Pakistan beat Sri Lanka: Victory is sweet!

Published: February 27, 2011
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A Pakistani supporter cheers the team on in Colombo. PHOTO: REUTERS

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 Mao Zedong, the Chinese revolutionary, famously said “complacency is the enemy of study”.

Although both games played so far have been won with stellar performances, there are areas which need to be worked on if Pakistan wants to lift the trophy in Mumbai and silence the Shiv Sena!

Possible shortcomings

The sooner the dilemma of how best to utilise Abdul Razzak is resolved, the stronger the Pakistan team will be at the World Cup.

Razzak’s potential as one of the best strikers of the cricket ball can simply not be ignored on the placid tracks of the sub-continent. He needs to be given time to settle in and unleash himself in an effective manner.

The selection of the spinner is another issue worth debating. My memory fails me as to how and when Saeed Ajmal – one of the best off-spinners in the game over the last two years – was displaced as Pakistan’s premier slow bowler.

The conundrum that the two Umars, Gul and Akmal present every time they step on to the pitch need careful scrutiny.

Both of them, unfortunately, disappointed us with their performances against Sri Lanka.

Gul is arguably one of the best fast bowlers around, however, his confidence seems shaky.  Words of wisdom from the coach may be helpful.

As regards Akmal, he can’t just continue not performing against sterner opposition. He has to grab the opportunity otherwise, in Asad Shafiq, a more than able deputy is waiting in the wings.

Lastly, and here I shall not elaborate on the oft-repeated criticism of Kamran Akmal’s glove-work, our wicketkeeper needs to wake up.

The positives

The consistent performances of Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan who have batted with great determination and astute planning are a joy to watch. If these two men can continue in the same fashion, Pakistan will have more reasons to hope!

Boom Boom has already picked up nine wickets in the two matches and has looked the part as a bowler. But for someone whose captaincy was being criticised not so long ago, his decision to bring back Shoaib Akhtar who subsequently dismantled the middle stump of Mahela Jayewardena was a master-stroke.

Shoaib Akhtar was once ridiculed as the “naughty boy of Pakistan cricket”, but thanks to Muhammad Asif, Akhtar has been dethroned from that “honour”.

He is now the mellowed paceman who wants to win a cup at the twilight of his career. His performances and body language on the field indicate positivity, which, again, gives Pakistanis more reason to hope.

For the latest World Cup updates and opinions visit The Express Tribune Cricket.

momin.khan

Momin Ali Khan

A barrister-at-law from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn who is currently practicing in Islamabad.

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