Stories about strategy

World Cup 2011: The Indian cricket team is no threat

Do you still think India are amongst the favourites for winning the Cricket World Cup 2011? While the Indian media presents its team as the world’s best, the truth is that India are not so strong. India lack fighters, and without them no one can emerge on top in such a big tournament. While I must admit that they have some great players and definitely provide entertainment, I cannot say that they are match winners; their players are only outstanding in favourable circumstances. Take Sachin Tendulkar as an example. Tendulkar is a god for all the coming generations of batsmen. I ...

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World Cup 2011 quarter finals: Remaining calm is crucial for Pakistan

As the 1992 champions aim to get back to winning ways in the World Cup, the team management has the very important task of lifting the morale of a much maligned outfit after the heavy loss to New Zealand. A lot of criticism has come the way of Shahid Afridi and his men, which would have dampened the spirits of a side that had won three successive matches before facing New Zealand. Here I must emphasise that the situation that Pakistan find themselves in, is not as desperate as most experts have made it out to be. The team has now ...

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Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: Understanding the power of the single

Before coming on to more pressing matters, I must clarify that the Pakistan team happened to stumble across early success in the World Cup and let’s not misplace this accidental fortune as a pre-planned rhythm that the team has built on carefully in the tournament. Ergo, for commentators and critics alike, making crucial changes in the middle of the tournament will not break this so called rhythm – it might just lay the foundation for a successful strategy which we are still lacking. After the dismal performance against New Zealand, changes in the side are not just crucial, they are ...

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Kamran Akmal should stay on the Pakistan team

There is a famous saying in cricket: ‘catches win matches’. Pakistan’s last Group A match against New Zealand is a perfect testament to this rightly so famous saying. Kamran Akmal’s disappointing show behind the wicket cost Pakistan a wave of success in cricket’s most extravagant event — gifting New Zealand an emphatic victory through Ross Taylor’s heroics. Kamran’s deteriorating ability to carry out his duties seems to be a source of major concern. Having said that, Pakistan need to reassess their reaction to the faltering wicket-keeper’s promising talent. While Kamran sat on the training benches from afar and watched his brother Umar ...

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Take Kamran Akmal off the team!

Kamran Akmal put up a disgraceful performance in the match against New Zealand. There used to be a time when inspired experts called him Pakistan’s Adam Gilchrist – but nothing could be more insulting to Gilchrist than comparing butterfingers with him. I have little doubt that if Pakistan is to get anywhere in this World Cup, it must drop Kamran Akmal from the starting line-up. He is no good with the bat and I’d rather not play a wicket-keeper than have Akmal behind the stumps. His performances since 2006 have been on a consistent and constant decline. It was on the tour ...

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World Cup 2011: Separating men from the boys

Is the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to reduce the next World Cup to 10 teams really the way forward? Is this really as far as the sport’s governing body is concerned about making it a truly global game? Are they dumping the associates and hoping that one day we would have 16-team tournaments with each one of them being the best in the business, representing a continent or region, like football? The ICC has been trying to increase the number of Test-playing nations for almost 20 years now. But the only additions have been Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, with the latter ...

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Pakistan’s brittle batting exposed

Yesterday’s clash against Canada uncovered a bitter fact about the Pakistan team – a fact that was made foggy after successive wins in the World Cup – which will yield valuable repercussions. The question of Pakistan’s batting vulnerability always exists, exposing the team’s inability to trust its own top-order under pressure. Panic was their nemesis. For a team, who was recently added into the list of favourites to win the World Cup, to perform abysmally against minnows is an indication of a contradictory mix of complacency and lack of self-belief. Complacency was apparent as our openers failed to perform again, playing ...

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Pakistan vs Canada: Notes from an unhappy fan

After a tie with India and a horrific loss to Ireland, England were all over the news. Being the spoilt brat that it is, the Pakistan team couldn’t take it; how could it watch silently as England stole the limelight? They wanted the attention back on themselves, and their match against Canada did just that. Electing to bat first, Pakistan put up one of the worst batting performances by a top ranked side in this tournament. In their match against Zimbabwe, Australia also went slow but eventually put an above par total on the board and kept wickets intact. But Pakistan ...

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The Pakistan team is playing one batsman too many

Pakistan’s batting goes down till number eight and that, in the playing-eleven, is tolerating one batsman too many. A formidable side must have a perfect mix of bowlers and batsmen as inefficiency in the team-mix can cause problems for the best of sides in the World Cup. Given that Pakistan enjoy the experience of stable batsmen like Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan, who form the backbone of their line-up, the team can increase the efficiency by eliminating a batsman and adding a specialist bowler. Umar Akmal, a stable and potentially dangerous batsman, came at number six in yesterday’s match. What the captain needs ...

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Pakistan beat Sri Lanka: Victory is sweet!

After having made two wins in two games, the Pakistan cricket team has given the country a reason to rejoice. For most of us Pakistanis, the World Cup has in fact just begun. We are beginning to believe that Pakistan are a force to reckon with after defeating Sri Lanka, one of the favourites. However, as extensive praise is being heaped on the team and congratulatory messages being sent across, we mustn’t forget that this was just the second game of a fairly long tournament ahead. We must cheer the boys on, but ensure that complacency doesn’t creep within the ranks, as ...

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