Pakistan vs Canada: Will cricket fans ever be satisfied?

Published: March 4, 2011

Pakistan's cricket team supporters watch the Group A match between Pakistan and Canada. PHOTO: AFP

“Drop Hafeez.”

“Drop Ahmed Shehzad.”

“Make Kamran Akmal open.”

“No, replace Kamran Akmal and make Umar Akmal keep.”

“Wahab Riaz should be in the team.”

“Replace Rehman with Saeed Ajmal.”

“Replace Umar Akmal with Asad Shafiq.”

Is there any other request that Pakistani fans want fulfilled? It’s high time we stop acting like the selectors of the team and focus on celebrating its success stories. Seriously, have they not done enough to make us happy?

Pakistan have played three matches this World Cup and have won all three! What more do we want?

If we understand the game so well, we should also understand the age-old captaincy rule: never change a winning combination. And never means never!

We don’t have an opening problem; we don’t need Asad Shafiq in the middle order; we don’t need Razzaq to bat higher. We have exactly what we need. Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad have been one of the most stable opening partnerships that Pakistan have had in a long time.

Each of them has a century in their last 10 ODI games. So what if they haven’t notched up big scores in the World Cup yet? We all know that once either one gets a ton, Pakistan will win the game.

Smarter than the experts

After a long time, Pakistan have a stable top six. Each batsman knows where they are going to bat and what their role is, and so far they have been fulfilling it well. Yes, they failed against Canada but that happens. We don’t need to change anything in the batting order – it is a settled one and looks good.

And the best part about it is, if any of the top six get a big score, we know Pakistan will win the game. Why do Pakistani fans feel that Razzaq is being wasted at number 8? Have we forgotten his weakness against spin?

Razzaq’s strength is in finishing an innings with a bang. There are very few batsmen that can demolish an attack in the death overs the way Razzaq can, and Pakistan have got him in the role that suits him best. Ideally, Razzaq at number eight will walk out to bat in the last 5-7 overs and that is when he will be at his destructive best.

Why do you want Wahab Riaz in place of a batsman? Canada showed us how our batting can implode and also showed us how our bowling is much stronger than most of our fans think it is. Pakistan are not playing an extra batsman. Pakistan are playing a well balanced side with five batsmen, a keeper, two all-rounders, and three specialist bowlers. Balance does not come better than this!

As for Rehman and Saeed Ajmal, I guess they really are replaceable (by each other). I don’t think either is better than the other since both can do the job that Pakistan requires of them. For whatever reason, the team management prefers Rehman and we should just let this decision stand.

Pakistan versus Canada: We won!

Yesterday, Pakistan showed that they have the ability to come out of any situation, which is an amazing quality to have. Instead of cribbing about our batting performance, we should be harping on about how we fought back hard. It’s a champion’s quality to come back from the dead – whether the win is due to team effort or just one person is irrelevant. The best part about Pakistan’s first XI that played in the matches against Kenya and Sri Lanka is that there are nine match winners in there, if not 10. We need just one of them to click for Pakistan to win the match.

Unfortunately no one clicked with the bat against Canada, but luckily Afridi hit it off with the ball and that is all that was required.

Younis Khan put it perfectly when he was asked about the low total. He said:

“It wasn’t low, it was more than enough for Canada.”

What a brilliant reply! If only the Pakistani fans were as positive.

And to answer the question in the title of this post – I guess we will be happy if Pakistan wins the ODI World Cup, but we should also be happy in knowing that this is also what the team wants and is working towards.

Let them do the work and decide on the plan to achieve this goal, and let’s just be happy supporting them and their decisions.

umair.qazi

Umair Qazi

An investment advisor in Dubai who blogs at www.wellpitched.com/ and tweets @WellPitched

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • kaksizeem

    impressive…………. Recommend

  • AZ

    agreed!Recommend

  • http://Karachi Salman Hasan

    Good One Umair! As a nation we consider ourselves experts on everything and great critics on anything. That’s the dilemma we are facing which is taking us backwards!

    We should let experts do the required job & make us feel proud & happy :-)Recommend

  • http://cricketworldcupmasala.com Saeed

    At least Pakistan team proved it they are tigers in the world cricket.Recommend

  • SQ

    Good one Don Q!Recommend

  • Annie Thalho

    so true!Recommend

  • muzzy

    I would agree to Umair on many points yet I am a strong believer that Kamran Akmal has the capacity to ruin all efforts made by his team while fielding.

    I don’t ask to replace him – he needs counseling and guidance. Prescribe him a few weeks session with Moin Khan and Rashid Latif

    Having said that, I am loving the energy shown by our team on the ground.

    Pakistan Zindabad.Recommend

  • http://www.xubair.com Paracha

    umair you’re the man, i hope we win the cup IA but in case if we dont these fans must stay calm!Recommend

  • Bilal Niaz

    they have done more than what was expected from them … job well done till now Team Pakistan Recommend

  • Aneela

    Great article, I remember something my dad said a long time ago ” Pakistani people are so used to being upset and down, that they have forgot how to enjoy and be happy”
    No matter how good pakistan play their alway goning to find something to be upset about,
    REALITY CHECK: the pplayer are humans, they can also make misakes and have off days and those are the days we should get around them and support them, it so easy to kick someone when their down and so much harder to help a fallen person rise!! Recommend

  • sana

    re: “smarter than the experts” – actually, all the experts (including imran and wasim) agree that we’re playing one batsman too many and need a specialist bowler instead. we won three matches and afridi was brilliant, but it’s unreasonable to expect him to take 5 every game and you’ve also got to remember that 2 of these 3 matches were against kenya and canada. Recommend

  • Usman

    I’m a little confused – why do you resent people from having an opinion about the team? Its perfectly normal and healthy to have opinions, in fact, thats part of why sports are entertaining. why are only syndicated columnists, radio hosts and people with a blog allowed to comment on the performance of the cricket team (and yes, even if you are ok with what they’re doing – that’s still an opinion).

    I’ll concede that burning the players in effigy or pelting them with shoes and/or stones is unacceptable, but these are public figures and their activities fall within the public domain, you cannot (and should not) stop people from having an opinion just because it differs from yours. you can disagree but please don’t ask people to be silent, that’s kind of dictatorial.

    URecommend

  • parvez

    Good article.
    The ICC ban on Butt, Aamir and Asif has worked wonders in motivating and disciplining the rest of the team.Recommend

  • JS

    Being not able to survive 50 overs is no way something to be proud of. This is the major worry for Pakistan, if Younis and Misbah fail in batting and Afridi fails in bowling, there is no backup. Canada was in a comfortable position before Ajmal made the break-through and Afridi capitalized on it.

    Positives:
    Team spirit and never-die attitude

    Negatives:
    KAMRAN AKMAL- The guy is terrible, over-rated batsman, horrible wicket keeper- leave aside missed stumpings and catches, he cannot even collect throws properly. How many byes Pakistan give in every match just because Kamran Akmal cannot stop wide deliveries or collect throws

    Unbalanced Side- What is the role of Razzaq in the team? Bowling 5 overs in every match and facing 1 over at the crease? Why not play with an additional bowler?Recommend

  • http://wasioabbasi.wordpress.com Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi

    @JS:
    Problem is, his replacement aka Zulqarnain Haider, decided to take flight to UK under most strange circumstances, so we are stuck with Kamran Akmal. Thus, the over-rated batsman and horrible wicket-keeper cannot be left out :(Recommend

  • Wasim mukarram

    Ya i really agree with the reader. Fantastic analysis. Wining combination should never be changed.Recommend

  • TH

    Nice article. A refreshing one after having to see the media thrash Pakistan day in day out in the papers & news. Was a little disappointed with today’s match with New Zealand, but bad days happen too, I just hope they don’t lose their focus, just because of this one defeat. They have done well thus far. I am not Pakistani but I’m a staunch supporter of the team. Good Luck, guys! Thanks for the positive writing :) Keep up the good work! Recommend