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!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Answer To Pakistan's Batting Woes.

It's a misconception that Pakistan don't produce good batsman. The names of Hanif Mohammad, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Yousaf and Younis Khan are known around the world and are well respected. Infact each and everyone of these names would make any team in any era. So why are the current bunch of players failing to live up to the names above? Are there technical issues? or is a mental thing? what is the answer to the problem? everyone has a opinion, and this is mine.

The present young bunch with names like Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Akmal have been inconsistent to say the least. These guys have the talent to make it big and establish themselves in the folklore of Pakistani Batting greats but have been exposed to International Cricket without the right preparation. Many calls have been made for a Batting Coach to be installed to solve the problem, but I don't think that is the correct way of going about the issue. Each and every name I've named needed to be coached from u-15 and academy level by professional and expert coaches. That is the time to tinker and make any adjustments to any issue the player might have. Then you move onto U-19 and A team level, we need the best coaches to work with them so these players are not exposed badly at the highest level.

Two names, come to my mind, Inzamam-Ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar. Both have played the game in the modern era and are looked up to by most young players. They both had fantastic records and will be able to get the batsman ready for the big stage. For me, they will be able to get batsman technically and mentally ready for seaming track's in England, Bouncy in Australia and spinning in the sub-continent. These are the two people in my eye that can save the present bunch and then help out the likes of Babar Azam, Usman Sallu, Naved Yasin and Zain Abbas(thanks Maaz for the preview of a exciting player)to make the transition from A team level to first team without much hassle.

The talent is there, we need the right approach and the right men to help out at the correct level.

The Loss Of Pakistan's Cricketing Heritage!

As Pakistan lurched to a somewhat humiliating loss to the West Indies you couldn't help but be dismayed by their lack of respect to their cricketing heritage
A heritage that has somewhat been lost in the current age with fans being in awe of the Pakistani players natural talents and flashy shot making.Which is duly justified for its truly captivating,but behind the mastery of this for the likes of Javed Miandad,Zaheer Abbass and Inzamam ul Huq forgotten is the true grit and fight of these players.Even outside of these greats the lesser players like Mudasser Nazar and Mushtaq Mohammad to name but two again epitomised the characteristic of the cornered tiger moniker that is often attached to Pakistan.
And it must be said throughout it's cricketing history always embraced.......
This more than anything taught in 1958 by the man regarded as the father of Pakistan cricket in Hanif Mohammad.Who like most of Pakistan's batsman had the flash and the pizazz with his invention of the reverse sweep is testimony to this.
Though more than anything he cast in stone the true meaning behind success and respect in Test cricket for the future Pakistan players to follow.In regards to grit, concentration,fight and persevering no matter what the situation.
A day in Bridgetown,Barbados saw to this legacy in a situation about as dire as you'd get on a cricket field. In regards to being 473 behind on the first innings with three days still to play....
Put down your glasses guaranteed defeat in those circumstances........................!
Though this is where the game was popularised from a splinter sport in Pakistan to the hysterical following it has today.In a stay of over 16 hours at the crease that reaped a remarkable 337 against an attack that had the fire of Roy Gilchrist,the swing of Eric Atkinson and the class of spinners Collie Smith and Alf Valentine. Topped with the precocious youthful talents of Garfield Sobers. So you can see he wasn't playing against mugs to ease the pressure of in this cauldron like situation.In prevailing against these overwhelming odds. Hanif treated every ball as though it was a loaded grenade and saw his side to a draw that must go down as one of the most remarkable in the games history.
One of the truly inspirational individual acts in the games history that in truth gives me chicken skin recollecting on it...
Though in this age where batsmen struggle to bat out a mere session, let alone a day. The inspiration is indeed lost and the message with it.Even more condemning as you watched the Pakistani batsman go down like nine pins with little or no fight in England last year and now against a West Indies Team that hadn't won a Test in two years.
Disturbingly strange in a way when you think of the cultural reverence of Pakistan people in general to the teachings of their elders.And this is no different in cricket with lessons passed on from old to young like Chinese whispers.You only have to think of the generational passage of reverse swing for Pakistan's fine pacemen.
So why can't the current Pakistan batting youth see the relevance in Hanif's lead to restore their sagging image on the World scene?For you don't need the highest talent to show the same application and concentration that this innings embodied.Even if they wanted further proof they only had to look at their chief destroyer recently in Darren Sammy.A man that is universally slated for his lack of talent,but forging success through adhering to the basics of the game.
It seems apparent that the current breed of Pakistan player pays homage to the sexiness and flash of Shahid Afridi and his like,rather than the old school teachings of Hanif Mohammad.Buying into the relative ease of the formers example,rather than forging hard and struggling to adhere to the difficulty of the later and the substance it represents
So with the ignorance to their heritage that Hanif forged in stone for all to follow.Sadly with it the current breed of players will burn Pakistan's image to the ground and leave it in ashes
How Hanif must have his head in his hands in mourning over this in his Karachi home!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Pakistan Vs West Indies. Test Series Preview

Preview-West Indies versus Pakistan Test Series
After the World Cup and the circus IPL, finally the purist get to immerse in a Test series.This 2 Test series between the West Indies and Pakistan hasn't the high profile as some of the more recent series.Though is intriguing by closeness between the two sides due to the incompleteness in their respective Teams.So with this in mind it should be a very tight series.

Here is my look at it starting with the host the West Indies

West Indies
Sadly for not only the Caribbean fans,but cricket fans in general the Windies have been beset by their Team being ravaged by players missing the Tests for the Indian Premier League.Then further undermined by the continued incompetence of their Board and not helped by the responses from their players.Leaving the Team in a mess.Arguably they start the Test series with their two best players in Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo counting their riches in the IPL.

My Team
The Team has many question marks with Chris Gayle leaving a gaping hole at the top of the order.The candidates to partner Lendl Simmons at the top were the veteran Devon Smith,who has previously struggled at this level of the game.Then the precociously talented youngster in Kraig Braithwaithe with Smith being preferred.Veterans in Ramaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels are back as is Shiv Chanderpaul after his conflict with the WICB.
Promisingly in the Team was the selection of the fine young leg spinner Devendra Bishoo,but tempered by Braithwaite being left out
This would be my Team


Key Men

Kemar Roach
This promising young quick showed he is starting to mature into a fine young bowler as seen in the Test series in Sri Lanka last year.Then backed it up with a very fine bowling display in the World Cup.The Pakistani batting without the class and steel of Younis Khan has talent,but lacks temperament.Though countering this is outside of Roach is the lack of class in the West Indian bowling-made worse with Dwayne Bravo not playing.So the Pakistani batsmen despite their inadequacies might be able to be a factor.This won't be the case if Roach bowls as he can and probably is one of the key factors in the series

Lendl Simmons
The Windies without Gayle are very fragile at the top of the order.The form of Simmons in the Odis recently showed that he is indeed an improved player from the one that had been found out in Tests recently.If he can indeed perform well at the top of the order. It will be a huge factor in the Windies not only being competitive,but having a chance to win

Darren Bravo
Every time you see this guy bat you drool at his potential greatness.Which has lead to him being unfairly labelled the 'Next Lara'.There is no doubt that he has the potential to be the next very fine West Indian batsman,but let him be the first Darren Bravo before comparing him to an icon! Though if in this series he can start to turn some of that potential into performance.The effect on the series will be huge

XFactors-Devendra Bishoo and Shiv Chanderpaul
The Windies lack class in their bowling,but in Devendra Bishoo they have a young leg spinner that to date has shown immense promise.In this series against the Pakistani's who aren't renowned for their temperament in the longer form of the game.He could be like a hot knife through butter with his refined bowling
Shiv Chanderpaul -throughout his excellent career Chanderpaul has been renowned for his shyness and unwillingness to talk as much as anything.Though in the wake of his recent treatment by the Selectors he has been akin to a Town crier.
So with the talk over's time to walk the walk Shiv.....
Whether he can will be crucial in the series

The Pakistani Team has been ravaged by the loss of their bowling Kingpins in Mohammud Asif and Mohammud Aamer and then further weakened by the loss of their batting supremo in Younis Khan.As always with Pakistan the Team is loaded with talent,but the key question being whether they have the temperament for Test match cricket.Plus outside questions over their batting is the queries over the effectiveness of their bowling without Asif and Aamer.Then always their fielding or incompetence in it will be huge in how they go

My Team
The loss of Younis Khan is huge in this series for it means that the Pakistani Team will be without it's best player and a man who can help guide the youngster at the crease.The bowling is workmanlike without having a key strike bowler and will try to make spin be a key factor in the series.
Keeping this in mind this will be my Team

Taufeeq,Hafeez,Azhar,Misbah,Shafique,Umar Akmal,Salman.Gul,Wahab,Ajmal,Tanvir

Key Men
Azhar Ali
This young number three batsmen has all the makings of being the next very fine Pakistani batsman.For he is very unlike the rest of the young Pakistani batsmen being a player built around temperament and technique,rather than flashy stroke play.In this series against a rather weak West Indies bowling line up the table is set for him to dominate

Wahab Riaz
This young left hand quick in his brief career has shown when he gets it right is one very dangerous bowler.In the World Cup in his dismembering of the legendary Indian batting in a high pressure match.You swore his was the sequel to Wasim Akram with his pace and lethal swing both traditional and reverse.
If he can replicate that the Windies batsman will be supremely outclassed

The Pakistani Spinners
In the Odi series the Pakistani initial dominance was built on the back of their spinners and the West Indian batsmen struggles against them.Here in the longer form of the game with the hosts batting looking very fragile.How the Pakistani spinners go against them will be key to the outcome of the series

XFactors-Pakistan's Temperament and Fielding
There is no doubt that in the shorter form of the game where flash is a key component Pakistan are very fine competitors.Though here in Test cricket where everything is about substance in regards to the success of Teams.No one will doubt the talent in the Pakistani side,but that only gets you so far with temperament in all regards getting you the rest of the way.To not only be competitive,but also to be victorious.
This will be the key for Pakistan in this series
Fielding-Throughout their history bar on a few brief occasions,Pakistan's fielding has been tantamount to a joke.Here in a series that promises to be tight it could be the deciding factor........

This 2 Test series has draw written all over it due to the closeness of the Teams due to their inadequacies.Though the key difference between the two is Pakistan's inadequacies is born through players being talented,but yet to be factors in Test cricket.Whereas the West Indies have many in their line up who have been tried and failed at Test level or who just aren't up to the standard demanded.Unless of course their Team is improved by the return of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo during the series
Keeping this in mind I think Pakistan will win 1 nil (1 all draw if Gayle and Bravo were playing)

Man of Series-Azhar Ali
I think this young Pakistani batsman will dominate in this series against a weak (bar Roach) West Indian bowling line up

Are these players Test Class?

As a series of Tests are about to start in every side there is one or two players that the fans know have talent and have even been in awe of their abilities on the occasions they have performed.Though sadly despite all this these players make you pull your hair out for they always tantalise and tease rather than being known for consistency
So can these maybe men become the players their Teams need?

The Aussies after years of dominating have suddenly been challenged and slated.So they are forced with the prospect of having ageing veterans,young players who aren't up to it and players in the Team that are constant disappointments.They need quality in all departments,but here are two players that are a constant cause of consternation

Phil Hughes
This precociously talented opening batsman when he burst onto the scene by scoring twin hundreds in South Africa against an attack containing Steyn,Morkel,Ntini and Kallis.It wasn't just the runs he scored but how he scored them that had the Aussie fans drooling.The sensationalist Press labelled him as 'The Next Bradman' such was his fanfare and belief in him being the real deal....
Though sadly for Hughes everything after his exceptional debut series in South Africa has been downhill with his next series in England in the Ashes seeing him being exposed to having a weakness outside off.Which was duly exploited with him struggling and dropped.Then after he has been in an out of the Team and in the current Ashes series where he played 3 Tests he again struggled mightily with the same weakness being exposed.
Test Future-Yes-In time
Hughes is the man that Australia so need,but at present isn't Test class because of his looseness outside off.Though this is more a failure of the Coaches in Cricket Australia who have failed to address his weakness.The fact that he is young at 22 and in his junior career known for his determination and work ethic.If Cricket Australia get the right Coach that addresses his issues he should be a long term player for Australia.In the interim he should spend time in first class cricket honing his technique till it's adequate for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson
This guy when he performed in South Africa with both bat and ball showed himself to be the most devastating player in the game.Though since he has done his best to emulate Steve Harmison from England in regards to being such a tease with both bat and ball.His bowling which is most coveted by the Aussies is very one dimensional with him rarely if ever swinging or seaming it.He just relies on the natural angle that he gets as a left armer.So he was rendered impotent by the English tactics of just letting him go in the knowledge of his inability to swing it in.Then picking off his bad ball which are often for he is erratic.
Test Future-No-Too many chances
In his career he has shown an inability to improve his technique in regards to swinging the ball so is very one dimensional and has been worked out.So time for Australia to stop reminiscing of his devastation in South Africa and live in the now and discard him

Upcoming Youth-Nic Maddison (opening batsman),Josh Hazelwood (fast bowler),Shaun Marsh (batsmen),James Faulkner (bowling allrounder),Luke Butterworth (bowling all rounder)

The Indian's are on Cloud 9 after their World Cup win and continued excellence in Tests.Though their side is desperately in need of some quality in the bowling ranks.Then there is a place in their batting line up in question.Here are two who could fill these needs

Ishant Sharma
In 08/9 series against Australia in India he was the answer to every Indian's prayers.A fast bowler who got it into the 140's with swing,seam and menace.Though after this his promise turned into a false dawn with him disappointing more often than not.To the point where he went through a period where he lost his pace,swing.seam and basically everything and was just a gift to batsmen.
Test Future-Yes-Just needs guidance in the mental side of the game
His age is with him being only 22.Though it seems apparent that he has great skill,but suffers with the mental demands of the game.A good idea would to have a past player or Coach closely mentor him.Plus he needs to be properly managed so as to not play too much cricket and burn out.He showed glimpses of late of a return to form,but the tour to England where conditions will be to his liking will be a huge judgement on his future in Team India

Yuvraj Singh
In the wake of the World Cup win and his huge role in the victory there will be huge pressure to include Yuvraj in the Test side.For as he has done on occasion if he can replicate his devastating batting in Test as he does in Odi's then his benefit to India is huge.Plus his useful spin could be a factor too.
Test Future-No-Hasn't the technique/temperament for Tests
Though he is one of the most devastating players in the shorter forms of the game he hasn't the technique to last in Tests.Especially in conditions away from India.Plus he hasn't the mental toughness either as shown to how offended he was to the 'waterboy' taunts in Sri Lanka last year.

Upcoming Youth-Varun Aaron (fast bowler),Virat Kohli (batsman),Cheteshwar Pujara (batsman),Amit Mishra (leg spinner),Ravi Ashwin (off spinner)

The men in green have been cut to their bones through losing the stars in their line up in Mohammud Asif and Mohammud Aamer.Also they have a batting line up in transition with more young players inserted.Though the key question with Pakistan is never ability,but more so temperament.For which they struggle with mightily in the longer form of the game.Here are two who could have a marked effect on their side

Wahab Riaz
The loss of Mohammud Asif and Mohammud Aamer has basically ripped the heart out of Pakistan's bowling.In Wahab Riaz we always knew he was a strong big hearted performer as seen in the Pakistan A Tour in Australia a few years back.He had pace and could swing it with the benefit of being a left hander.In his 5 Tests he has shown potential to be a factor and then other times where he's been erratic and been flayed
Test Future-Yes
His ability to swing the ball coupled with his pace means that more than likely he will be a very fine bowler in Tests for Pakistan

Umar Akmal
This young batsmen has all the talent under the sun as seen in New Zealand where he more often than not flayed the Kiwi bowlers all over the park.Though after he struggled in Australia then in England showed a disturbing lack of mental aptitude and heart
Test Future-Yes-In time if he tightens up and mentally matures
Akmal is a difficult one for he has such talent,but is so mentally weak.In Tests talent only gets you so far and the rest is mental.So on this basis its hard to have faith in him being a long term Test player.Though on his side is he is only 20 and mental toughness might come with more maturity.So based on this we have to err on the side of believing in him

Upcoming Youth-Babar Azam (batsman),Raza Hasan (spinner) Anwar Ali (fast bowler)Umar Amin (batsman)Hammad Azam (allrounder)

South Africa:
South Africa is always a Team that has threatened to dominate Test cricket,but always falls a bit short.Though they are not that far away with most aspects of the game covered with excellent options.These two could take them to the top of the Test tree

We saw him in Australia in 08 be a good imitation of Brian Lara with how he played.He had everyone abuzz with thoughts of what he could be and then he is also a more than useful part time spinner.Though since he was found out by spin and had questions of mental frailty put on him.Duly being discarded from the South African Team
Test Future-No
It's very difficult judging Duminy with just how good he looked in Australia.Though since he has struggled and his inability to play against off spin is very difficult to overcome.Plus queries on his mental side makes him a player that might struggle with Tests in the future

Imran Tahir
This leg spinner has been in more places across the Globe than most of the 17th Century explorers.Though at 32 has yet to play Test cricket which poses the automatic question as to why?His first class record is very impressive and the fact that he is a leg spinner makes this even more puzzling.Then you see he spent a lot of his career in Pakistan and start to understand in part why....
Test Future-Yes-Few outside Asia are good against spin
He looks like the South African version of Australia's Colin 'Funky' Miller and like Miller I expect him to be just as successful.Especially in a South African side with the pressure exerted through their bowling might.

Upcoming Youth-Rilee Roussouw (batsman),Wayne Parnell (fast bowler)

Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan's had a Team to challenge the very best when they had Lasith Malinga playing.Though his retirement from Tests has left them short of quality in bowling to be a factor in the longer form of the game.Though these two could still make them a dangerous Team

Angelo Mathews
This young Sri Lankan is lauded for his potential both as an all rounder and a leader.Though up until now he has been adequate with bat in Tests,but struggled mightily with the ball.In Tests so far he has yet to have a break through performance to back up all the hype about him.
Test Future-Yes
Mathews is only 23 and every time you see him you feel he has a presence.So it's only a matter of that he starts to be a huge factor in Test cricket with both bat and ball.Then ultimately as a leader

Ajantha Mendis
The call around the cricket World is that the 'Mendis Mystery' has been solved.....
I don't share that view for id agree that the Indian's have solved him,but the fact that the Kings of spin the Indian's struggled against him initially shows his potential.For Indian's as a rule maul any spinner.
Test Future-Yes
The fact of Mendis is in his 15 Test career he has played only 4 against non Asian opposition.So that automatically makes it hard when your a spinner.I still think he has a role to play in Test cricket for the non Asian players won't find playing him particularly easy.Especially in Sri Lankan condirions as we saw with the West Indian struggles against him recently

Upcoming Youth-Dinesh Chandimal (batsman/keeper),Suranga Lakmal (fast bowler),Suraj Randiv (spinner),

West Indies
The Windies has been beset by players being lost to the IPL and general incompetence from their Board.So been hard to have a competitive Team be assembled in these circumstances.Though still amongst the gloom there are promising players

Devendra Bishoo
This young leg spinner was a revolution in the World Cup and then recently in the 5 Odi series against Pakistan.It made you automatically think can he be a factor on the Test scene as well
Test Future-Yes
I think Bishoo will turn out to be a very fine Test bowler for the West Indies.He is a lovely traditional leg spin bowling with his main intention being to get wickets.Plus along with his leg spinners bag of tricks he has the accuracy that is so crucial with being a factor with his difficult craft.For many leg spinners often let the pressure off in overs with loose balls.Bishoo isn't one of these.

Lendl Simmons
This young attacking batsman had one visit to Test cricket a few years back but was found to be wanting technically.Though on his return to the International arena in the recent Odi series against Pakistan he showed he has worked hard on his game and dominated.
Test Future-Borderline-but yes on his work effort and willingness to improve
I still have doubts about his technique and temperament in the Test arena with him being flashy and flash doesn't last long in real cricket.Though with the obvious work he has put into his game and the confidence he is showing he deserves a chance to see if he is up to it.Plus he is a determined lad and you can never underplay that in sport

Upcoming Youth-Kraig Braithwaithe (batsman),Darren Bravo (batsman),Jason Holder (fast bowler)

The English are still celebrating their mauling of the Aussies in the Ashes.Though the questions we all ask after seeing that is are they that good or made to look good by a very weak Australian side?These two players could help strengthen their Team

Ravi Bopara
The man who is touted to be the favourite to take Paul Collingwood's place at number 6.Who in his previous visit to Test cricket a few years ago struggled with the demands.In a sense he is a similar player to what Paul Collingwood represented for England at 6.A batsman that can bowl useful medium pace,but unlike Collingwood lacks his renowned grit.Also suspect against swing bowling.Which is never good when you are an English player!
Test Future-No
There are many in England more suited to the number 6 spot than Bopara.

Stuart Broad
The pin up boy of English cricket with ability in spades in regards to both bowling and batting.Given a huge recommendation with his appointment as T20 Captain.Though can see the boys ability aren't sold on his mental aptitude.He seems to be a churlish little boy in a mans body and to me that my stifle him from turning potential into consistent performance
Test Future-Yes but needs a KP type shake up
The boy has got most things given to him to easily so I would favour him being dropped for the Sri Lankan Tests.This to show that he is not irreplacable and needs to grow up.For with his ability and maturity added he has the potential to be one of the best players in World cricket

Upcoming Youth-James Taylor (batsman),James Hildreth (batsman,Chris Woakes (all rounder),Danny Briggs (spinner),Jade Dernbach (fast bowler)

New Zealand

Tim Southee
Ive watched this lad since he was 17 and even then from a technically point of view.He is such a beautiful natural swing bowler.That has struggle with the expectations,but as seen in the World Cup is slowly starting to mature.Also a very decent lower order batsman
Test Future-Definitely!
I can see him being the next great Kiwi bowler and good enough with the bat to get a few hundreds

Ross Taylor
This lad has all the ability in the World to be a very fine Test player,but then just lacks the temperament.Hopefully with the leadership bestowed on him in 2010 in Odi's it will make him be more mature.
Test Future-Yes but will never be what he could be
On his ability should be one of the very best but hasn't the mental aptitude to make this a reality.So will be on occasion a great player,but more often than not just serviceable bordering on frustrating

Upcoming Youth-Kane Williamson (batsman),Hamish Bennett (fast bowler)

The Tigers are symbolic by their youth in the Test arena.In terms of having talent,but very little temperament.Though these youngsters might make a difference

Jahurul Islam
I saw him in England in his debut series and he looked like a player that paid homage to the technical side of the game.Plus it seemed that he had a nice temperament.
Test Future-Yes in time
Though initially he hasn't got the runs on the board.He shows that he has what is needed in Tests cricket in term of technique,temperament and grit

Shafiul Islam
This slippery fast bowler in the World Cup showed that he has the ability to lead the attack.Showing he has skill to swing and seam the ball at decent pace
Test Future-Yes
Shafiul should be the long term leader for Bangladesh's young attack and can mature into a very decent bowler

Upcoming Youth-Noor Hossain (leg spinner),Suhrawadi Shuvo (spinner)