Pakistan cricket alternates between sunshine and darkness

Last Updated: Sun, Jun 17, 2012 05:13 hrs

Way back in 2004 when Tino Best, the excitable West Indies fast bowler came in to bat in the second innings with England on the verge of a win, Andrew Flintoff standing at first slip to the bowling of Ashley Giles jokingly exhorted him to 'watch the windows.'

Best, who doesn’t and perhaps even now doesn’t exactly have the best of temperament rose to the bait and as Giles flighted one generously outside the off stump he went for an almighty heave, missed and was stumped by the proverbial mile. The teams returned to the dressing room with English players laughing at the way Best had fallen to their chirp.

Eight years down the road with the West Indies team still looking to win overseas, Tino Best played an innings that started comically, but as he settled down  got more confident and he ended up being the highest scorer by a number 11 batsman in Test cricket.

More columns

How he got to within five runs of a Test century is hard to believe and England’s skipper, Andrew Strauss flung the ball away in disgust after catching him to show what he felt of his bowlers' efforts. What it does show is that getting a hundred is not easy. A batsman can get to 99, but does not have the temperament to get that one run that will take him to three figures.

That is why those who scoff at hundreds scored against so called easy bowling have just no clue what it takes to get there. Matthew Hayden has got heaps of hundreds against every team that he has played against, but does not have a century against Bangladesh and he has played almost half a dozen Tests against them.

It is a combination of skill, temperament and mental and physical stamina that gets a batsman to a ton. That is why a hundred international hundreds is mind boggling to say the least.

Tillakaratne Dilshan has been getting close to the ton, but not quite getting it and when he got one the Lankan score became formidable. The batting relies heavily on him, Sangakkara and Jayawardene and if Perera comes in and smashes the ball around the score can multiply.

Rain has dogged the one-day series in Lanka, but there have been some fine performances and Azhar Ali has shown that he can be a batsman of the future for Pakistan. Pakistan, as usual play like sunshine one day and darkness the next and so live up to their reputation as a thoroughly unpredictable team delighting and despairing their followers.

Perera is an all-rounder, who bats down the order and also bowls a bit of medium pace and it was as a bowler that he rattled Pakistan, picking six wickets.

It is this effort of his that wins him the accolade of the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.

Professional Management Group

More from Sify: