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Sight Screen

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pakistan's dilemma(-worma)

The biggest one is how to handle the early advantage, something of a new territory for them in recent times. Osman touches the same point in his preview.
Although not as bizarre, the Pakistan team is ensconced within unfamiliarity: they find themselves going into the second Test with a lead to protect, something they haven't done in a series of note in two years.

But for me, another big challenge would be the team composition, now that they have decided to avoid the risk of playing Shabbir. Naved is the next paceman in line, but Faislabad pitch looks friendlier for spin, which means another specialist spinner can get a look in. The other likelihood is of playing Afridi instead of Raza.
Light brown and dry, it prompted Woolmer to mutter knowingly, "It certainly looks as though there is more opportunity to turn here." Not only the pitch, but the cheek behind the remark somehow deems it appropriate that Pakistan's cheekiest tweaker of situations and matches over the last year - Shahid Afridi - is in line for a Test place. With the experiment with Shoaib Malik likely, and rightly, to be extended (Woolmer was "happy with the openers, I think both did very well"), Afridi could come in at number six, a potentially damaging position. Spare a thought, though, for Hasan Raza. The decision to play him at Multan, ahead of the unfashionably solid Asim Kamal might have been untimely; the decision to drop him now could be even more so, especially for Raza's career.
I completely agree with Osman's comment about injustice of Raza's exclusion(as also his callup in place of Kamal). Add to it the fact that Pak batting itself hasn't been much better than Eng's shaky performance, and bringing Afridi instead of a regular batsman is a gamble. But probably Pak is in a position to risk the uncertainty element that Afridi carries with him.

No such luxury for Eng though. Vaughan is willing to take the risk with his injury to get his team back on track in the series, while they contemplate on which one of Bell and Collingwood is a better proposition.
"It's pretty obvious it'll be Collingwood or Bell who misses out," he confirmed. "The selectors will liaise today but it's a tough one. Belly played well, while Colly's only just got into the team."
Personally, I think Collingwood would find himself out of the playing XI, though very much in the scheme of things. And probably, if things go reasonably well for them(meaning atleast a draw) would get another shot in the final test when Strauss returns home, with Vaughan probably moving up to open.
It is not in England's nature to axe a player before he has had a chance to prove himself - especially a man who has been so loyal to the cause as Collingwood - but needs must on this occasion, as England seek the formula to haul them back to parity.

Jonathan Agnew feels the same in his latest column.
Although Paul Collingwood was above him in the pecking-order at Multan, it would be a mistake for the notoriously stubborn Duncan Fletcher to stick with Collingwood, who scored a total of 13 runs
Although, despite Woolmer's suggestion to the contrary, he thinks Malik won't bowl, and that Shabbir might be replaced by Afridi as a specialist bowler.
Shabbir's action looked very dubious from the sidelines - it is the third time he has been reported - and should Pakistan replace him with Afridi, it would bolster their disturbingly fragile lower order.
This, I feel, is surely one possibility Pak team management would seriously consider, since the pitch looks like helpful one right from the start.

16 Comments:

  • worma,
    was reading the cricinfo blog and it is a bit of a disappointment really. no one bothers to respond to the comments. anyway, they have raised a weird non-issue - acc to them RD, SRT, SG, AK will all be gone after WC 2K7 and that will leave a huge void in the team. I agree SG and AK will be gone - but RD and SRT ?? Surely they have at least 4-5 years of cricket left in them ??? maybe not ODIs but test cricket

    By Blogger GK, at 13:08  

  • gk, didnt read the latest edition on wicket to wicket. But anyway I went there only for Harsha's views. I'm also put off by lack of interactivity on blogs...maybe my weakness ;-)

    I'm not sure if AK would be gone either...he can be around...and there's no drop in his test performance as of now. RD and SRT would definitely be around in tests. SRT, despite his injuries, doesn't look fading enough to have gone from the relatively easy-paced life of test cricket. While SG, while almost surely out of test cricket by then, may still have some ODI cricket left in him since he's not had any major injuries so far. But ofcourse, this depends on whether he makes a successful comeback, and is able to recapture a good percentage of his old form.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:18  

  • I think SRT should retire from ODI cricket after WC07.Obviuosly he'll leave an unfillable void,but I think that will help prolong his test career.Whats there to acheive..barring a WC win.He's done it all.He's already in unreachable territory in ODI's.Matches,runs,100's,MOM's..he has all the possible records and will hold em for a long long time to come.Plus ,I think in 2 years time,India would learn to deal without Sachin in ODI's.It would be great if he and India can do a repeat of WC'03 but go on to win it this time.That would be the best way to bow out and one that he deserves more than anyone else.
    I think he,for various reasons, is atleast 1500 runs and 5 centuries short of where he should have been in his test career by now.Thats where he needs to focus more from now.

    By Blogger AR, at 18:04  

  • I have only 4 words to describe Cricinfo's latest endeavor - Wicket to Wicket : Much ado about nothing.

    A group of cricket writers , seeing the popularity of this blog, thought they would do something similar. Their first installment , on technology was so farcical that it ended up as a one- upmanship show between supporters and non- supporters of technology.

    They also found out that hardly anyone bothers to read it. So reluctantly, to make more people read it , they compromised to "modearted comments". The result- well, except Harsha Bhogle's interesting analogy has been utterly predictable. Hyperboles, conjectures, soliloquies, speculations wrapped in good English language is presented to the reader as if its some sacred text. Cricinfo is prominently displaying the link to this blog above that magnificent feature called "All Today's Yesterdays" . Such a discussion, if it took place orally would have been like a show like say one of NDTV's debates.

    Wonder why the good writers and great "technical experts" of Cricinfo, Premachandran and Vasu are missing from the discussion. Such kind of subjective writings can make enjoyable reading, but lacks the rigour and minute details which Prem does on this blog.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 18:35  

  • Imran Khan is here in San Jose for fund collection ,, Last night met with him at the black-tie dinner party, part of his fund collection drive all over USA ....He was talking about how Pakistan going to destroy England in the coming matches and all that.., He also mentioned about the coming Indian tour to Pakistan and it will be battle between Woolmer and GC in terms of stratgies ,,and he also thinks GC will experiment and transform Indian test team as well .

    By Blogger PODI, at 20:15  

  • Worma/Prem: Your favorite topic.. England tour itin to India. The drama continues...they are contemplating warm-up games in Pakistan. Is the media playing ball for ECB? I have read Sclyd Berry....he is jerk #2 (ie someone who still subscribes to the "we rule the world" thinking prevalent among most insular British) among English writers after CMJ.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/11/20/scscyl20.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/11/20/ixcrick.html

    Look forward to this being posted on the main forum and some spirited discussion.

    By Blogger losing now, at 20:23  

  • Sclyd Berry in the Telegraph: utter bullshit.

    "The ECB were shocked when the itinerary was announced as Mumbai, where the third Test will be played, is the only one of India's top 10 venues where England will play."

    --------> There are only 10 test venues in India . So all of them are top. So why Mumbai. All of them by this logic are top Test venues.:)

    "The seven one-day internationals were distributed to the furthest corners of India in the month of April, which will be very hot. "

    --------> Furthest corner ..but still India eh...and not exactly LoC..hot...why is England in May so damp and cold.

    "The warm-up one-dayer is at Dharamsala in the Himalayas, better known as the exiled home of the Dalai Lama than a cricket venue."

    ------> I thought those buggers would like this venue. Serene and tranquil and cold. Pakistan played here this year. How quickly someone can make a preconceived notion about some quaint place.

    "But the final straw came on Thursday when England were told the two three-day practice games at the start of their tour had been allocated to the north east: one in Jamshedpur, a steel city, the other in Agartala, which has never staged a significant game of cricket. The main hotel in Agartala has rooms costing less than £5 per night, according to its website. "

    Oh yeah...so Jamshedpur being a steel city cant host a match. Agartala...:) it was kind of a snub really and I liked it a lot. But then the hotels might not exactly be without running water and electricity .


    "But the Australians negotiated a satisfactory itinerary this year, and Sri Lanka have been granted two major grounds for their three Tests next month."

    Once again, they are ignoring the logic of the rotation policy. Aussies didnt get a test at Eden or Mohali did they? They had to play at Nagpur where they got a pleasant surprise.


    "The feud between England and India dates back to the 1996 World Cup, which the former thought they were going to stage before the latter grabbed it and made a fortune out of it. The relationship was made worse by the animosity between the former ECB chairman, Lord MacLaurin, and the power-broker of Indian cricket, Jagmohan Dalmiya.

    Dalmiya attended Thursday's meeting in Kolkata, although Carr was unaware of the capacity in which he did so. Carr accepted that it was the prerogative of the home side to nominate venues, but registered the ECB's disappointment that more established venues had not been chosen."

    -------->That is why I like Dalmiya so much. I just hope that the Board now doesnt cow down after getting the letter.

    "India's attitude is the complete opposite of Pakistan's. Both the Pakistan government and board cannot do enough for England, in the hope that more touring teams of various sports will come here, and tourists with them. "

    --------> You see dude our economy is not exactly dependent on the pounds that your Barmy Army would shell out after the pints of beer.

    Finally, I mean the British fought Netaji and the INA at Manipur etc. The forces were quite willing to "tour" the NE states to defend their land. Why different for cricket? When they ruled over India, they ruled over not only the 4 metros but the whole country . So why this apathy towards "farthest corners of the country" ?

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 21:01  

  • LP Sahi thinks India can win the series 4-1 if Cheepauk, Eden and Wankhade throw up turners like Bangalore.

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1051120/asp/sports/story_5499071.asp

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 21:14  

  • 2 interesting pieces of Ganguly news: :))

    1> Lawyers question Dada’s ‘sacking’
    - By Bipin Dani



    Mumbai: Deposed India captain Sourav Ganguly’s "sacking" from the Indian team has been questioned by four Kolkata lawyers.

    Four Kolkata high court lawyers — Vishwaswaroop Chaudhary, Niraj Gupta, Rajsekhar Basu and L. Mukherji — have written a joint letter to the Indian cricket board secretary and have asked for an explanation relating to Ganguly’s sacking.

    Though it is not an official notice, the representation has been made on green-paper mailed from 7, Old Post Office Street, Room No. 3, Kolkata-700 001.

    A few BCCI constitutional instances have been cited whereby the selectors have been alleged to have erred in making their judgements about Ganguly’s omission.

    The letter is not likely to come up for the BCCI’s AGM later this month.

    However, if the Indian team continues to lose to South Africa, the selectors may gamble on bringing him back for the last two one-dayers, one of which is scheduled to be played in Kolkata or for the Tests against Sri Lanka.

    These will be the last teams chosen by the current bunch of selectors before the AGM, and Kiran More and company may be keen to continue if the Dalmiya group retains its hold. BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra too has advocated his views in favour of Sourav Ganguly.

    2> Sourav’s presence a boon: Deep
    A STAFF REPORTER
    Calcutta: Deep Dasgupta feels presence of Sourav Ganguly comes as a boost for Bengal in their Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra, but the former India captain is always made for the national side.

    “We would always wish to see Sourav playing for the national side… that is what he is made for,” said the Bengal vice-captain on Saturday.

    Bengal leave for Pune on Monday and Sourav would join the team a day later.

    “We don’t expect Sourav to be with us continuously. But his presence will always be a boon against a tough side like Maharashtra,” Deep said. Sourav will lead Bengal in Pune.

    Bengal coach Paras Mhambrey also said that the team is “mentally prepared to miss Sourav in the season”.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 21:16  

  • R. Mohan on yesterday's match:

    http://www.asianage.com/main.asp?layout=2&cat1=8&cat2=71&newsid=193435&RF=DefaultMain

    Botham celebrates slowest 50.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/11/20/scboth20.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/11/20/ixcrick.html

    Martin Johnson also :

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;jsessionid=LGCXPFTAXQYRVQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/sport/2005/11/19/scjohn19.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/11/20/ixcrick.html

    Sky is clearly not the Limit

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/11/20/scnorm20.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/11/20/ixcrick.html

    Yousuf and Islam

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/11/20/scyous20.xml&sSheet=/sport/2005/11/20/ixcrick.html

    Pietersen's misery in Pakistan.
    http://sport.guardian.co.uk/englandinpakistan/story/0,16791,1645369,00.html

    Mike Selvey, my fav Brit cric writer's preview:

    http://sport.guardian.co.uk/englandinpakistan/story/0,16791,1646281,00.html

    Another Diary from Pakistan:
    http://sport.independent.co.uk/cricket/article328121.ece

    Stephen Brinkley:
    http://sport.independent.co.uk/cricket/article328130.ece

    & Ted Corbett:

    http://www.hindu.com/2005/11/20/stories/2005112004711600.htm

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 21:46  

  • Dark Nights:
    Good compilations.

    By Blogger ramshorns, at 22:38  

  • pak win toss. bat first. afridi/naved in. shabbir/hasan out. Vaughn in. collingwood out

    By Blogger losing now, at 23:13  

  • can anybody tell me where i can find free highlights of the Ind Vs SA ODI's? please

    By Blogger rahul_fan, at 23:33  

  • ramdin teahcing the englishmen how to play spin:)

    By Blogger roublen, at 00:20  

  • The Pakistani and English verdicts are available on the cricinfo website

    http://content-ind.cricinfo.com/pakveng/content/story/226562.html

    http://content-ind.cricinfo.com/pakveng/content/story/226561.html

    kudos to afridi for playing a nerveless innings so far...

    By Blogger galli_cricket, at 09:27  

  • Looks like England can forget about winning Test series in Pakistan; so much for Botham repeatedly stating England are the best Test side in the world. Beating Australia at home once does not make you the best in the world. Heck, India have done that several times and they have also drawn the latest series in Australia, but never could we lay claim to being the best in the world. To me, the Test rankings system is accurately reflective of the position of teams. The ODI system is pretty reflective, but does need to be fine-tuned a little to lay more emphasis on big games such as the World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy, and finals of triangulars.

    Current Test rankings accurately reflect Australia still well in front of everybody, with England in second place and India not far behind in third. Then there is a gap to a closely-bunched 4-7, with West Indies rightly way behind in eighth. I hope India can beat Pakistan in Pakistan and England at home to take over and solidify the second spot.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 11:03  

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