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    January 29, 2007

    Shut up, Bob

    After Pakistan lost the test series against South Africa, Bob Woolmer's been whining about how the ridiculous cricket calendar has meant that Pakistan is unable to call upon the services of Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Shabbir Ahmed.

    I have some news for you, Bob.

    Firstly, the schedule has been known to you for a while. Did you approach the PCB about it? Did you chaps have to play two back-to-back series against West Indies and South Africa? Did the PCB tell you that their hands were tied? Would it have been tough to reschedule either of those series for an alternative time period? Would you have whined about the schedule if Pakistan had won, rather than lost?

    Secondly, Akhtar, Gul and Shabbir weren't all missing because of injury caused by being made to bowl continuously. Shoaib was on the way back into the side after being reprieved by the PCB's appeals committee. He played one first-class game and a couple of Twenty20 games before he was rushed to South Africa. He hadn't been picked because he was apparently not fit. Then he was roped in because Umar Gul was unfit. Now, this Gul chap, he's competing with Shane Bond for the Rudyard Kipling award (If - geddit?!). Until he injured his ankle, he managed to string together 9 tests in a row! Now we get to Shabbir. Shabbir has missed international cricket for a year now after being banned in December 2005. He was cleared last month. He didn't turn up in South Africa because he "had a knee problem" and didn't clear a fitness test.

    So let's analyze the three - Shoaib was clearly undercooked when he went to South Africa. So it'd have been tough for him to get away with being out of action for a long time. Gul has been injury-prone throughout his career. So we actually ought to be surprised if he plays! Shabbir, in my opinion, didn't tour South Africa because the PCB didn't want to risk him being called for chucking again.

    There goes your bubble, Bob! POP!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:09 PM |
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    4 sledge(s):

    I was going to follow up on Woolmer's complaints as well. I haven't gotten around to it..but here is another thing..

    He is the coach of the team and he can clearly see Asif bowling 20 overs an innings...

    I wrote abou that in my blog. During the game, he can convince Inzi to take it easy on Asif....

    No doubt injuries are caused by excessive play, but as coach, he does have the power to influence the captain to rest his key bowlers a lot more.

    Asif was overbowled, partially because Shabbir, Gul, Shoaib weren't there as you have mentioned, but more so because inzi didn't give the ball to sami/nazir/rana that much...

    if you have 4 bowlers on the team....bowl them all equally if ure worried about burnout

    By Blogger omar (30-Jan-2007, 3:16:00 AM)  

    Yes, very good comments.

    Another angle is that South Africa too, has played India and now Pakistan in a row. (Both at home though, which definately makes it easier on the guys). But there are several teams in the world that has long seasons away from home, and it has become the way cricket is being played these days.

    Pakistan is not in a different boat than any other team. They just happen to have had a bit more injuries. Albeit that they may be bowling their bowlers too much per innings.

    Kaneria may be a spinner, but he also worked very, very hard this summer - South African summer :-).

    By Blogger Reenen (30-Jan-2007, 12:30:00 PM)  

    Scyld Berry isn't a fan of Woolmer either.

    By Blogger Geoff (30-Jan-2007, 5:46:00 PM)  

    Omar: Exactly. I'm sure he, and Inzamam, can do something about bowlers being over-bowled etc. Besides, like I pointed out, it was always going to be a huge risk taking Shoaib when he'd not had too much practice after returning from the ban. The other option would have been to pick 5 bowlers, perhaps including someone like Razzaq/Afridi.

    Reenen: Yes. Tours of South Africa are invariably going to test out bowling resources, especially the quick variety. But that's where you first need to pick the right chaps and then manage them. Blaming the scheduling is an easy way out.

    By Blogger Jagadish (31-Jan-2007, 7:16:00 PM)  

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