Poor planning cost Pakistan the ODI series
07 September, 2012
The second part of the six-match series against Australia comprising of three Twenty20 matches has commenced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the good hope of achieving a triumph but it is imperative to analyse the reasons for which Pakistan lost the one-day international (ODI) portion of the series.
Although the performance of our team especially in the first match was poor, the overall responsibility for losing the ODI series rests with the captain, coach and other team officials for poor strategy and planning reinforced by below par captaincy. ODI cricket having made unprecedented advancement, the 50 overs innings of the present era even cross the 300 runs mark. While a total of around 250 runs is considered a ‘fighting score', our team ended up scoring less than 200 runs in the first match that proved an easy target for a well accomplished Australia.
Although start of the series was not very encouraging still our boys kept up high spirit and the required motivation. The team thus picked up marvelously well to achieve a morale boosting victory in the second match. It was a well-fought encounter in which Pakistan weighed heavily both in bowling as well as batting. Batting first with a morale boosting victory in the first match, the Aussies applied all the grit and power to pile up a fighting total of 248 runs perhaps with bright hope of a second victory. Their hopes were, however, dashed to ground when our batsmen gave a magical performance by achieving the target for a loss of only three wickets. With young Nasir Jamshed playing a fabulous innings of 97 with a valuable contribution of 59 runs by Azhar Ali, Pakistan achieved an amazing seven wickets win to square the series.
Pakistan were thus in high spirits to clinch the series by winning the last match but unfortunately it was not so. The decisive match of the series required a flawless planning and performance by our team but somehow the team management miserably failed in correctly chalking out planning and strategy of the match. The faults and follies were so pronounced that they were noticed and pointed out by cricket lovers, media as well as cricket analysts including commentators.
The major flaws rested with selection of the team and the batting order. Playing an important match against one of the top teams with only one pace bowler was unheard of. How is it that the trio of captain, manager and the coach ignored the golden asset of ‘the shine of new ball' that pace bowlers use to their advantage bowling from both ends. Did someone inform the team management that ‘it was a purely spin wicket' suitable for slow bowlers only that the squad was stuffed with the spinners? After all Junaid Khan the only pace bowler in the side managed to grab two wickets.
Another major fault was wasting a useful batsman like Kamran Akmal by keeping him at No. 8 in the batting order and sending Shahid Afridi at No. 3, a position not suitable for him. Skipper Misbahul Haq did not lead the team with wisdom. His bowling changes and filed placing were not up to the mark. He removed Saeed Ajmal from bowling when he had taken three wickets almost in a row and was in a dominating position. Fielding being absolutely sloppy, how could the team win by dropping four important catches. Will some one explain what improvement has been brought in our standard of fielding by the foreign fielding coach that we hired for an exorbitant amount? Another omission that was highlighted even on the TV was about Mike Hussey, who was LBW by Ajmal but given ‘not out' Skipper Misbah did not ask for a review. With all these faults and follies the defeat was imminent. Let us wish our team the good luck and the team management better tactical handling of the team during the T20 series in progress.