Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

We noticed a couple of Pakistani fans in the resort where we were staying in Mt. Lavinia. They`d just checked in the previous day, and we sensed an opportunity to pick their brains on suggestions that Pakistanis is among the favourites to lift the trophy this year.

Arshad and Zoheb live in Birmingham, UK and are here in Sri Lanka until the finals. They`re very confident that their team will repeat the feat they`d witnessed in England back in 2009 – when Pakistan, under Younis Khan`s captaincy, were crowned World T20 champions.

Arshad feels that their strength lies with the top order batting – a solid start, he feels, could be the difference between a par score and a mammoth total. Zoheb, on the other hand, backs the bowlers to even defend a miserly score, if such a situation arises. Understandably, he picks Saeed Ajmal as the bowler who could hold the trump card to take Pakistan all the way.

Zoheb would have had concerns in the manner in which the Bangladeshis piled up a challenging score of 179 yesterday. That skipper Hafeez backed his own abilities at the start of the innings seemed bemusing – given his lack of effectiveness. He might have done well to take himself off the attack earlier.

This paved the way for Shakib – arguably one of the better Asian all rounders today – to craft an outstanding innings that took Bangladesh to the total they eventually gathered. The only glitch was a series of amusing misunderstandings with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim when calling for runs – a string of errors that couldn`t stop keeper Akmal and Afridi from sharing a laugh.

Although I would imagine they wouldn`t have had half a heart to smile when Sohail Tanvir dropped a dolly offered to him by Rahim at mid-wicket. I must have looked at the replays half a dozen times and the comicality of the drop never fails to make me laugh. That he pointed to the lights and pulled down his shades afterwards marked out what is idiosyncratic of fielders who drop catches – what brings one laughter can leave another bewildered. I have a strong belief that this video will have a healthy shelf life on YouTube.

Arshad, on the other hand, would`ve taken heart out of the Pakistani`s batting performance. He`d pointed out a healthy start as a key factor in either posing large totals, or chasing larger ones. Imran Nazir`s batting style makes it easy for the audience (and predictably, his team mates) to accept that his audacious strokes are what lay the foundation in the top order – given the snail`s pace (in the context of T20) at which Hafeez historically paces his innings. I guess they understand each other`s game, and this seems a method that the Pakistanis are certain of in working to their favour.

As they progress to the Super 8, tougher tasks lay ahead. To have India, Australia and South Africa in the same group is enough to ingrain fears of an early slip, but unpredictability is what drives T20 cricket forward today. And it will continue to.

Srikrishnan Chandrasekharan

Aizaz Cheema had an impressive series for Pakistan with the ball

Pakistan completed a clean sweep in the ODIs against Zimbabwe. It was a very good performance from the Pakistan team with some new faces in their bowling line up. Aizaz Cheema made an impressive debut for Pakistan in the series and led the wickets tally. It was a significant performance by the 32 year old making his debut taking wickets with a good strike rate, average and economy. The experienced Younis Khan won player of the series award. The Pakistan openers did a tremendous job in giving a good starts when the team needed.

It was a tough series for Zimbabwe playing against Pakistan that had a good mix of experienced and young blood. Zimbabwe team played good cricket throughout the series. The first match of series had a nail biting finish; the second match was a complete domination by Pakistan openers. In the 3rd match there was plenty of expectation that Taylor would continue his good form with the bat to save their side from the whitewash. Unfortunately he got out early and wickets fell down at regular intervals to eventually push Zimbabwe short by 28 runs.

Team and management of Zimbabwe Cricket should focus on the positives out of the tour. They were able to score 220-plus in all the matches and given a good fight. The team needs to invest more time towards areas of improvement and rebuilding the team for the upcoming T20 against Pakistan followed by New Zealand and West Indies series in the month of October.

On the other hand, Pakistan needs to strengthen their team for their upcoming series against Sri Lanka. The series will be held in Dubai due to security constraints at Pakistan. It promises to be a good contest with Pakistan showing good promise.