T20 cricketing strategics: Some advice for Captain Hafeez

Published: September 27, 2012
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Afridi is improving, Ajmal is terrific, however, Gul and Tanveer need to raise their game if we want to qualify for the semi-final. DESIGN: IMAAN SHEIKH

So far Pakistan has been doing well in the World T20, 2012. Having said as much, our batting has come to the rescue for the third time ─ if we add the warm-up match we played against India. My cause of concern lies in our bowling and I feel as though team Pakistan must reconsider their strategy.

Over the years, especially in the T20 format, our bowling has been our main weapon, however, we have been found wanting more in all of the three matches we have played in Srilanka.

I don’t mind the same eleven playing in Super 8, but for this, our team management ─ comprising Hafeez, Whatmore and Muhammad Akram ─ should give confidence to Gul and Tanveer.

Afridi is improving which is a good sign. Ajmal, too, has been terrific, however, we are relying too heavily on him, don’t you think? By law of averages, Saeed Ajmal is due for an off day – then what are we going to do?

All I can say is that I hope it won’t come in this tournament! On the other hand, Gul and Tanveer need to raise their game if we want to qualify for the semi-final.

My strategy would be to get either Tanveer, Arafat or Hafeez to open the bowling attack, with Ajmal or Afridi being first change bowlers. Alternatively, Shoaib Malik can also be utilised.

As for Umar Gul, he should be told that he will only bowl in death overs, starting from the 14th, and that he should restrict himself to bowling just yorkers – something he is known. This should work for Gul in the current format of the game. Our success in the inaugural World Cup and the 2009 World Cup are examples to support my claim.

Gul was leading with 13 wickets in each tournament, with an economy rate of 5.60, an average of 11.92 and a strike rate of 12.7 in 2007. Moreover, in 2009 his economy rate was 6.44, his average was 12.15 and he had a strike rate of 10.2.

This was all because he was allowed to bowl in the death overs. This point was absolutely key to his success.

If Hafeez can think on the same lines, then Umar Gul has the capability to show his true mettle because his mind will only be directed to bowling yorkers. If Gul plays too early in the game and gets a much expected hammering in his first over, there is every chance that his performance will not be up to par in his next overs because fast bowling is all about maintaining rhythm. An early jolt can shake up the rest of his game.

Furthermore, Hafeez’s  strategy should also include defining Sohail Tanveer’s role in taking wickets. This was also the strategy Imran Khan employed for Wasim Akram when our juggernaut started against Australia in World Cup 1992, which led us to win our solitary ODI world cup.

Now I’m aware of the fact that both formats are different but with a few changes made, this has the potential to work for team Pakistan.

In a press conference after the game against Bangladesh, Hafeez clearly said that his main concern is his fast bowling unit. He further reiterated that Gul will stage a comeback, but I only see this happening if his role is clearly assigned.

Another aspect that we must put great emphasis on is our fielding. Good fielding can serve as a very powerful catalyst if the chips are down. A certain brilliance from the field won’t just serve to lift the bowler, but will take the whole team a long way.

We need to pull our socks up quickly for the sternest test on September 28, which will be against an informed and well-prepared South Africa. Team Pakistan has only one option; to bring on their A-game!

A single odd blemish against this quality outfit might cost us the match. It is now up to Whatmore, Fountain and Akram to rightly motivate our players (especially Gul and Tanveer) into moving on and letting bygones be bygones.

The real tournament is yet to begin and so our team must start afresh.

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Wasiq Ahmed

Wasiq Ahmed

A banker by profession and a sports enthusiast by heart, Wasiq tweets as @wasiq99 twitter.com/wasiq99

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

  • Faizan Ahmed

    Absolutely right in pointing out the reason for Umar Gul’s dismal performance. No doubt, he is a match winner, but only in case he is used for a thing he is best at. From a critical point of view, I think that our bowling coach performance is below par. I dont know whether he is capable enough or not, but it is evident that ever since his appointment as bowling coach, Pakistan Bowling has lost that edge. It is not that Pakistan is playing of “Batting Paradises”. It is because it seems that our bowlers have no plan whatsoever. There is no discipline or commitment of any sort.
    As far as Sohail Tanveer is concerned, I dont think that he deserved to be a part of Pakistan bowling line-up. By taking wickets in any league / domestic cricket does not mean that you are the best bowler in the world. In his early days, he did enjoy success (that too ordinary without any match winning performance). That was primarily because of his unorthodox action (I would say abnormal). For me he is a below average bowler. Mohammad Sami would prove to be a much better option, only if provided with extra confidence and a special role.Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    It is a very good sign that we are bating well and i am very much happy to see Nazir’s bating,hopefully he will bat well in next matches.

    as far as bolling is concern ,we need GUL performance back as he had gotten best boller award in T20 world cup in 2009.

    I am very much sure about today’s Afrid’s Day.

    Azeem.Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    as far as last few matches are concern. i am very mush hopefull that we will win all three matches specially India.

    Azeem Recommend

  • mohammad ali najmi

    The comments are perfectly covered all aspects of our current team as mentioned by Mr.Wasiq , who is one of the best club cricketer. I would suggest to drop Tanveer and encourage Abdul Razzak in recent coming matches considering an experienced all rounder and match winning player.Recommend

  • boy

    You cant use tanvir the same way imran khan used wasim akram! comparing wasim akram to tanvir is like comparing an aston martin to the bumper of a mehran! Recommend

  • RS

    “Hafeez’s strategy should also include defining Sohail Tanveer’s role in taking wickets. This was also the strategy Imran Khan employed for Wasim Akram when our juggernaut started against Australia in World Cup 1992, which led us to win our solitary ODI world cup.”

    There is a teeny flaw in your analysis. Wasim Akram was a genius at that time, and ended up being the best left-arm pacer the world has ever seen. And sohail tanvir, doesn’t even deserve a place in a 30-man squad, let alone be in the playing 11.Recommend

  • zubia khalid

    First of all hats off to u for such wonderful analysis……but i disagree with u over the issue of sohail tanveer..he doesnt even deserve a place in the squad..wat about Abdul Razzaq…according to me t20 is a game of all rounders.he is a good all rounder and he had prove it against Australia. first 15 overs shuld b divided among ,, Hafeez,Abdul Razzaq Afridi and yasir arafat…death overs can b bowled by umar gul and saeed ajmal bc gul is a good bowler with old ball and he swings it a lot..
    Lets see everyone may have his or her own opinion but every Pakistani in every corner of the world just want one thing…”””T20 cup champions shuld b PAKISTAN”””””””…lets hope and pray for itRecommend

  • ZK

    First of all hats off to u for a wonderful analysis. but i disagree with u on the issue of Sohail Tanveer. I think Razzaq is a better choice than Tanveer. According to me T20 is game of all rounders. we can use Afridi, Razzaq, Hafeez, Yasir and Shoaib in first 15 overs and Ajmal and Gul will b best choice in death overs bc Gul swings ball more with the old ball.
    Everyone has its own opinion regarding team strategy but i think every Pakistani in every corner of the World has one single hope and prayer that “Pakistan becomes T20 champions””..we hope and pray for our team success..Recommend

  • Wasiq

    @RS
    Wasim and Tanveer are miles apart when it comes to talent no doubt but mindsets can’t be different that what he has to change. Recommend

  • Wasiq

    @ZK:
    40 minutes left to be very exact lets see is there any change in the squadRecommend

  • Wasiq

    @ZK:,@RS:,@BOY
    Your wish has been granted and Sohail Tanveer has been dropped in place of Raza Hassan.South Africa bats and the onus is again on our batting to chase against a well oiled bowling unit.Lets see which team comes out on top i am keeping fingers crossed. Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    NOW PAKI’S BOLING BACK. AS EXPECTED.

    WASIQ IS NOT ONLY CLUB CRICKETER (SIR) HE PLAYED INTER DEPARTMENTAL TOURNAMENTS AND MEMBER OF ZONE V. (SINDH SPORTS).

    Lets see paki’s bating. hope for the best. inshALLAH we will win. Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    Need 134 runs to win. it is golden chance.

    As per Shahid Afridi comments at (customs academy) at net practice. Wasiq’s reverse swing with new ball is outstanding.

    Love you. Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    MUBARAK.Recommend

  • Wasiq

    Confidence came from a different source doesn’t matter.Now you will see a different Umar Gul against India.:)Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH

    PAKISTANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN ZINDABAD.Recommend

  • Adeel Swaleheen

    Now Umar Gul has also proved that he is best all rounder, he should concentrate on his consistent performance in upcoming matches. Paksitan Zindabad :)Recommend

  • Javid Nawaz

    if today Pak beat india then we are the world champions of 2012………….Recommend

  • http://apnatandlianwala.com ali

    Asad shafique should be in for Imran nazir, Razaq for yasir, Sami for Raza hasan against Australia. I can’t change hafeez coz he is captain. Good luck.Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    I am still waiting comments of Dear Rehan Naqvi (Sb) , he was also a very good hard boll cricketer and he can give most value able comments.

    It was a gamble for Afridi’s one down batting order . I am also surprised that Asad Shafiq is still palying as twelve man.

    lets see last chance with Australia and we have just won series T20 in Dubai.
    hope for the best good luck Pakistan.

    I am also waiting Zafar Alam and Iftti Bhai Comments. Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    Considering last match performance , I am not hope full to win, but good new is that if Australia beat Pakistan with 60 Runs or 8 Wicket then India should win with 80 Runs or 9 wickets to reach Semi Final.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    If Australia beat as expected with only 60 runs or 8 wicket no worry. but India should win with Soth Africa 80 runs or 9 wicket to qualify Semi Finals.

    hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    thanks ALLAH (SWT) , we won the match,Recommend

  • M.AZEEM BAIG

    MUBARAK all of you. Great win.

    Pakistan always win or lose by their wish. nobody can give perfect comments regarding their performance. just for information that.

    Inventors

    Reverse Swep Short by Miandad

    Reverse Swing by Wasim Akrm

    in swinging yourker Waqar younus

    Goggly by the great Abdul Qadir

    Dosra by Saqlain Mushtaq

    Goodlenth cuter by M.Asif

    Tesra by Syed Ajmal

    Extra pace by Shoaib Akhter
    pls share if you have any more information.Recommend