At 109-5, and the required run rate up at 7, this
game should have been more closer then it eventually turned out to be. But a combination of poor bowling by Rana Naved and even poorer captaincy by Inzi and some customary fielding errors cost Pakistan big time today. In the end India ended up winning quite easily.
There is something seriously wrong with Rana. I want to ask where the Rana that was the leading wicket taker for us last year in ODIs is, the Rana that got his wickets, by and large, by bowling full and straight? This new Rana is obsessed with digging in one short one after another.
Whatever is up with you Naved-ul-Hasan? Since when did bowling abdomen high short balls to a men like Dhoni and Sachin become an affective way of taking wickets? I've never seen him bowling such consistent tripe, apart from a spell towards the end of the Indian innings in Peshawar, Rana's had an awfully under par series and for some one who is now very much an integral member of the one-day side, this is a big let down, especially given that Shoaib's not present either.
You'd expect that in his absence, Rana will rise to the occasion and lead the attack, and bowl like a bowler who is the spearhead of the attack. After all, this is not something he is not accustomed to, he did it very effectively through out most of last year, first in Australia, then in India and in finally in the West Indies. But in this series instead of him showing the way to the youngsters, very much the opposite has been the case.
I thought Asif got carried away at Pindi with some of the lengths he bowled, but he's still been the standout bowler for us all tour. Ditto again today. There was nothing he did not get the ball to do. With Gul also finding the conditions that suit his kind of bowling, India's top four had a torrid time against the new ball. They lost only 2, but Dravid and Tendulkar in their subsequent 50-run partnership must have played and miss God-know how many times. Gul was excellent even with the old ball in his 2nd spell, and Asif looked like taking a wicket even when the runs to get for India where down to single figures, in his 3rd spell.
Apart from these two, Razzaq didn't bowl badly either. Especially to Tendulkar, who rode on his luck a bit today, but that's what great batsmen do. You have to wonder though given the way he bowled, why his arrival into the attack was delayed until the 30th over or so. Arafat is a talented young kid, no doubt, and Afridi is an affective one-day bowler, no doubt again, but since when did the two of them, especially when Afridi's not feeling 100%, become a better option to go to before Razzaq? And whatever was the wisdom in bringing back Rana, knowing that he struggled big time in his first spell, when Pakistan were in dire need of a wicket, and could not afford at any cost a big over?
Why would you not instead give the ball to Asif? And why was Malik never even given a bowl? Inzi's not had a good series. First the ugly scene he made of his Peshawar dismissal, then his early submission at India's hands on Pindi, and now another questionable day in the field tactically, and another failure with the bat. It has gone from bad to worse to awful really, and he'll need two big performances in the remaining games, both with the bat and on the field, to stop it from becoming a completely forgettable affair.
With Inzi's inability to utilise the resources we had on hand in the most affective manner, and one of our most reliable bowlers in recent times having a rotten run of form, coupled with the fielding, which is showing very little signs of improvment, and India being in such imperious chasing form (11th game in a row they've won batting 2nd now) 289 proved 50 runs short. Time for Yogi Bear and his team to come out of hibernation, and play like they ought to. Wake up lads, wake up, the alarm bells have started ringing, what bigger indication of that then Sami's recall.
This is a knee-jerk reaction of the highest order, and shows a high level of insecurity. Sami can't just come back in the team because Rana is bowling crap, it's not like he'll come into the side and bowl any better, or at least, that's what he doesn't do normally. I don't know what we should do to rectify the bowling inadequacies, but it could help if Yousuf, Inzi and Kamran start getting some runs again, it would put less pressure on the bowlers and will give them a bit more breathing space.
Picking Sami, just because he's quick, forgetting that in the while he's been out of the team he's not done anything at all about the problems that kicked him out of the side in the first place, that just shows insecurity.
I know it now, Pakistan are insecure. We're a doubt-ridden, confused team, that only plays well when...we play well. Whatever...I don't know, I'm just very upset, and I've lost my imaginary gun some where (possibly stuck somewhere behind all the Biochemistry I've memorised over the weekend) so I can't even vent out my frustration propely, I just want a win, a nice big, thumping win. So I can go to NSK next Sunday and enjoy the game properly.