Pakistan once again showed a great lack of discipline on the field today to lose to England by 6 wickets. They were out batted, out bowled and most definitely out fielded. One was a disciplined effort while the other was the complete opposite. Dropped catches, stupid run outs, poor shot selection and an over all lack of drive in the field. England completely deserved the win today.
The day that remained almost in control till the 10th over of our innings, started to crumble once the third wicket fell. It was appalling. I couldn’t see a single iota of spirit, of fight in the Pakistani players. There was no inspiration, no leadership from the front, nothing. England were a stark opposite. Their spirit could be seen if you saw just Kevin Pieterson’s running, diving catch to send Umar Akmal back to the dressing room.
I was very disappointed in Afridi. I have advocated him being our captain for a very long time. I’ve also felt he has been one of the most vital part of our cricketing set up especially in the T20 format. But so far in this tournament, his captaincy has been debatable. Bowling changes, batting orders and team selections have all been areas where he has shown a poor and light head.
The consistent of inclusion of Hafeez in the side is perplexing. I do not find him an effective bowler and he is lousy with the bat. In fact against Australia he was absolutely hammered in his second over and yet he was given a 3rd and 4th over. Sami was played in the first two matches. Sure he picked up wickets. But he was expensive. Very expensive. I was wondering why? Why on earth Asif wasn’t played in those matches. His inclusion today against England didn’t help much but I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Maybe he will find his rhythm in the next match.
Poor captaincy aside, discipline is something that our cricket team has been lacking for a very long time. To quite an extent, yes that is the responsibility of the captain and the coaches. But at some point in time the players have to question themselves. The extreme lack of it in the fielding department was put on display today against England. Saeed Ajmal dropped the opening pair thrice in the first five overs starting from the first over. 3 times. And all three times they were easy chances. They were catches. In fact the first drop was the most ridiculous and the most baffling. The other two… discipline.
If we are to make any sort of push in fighting to retain our title, Pakistan has to raise their game drastically. The coming matches will be more challenging. Even New Zealand, a team we’ve had the better of in the majority of our meetings, especially in the world cup competitions, are also going to be a difficult proposition. This tournament is an open one with no one or two favourites. Every team in the Super Eights has a good chance. For me India is the strongest but then again not by a huge gap. The T20 format is no longer just the asian teams foray, other teams are catching up and fast.
Finally we come to Umar Gul. Given our bowling performances over the last 3 matches, we have definitely been missing his death over ability. He remains our highest wicket taker in the T20 format and the most consistent pacer over all. Aamir is of course very important to us but he needs the support from the other end. Experienced support. Razzaq’s bowling is not what it used to be. We have sorely missed Gul. It was him and Afridi that won us the T20 last year. I hope he overcomes his injury soon to return to the national side for our tours after this world cup, including the trip to the UK.
Let us hope that we can beat the Kiwis and somehow, through a miracle overcome the South Africans. Go Green!