Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad
SOME suggestions for the PCB’s think tank for picking up the cudgels, to enable our cricketers touring England, to rise again and put up a renewed fight during the remaining matches of the series.
The entire responsibility of Yaser Shah’s abysmal performance in the 2nd Test (1/266) rests on Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad, and no one else.
However, legendary spinner Dr. Intikhab Alam, was also sitting there and he should have guided Yaser Shah to how to bowl at the English batsmen, who changed their technique from lords, as stated by their captain:
“Watching Yasir from Lord’s, he got a lot of lbws and bowled so we played him a little straighter and it worked,” said Cook.
More than the players, it was a complete failure of the entire Pakistani nincompoop coaching staff and the tour management committee, who just sat on the laurels of the Lords victory and failed to devise any strategy for the second Test match and entered the game without ANY plan, except not to do any push ups again.
In cricket, every new game is an entirely different battle of wits. Gone are days when winning combinations were not disturbed. The biggest failure of most important members of the Pakistani touring side viz., Micky Arthur and Misbah ul Haq, was when they ignored our glaring weaknesses of the first Test and entered into the second match on the hype of the Lords victory push-ups.
Further, from day one, Amir was bowling at a reduced speed in the second Test and by the end he had to go off the field. If this man was not fit, he should never have been wasted in the second Test match.
The secrets of success lies not in the push-ups, but in staying ahead of your competitor, by future gazing, knowing your and competitors weak and strong areas, anticipating the next move of the opponent and be ever ready to adapt for the change.
Now, till the start of the 3rd Test on 3rd August, we should utilise the available time for some radical changes.
As such, the chairman PCB must act urgently and swiftly (like ECB did when they immediately inducted Saqlain Mushtaq, which helped Moeen Ali get many more and cheaper wickets than Yaser Shah) and induct the world renowned legendary leg spinner Mr. Abdul Qadir, as a spin bowling consultant of the touring team.
The following suggestions are also submitted for consideration of the think tank of the PCB, on the theory of selecting horses for courses:
Suggestions for the remaining two Test matches:
1. Let Shan Masood continue opening the innings. However, the batting coach must work very hard on removing his weakness of playing rising balls and mental block against the bowling of James Anderson.
2. Muhammad Hafeez may be dropped as he has failed to live up to the expectations.
3. Shoaib Malik may be advised to take back his Test retirement and included in the team as a batting all-rounder, as the team needs his off spin bowling desparately.
4. Let Azhar and Shan Masood open the innings.
5. Younis Khan may also be dropped and bring, in his place, Sami Aslam, who is already with the squad.
6. The batting order may be reshuffled as below, as England has also promoted their best batsmen J Root to # 3 position, who alone scored 325 runs in the match, whereas, our 22 batsmen scored a mere 432 runs (Average 19.63) in the 2nd Test match.
1. Azhar, 2. Shan Masood, 3. Asad Shafiq, 4. Misbah ul Haq, 5. Sami Aslam, 6. Sarfraz Ahmad, 7. Shoaib Malik, 8 to 11 four bowlers.
It also looks Amir is a shadow of his original self. If he is not fit, either, Sohail Khan or Zulfiqar Babar may be included in his place or Junaid Khan, may be called from Pakistan.
Keeping in view the overall pathetic batting display, Fawad Alam must also be immediately flown to the UK: and given a try in the side matches, before the 3rd Test, to check his form under the English conditions.
Moreover, for the ODI’s the situation is even more critical, as our automatic eligibility for the ODI World Cup 2019, is dependent upon staying by September, 2017 within the top 8 rankings, which at the moment is #9 and our next 15 ODI’s will be played against England, West Indies, NZ and Australia.
In the ODI format, batting is our Achilles heal. In this regard, it is suggested that Misbah ul Haq, may be advised in the national interest, to rejoin our ODI team, by cancelling his retirement, as a batsman, to see through the period, till the rankings cut off time of September, 2017.