Tuesday, April 27, 2010
T/20 world cup Pakistan
Pakistan were last year's champions and even in 2007 they did well as they reached the finals. As expected, Pakistan yet again find themselves in trouble as senior players like Younis Khan and Yousef were sacked as captains and then banned. I still see rumours about infighting in the team as well. Pakistan is one side, which seems to be always having problems, but even with all those problems around, no one can rule out Pakistan as their team is suited to the shortest format of the game. Anyway, let us have a look at the key players in the side.
Afridi-The first name that can come to anyone' mind would be Afridi. He is a powerful hitter and in the last t/20 world cup even showed a bit of maturity in his batting as he didn't try to slog everything in the semifinal or in the final, but showed better shot selection. If not for his batting, he would be certainly in the side for his bowling. His ability to bowl the wrong un, top spinners, flippers and occasionally even off spinners can come in very handy in the T/20 format. Of course, he is also the captain of the side now. Yes, he was recently involved in that infamous biting incident, but if he doesn't get involved in such foolish acts on the field he can be a decent captain in T/20 cricket as just like his cricket, he would likely be a aggressive captain and that is good for T/20 cricket.
Umar Akmal- The younger brother of Karman has shown that he has a wide range of shots and can get runs without resorting to too much slogging. Yes, he is young and occasionally tries to slog, but with senior players like Younis Khan no more in the side, Umar Akmal has to show better shot selection and to be frank, has the ability to get run without resorting to too much slogging. The bad news for Pakistan is, at present Akaml is troubled by a side strain and the side strain problem can really trouble any sportsmen.
Abdul Razzaq- He has lost a yard of pace as a bowler, but against England in Dubai, Razzaq showed that he is still a very effective slogger as Razzaq played a match winning innings to take the game away from England. Opposition have tried to follow him and cramp him for room, but his style of making room by taking his front leg out of the way to slog through the mid-wicket or the long on region has been effective. He must have a very good eye for sure. Anyway, for Pakistan to do well, they need Razzaq to fire as the top order looks suspect.
Ajmal- He is a very good restrictive off spinner, who is suited to T/20 cricket. Has the ability to bowl doosra and his tendency to stop midway though his action before he delivers the ball has confused many batsmen in the past. I'm not surprised that he has a E/R of just 6.58 in T/20 cricket. Pakistan would depend on him and Afridi on those slow wickets of the Caribbean.
Amer- The young Amer has showed a lot of promise as a left arm quick. He gets bounce, can be useful with the old ball as he mixes it up well and more importantly has a big heart. He is also a useful batsman.
I would also mention Alam as unlike other players in the side, Alam is a useful fielder and his ability to play with soft hands can come in handy on those slow Caribbean wickets. He can also bowl a bit of left arm spin and Afridi should use his bowling on Caribbean pitches.
Pakistan have some worries too, especially with regards to their top order. Hafeez, Latif or Butt struggle to score quickly. Latif can slog a few, but his tendency to stand and deliver likely won't help on Caribbean tracks as one has to play with soft hands to rotate the strike. Kamran Akmal likely would be one of the openers and compared to others in the line up, he is a better option. In T/20 cricket, the wicketkeeper also has to come up to the stumps to stop the batsmen from advancing down the wicket and it becomes even more important on slow wickets of the Caribbean but can Akmal do it??? Pakistan are also missing Gul, which is a huge blow as he is a terrific T/20 bowler.
Pakistan's strength of course is in their spin department as they have both Afridi and Ajmal and have also selected the left arm spinner Rehman. Left arm spinners can come in handy on Caribbean tracks. I don't think he would play as Pakistan have spinners like Ajmal and Afridi, but he is a good back up option to have in the side. Pakistan also have a strong middle/lower order as they have Umer,Afridi, Misbah( though struggling for form) and Razzaq. Pakistan are also not playing Australia at Barbados and that would help as Pakistan historically haven't liked bounce in the wicket.
Pakistan have always been a mercurial side, but in big tournaments have shown that they can put all those internal fights behind and rise to the occasion. Yes, they do have chinks in their armour as their top order is suspect and Gul isn't in the squad, but I won't write off Pakistan.