Disregarding the long term issues of first
class cricket structure, lack of international cricket and poor fitness
levels (and hence fielding) of our players, when it came to the tactical
analysis of our team's performance in this world cup, I would say the
Given that we had such a poor batting display, I think that we did well
to get to quarter finals. Effort put in by our bowlers, the way they
were handled by Misbah and coached by Waqar (let's give him his due
where it is fair to do so), were all exceptional. The 'jazba' shown by
our bowlers was extraordinary. This, remember was the second string
bowling attack that we could put together. Their display is a proof of
the depth of talent that we have in that department.
Our game against South Africa brought tremendous joy to us. Of course
mainly because we won but also because this game re established our
belief and pride in our fast bowlers. We also lived up to our reputation
of having a mercurial talent. Something I feel we give as much
importance to, as we give to winning. At the expense of our long time
suffering fans, we would rather be outrageously unpredictable and
interesting to watch rather than showing boring, solid consistent
Let's hope that the performance shown by
Wahab turns out to be the starting point of a long and consistent patch
of his career. Aqib Javed has shown to have a good coaching mind. He
ought to be engaged by PCB so that he can continue to work on emerging
bowlers. Ehsan Adil and Sohail Khan both have enough potential, which if
coached correctly, could turn them to world class fast bowlers. Mohammad
Asif, remember was one of many above average bowlers when he started. It
was mainly Aqib's coaching that made him a world class A strike bowler.
His loss, I am convinced, was the biggest loss to Pakistan cricket after
the match fixing fiasco. But then that, is a separate discussion.
In the QF against Australia, we tried to
play attacking cricket, but were just not good enough. We tried to take
the game to Australia by aiming to score 300 runs. May be Misbah and our
think tank in charge of deciding game strategy should have realised that
our bowling attack could defend 250 odd score as effectively as other
teams defend 300. We should also have known that despite our best
efforts, the only time when we scored 300 plus was against part time
players of the UAE. To think that somehow, we could break the mould and
would score 300 plus against the likes of Starc and Johnson was a bit
barmy. Misbah, Afridi and Akmal got out trying to hit balls over the cow
corner which they did not need to do. I think that they played their
shots as they were trying to do too much. May be that is exactly what
Australia wanted us to do. We could have played to our strengths and
played in the old fashioned way. But then it is always easy to be wise
with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
In our batting, we have got to think why our
batsmen can not effectively rotate strike. Tapping balls in gaps and
running aggressively are skills that our batting coaches have got to
work on. Agreed that these are not easy to learn and practice but you
have got to do what you got to do. Shehzad and Akmal are both talented
enough to mould their batting in this way.I personally have been rather
disappointed with Sohaib Maqsood and have not been impressed with the
batting potential of Haris Sohail. Fawad Alam, provided his integrity
could be assured, ought to be preferred ahead of both of them.
And finally, we come to fielding.
Traditionally, our Achilles heel. If Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can
improve in this department, surely we can too. Would need regular
physical training sessions, cultural change, provision of good grounds
and dedication. All under the watchful eyes of a proper fielding coach.
The old men of our team, Misbah, Younas and Afridi were also, easily,
the best fielders. Reason of course being that all three were fitness
freaks. If you want to succeed at international level, then you have GOT
to work hard. That is where, I would again mark down Sohaib Maqsood.
Laziness can not and should not be tolerated. Historically, our team
because of sloppy fielding gives away 25 or more singles and because of
poor running between wickets, fails to take at least 25 runs. That's 50
runs straightaway. You just CAN NOT keep on doing this and still hope to