Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Pakistan in West Indies 2011:- review

T20-West Indies won
ODIs- Pakistan won 3/2
Tests-Drawn 1/1
Overall: 4/4=unsatisfactory
 On Tests: We were missing Younis Khan. No Pakistan player had played in West Indies before. We only lost by 40 runs in the 1st test which is not comprehensive or such a significant area of concern. This same West Indies team beat back to back Ashes w...inners at home in 2009 so they shouldn't be underestimated. The only thing we missed out on was a chance at creating history by finally winning a test series on Caribbean turf, but overall it was a very respectable result IMO.
Outcome of 2nd Test
A comprehensive victory in the end. Pakistan have squared the series in St Kitts. Misbah Ul Haq has not lost a series as captain in 3 successive Test series contested. Pakistan have only lost 1 out of their last 5 test series contested with the defeat against England in August 2010 (3-1) under the leadership of now tainted Salman Butt who is currently serving a 10 year ban for spot fixing activities. The mission to win a first Test series in the Caribbean may not have been achieved, but the comeback was a tremendous effort. Overall, a disappointing tour ends on a high note. Incidentally Misbah's men become the first team to win a Test match at this specific venue which has traditionally been renowned for its flatness.
Now Pakistan will travel to Ireland for 2 one day internationals on the 28th & 30th of May respectively. The squad is the same, but with Younis Khan joining up with the team which will be led by Misbah Ul Haq. After the brief series Shahid Afridi will be staying in the UK to play in the Friends Provident Twenty20 cup for Hampshire who are the current defending champions of the county title. Afridi will be leading the Karachi Dolphins later in June during a super8 domestic 20/20 competition and therefore is expected to return from county duties mid way through that tournament.
Pakistan's next major cricketing assignment will be a tour of Zimbabwe in September which consists of 1 Test, 3 ODIs & 2 T20s. In between this time there will be the Sri Lankan Premier league from the 19th of July-4th August from Colombo, the stadium where Pakistan achieved some happy memories during the sub continental Cricket World Cup earlier in the year when they defeated Sri Lanka, Canada & broke Australia's 34 match undefeated winning streak. Several Pakistani players have signed up for the tournament which looks to be an exciting hit for all concerned. The same stadium is also set the stage the final of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 tournament which Stuart Broad's England will be looking to retain.
Saeed Ajmal has been phenomenal throughout the series. West Indies have been totally answerless, clueless & puzzled against his mysteries and variations. He beat the edge with sharp turn and bounce on countless occasions in his spells where he created attacking lines & difficult angles for the batsmen to read him. Still hard to get your head around how he only played in 3/8 World Cup matches & wasn't preferred in the starting line up to start off with. A classy dedicated individual like him is bound to get you the results when you stick by him & utilise his gifted powers wisely. In short, a tour to fondly remember for the Faisalabad born off spinner. He demonstrated his classiness throughout & regularly had the batsmen guessing which made fascinating viewing.
After 17 Tests and 35 innings, Pakistan declared the innings. Last time they declared was against Sri Lanka in Colombo (SSC) in 2009.
Tuafeeq Umar's 135 was 2nd highest score by any Pakistan batsman in past 2 years [since May 23, 2009].
In 11 Test innings as captain, Misbah-ul-Haq has scored 632 runs at average of 90.28 with 7 fifties and 1 century. And guess what, all of this came after age of 36. With 412 runs in 2011, Misbah is now also leading run-getter of this year.
First time there have been two centurions in a single Test Match for Pakistan since the 2009 home series against Sri Lanka.
Congratulations to Saeed Ajmal for reaching 50 Test Wickets and being awarded MOTS for 17 wickets in 2 tests. Outstanding performance, but there was some controversial talk regarding his action this morning which Michael Holding brought up, however it is widely accepted that the doosra cannot be bowled with a total clean action so let it be. Well bowled Idone!
Overall Pakistan have kept their lead over West Indies in Tests overall with a 16/15 stance having played 46.

Misbah Is The Most Successful Pakistan Test Captain Since Inzamam
Test Record since 2007 World Cup & Inzy retirement under different captains. Considering Pakistan have never really been considered a top tier side for a considerable amount of time even a draw would be regarded as a positive achievement. Here is the record under the different leaders during this period of time. As you can see Misbah Ul Haq has the best record out of all the others who have had the chance to lead the nation since October 2007:
Malik: Played 5, won 0, , lost 2, drawn 3 (40% losses)
Younis: Played 5, won 0, lost 2, drawn 3 (40% losses)
Yousuf: Played 6, won 1, lost 4, drawn 1 (67% losses)
Afridi: Played 1, won 0, lost 1, drawn 0 (100% losses)
Butt: Played 5, won 2, lost 3, drawn 0 (60% losses)
Misbah: Played 6, won 2, lost 1, drawn 3 (17% losses)
Certainly signs of significant progression & rare stability BUT yet he gets continuously slated, intimidated & criticised at every given opportunity just because he is taking over ODI captaincy from a popular commercial figure in Pakistan whose performance, leadership & conduct was under the scanner? The current captain has restored the integrity, credibility & fortunes of the team since his much needed come back with his stature, calm flowing presence, leadership qualities, wisdom & remarkable personal form across both Tests & ODIs. Surely he deserves to be treated with honour, respect & praise head & shoulders above the rest instead of being treated like filth? Truly the saviour of Pakistan Cricket when it was at one of its lowest points imaginable with ongoing hardships, unfavourable results & international isolation. Taking over when the team had lost 10 out its last 15 last test matches was always going to be an uneasy challenge where he was completely up against it, however his presence has been like gold with reality being refreshingly different.
We should wish him well in ODIs now. His ODI form this year has been stupendous with 7 half centuries in 15 innings to go along with meaningful contributions of 35, 37 & 43* all during this year in positive results (12/19) wins. He has captained Pakistan in one ODI previously and beat India in 2008 when he was stand in skipper. Age should not be a barrier. Imran Khan captained when he was 40. This is more of a short term move for the next 18 months at best where there will be tournaments taking place as well. 18 months is a long time in Pakistan Cricket & having one stable deserving leader across all formats might just be a policy of utter genius from the PCB chairman. Personally, I feel the results will do the talking & the appointment will certainly work out from a team angle which comes before any individual personality. He has all the characteristics of a fine captain which former Pakistan Coach Geoff Lawson reiterated in October such as the ability to extract the best from other members of the team, father a healthy team atmosphere which is controversy free & lead with composure, increasing responsibility, guidance, cool headed thoughtfulness as opposed to reacting over emotionally, tactical awareness & cricketing intellect. The ideal package to have as captain. It has reflected in the results. Now time for it to be challenged in the shorter formats further. As followers of Pakistan Cricket let's get behind him. The dependable fellow Misbah is the man!

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