Gearing up for the ICC Champions Trophy: Are we prepared?

Published: June 4, 2013
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Eight nations, one champion and 18 days of sensational ODI cricket; it’s time to gear up! PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Soon, we will be cheering for our national heroes as they gear up for the final edition of the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in England and Wales between June 6, 2013 and June 23, 2013.

Let us analyse what is in store for Pakistani fans!

The squad 

Pakistan’s 15 member squad includes the much anticipated pacer, Ehsan Adil along with Asad Ali – both of whom have been pretty impressive in the domestic season recently. With an impressive economy of 2.20 in 10 overs and a wicket, Asad Ali got things rolling in his debut match against Ireland in the second ODI.

On the other hand, Wahab Riaz, having fired a quick 47 against Ireland is expected to deliver some worthy all-round performances this time, considering he seemed to have lost his touch since the Mohali game in 2011.

There is hardly any concern with respect to spin bowling. Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez will be seen in action – although all eyes will be on Abdur Rehman who is expected to add some fuel to the fire. The slow left arm spinner grabbed four wickets in the second game against Ireland, giving us a hint of what he might have in store for us this month.

Having said that, Umar Gul, and his magic with a new ball and early wicket-taking, will undoubtedly be missed on such a pitch. His techniques have been Pakistan’s trump card pretty often.

In addition to those changes,  junior Akmal has been replaced with the equally procure Umar Amin in the batting line-up.

The Afridi factor

The biggest (or not so big) blow to the side is the absence of a certain Afridi. What can one say, ‘A champions trophy being played without Shahid Afridi?’ doesn’t really have that ring to it.

Or does it?

Despite being a traditional Afridi fan since the start, I’d still look at this exclusion as a plus not only for the team but for the man himself. Considering his rough, inconsistent form trailing along since quite a while now, a break from the international cricket circuit along with a string of unceasing critical remarks was well overdue.

Although, the psychological impact of merely having him present in the line-up affected both Pakistan and the opponent team – unfortunately, we will have to do without that bit of excitement this time around.

Group stage, competition and previous records

Pakistan is set to face their first encounter against West Indies on June 7, 2013; however, the most awaited match of the tournament will take place on June 15, when Pakistan and India will battle it out at Edgbaston.

One argument that wriggles-in when considering Pakistan’s chances in the group stage matches is that having just returned from a backbreaking IPL season, many West Indies, Indian and South African players might lack the rested preparedness and spark required for this tournament. However, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla are some of the mighty players who have proven time and again, that rest or no rest, they are formidable on field.

All things considered, the results of many of the matches will be difficult to predict – just like in the case of the West Indies versus Pakistan, as they haven’t faced each other since the ODIs in May 2011

Having lost an ODI series to South Africa earlier this year, Pakistan could potentially be seen under pressure in the group match on June 10. Players like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla who had put some lavish batting on display, outstripping our bowling attack this March, might be the danger factor. This is where bowlers like Mohammad Irfan will be functional, having grabbed 11 wickets against the Proteas in March.

Although I’m, personally not a big Farhat fan,  I believe he and Mohammad Hafeez can be considered a decent left-right combination to open with – followed by the lefty Nasir Jamshed. Another reason why I believe Imran should be played would be his knock off 93 against a seasoned bowling attack of Steyn and Tsotsobe two months back.

Pakistan definitely holds positive momentum against India having beaten them 2-1 on their turf recently. Having said that, team India could be running in good form having just finished a long season of IPL. However, almost eight weeks of continuous T20 cricket might have a strenuous effect on the Dhoni XI.

On an ending note, Pakistan should let go of its ‘all eggs in one basket’ stance by paying extra attention to their batting line-up, as it recently showed no signs of strength against Ireland. The biggest dilemma for Pakistan has been the upper-middle order toppling. Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq and Kamran Akmal must deliver in order to get Pakistan through the group stage.

Not having a single Champions Trophy title to its name, hopes are high that the men in green will bring the last cup home. Skipper Misbahul Haq has the duty of substance to live up to and will definitely bring the best out of the boys.

Eight nations, one champion and 18 days of sensational ODI cricket; it’s time to gear up!

C’mon, Pakistan. Bring it home boys!

Read more by Roha here, or follow her on Twitter @RohaNadym

Roha Nadeem

Roha Nadeem

An aspiring A' level student crazily in love with cricket, Roha is a budding writer who enjoys interacting with people. She tweets as @RohaNadym

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

  • Mohammad Omar Shahid

    This is by far the more comprehensive Blog about Cricket and that too by a Lady.. So Proud of You Recommend

  • wajeeh feroz

    Do write more about India vs Pakistan match in your next article.I love your article.I have read all your articles.You should write often.Good to see a women interested and writing about cricket.Recommend

  • Haseeb Talal Khan

    Your assessment could be positive, but rest assured, its not that easy to even qualify for the Semis, since the group stage matches are tough and are against the toughest sides of the world…Even the supposedly weaker opposition like West Indies looked formidable to me, since they have the players like Chris Gayle (in Top Form), Kieron Pollard (the beast), Darryn Sammy (looked in touch), Bravo (the top wicket taker in the recently concluded IPL). so its not easy to stop them without a team strategy. The South African’s are the top side with the best of the bowling attack and the batting trio of AMLA, De villiers & Ingram are in top form.

    The Team India can’t be taken lightly, since in the past 8-10 years they have won more matches against us, than we did. Since the Dhoni has been elevated the captain of the team, they played against us like tigers, and we are the one’s who always played under pressure against them. So, we need to strategise our energies, otherwise we could loose all matches despite winning yesterday’s warm up against the SA. A warm up match is not the exact indicator of the strenght of one team over the other & otherwise, since every team would want to analyze its bench strenght by trying out everyone.

    South Africa, Australia, India & England are the teams going to be the major contendors for the Champion’s tropy, and might be the teams playing semi final. We might under play a little bit, since we are not the front runners this time. keeping fingers crossed.Recommend

  • Nauman Mahmood

    I am really impressed the way she has covered all the aspects of a game like a seasoned analyst,the thing which was even more impressing was that she is a lady. I have thought the ladies in Pakistan can’t play cricket but her blog has changed my opinion. Now i can say ,”ladies can play cricket”. Wishing you best of luck Roha.Recommend

  • Saif

    Hey
    sorrry for the buzzkill but i think that the blog was ot up to mark, while others are amazed that how can a girl be writing about cricket, i wpuld say that it was something very basic that you have pointed out without any depth whatsoever and although a lot of tribune blogs about cricket have been such , i just thought of poiting it out, you ll know what i mean when you read better cricket writers. Hope you take the critique positively .Recommend

  • Raj Kafir

    Good Blog. Congrats. If Pakistan win then tournament is not fixed. If Pakistan loose then tournament is fixed. This means Pakistani players deliberately throw way the game.Recommend

  • Psychopath_in_hell

    Nauman – you dont have to be a cricketer to analyse the game.

    Roha – great blog..!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/PCTJ2013 Pakistan Campions Trophy Jersey

    Get your Official Champions trophy now!

    Thank you. Recommend

  • Nazima Qasim

    I knew that this kind a writing is in ur blood… keep it up !!! Recommend

  • http://www.theworldtoptens.com Arslan Shoukat

    Great article, Roha. I would not judge or criticize you because i think you have done great job.
    So this time Pakistan is playing without Afridi, it would be difficult but let’s just pray that they bring the trophy to our country ‘Pakistan. We have great players and a very good team. They have the ability to win the champions trophy. But many other great teams like India, West Indies, Australia etc are also participating. Just hope for the best.
    Best of luck Pakistan Cricket Team.Recommend

  • Dr Dang

    @Saif:
    you have horrible spelling & Recommend

  • zimran

    Saif, critiques are meant to be taken positively for they are meant to help you improve. However, one should be able to compare apples with oranges when it comes to experience. Roha is a 17 years old girl who deserves an applause since people here are already calling her a woman for her firm grip on the subject. Roha has played national and international cricket for Kuwait and has got her inspiration from her late grand father who pioneered the first class cricket in Kuwait. Her childhood was surrounded by books on cricket that are rare to find in today’s era. Yes, before you say, I am closely associated to Roha and all I say is “Well Done” since most of us were not even close to such creativity at her age. Hope you take the critique positively. Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/DrSalmanAKhan Dr Khan

    Well written Roha!Recommend

  • http://Bangkok,Thailand Irtiza

    Your analysis seems off in a few areas. Pakistan literally THRASHED the Proteas in the warm-up match and won by 7 wickets. Dhoni 11 did the same to Australia yesterday and had them out for 65 after posting 308. On recent form, these 2 teams look off color – like your analysis.Recommend

  • Waqar

    All are Sports except Cricket.Recommend

  • v

    Please look up the definition of the word ‘procure’ I don’t think it means what you think it means. Recommend

  • mind control

    Then

    Pakistan definitely holds positive momentum against India having beaten them 2-1 on their turf recently. ….. However, almost eight weeks of continuous T20 cricket might have a strenuous effect on the Dhoni XI.

    And now,

    WI beat Pakistan. (172 v/s 170)
    India beat WI with 10.5 overs to spare. India go to semi-finals.Recommend