Sunday, March 11, 2012

Asia Cup: Important for Pakistan

Written for Khelo Pakistan .

Asia Cup starts from the 11th March.  According to most people this tournament never gets the deserved status it should have and thats kind of true as its always organized at the wrong time. According to Geoffery Boycott no one cares about Asia Cup not even the Asian teams. But is that really true for every participating team.

India have just come back from a long tour of Australia and with IPL just around the corner they would have liked more rest. Srilanka were in South Africa and with a gap of few days traveled to Australia for the Tri-Nation series and played their last match just 2 days ago. Bangladesh are the underdogs and don't have much chances.

But is this isn't just another tournament for Pakistan who have played non stop cricket for the last five months, If at all this tournament is important for a team, its Pakistan. Winning the Test Series against England comprehensively, but losing the ODI and T20 series, Pakistani Team's future depends on this tournament.

This tournament for sure will be the last chance for Misbah-ul-Haq to show his capability in the shorter format of the game firstly as a captain who can attack more and secondly a batsman who can score quickly. After losing just one series as a captain Misbah Ul haq is under fire both from the general public and media. He will try his best to prove the critics wrong.

Asia Cup is also the first test of Dav Whatmore who took over as Pakistan's coach just a week ago. Lots has been said about him, his experience coaching the Srilankan and Bangladesh Cricket Team, his strictness and his good reputation, but coaching Pakistan is totally different and will take the best out of him especially because Mohsin Khan was doing a good job.

This is also the first team selected by the new selection committee lead by Iqbal Qasim. Team selection tells the mind set Pakistan team has. They have tried not to experiment with the team retaining the same bowling squad which played against England and have included Nasir Jamshed and Sarfraz Ahmed instead of Imran Farhat and Shoaib Malik who were labelled as "Sifarishi".

If Pakistan are able to perform well in this tournament,the stability under Misbah Ul Haq will continue for a considerable time as the next two series Pakistan will play are against Bangladesh and Srilanka. But If they don't perform well for sure it will bring an end to a few cricketing careers in the ODI format, Pakistan will have no choice except to change the captaincy and bring in new players at the cost of Misbah Ul Haq or even Younis Khan.

They still have a choice though even If they don't win the Asia Cup.  18th of March, when Pakistan play India. The emotional nation we are, winning or losing the Cup won't matter if Pakistan is able to beat India, taking the revenge of Mohali 2011. So yes, Pakistan has lots to play for in Asia Cup.

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