Pakistan Pros and Cons
Batting : This is not the biggest problem
1. Opening is a problem. Salman Butt and Hameed look better than others though I would try Asim Kamal there. But its the biggest problem of their batting line up if not the only one. I think Afridi would be sorely tested by a really fast bowler bowling into his ribs. Not a great thought. If it happens to someone with his mental make up and he is made to look bad, it may actually do grave harm to the psyche of this exciting cricketer.
2. Middle order is pretty good actually. I dont think Younis is correct at number three. The right man is Inzemam himself. Inzy, Yohanna, Younis, Asim Kamal and Akmal are a very very good lineup. In fact , add two openers to this lot and you have seven and Razzaq isnt included yet. surely an embarassment of riches. Clearly they need to sort out who occupies the top three spots and batting should not be the major worry in the years to come.
Bowling : This is the weakest bowling side from Pakistan ever. Shoaib would have made a difference but it would still be called a weak attack.
1. As someone said in the commentary box, we never thought we would live to see the day when Indian bowlers would move the ball more than Pakistanis in the air. It is really sad to see the land from where the best swing bowlers of both the new and old ball came, we now have bowlers just trying to scare batsmen with speed, not realising that batsmen who are competent players off the backfoot as Sehwag, Dravid and Sachin are will never be bothered by speed not accompanied by movement. It is clear that even at this age waqar and Wasim will make this Pakistani side STRONGER if they were to return for the next series. Surely this is a terrible comment on the present crop of new ball bowlers. This obsession with pace in Pakistan amongst both the players and fans is atypical 'punjabi' macho attitude which is devoid of any thinking whatsoever. But thats what we Punjabis are known for arent we
2. Four years ago Razzaq and Azhar Mehmood were swinging the ball in the air and Sami bowled a mean in swinger. What happened? irrespective of what the Pakistani fans think, Gul would have made things much more difficult for India than sami and company have been able to do.
3. Its atrocious the way sami keepe bowling no balls and the skipper NEVER admonishes him for that. It would be hilarious, if it was not so pathetic, to see sami come and give a stare to the spot where he transgressed the rule every time he was no balled, as if somehow it was the fault of the umpire or the wicket or something !!
Anyone who has played any decent cricket knows that no balls like this are bowled by bowlers who bowl no balls regularly in the nets under captains and coaches who dont seem to come down strongly enough there and then. I consider bowling of no balls, the way sami does an act of gross indiscipline.
Kapil was once dropped by Gavaskar for playing an indecrete shot in a test match, i dont see how sami can escape similar punishment.
4. Kaneria is very good but in this test he was not sure what he wanted to do. Get wickets or bowl negatively outside the legstump. He is no Shane Warne to try this outside the legstump stuff. It rendered him impotent. Both he and his captain need to revisit their strategy.
5. Another spinner will do Pakistan a lot of good. One doesnt know how good the off spinner is, but why not ?
Fielding :- Barring the wicketkeeper, this is a terrible side in the field.
There is no area where they do not need to work, catching , throwing, covering for overthrows...everthing. It is surprising that someone who coached the brilliant fielding side that was South africa is the coach of this side. India arent great but they dont look so bad in front of their opponents.
Captaincy :-Inzemam is no great leader but if not him then who ?
Its not apparent to an indian like me as to who, in this Pakistan side, can replace Inzy but I think Pakistan need a bit more ALIVE skipper !. The vice captain is an unknown quantity to us. This is clearly a difficult bunch to handle but I would say, if they keep a prima donna coach like Javed Miandad away from this team, maybe the youngsters will rally around a new more agressive captain than Inzemam. But who ??
Asim Kamal ??
I am really impressed with this guy and to me it looks like he is, as we say in hindi, lambi race ka ghoda (a horse for the big long race). He looks like he could handle any situation. He has a great unflappable temprament. Surely a captain sometimes in the future !!