Pakistan’s inexperienced batsmen: Experiment is not an option

Published: February 21, 2011
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The Pakistan side lacks experienced batsmen

The 10th edition of cricket’s grandiose event has now kicked off and marked the entrance into a territory where experimentation does not remain a viable option anymore.

Pakistan, on many occasions, have stumbled across this dangerous strategy of constantly changing their strategy, batting line-ups and playing-elevens.

Those days should now be over. At this point, the team management, captain and coach should understand the fact that open-ended plans, loosely defined batting line-ups and playing-eleven will only hurt the team’s prospects. If Pakistan have any chance of a successful campaign, it lies in consistency and not experimentation.

The team should be well acquainted with a fixed strategy by now. This can only be possible once the team performs a self assessment. Pakistan stand as a mediocre team in the tournament. We have a balanced batting and bowling line-up — neither too strong nor too weak enough to change match results.

So the focus falls on specific players, who should be utilised in an intelligent manner to optimise their talent and contribution to the team.

What I must say is that the side lacks experienced batsmen. I will loosely define our batting line-up as a ‘disturbed’ one. None of our batsmen have been consistent, and not many posses the confidence of a match-winner.

That makes the experience of Misbahul Haq – who continues to impress – and Younus Khan valuable. Neither of them can be excluded from the playing-eleven. The top order must provide a stable start so that Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq can come in after 40 overs and set the stadiums ablaze, embracing their natural style.

Also, given the current pitches in the subcontinent, Pakistan will have to analyse what importance the dew factor is playing. In case of wet pitches, Pakistan will have to go in to bat first if they win the toss and set a total of at least 300 against teams like Kenya and Canada. However, against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, a target of 280 is needed.

The most crucial match will include Pakistan playing the hosts who will be ruthless. They’ll take full advantage of their home conditions and Pakistan must be wary of that. Their talent, skill and competence will be tested and they must stand tall.

Ideally, the team should include the batting expertise of stable batsmen like Misbah and Younus and a merciless bowling attack including Umar Gul. I won’t pin any hopes on Shoaib Akhtar, who remains unfit and a dubious choice in the squad, and the young talent of Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan, which might prove to be an added benefit.

Pakistan can’t afford to play trial-and-error anymore and we hope and wish for nerve-wrecking performance in the tournament. The team has surprised us before and we hope they do so again.

zaheer.abbas

Zaheer Abbas

Former captain of the Pakistan cricket team in the 1980's and current sports analyst.

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