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Misbah and his Six Ducks!

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With the ODI series lost, Pakistan has, yet again, allowed its opponents to grasp its weaknesses. The final score line of the ODI series could, but have been reversed in favor of Pakistan, but for the horrendous fielding and customary poor catching that Pakistan displayed in the final ODI and not to forget, but all the same highly unforgettable, six ducks, that were hard for them to digest in the 4th ODI.

!important]First and foremost, going against the popular talk of the town, I’d like to comment on some positives of this series as. Asad Shafiq showed sincere promise. Misbah, no matter what people say about him, is by far in today’s time a composed cricketer, who knows how to build his innings and managed to score a useful half-century too. But the biggest up of this series was the emergence of young Azhar Ali as a promising one-day cricketer. His two half centuries, an almost century, a useful 30 odd, all contributed significantly to the team’s high. Azhar needs to be given more outings to stamp his authority for ODIs. It may be premature to compare him to the likes of veteran cricketers but he can definitely, if promoted, earn himself a tag of the Pakistani Dravid.

Let’s now talk about the “boom boom” and the “bang bang” dilemma.If we review this series we get the feeling that, sadly, “all is not well” with our boom boom man Shahid Afridi. His body language and his on field actions with Misbah do suggest that he may be a tad disappointed for loosing out on the much cherished and controversial post of captaincy. As we have seen in the past hastiness has been his biggest enemy. With loads of experience under his belt, it would be disastrous for someone to even suggest or recommend Afridi to curb his style of play, which even the great Javed Miandad could not do. It is he himself who has to learn to stand up to the occassion and play a mature knock if he needs to survive the wrath of the selectors. No coach has ever been able to guide Afridi or to bring about a groundbreaking change in him. He does what he pleases and unfortunately, this goes to show yet another favorable example of player power in Pakistan cricket.

Umar Akmal, it seems, is, as noted commentator Chishty Mujahid often uses the phrase, “slowly but surely “, moulding himself into Afridi Junior. His temperament, his style of play all suggests so. However, he, should and can be brought to book, like his brother, given his shady past and his lack of responsibility while playing. Someone needs to pep talk and tell him that cricket is just not about hitting listlessly and you aren’t bound to pursue glory by simply playing lusty strokes.

The work horse of the team , Younis Khan, was once a shadow of his past. Perhaps now is the right time for him to hang his boots. The second option for him is to quit ODI and concentrate of Test matches. Younis has, undoubtedly been the most swift of the very few responcive fieldsmen in Pakistan cricket team. He is the safest of close in fielders, but there comes a time when seniors must move forward and allow the younger lot to fill their boots. Nevertheless, his exclusion from the final ODI may just be an indication of what is in store for him in future.

important]Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistani team enthusiasts must realize that Whatmore is no magician and may take his time to adjust to the moods, the communicating skills and the talent of this unpredictable lot. His immediate responsibility should be to help the team overcome the stigma of chasing targets. As much as it hurts me to say, our team has a horrendous record of making a mess of the easiest of run chases, a weakness that has been well read by their opponents. The good news is however that Pakistan is unpredictably unbeatable, else old Dave will have to pack it all up!

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