T20 trou­ble

Enterprise - - Letter - Idrees Ahmed, Karachi.

Pak­istan be­gan their Twenty20 In­ter­na­tional se­ries in Dubai as the world’s sec­ond best-ranked team in the short­est for­mat of the game. But against Eng­land’s young and gutsy 20-over side – ranked be­low Pak­istan on the ICC com­puter – they didn’t have much of a promis­ing start.

With a brit­tle bat­ting and a bowl­ing at­tack that has lost some of its teeth, Pak­istan needed some in­di­vid­ual hero­ics to tame the ag­gres­sive English unit af­ter los­ing the pre­ced­ing four-match One­Day In­ter­na­tional se­ries 3-1. That, how­ever, did not hap­pen.

On Fri­day and Satur­day nights, in front of strong and bois­ter­ous ‘home’ crowds, Pak­istan fell short in all de­part­ments of the game al­low­ing Eng­land to win the Twenty20 se­ries with back-to-back wins. Such re­sults don’t augur well for Pak­istan con­sid­er­ing that the ICC World Twenty20 cham­pi­onship 2016 is just a few months away.

Pak­istan failed to make the semi-fi­nals of the hugely-pop­u­lar tour­na­ment for the first time last year and if they don’t pull up their socks and start do­ing bet­ter there are fears that the 2009 cham­pi­ons might once again go through the ig­nominy of an early exit.

Pak­istan has many weak links in their line-up start­ing with skip­per Shahid Afridi. The age­ing all-rounder did show glimpses of his big-hit­ting prow­ess in Fri­day night’s sec­ond T20 In­ter­na­tional but failed to fin­ish off the job. His show­ing with both the bat and the ball in re­cent times has not been up to the mark and that is cer­tainly af­fect­ing the Pak­istan side.

In a splin­tered dress­ing room like Pak­istan’s a cap­tain has to lead from the front to get the best from his troops. This is not hap­pen­ing. The prob­lem with Pak­istan is that they don’t have many cap­taincy choices. Also it might be a bit too late in the game to change horses in mid­stream. Afridi will have to some­how re­gain his touch as an all-rounder so that he can lead by ex­am­ple be­fore and dur­ing the World T20 cham­pi­onship to be held in In­dia dur­ing March-April.

The na­tional team also needs to show some spine in its top and mid­dle-or­der bat­ting. A tar­get of 160 odd runs is not con­sid­ered to be that hard in the 20-over for­mat but our bats­men see it as a Her­culean task. Our pinch-hit­ters will have to show more ag­gres­sion and learn to play as few dot balls as pos­si­ble. The se­ries de­feat against Eng­land in the UAE has ex­posed sev­eral chinks in Pak­istan’s ar­mour and it is now up to our cricket think-tank to take timely mea­sures to curb them in the lead-up to what is our team’s most im­por­tant as­sign­ment in 2016.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.