Thursday, February 16, 2012

Overconfidence cost Pakistan.

" Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you. " Pakistan were clearly overconfident when the ODI series between England and Pakistan started but forgot that overconfidence precedes carelessness. Perhaps they underestimated the English side as did everyone else, they lead the four match series 2-0. Who would have thought things will turn around within a week.

For Pakistan the problem lies with the team selection and poor planing. England didn't bring drastic changes to their team for the ODI's. Just including the specialists Ravi Bopara and C. Kieswetter while one all rounder  Samit Patel. 

And when Shahid Afridi swung and missed at James Anderson, Pakistan's chase was over (Cricinfo 2nd ODI)

Pakistan on the other hand had to clue with the team selection. Shoaib Malik was included in the squad on the request of Misbah ul Haq, and to accommodate him Pakistan shuffled the whole team for the first ODI match. They went in with Umar Akmal as a wicket keeper, Dropping the inform Abdur Rehman, and Playing Wahab Riaz to make up for Malik's position as a spinning all rounder who was batting as low as number eight. 

Even if Malik had to play, Pakistan could have gone in with Abdur Rehman instead of Wahab Riaz, as England's vows against spin bowling were obvious during the test match series. Pakistan did play with five spin bowlers during the third ODI against Bangladesh, who looked playing spin better than England.

England scored 260/7 in 50 overs, Wahab Riaz was totally out of sorts, Shoaib Malik bowled just five overs and scored 7 runs of 23 balls, Umar Akmal came to bat with a backache and Pakistan lost by 130 runs.

For  the second ODI Pakistan dropped Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq bringing in Aizaz Cheema, Abdur Rehman, and Azhar Ali. Last two were sensible moves which Pakistan should have taken during the previous match but they still went in with Umar Akmal as a wicket keeper.

With four top class spinners in the team, Pakistan played a nonspecialist wicket keeper who was poor behind the stumps, dropping two catches, one of Cook, who was at 28 but went on to score another century and the other of Eoin Morgan who scored a crucial 25 not out. 

While selecting the team Pakistan also forgot that they had Hammad Azam in the team who is a right arm medium pace bowler and a handy lower-middle order batsman and would have served well instead of Aizaz Cheema. Pakistan had 7 batsman, four pure tailenders but nothing in between. 

When Shahid Afridi was bowled by James Andersen Pakistan required 44 of 34 balls, but had no one to support Misbah ul Haq and lost the match by 20 runs which they could have easily won. 

Pakistani management for some reason has been hesitant to play Hammad Azam in the team, maybe because he is capable enough to take over the all rounder's slot which has been occupied by under performing Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik and on some occasions Sohail Tanvir. They are a well balanced test side, but look totally imbalanced when it comes to ODI matches.

There are a few slots that need to be filled especially the opening partnership, they need someone who can stay there and play long. A young performing all rounder in the lower-middle order who could bowl economical overs and score precious runs, but more importantly and a quick genuine fast bowler who could rip through batting line ups on these slow low pitches.

All is not lost. They still have two ODI matches to go and can level  the series but this for sure is a wake up call for Pakistan. 

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