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    February 13, 2006

    Long rant

    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.

    This rant is cross posted on my personal rant-o-log, Sundries

    Thus spake Zainub Razvi @ 9:05 PM |
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    7 sledge(s):

    Not bringing Razzaq, till the 30th over, especially with the way he bowled, turned out to be the deciding factor. That was a cruel mistake by Inzy taking into account the fact that Razzaq got Sachin in his first spell, the previous game. If they would have got Sachin early, the match would have definitely ended a differnet way. Good Luck Zainub, for the next game.

    By Blogger Sesh (14-Feb-2006, 1:28:00 AM)  

    zainub: If Sami won't bowl any better than Rana, why not replace Rana with Sami? :) I actually love the fact that India were decidedly the underdogs going into this one-day series, especially after the Karachi thrashing. The bowlers were supposed to be the weak link, with Pakistan having the superior bowling "attack". But India's bowlers have given away 5.9 runs an over in the 3 games, while Pakistan's have leaked 6.3 an over. I hope this doesn't change in the next two games :)

    sesh: Yes, it was, like I said, baffling. Especially giving Afridi a bowl when he was clearly injured and he was just bowling because Inzy asked him to.

    By Blogger Jagadish (14-Feb-2006, 12:33:00 PM)  

    They lost only 2, but Dravid and Tendulkar in their subsequent 50-run partnership must have played and miss God-know how many times.
    I also think knowing the skill of those two that only they were fit enough to negotiate that kind of bowling in those conditions. I think they deserve a mention in having not lost their wickets and guiding India through. And surely they were not sailing through on mere luck.

    Especially to Tendulkar, who rode on his luck a bit today, but that's what great batsmen do.

    Since when did luck ever side with Tendulkar! He of all the world's greatest batsmen has never enjoyed any. And I think he and India earned it today.

    Also Zainub what opinions on Pakistan's batting line-up. Don't you think Younis Khan, Inzy and Yusuf are being wasted lower down the order. They should seize the intitiative and be out there among the top 4 batsman, it's costing Paksitan quite a bit isn't it?

    By Blogger Minal (14-Feb-2006, 1:57:00 PM)  

    Minal - I know you didn't ask me, but I'll still comment :) I think Inzamam _has_ to come in at #4. Although Younis batted well at Rawalpindi, I am still not convinced his game is tuned [sufficiently enough] to one-day cricket. In addition, I think Pakistan will have a real problem when they tour England. If there is some help from the wicket, like we found out at Karachi, most of the batsmen are sitting ducks to be out lbw or caught in the slip cordon. That includes Younis Khan, who has [as far as I've seen] faltered quite a few times (Mohali, Karachi definitely come to mind) when there is a little bit of help in the wicket for the quick/swing bowlers. I think Pakistan's batting lineup should be: Malik, Butt, Yousuf, Inzamam, Younis, Afridi, Razzaq, Akmal. Obviously there could be situations where Afridi floats up ahead of Younis Khan. Yesterday [and at Rawalpindi], I didn't really see Pakistan trying to fight their way back into the game. They'd sort of resigned to the outcome once Sehwag smacked Rana around and when Dhoni started accelerating. With India on 14/2, chasing 290, I really expected them to show better body language and action on the field. Has Inzy's obstructing-the-field dismissal affected them too much psychologically, in the sense this was the first time an Indian team showed super-aggression?

    By Blogger Jagadish (14-Feb-2006, 5:28:00 PM)  

    I would suggest a small suggestion without being rude,It was 190 for 5 and not 109 for 5.
    Well played Tendulkar,Yuvraj and Dhoni along with Pathan and Agarkar

    By Blogger The Light-House. (15-Feb-2006, 1:40:00 AM)  

    @Jagadish: You are welcome to answer:-)I asked Zainub as I wanted to see the Pakistani point of view on the batting line-up.

    I'm not a big fan of Younis Khan but since he is in supoosedly good form you would bat him in the top 5 atleast!

    This Pakistani team lacks aggression. Even during Dhoni-Yuvraj partnership all that they had to tell themselves was one wicket and we are at the tail, after all with more runs than no.of balls Pak could have seized some initiative. Real bad bowling by Rana and Razzaq was taken out at an inappropriate time.

    Well as long as it works for my team I'm happy with Inzy's captaincy;-)

    And yes I agree with you India this time is more assertive and aggressive.

    One bad session at Karachi and we lost it! Else we did match them throughout the series!

    By Blogger Minal (15-Feb-2006, 10:59:00 AM)  


    109-5 was a bad typo. Point taken.


    Yes, I'm not happy with our batting order either.

    I've just read a report at Cricinfo and they suggest we might be dropping Butt for the next game, which is harsh IMO. I'd stick by him and open with him and Kamran. Malik doesn't move from 3 no matter what Imran says. Inzi should certainly come in at 4. This top four should remain by and large fixed. The rest of the order should remain flexible.

    Both the Lahore and Pindi games offered some early incentive to the bowlers, history tells us (and I have a hunch too) that such help might not come by in Multan, so it could give some one like Butt and Akmal the ideal chance to get into runs again, against the new ball, with the fielding restrictions in place, in nice, batting friendly conditions. I know Butt has got out in the same way in the past two games, but he made a match winning hundred only 2 games ago, we got to be less knee-jerk in our selection then this. I'm not sure how well Farhat will do, coming in, all of a sudden, in what is a must win match for us.

    I also think we must at all costs prevent India from chasing. Just to test out if they can win defending.

    And Jagadish, you're right, we will face problems in England with our batting order, but I don't dwell on all that too much right now, it's called living in denial till the very last moment.

    By Blogger Zainub (15-Feb-2006, 8:06:00 PM)  

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