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Aussies strategy for Pakistan

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    Aussies strategy for Pakistan

    I won't rise to Shoaib's bait
    Matthew Hayden - 7 February 2003

    One thing we have been careful to do since we arrived in South Africa is to try to avoid getting caught up in all the hype and issues that have surrounded the build-up to the tournament.

    There has been plenty to get carried away about with the issue of Zimbabwe continuing to attract column inches, our status as pre-tournament favourites and our arrival with fitness doubts hanging over several players - all topics with the potential to sidetrack us.

    But our approach has had little or nothing to do with any of these factors or any other potential distractions. All we have sought to do is to focus on our processes and how we are going to put them into practice in our first match against Pakistan on Tuesday. After all, it is no good enjoying being favourites if you fall at the first hurdle.

    Pakistan represent a massive challenge for us as we will have to subdue their immense individual talents, a tall order if the match is played on a slow surface that will suit their style of play more than ours.

    For me, the key will be in ensuring they do not get off to a flying start with either bat or ball. If we can do that, we can control the match.

    When we bowl that will almost certainly involve the early removal of Shahid Afridi. If he gets going it makes the job of players like Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana that much easier as they will be able to play themselves in with the field spread rather than coming in with our fast bowlers fresh and the ball new.

    Conversely, when we bat, our main aim has to be to try to blunt the early threat of Shoaib Akhtar. We have seen plenty of him lately and his threat is two-pronged. First, Pakistan look to his explosive pace for breakthroughs with the new ball, openings that can then be exploited by Waqar and Wasim Akram.

    Then, he will come back later and look to use his pace allied with reverse swing, as he did so well together with Wasim, when Pakistan beat us in a World Cup group match at Headingley four years ago.

    Shoaib always appears to talk a good game and I noticed that he has come out in the local media here trumpeting the players he is intending to target with my name among the list of suspects.

    He and I have had some great recent battles and he is a dangerous player for the reasons I have already outlined. But one thing I will not be doing is biting back here. It is not my style to get into a war of words with another player in print and, in any case, my priority is to let my bat do the talking in this World Cup.

    Shoaib's style of bowling means he will rarely be at you for a long spell and three or four overs will usually be his norm. If we can see him off and even use his pace to our advantage as batsmen, then that will be a huge plus for us.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating and we will see how we go against Pakistan, but so far we have been pretty happy with our build-up.

    Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, three players with question marks over their readiness when we arrived, have all come on well and Michael Bevan is improving quickly from his torn groin muscle.

    Our focus has also been helped by our base ahead of the tournament. The City of Potchefstroom, two hours drive from Johannesburg, might not be on everyone's first choice as a holiday destination but for us it has been perfect.

    It has sheltered us from outside distractions, offered us great practice facilities and also the chance to bond and work out our strategies for each of our group matches. It has also offered the opportunity for some relaxation and, for me, that has involved some fishing.

    The issue of Zimbabwe has inevitably been raised and we were briefed by the Australian High Commissioner after our practice match on Tuesday. The Australian Cricket Board and our own players' representatives are also constantly monitoring the situation and they are keeping us informed of developments.

    At the moment, however, that is not our primary focus. That focus is on The Wanderers Tuesday and we are doing everything we can to make sure we hit the ground running that day.

    The Electronic Telegraph

    I know Shoaib annoys some people with his big mouth but he's not going to change, that's just the way he is. It all depends on the day - if he catches fire then he'll go through them, if not well then I doubt that'll stop him mouthing off the enxt time.

    Interesting to see they will look to remove Afridi early, which is normally the case in these games anyhow. In the slim chance that he hung around for 6-7 overs he could do some serious damage. But that's a big if.


      shoaib akhter and afridi will be the key for pakistan in this game against austrailia..if these two players do well then pakistan has a chance


        • Pakistan are unpredictable - that's why they are so dangerous

          Adam Gilchrist


          Akhtar is just a very, very dangerous bowler - we know that we need to get through those tough spells and hopefully he doesn't do too much damage.

          Ricky Pointin'


          I hope Pak plays with 6 bowlers. And Shahid Afrida plays a long & fast inning. Afridi must stay on crease for at least 20-25 overs. (inshallah)


            Originally posted by a1kashur:
            And Shahid Afrida plays a long & fast inning. Afridi must stay on crease for at least 20-25 overs. (inshallah)
            Highly unlikely...I hope he does it ..
            I will be surprised if he bats for 5 overs.

            Go pakistan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            its payback time.


              Afridi stays for 10 overs, and Pak is sure to win.
              If your religion is worth killing for, please start with yourself.


                Wishful thinking. Insha Allah Pakistan will be ok, but assuming 10 overs from Afridi wins us the game or other nonsense is silly.

                1) Afridi lacks the temperament to play a long knock in any situation-his is a blitz method and him staying until the 25th as 1 guy suggested is nigh on impossible.

                2) He lacks the technique to last long against the aggressive and pacy Australian attack, and in seaming conditions he'll get found short.

                3) Any destructive powers Shahid holds are balanced by the far more talented and clinical destroyer known as Adam Gilchrist-he scores almost as fast and actually does bat 20 overs quite often. His technique and brutal power make him a far more fearful prospect then Afridi. He's a dazzling stroke maker, even in the test arena, and has 1 method-attack! However he does it in text book fashion and with proper technique and class,

                I honestly feel Afridi should bat at 6 or 7, when the slog is on at the end, and he can free his arms. Also, he'd face a softer ball, with less bounce and zip-allowing for those powerful cross bat shots he is capable off.


                  I seriously think Pak needs to develop a new batting position when they chase rather than batting first. If Pakistan chase then they should open with Afridi, he maybe reckless but one thing good about him is confidence, he doesn't get scared unlike other openers, he will be very valuable, but if Pak bats first then he should come down in the last 15 overs.