tour and that form went on to decide on the series)..

    By Blogger Balaji, at 08:46  

  • Isn't hasan raza the one who was capped at 15 yrs or so to become the youngest player to be capped then. nice to see him make a comeback.

    By Blogger Ragav, at 09:28  

  • Key and Shah aren't injured. They are waiting in the wings at home training with the Academy.

    By Blogger dave_v, at 09:30  

  • dave_v: this from the same BBC report that I linked to Owais Shah and Robert Key have been mentioned as potential replacements but they too have been ruled out. "Key has had a shoulder operation and Shah has a knee injury which didn't look too serious at first but a closer look has shown it is a far more serious," Fletcher added.

    ragav: yep he's the same, as far as I know.

    By Blogger worma, at 09:43  

  • Ah. I must have missed that. Joyce it is then.

    By Blogger dave_v, at 12:37  

  • I can't quite recall anyone who has managed to persuade the head groundsman at Multan of producing any thing other other than perfectly docile pitches in the recent past. So I'd be inclined to go in with an attack of Kaneria, Shoaib, Sami/Rana/Shabbir, and the two spinning all rounders. Malik would open the innings and Afirid could bat at 8, after Kamran Akmal. Still in two minds if Asim Kamal should be rewarded for his consistency of the past, or Raza should be given his chance ahead of him, or whom we should pick from Rana, Sami and Shabbir but Mushy's definitely a finished article for my money, and I'm not certain how well Arshad Khan will fare either, so those two are not going to be part of my plan.

    On the subject of England's warm up performances, I wouldn't go any further then saying they are encouraging. England are a top notch side, and they got thrashed by SA A in their warm up earlier in the year only to go on and win the first test pretty comprehensively, so it will be dangerous to read too much into these batting collapses.

    However Michael Vaughan missing out is a definite blow, he'll be missed more for his captaincy then his batting one could argue such has been his influence to the side, so that's a definite plus for Pakistan. I think England will retain the line up they chose in the Oval test with Loudon replacing Vaughan.

    However, we mustn't forget that we haven't won the first test in a series since facing Bangladesh in August 2003. And on many occasions we've lost pretty badly, by an innings or so, and that included losing pretty badly even against the likes of West Indies (although that was without Inzi, Malik and Yousuf in our defence)!

    We are slow starters. But the course of events in the build up to this test have in a way handed the psychological advantage to us.

    We are new to this. England are not. They have had 2 years or so of success, of series we're they've gone in with a lot expected of them. Even though what is expected of Pakistan in comparison is next to nothing, but in the context of the relatively fragile state of minds of some of our players it is a lot. I am not sure how we will respond to this. I'll be happy with a draw, a win will be a dream come true, but I'd still be optimistic if we lost, considering the 2nd test is at Faisalabad, where our recent record is not that bad, and the third and final test is at Lahore, we're it's just outstanding.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 13:49  

  • zainub, going with just 3 specialist bowlers...spreading it a bit thin, no? I don't like Afridi being used as a full time bowler....he should be used in short wicket-taking suprise packages. And Malik, frankly I've never found his bowling anything but harmless :-) I would want to pick two out of Rana/Sami/Shabbir. Probably not go for Sami here as he needs a bit of help from pitch/conditions. And Rana also because of his batting capabilities.

    And ofcourse Eng warmup failures should not be over-analysed. Its natural for them to take time in acclamatising. But their batting, even before landing here, has been shaky...and its not inspriring too much confidence here either. They have been a good team based on reasonable batting and very strong bowling....and if their bowling falls even a notch...it can bring them down. Good thing for them, Flintoff looks good with bat and ball since he has the capability to lift the team with him in a single session.

    And ofcourse, slow start of Pak is well documented :-)...lets see how different it is this time.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:27  

  • I like to think of it as going in with 4 specialist bowlers. Afridi is a bowling all rounder in my books, and I personally rate his quickish leg spin far more then his hit-miss batting. He could be really handy on the pitches here. Malik too is a little more then harmless. His one-day record whilst bowling is a testament to that, at tests level though he's still got to prove him self more consistently but frankly apart from one or two occasions he's not been used as well as he should have been. I am hoping the case will be different this time.

    I'm hopelessly unsure of what the fast bowling attack should be, there are pros and cos to every selection one could make. I am not particularly keen on Sami either at this stage, but I have a suspicion that the think tank are. But then I'm also not sure if Shabbir will be as affective with his new action as he was with the old, or even if Rana can repeat his county form here or if Shoaib will last the test! And this could have been even more complicated if Razzaq was fit!

    I agree though that if we get it right we could make some serious in roads in the English batting line - that is their week link, and prone to sudden collapse (numerous examples of that during the Ashes and against SA). However I'm not sure how well or poorly Freddie will do. Even though he was amongst the wickets and the runs at Bagh-e-Jinnah he went for a few, and didn't actually get a significant score, all of which should give the guys some confidence. To add to that his past record in the sub-continent is not particularly flattering. Having said that it could all change, but I'm hoping we can capitalise on that.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 14:56  

  • Freddie's past record doesn't matter so much..he was a different player last time around. Although he did well with bat and ball...at different points of time...just wasn't consistent enough with either.

    About Afridi, ofcourse he's good...but him bowling 20-30 overs a day and still maintaining his effectivity is a bit questionable to me. Malik in ODIs is a different matter...he's not the kind of bowler who would be able to test the batsman willing to be patient. Just not enough guiles. Even his turn is not prolific, atleast from what I have seen.

    About Razzaq...yeah you're right, his being fit could have been a bigger headache. As I've said in the past, I don't think he should play test unless he improves his bowling considerably. Has been a bit flat in the last season, from what I saw.

    Btw...amongst their batsmen, I think KP would get atleast one big score...if only because of his style of play. Strauss has been giving them good starts, and his capability to play spin is highly suspect, from what I saw. If Bell plays, even better for Pak :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 15:26  

  • Time will tell which of us is wrong about Afrid and Malik, but I do agree that Bell is under big pressure now. And I wouldn't mind him playing.

    KP had a good tour of India with England A last year, so that would suggest he can succeed in these conditions. But I am hardly a fan of him at any rate, so I'm hoping (really, really badly) for him to fail. It's the credibility of The Anti Foolish Hair Cut Association - TAFHCA - (this exists, believe me) that is at stake here after all ! Quite a serious issue this is, and not to be under estimated by any means.

    Yes, Fred's a different player now. But there's always the IF. And he's talked a lot about home sickness of late, so I'm kind of hoping that that will have a part to play as well. But it's all more in hope then in anticipation I have to admit.

    We just can't expect for England to underperform (which is what they have done in the warm up games), we'll have to raise our own game, and when ever an opportunity presents it self, grasp it. And then hope that a little bit of luck goes our way as well. You need that, especially with the toss. Multan's usually a good place to bat first.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 15:55  

  • TAFHCA LOL :-)...ok I get serious....but I believe Warne would also be on their hit-list ? ;-)

    About Freddie...good if he feels jaded...even better for us..so you guys soak up the last bit of juice out of him ;-)

    And yes, toss is crucial....even in Ashes..I know its sounds like pathetic loser, but I just wonder what if Ponting had won a few more tosses (or atleast used an iota of brain when he actually won it!). Although with Pak its a question of what you fear would be more likely to wilt under pressure first up...batting or bowling? I would say batting...no?

    By Blogger worma, at 16:57  

  • /////////Ragav said
    Isn't hasan raza the one who was capped at 15 yrs or so to become the youngest player to be capped then. nice to see him make a comeback. //////////////

    Yeah, same one... Unfortunately, he was found out to have fudged his age by no less than ten years... Outlook and ABP did a cover where they published his real birth certificate, if I remember correctly...

    But that is usual in the subcontinent... after all, I remember Kapil stopping at age 29 for about 5 years before he again started ageing... and so with Afridi... [both based on media reports AND wildly exaggerated, of course, by urs truly]

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 17:07  

  • worma,
    About Ponting not having a brain when winning the toss. I have no doubt whatsoever that Australia would have won the second test and the Ashes had Ponting elected to bat on a wicket that began to turn big-time on day 2 onwards. Day 1 was as good a batting wicket as I may have seen. And to think he chose to bowl after McGrath has just been ruled out due to injury, his main weapon was a spinner named Warne, it was a sunny day on a pitch with very little grass and no moisture, and Australia had all the momentum coming off an emphatic victory at Lord's. Forget Hussain's Brisbane folly, this I feel is the worst decision ever at the toss. End result-- Australia loses by 2 runs in a classic.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:10  

  • oldmanblues and others,
    I know Raza is actually older, but according to the certificate you say was published, do you know how much older? I didn't know about Afridi being older, although he does look older than what is listed (then again, he is a Pathan and they tend to get pretty big pretty quick). Any ideas on Afridi's actual age? I really hope he's a lot older-- tired of India's pathetic bowlers suffering at his hands on paata wickets.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:14  

  • BTW,
    I remember reading a story about Afridi and Raza being caught with some prostitutes in their room during Raza's initial stint. I believe Afridi was sanctioned-- banned for a tour? As far as Raza is concerned-- a prostitute at age 14-- if he is to be believed!

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:16  

  • btw zainub, dont be mistaken, I'm not saying that Afridi will not be a good spinner in this series...I think he will trouble the Eng quite a lot, but has to be used sparringly....so if you go by the lineup you're suggesting, and play him as the 4th specialist bowlers *then* he would struggle.

    sahir: yep I think Warne had something to say to Ponting at the end of play that day ;-)....seriously...there were some altercation between the two at the end of day's play, from what I read. I would say Warne is a patient man, therefore Ponting lives on :-))

    By Blogger worma, at 17:20  

  • oldmanblues LOL..'Kapil stopping at 29 for 5 years' :-))

    By Blogger worma, at 17:21  

  • 14 may not be psychologically a good age to have ur first sexual encounter, but it definitely is physiologically OK... so... who knows... but then again... he really wasn't 14 after all...

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 19:24  

  • oldmanblues,
    well, yeah. Physiologically it's even OK at 10! Not really the point though.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 20:01  

  • Afridi for my money is probably late 20s - he's a setteled family man, with 2 beautiful duaghters so that claim of being a 23 or 24 year old does look a bit dodgy. Having said that, his increasing age hasn't affected his market demand or popularity at all - this month he was named Rado (a watch company from Switzerland)'s brand embassador - massive photos of him in all major newspapers. And he's an all time favorite with the TV adds too. Probably appears in more then in any other sportsman or women in this country.

    I still reckon though that he'll hang around for another 10 years or so, incredibly fit man he is, can't ever actually recall him missing a game being injured in some way, it's more often then not his form that's got him in and out of the team in the past.

    I reckon Raza must be roughly the same age group as Afridi, he just got married last month too so that's one indication.

    But I can't be too sure of those indecent rumors, but I hope they are wrong, I'm a big fan of both Raza and Afridi and they're both from Karahci. People here are mostly, very nice. :D

    By Blogger Zainub, at 08:07  

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