Pakistan's young guns make Windies look bad
by Rameez Raja

Ground:Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet
Scorecard:West Indies v Pakistan
Player:Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Yousuf
Event:Pakistan in West Indies 2004/05

DateLine: 25th May 2005


The West Indies were able to stretch Pakistan in this last one day. However the sheer weight of 303 runs took its toll and the heroic pursuit culminated 23 runs short. The result confirms the opinion that there is a difference of class and talent between the two teams. The other difference is in the mental make up. Pakistan appear to be more street smart than their counterparts, especially the young guns. The team did not panic and weathered the tough sessions better than the Windies who faltered and lost ground. Some of the home team's young batting talents and reserves are hopeless.


On the other hand, Pakistan's bench strength was put to the test and it did a fair job. Shahid Afridi's blitz did help to release the pressure off the new comers. The head start provided by his brilliance in fact allowed the entire middle order a period of rest and recreation. They played basic cricket and when the moment came to turn it on, it was Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal who flogged the horse past the post.


In this win, there were lows as well. The fielding was so ragged that there were scenes of altercations between the bowler and the fielders. It at times reached a point of embarrassment. In fact Yousuf Youhana's ego was so badly bruised by Razzaq's query that he left the field, disgruntled, like a spoilt millionaire. He should thank his stars that he did not play with the Pakistan team of the 80s. A return ticket would have been waiting for him in the dressing room. Why our cricket has not gained the respect of the world after achieving so much in this field is because of such moments of madness. Our role models have failed to recognise the significance of responsible behaviour. A lack of athleticism in some of the young players will be a cause of concern for Bob Woolmer. Younis Khan is the only outstanding fielder we have got in the pack. And he obviously cannot field for others. His catch to get rid of Sarwan will be remembered for a very long time. The bowlers were also at sixes and sevens against Chris Gayle. A wholesome strategy is required against him or he may otherwise turn out to be a "Sehwag" for us.


Younis Khan has still a few stretches to go as a captain. He is yet to understand the benefits of staying aggressive and positive in the face of adversity. And more importantly he has to instill this mantra in the mind of his bowlers, especially the spinners. Our spinners eat into the major portion of the bowling innings and if you get dominated by a spinner's thought, which is usually defensive, then you can say goodbye to your chances of a win. Some of the defensive field positions did not make a lot of sense either.


Pakistan must also push to play Danish Kaneria. He is an attacking option. He may go for runs but he will also give you wickets. Besides, he is the only spinner we have got that actually spins the ball. Variation and change of pace are poor substitutes for spin.


The only way Pakistan can lose a game on this tour is by being complacent. They, like any top team in the world, need to be ruthless. When the opposition is on the mat, a team must go for the kill. And that is how Pakistan should be thinking. The bunch looks happy and focussed. The batting, however, has to be improved if Pakistan are to compete with better sides in the world. The time is now when the going is great!

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only. This article is published courtesy of Daily Times
Copyright © 2005 Daily Times)