Wednesday, 17 Jul, 2024


Pakistan May Repeat Imran’s Corned Tigers Feat

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2015-01-09 04:09:00
Pakistan May  Repeat Imran’s Corned Tigers Feat

Pakistan Cricket team is as unpredictable as cricket. One match they appear with all gun blazing, the very next match they can crumble like cookies. The team always possess very high quality natural talents –bowler, batsmen. But they surprise many when not much expected of them.

But they also surprise with poor performance when much is expected of them. Imran Khan led Pakistan won the world cup in 1992 last time it was played in Australia and New Zealand almost from nowhere. Their pool match against England was rain ruined when they were definitely going to loose and get knocked out. Fortune favored and from then on they did not look behind.

Imran led from the front with bat and ball. Javed Miandad was consistent .Inzamamul Huq played some blinders and Wasim Akram produced some match winning performances. Pakistan got some reverses in the recent past .Their lethal weapon Saeed Aajmal is ruled out with suspect bowling action , Mohammad Hafiz bowling option is also gone .Still the team has enough bowling resources to challenge the best of the best . Batting is talented but not proven yet in testing Australia New Zealand surface and fielding is always iffy.

The Squad:
Squad Misbah-ul-Haq(captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz

The team has two specialist openers in Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafiz. Sarfraz Ahmed the talented wicket keeper may be used as opener if situation such arises .As far as experience in batting is concerned the team will heavily rely on Younis Khan, Mibah Ul Huq, Mohammad Hafiz and Umar Akmal. At least two of them have to always be among runs if Pakistan has to present challenging scores to opponents. Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Maqsood and Haris Sohail are all talented youngsters but all need solid guidance and inspirations to deliver. Pakistan will need enigmatic all-rounder Boom Boom Afridi to come on his own with regular strong performance with the bat .Perhaps a steadier Fawad Alam will be missing to steady the ship when in trouble. The team also considered Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik. But the younger talented group of batsmen waspreferred for their greater agility in the field.

Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafiz had some very enterprising and strong opening partnership in the recent past. There are no reasons they cannot reproduce such performances in world cup. But it is my personal opinion that they could have another specialist opener. The team think tank considered Wicket Keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed for that position if required. In 1992 Imran Khan batted at number three and Imran Miandad partnership steadied Pakistan’s batting in some matches. Same role needs to perform by Younis Khan and Misbah Ul Huq. Both are cool professionals and have quality for turning things around under challenging circumstances. Harris Sohail and Shoaib Maqsood are talented youngsters and with senior pros at the other end they can produce their natural performances. Umar Akmal must play the role that Inzamam did in 1992. There is always Boom Boom Impact on Pakistan batting. The day he is on song (though rare off late) nothing is impossible for Pakistan achieving. Many will not disagree that cool Misbah has changed Pakistan a lot. They looked awesome against Australia in UAE. But they could not repeat similar performance against New Zealand all the way.

Pakistan team includes five pacers man mountain Mohammad Irfan, talented Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz .The team also includes Ehsan Adil and Sohail Khan .All can bowl at reasonable pace and are capable of reversing. Irfan will be the x-factor. He will extract awkward bounce for his height and will cause inconvenience. Junaid will possibly be his new ball partner with one of three Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan and Ehsan Adil the third seamer. Pakistan will definitely miss Saeed Aajmal. Afridi and Yasir Shah are two leg spinners who are capable of taking wickets on any surface .Leg spinners are always precious commodity in Australia and New Zealand and it is definitely a smart move by Pakistan to pick Yasir Shah alongside Afridi for the world cup.Paksiatn has perhaps the most versatile bowling attack apart from South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The main spot of bother will be fielding which can make the difference. Pakistanis are not known for sharp fielding. Although this team has many young legs and some outstanding fielders like Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal but the team also has some slow movers. We hope the team fields well.

Pakistan is in pool B with South Africa, India, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and UAE. Advancing into second round from the group must not an issue for Pakistan. The India Pakistan derby at Adelaide Oval was sold out in no time. We observed tremendous enthusiasm among Asian community when we visited Adelaide during New Year’s Eve. That match will be a cracker .Pakistan has never beaten India in a world cup match. The other crucial match may be the match against West Indies. South Africa Pakistan match will be any ones game .Pakistan must be careful against Zimbabwe and Ireland also. In the past Pakistan lost matches against both.

It si very difficult to put one’s money on Pakistan as no one is aware which Pakistan team appears on the day it matters .It is either all gun blazing decimating and destroying opponents or falling like a pack of cards. This Misbah squad have done enough in the recent past to turn the tide and admirers can keep hopes against hope on the team to repeat the performance of Imran’s cornered tigers  of 1992.

BDST: 1509 HRS, JAN 09, 2015

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