Pakistan not only lost the last game of the one-day series, but with it the unique chance to beat arch-rivals, India, in all the three games of the series. It was a baffling display of timid batting and did injustice to the tremendous efforts of the bowlers in once again restricting a strong Indian batting line up to just 167 runs.
Yes, they were handicapped to an extent by the injury to Mohd Hafeez which meant that he could not open the batting and in the kind of form he and his partner, Nasir Jamshed have been in, another good opening would have ensured a three nil win.
Instead Kamran Akmal, who had got a duck in his previous innings was sent to open and he began as if he had scored hundreds in his previous innings moving forward and about the crease and not giving himself the chance to cope with the prodigious swing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The experienced Younis khan then went for an expansive drive and dragged the ball on to his stumps. Chasing a small target does make teams relax a bit, but once the wickets start to fall then the pressure builds up and that can lead to more false shots.
One would have thought that the experienced Misbah ul Haq would be able to handle the situation, but he inexplicably went into a shell and at the other end the excitable Umar Akmal was just waiting to do something rash.
If anything it was the approach of Misbah that cost Pakistan the game much as it did in the semi finals of the World Cup two years back.
Pakistan may have won the one-day series 2-1, but if it is to carry on winning then some serious thought needs to be applied to Misbah’s position in the team. He is not getting any younger and it was his dropped catch in Chennai that allowed Dhoni to go on to a century.
Mohd Hafeez is looking a good leader and the way he is batting and bowling as well as taking superb catches he could be the man that Pakistan needs to win glory again.
With the World Cup just a couple of years away Pakistan like India should be looking at building a nucleus for that event just like India seemed to be doing with the messages sent to two senior and prolific players and leaving them out of the team.
The younger fresher and faster legs saved plenty of runs and lifted the bowler’s spirits and that is the need of the limited overs format for a run saved is a run scored for the team.
India looks as if it is prepared to take some hard calls, for that is the only way its cricket can move forward. Sentiment can only get you so far, but practicality will get you even further and faster too.
Professional Management Group