2012 World Twenty20: Alarm bells for Pakistan
20 September, 2012
KARACHI: Pakistan are labelled mercurial for a reason: Just two days after chasing down a daunting 186-run total against India, Pakistan failed to overcome a paltry 111 against England in their final warm-up.
While the failure came in their second warm-up game, the collapse brought fans' hopes back to earth. Spin king Saeed Ajmal took four for 14 and left-armer Raza Hasan claimed two wickets as England were bundled out for 111. However, Pakistan's effort with the bat was poorer than England's with Asad Shafiq's 20 being the highest score of the innings. What was more alarming was the collapse — from being well-placed at 65 for three, they were restricted to 96 for nine at the end of 20 overs.
Litte-known spinner Danny Briggs and fast-bowler Jade Dernbach claimed three wickets apiece as England went to the World Twenty20 with two warm-up wins.
'Hafeez must be brave'
Meanwhile, former Pakistan bowling coach Aqib Javed was not too concerned with the loss.
“There's nothing to worry about as these fixtures aren't serious,” said Javed. “The positive thing is that the team showed its strength against India. The bowling against England was also impressive.”
However, the former fast-bowler was of the view that Mohammad Hafeez should open the bowling attack.
“Hafeez must be brave and bowl with the new ball. Pakistan will play most of their matches in Pallekelle which has lively pitches. Hafeez must open the attack otherwise the team could face trouble.”
Afridi's form huge concern
Javed added that confusion over all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who had a crucial role in Pakistan winning the World Twenty20 title in 2009, was a big reason behind his lean patch.
Afridi made just five in the game against England after going wicketless in his four overs. The performance followed that against India where he was plundered for runs before being dismissed cheaply. Javed felt that expectations from the all-rounder to perform with the bat was hurting his overall show.
“He's either being confused or confusing himself. If you look at Afridi's performance in recent years he has been phenomenal with the ball. He should be used as a specialist bowler and be told to do well with the ball rather than expecting runs from him. If he scores batting late the order then it will be a plus point.”
Qasim advises team to stay focused
Meanwhile, chief selector Iqbal Qasim said the team should now put all their focus on the tournament.
“The team should now concentrate on executing the plans,” Qasim told Our Sources. “The coaches and captain must have finalised the combination. Losing the warm-up game is not concerning as various strategies were tried and tested. This format demands alertness and all players irrespective of experience should be on their feet.”
“Afridi should be used as a specialist bowler and be told to do well with the ball rather than expecting runs from him. Any runs he scores will be a plus point.”
“The team should now concentrate on executing the plans. Losing the warm-up game is not concerning as various strategies were tried and tested.”