Pakistan’s South African Blushes

We have lost the test series already. The last one should have been for pride. To consolidate. However as the stumps were called on the 2nd day of the Centurion test, Pakistan lost 11 wickets, are playing after follow on was enforced and have started their second innings in roughly the same manner they finished their first. We trail the Proteas by over 200 runs and have already lost an opener in the 2nd innings. Should we press the panic button, call for the downfall of Misbah and blame everything on the brothers Akmal? I don’t think so.

_65701759_younus_morkel_getty 

For one things the Akmals aren’t even part of the squad in SA so the management really hacked it’s own feet in terms of coming up with or having a ready made excuse in front of them for the disaster. Downfall of Misbah? As an individual player… maybe … as a captain … only to the point where he is batting himself and should be leading by example …. but that takes it back to his own individual performance as a player. But as a captain on the field… well I think as a captain on the field he hasn’t done too badly.

Misbah

Yes there is plenty of room for criticism in terms of perhaps taking the foot of the pedal when it was required to finish of innings in the last match and what not. But the captain is not really in any position to be blamed when the team goes out to bat. The captain doesn’t have the liberty of being on the field constantly to talk to the batsmen on the pitch. So the batsmen have to be held responsible themselves for extremely poor technique and lack of ability to negotiate the bounce and movement of the new ball on these pitches. Some part of that blame can be given to the management in terms of not planning the tour well enough to give team more preparation time in SA before the start of the official tour. One 4 day game before the first test is not good enough when you haven’t played a test in SA in the last 5 – 6 years. Nor is it a good idea when you are going up against the number 1 test side on their own home turf. Also I think they really needed to go with a wicket keeper who can bat. Sarfaraz Ahmed isn’t an exceptional keeper and his batting prowess is absolutely horrible. There is no technique whatsoever. In the 2nd test the manner in which he got bowled by Peterson is evidence to this.

Panic Button need not be hit.. but certainly a call to action to examine all that has gone wrong and why. The third test as things stand seems to be in the South African’s hands so that’s that really for the test part of our long tour of SA. There are the ODIs and T20s to follow. Which brings us to the recall of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi to the ODI team. Why? Is it a panic response to the poor showing in the tests? If so how is it going to be helpful to recall Afridi? He has been extremely out of form for over a year now and well hasn’t really done anything on the domestic or even friendly matches front to merit a recall. Feels more like a last chance saloon situation for him. I have been a hardcore Afridi Fan for the last 6-7 years and I think the man deserves a lot of respect for all that he has achieved in his cricket career for Pakistan.

shahid-afridi-attacks-fans-on-return-1332547849-4464

However the time has come for him to call it quits… at least in the ODIs. T20s maybe he can evaluate after the SA series. But even in that department I feel now is the time from when we need to start building for the next world cup and I don’t see Afridi being around till then. Not because of age or fitness… but I genuinely feel his talent pool is in a decline and he will be done within this year. So why not give the future players a chance to start showing what they are capable of. Let them prove themselves for regular selection and then allow the team balance to get settled in and gel over the next 3-4 years till the time of the T20 world cup.

I was hoping that the test encounters will be much more intense and daunting, you know in the way that great test battles can be. That it will be a match up between a scientific, efficient approach (SA) versus the instinctive, raw talent approach (PAK). The scientists handed us our asses, the batsmen anyway. Graeme Smith and his men have performed to show a gulf of difference and a continued summer of success. 

Oh well … here’s to hoping for redemption in the shorter formats!

Advertisements

The Year That Was: 2012

First of all a Happy New Year to all. May 2013 be wonderful, prosperous, joyous, happier, merrier, more successful, more opportune, more everything positive that you can think of on this planet for you!

2013_sparklers_sm

As it turned out the Mayan’s probably ran out of steam in continuing their calendar or planned a very elaborate practical joke for the superstitious and weak hearted around in the year 2012. Also there was no planet x or Nibirui or whatever on course towards earth. In short.. we have survived 2012 without any world ending incidence. We are in 2013. So cheers to all for that.

Now apart from the hullabaloo of the Mayan apocalypse the rest of the year was much like most years. Some good and some bad all mixed in 365 days to make a year. Actually 2012 was a leap year so let’s make that 366.

Some notable things from around the world:

  • Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 60 years as head of the Commonwealth in February
  • The Greek Debt crisis forced the Eurozone Finance ministers to grant a second bailout to Greece worth 130 Billion Euro in February
  • After 244 years of publications the Encyclopedia Brittanica discontinued its print edition in March
  • A pastel version of ‘The Scream’ by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch sells for US$ 120 Million in New York City setting a new record in May
  • CERN discovered a new particle in July after experiments in Large Hadron Collider
  • London successfully held the 2012 Summer Olympics between July-August
    london-2012
  • 620 Million people were left without electricity after what was the world’s worst blackout in history in India in July
  • September saw a series of hostile attacks, protests and outrage over a anti Islamic amateur film made and uploaded on YouTube. As a result of an attack in Libya, the US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens lost his life. The protests and violence also claimed lives and damage to property in other countries and cities. Pakistan has since banned YouTube as protest for allowing the video to stay on the website which is deemed an offense to sensitivities of the Muslim world.
  • Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner becomes the first person to break the sound barrier without any machine assistance during a record space dive out of the Red Bull Stratos helium-filled balloon from 24 miles (39 kilometers) over Roswell, New Mexico in the United States in October
    ap_felix_baumgartner_skydive_freefall_thg_121015_wg
  • Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense against the Palestinian-governed Gaza Strip, killing Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. In the following week 140 Palestinians and five Israelis are killed in an ensuing cycle of violence. A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is announced by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the week-long escalation in hostilities in Southern Israel and the Gaza Strip in November

The above list is from Wikipedia’s online timeline of 2012 of sorts. Their complete list can be viewed on the following link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012

There were a couple of things that got missed out in the list and which I feel are important to the list:

  • The Caribbean Kings won the World T20 2012 tournament against hosts Sri Lanka
    West-Indies-lifts-Twenty20-World-cup
    • Sri Lanka were playing in their 4th final of an ICC tournament in the last 6 years and have lost all 4. They lost the 2007 ODI World Cup Final to Australia. The 2009 T20 Final to Pakistan. The 2011 World Cup Final to India. And now this one to the West Indies. Also Sri Lanka were the host nation and would have become the first host nation to also lift the cup had they won.
  • South Korean singer PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ claimed a global fame level and even became the West Indies teams, especially Chris Gayle’s, celebration style after a wicket, match win and the T20 tournament win. Rumor has it that it even made its way to the song lists of some mehndi’s in the Sub Continent region!
    1349199807-psy_gangnam_style
  • 2012’s best Hollywood release for me and many many many more will most definitely have to be ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Chris Nolan’s trilogy telling the story of Batman has been fantastic. It connects the bat with the audience on completely different level. The third movie delivers on all counts and this marvel fan will admit that it beats the avengers hands down. The Avengers had its own appeal. It was a fun and entertaining movie and was great to see so many supers packed in a single movie. But the Dark Knight definitely makes them pale in comparison.
    The-Dark-Knight-Rises-7_0

So that was all that happened Globally. I mean much more happened but those were some of the bigger things.

Pakistan in 2012 has had it’s ups and downs. There have been proud moments and moments of despair all the same. But that’s for another post.

However just a few quick positive mentions since I can’t help myself:

  • Pakistan won the Asia Cup 2012 in cricket
    287960,xcitefun-pakistan-champions-asia-cup-2012
  • Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif won the World Snooker Championship
  • Pakistan set a world record for setting the most world records in a day with Guinness – I kid you not
  • Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy became the first Pakistani to win an Oscar. She got this for directing the documentary ‘Saving Face’ based on acid attack victims in Pakistan.
  • Our Hockey team won Bronze in Champions Trophy
    Champions Trophy
  • Asif Ali Zardari and company have managed to so far steer their political ship to survive 5 years in the Government. And if they stick till February / March 2013 they will become the first democratically elected government to complete its tenure in the country.
  • It has been 2, 3 years and we still have no clue as to who the heck is Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba! (not really a positive but interesting none the less)

Once again happy new year to you all! Cheers! Smile