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    Waqar still remains Optimistic

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    Waqar still remains optimistic
    Agha Akbar - 23 February 2003

    PAARLThe heavy defeat against England at Newlands has left the Pakistan team
    shell-shocked. Still licking its wounds, the outfit travelled from the lovely cosmopolitan Cape Town to this laidback sleepy town Sunday afternoon for its match against Holland on Tuesday amid deafening silence.

    With only four points from three games, their World Cup campaign is in a shambles. But Waqar Younis believes as he said in his post-match press conference with some conviction in his voice that he somehow mustered despite the fact that it seemed quite palpable he might start crying any moment that Pakistan still has a chance. "We just have to start winning. In 1992, we had bounced back from nowhere. We can do it again".

    One would dearly love to share his optimism, but it definitely is now rather uphill. Quite possible, but a whole lot more difficult. Again as Waqar himself conceded, his side has to somehow draw deep and find the resolve and commitment to get it right.

    One fellow scribe couldn't resist the urge to be blunt with him. "In 1992, Imran Khan's inspirational leadership made the difference. Do you think you have the capacity to do the same?", was the question. To that, visibly annoyed, Waqar said that he was not there in 1992, and "I don't know how he inspired the team, but I think I can".

    Again, brave words. But, as they say, talk is cheap.

    On whether he thought any changes were required in the playing eleven, he said that the squad that he had got represented the best that Pakistan could have fielded. True, and what he failed to mention was that it probably had the best technical support staff at its disposal and yet it was finding it difficult to click.

    Technically speaking, Pakistan needs to win all its remaining games and then hope that, with Australia safely having ensconced itself at the top of the pool and not threatened much in the remainder of the event, it would outpoint England, India and Zimbabwe to grab one of the two remaining slots and progress to the next round. For the moment, it is languishing at fifth on the points table, behind the above four.

    But given the vagaries of the weather, which has already cost the West Indies dear, and further desertion of luck on the flip of the coin, Pakistan may find itself in an irretrievable situation.

    But the greatest worry of Pakistan is neither the weather, nor the toss; not even the opposition. It is the woeful lack of form of its key batsmen. None of the top four or five has really fired in any of their three games. If one looks back at Pakistan's brightest moments in the 1992 World Cup, they would crystallize in Imran's tremendous leadership, Inzamam's great strokemaking in the semi-final and final and Wasim Akram's tremendous form. They've all been eulogised no end in the last 11 years. But the fact is, that if memory serves one right, the top four in Pakistan's batting order Rameez Raja, Aamer Sohail, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, in that sequence all scored more than 350 runs in that event.

    Pakistan desperately craves for that stability at the top of the order, with none raising its hand.

    The most disappointing has been the performance of Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana, the two of whom one thought would play a role much similar to Miandad's in 1992.

    True, the form may have deserted them at the wrong time; James Anderson may have moved the ball a shade more than they expected, but it was far from devilish. Had Inzamam not taken it as casually or had Youhana not opted to face his first delivery with a slanted bat, they may still have survived and prospered.

    As for form, we've seen two of the contemporary greats in Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, and an outstanding strokemaker in Herschelle Gibbs, all groping in the beginning. What separates them from Pakistan's two non-delivering maestros is that they fought it out in the middle, putting a heavy price on their wicket for the sake of their team's cause. They had the knowhow, and they have prospered famously, and their teams are better off because of their perseverance and sense of responsibility.

    One wonders if our leading batsmen would rise to the occasion in what remains of this World Cup. This already seems to be too late.
    Everyone has the right to be stupid. Some people abuse the privilege - Joseph Stallin.

    #2
    Pakistan Sink Without a Trace

    Pakistan sink without trace
    Agha Akbar - 23 February 2003

    CAPE TOWN-Needing 247 to win, not a really insurmountable task, Pakistan made a
    complete hash of its chase as its batting caved in for 134, with 19 out of the regulation 50 overs unconsumed, against a spirited albeit medium paced England attack, handing the match by 112 runs.

    Had last man in, Shoaib Akhtar, not flayed 43 runs off just 16 deliveries (5 fours, three huge sixes) in a stand of 54 for the last wicket with Saqlain Mushtaq, the defeat would have been far heavier. Akhtar really laid into Craig White and Andrew Flintoff, but it was too good to last, and too late to provide any respite to the team's cause other than reducing the margin of what was even then a very heavy defeat.

    The setback, and the manner in which it was contrived, is indeed too much to swallow.

    The entire Pakistan top and middle order batted like a bunch of novices, and there could not possibly be any excuse for such a pathetic and shocking display. So inept, so clueless, so devoid of spirit or even a hint of fight was it that one could not even associate it with any of the minnows in this World Cup. It was not worthy of a frontline cricketing nation, absolutely not.

    And the Pakistan think-tank, so good at finding excuses and making fresh promises, couldn't even blame it on this being just a rotten day. For one, such days are happening too often, the lack of thought and application, and also the absence of a game-plan is so conspicuous, especially among the senior lot - the vice-captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq and that slayer of modest attacks Yousuf Youhana being the worst culprits.

    On a wicket so devoid of life, after the bowlers had delivered to a great extent by restricting England to 246, the batting needed to show some resolve and tried to make a fist of it.

    It did not, and Pakistan's World Cup campaign again lies in tatters, with one big game remaining - the one against India on March 1. That is a needle game, and with their hopes of sneaking through now already hanging by not more than a thread, on the result of that encounter would depend their fate. But in this form, one would not be surprised if Zimbabwe made them bite the dust as well!

    Pakistan badly needs to regroup itself, though whether they would be able to do so is a point of conjecture.

    Three wickets in seven balls when the innings had barely gotten going, took the wind out of Pakistan's sails. Shahid Afridi clouted Andy Caddick for a six over long-on with the kind of imperious disdain that promised many more such strokes, but he edged the next one to the keeper. On the first delivery that he faced, Inzamam tamely guided a James Anderson delivery to Knight in the slips. Next ball, Youhana showed poor defence as he was clean bowled on a yorker, trying to force it to the onside. Surely with all his experience he should have been expecting one after a big wicket had fallen.

    All credit to the young Anderson, already fired up after Inzamam's departure as he did produce a great one. In fact, England bowlers did so well that some diehard Pakistani supporters started whining and talked of the evening swing and wind rather than credit the magnificent effort of Anderson and company.

    Pakistan was never to recover from these three swift blows. Once Flintoff induced Younis Khan into a false shot, Anderson again dealt two blows in one over, accounting for Saeed Anwar and Rashid Latif, and at 6 for 59 in the 18th over, it was already all over bar the shouting.

    Earlier, Shoaib Akhtar was hit for a few runs at the death, and quite a few in his opening spell as well, but on a flat wicket, Pakistan generally bowled well and fielded with some degree of intensity to contain England.

    Though denied his 500th wicket, Akram was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers, and the rest too with the exception of Akhtar mostly delivered. But Akhtar did have his share of limelight by improving his own fastest-ever record by bowling one at 161.3 kmh (100.23 mph) to become the only person to have broken the 100 mile barrier twice.

    Akram got amongst the wickets straightaway, his inswinger finding the edge of Marcus Trescothick's bat with Rashid Latif safe and agile as ever doing the rest.

    Economical till then, Akhtar went for 24 runs in two overs, and Waqar for once didn't allow things to drift. He brought himself on first change. Knight went after Waqar, charging down the wicket, was undone by bounce to be caught by Razzaq at wide mid-off. A few overs later, with England's 50 already on the board, Hussain creamed a four off him in the covers, but attempting to drive a lovely away- swinger was caught at the wicket.

    With Younis and Saqlain operating in tandem, the run rate was initially pegged back, but then Stewart unleashed a slew of boundaries to speed things up. Stewart though may have been out had his lofted pull was not poorly anticipated by Saqlain at square leg.

    Stewart (30, 34 balls, 4 fours) and Vaughan (51, 64 balls, 7 fours) by now were playing fluently and together made a rapidfire 50 off 56 deliveries for the fifth wicket. Waqar again made two changes, both producing wickets in successive overs. Vaughan was deceived by Shoaib's change of pace, to be caught by Younis while Afridi scalped Stewart.

    Flintoff and Collingwood kept it going for England in another stand of 50-plus, until Saqlain got Flintoff stumped by Rashid with his straight one. Brought back on, perhaps to help Pakistan's perennial problem, the poor over-rate, Afridi had White caught at point off Saqlain in the 41st over to open up the tail from one end just as the slog overs began.

    That wicket quite effectively kept the run-scoring in check, as from then runs mostly came in ones and twos, though Ashley Giles struck Shoaib's slower ball for a magnificent six over long-off. But Giles was magnificently caught by a jumping Afridi on the long-on fence off what would otherwise have been his second six.

    A late flurry by unbeaten Collingwood (66 runs, 73 balls, 4 fours) still saw England finish under 250. Not a bad bowling job on a wicket offering next to nothing to the bowlers.

    But when it was their turn, the Pakistan batting sank without trace to hand the match to England.
    Everyone has the right to be stupid. Some people abuse the privilege - Joseph Stallin.

    Comment


      #3
      Excellent articles. couldn't agree more especially the following:

      All credit to the young Anderson, already fired up after Inzamam's departure as he did produce a great one. In fact, England bowlers did so well that some diehard Pakistani supporters started whining and talked of the evening swing and wind rather than credit the magnificent effort of Anderson and company

      Comment


        #4
        This was an easy match and pakistan cud win it easily.... 245 wasnt that hard to chase but our batting like struggled..... afridi, inzi and youhana.....
        these were the big wickets and then next to go was anwar.... anwar and younis can build up a great partnership but flintoff and anderson delievered some great boucers to get younis khan greedy and he fell into the short ball of flintoff... that was sum bad batting... pakistan shud do sumthin gud against holland so they can beat india!

        Comment


          #5
          >> and that slayer of modest attacks Yousuf Youhana being the worst culprits.

          From the 2nd article. Please can you tell me the writer of this piece as the link seems to be to a different site. Youhanna has posted scores all over the world against the best in the world. If you don't think he's a good player check his test and one day averages.

          This writer talks of whining but this article is guilty of exactly that IMO.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ehsan:
            Excellent articles. couldn't agree more especially the following:

            All credit to the young Anderson, already fired up after Inzamam's departure as he did produce a great one. In fact, England bowlers did so well that some diehard Pakistani supporters started whining and talked of the evening swing and wind rather than credit the magnificent effort of Anderson and company

            Yaar, just this morning you were complaining that Pakistan failed to score runs against a third-rate England attack and now you are agreeing that Anderson and company produced a magnificent effort. I'm slightly confused as to your stance here. Were they third-rate or magnificent?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Mr Xtreme:



              . Were they third-rate or magnificent?
              A third rate can be magnificent on a given day , right?
              The story of our sorry batting line up . They even made the namibian seamers seem very respectable and some what magnificent

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Mr Xtreme:



                Yaar, just this morning you were complaining that Pakistan failed to score runs against a third-rate England attack and now you are agreeing that Anderson and company produced a magnificent effort. I'm slightly confused as to your stance here. Were they third-rate or magnificent?
                The attack was third rate, we gave it the respectability and our batsmen made them looked magnificient.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by sherrybaba:


                  A third rate can be magnificent on a given day , right?
                  The story of our sorry batting line up . They even made the namibians seamers very respectable and some what magnificent
                  Sherry yaar, it's about keeping perspective. Look at my comments on the Pakistan/Namibia match thread. We batted against Namibia in normal conditions and I criticised our batsmen for not getting on top of a genuine third rate attack in decent conditions. Now England's attack might be pretty ordinairy on a sunny day, but in damp conditions or under the lights they can be a very difficult proposition. I can guarantee you that India will struggle if they have to bat under lights against England as well. Just like England would have struggled against us if we'd won the toss and got the chance to bowl at them under the lights. It's not rocket science.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ehsan:


                    The attack was third rate, we gave it the respectability and our batsmen made them looked magnificient.
                    ehsan, the attack was either third-rate or 'magnificent' - it can't be both. Once we've established that we can move onto our batting efforts later.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Mr Xtreme:


                      ehsan, the attack was either third-rate or 'magnificent' - it can't be both. Once we've established that we can move onto our batting efforts later.
                      I cant see what you are trying to get at, the attack is third rate, our batsmen made it look magnificient. It is not both. There is a difference between what is reality, i.e. the attack is third rate and what our batsmen made it looked like i.e. magnificent.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Well I'm just going off what you stated here:

                        Excellent articles. couldn't agree more especially the following:

                        All credit to the young Anderson, already fired up after Inzamam's departure as he did produce a great one. In fact, England bowlers did so well that some diehard Pakistani supporters started whining and talked of the evening swing and wind rather than credit the magnificent effort of Anderson and company
                        Here you've quoted and endorsed some guy's words that England's bowlers were magnificent but at the same time you are saying they are third-rate. It just seems a contradiction, maybe you meant something else?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Mr Xtreme:


                          Sherry yaar, it's about keeping perspective. Look at my comments on the Pakistan/Namibia match thread. We batted against Namibia in normal conditions and I criticised our batsmen for not getting on top of a genuine third rate attack in decent conditions. Now England's attack might be pretty ordinairy on a sunny day, but in damp conditions or under the lights they can be a very difficult proposition. I can guarantee you that India will struggle if they have to bat under lights against England as well. Just like England would have struggled against us if we'd won the toss and got the chance to bowl at them under the lights. It's not rocket science.
                          Well it didnt rain so the dampness wasnt that much. It was only the lights that caused very little dew.
                          If I'm not mistaken SA scored excess of 250 when chasing WI's target under lights. I agree bowl swings but all it need is some application from the batsmen and survive the first 15 overs. Do you care to explain how Shaoib akhtar and Saqlin were able to play the seamers with great ease. Heck Saqlain was using his feet very effecitvely. Its just our batsmen
                          Anways Our batmsen suck either ways wheter its a batting pitch or not.
                          However I do agre with you , batting under lights isnt very easy no matter how good the pitch is for batting.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            There is a difference between "they are magnificent", and "magnificent effort".

                            Comment


                              #15
                              sherry, how many times have you seen tail-enders swing the bat effectively at the end of an innings when the pressure's gone and the ball is old? Yeah we could have batted better but then we'd have needed to send in openers capable to see off the new ball (again something I suggested BEFORE the match would be essential against England). The best pair for that would have been Taufeeq and Elahi who have proven records in SA just recently. Instead we sent out Afridi and Saeed who was denied practice but did ok considering the circumstances.

                              Comment

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