Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Match Winner Who Is A Costly Weak Link

Afridi's defensive mindset and negative selection policy is seriously hurting Pakistan's chances of winning this World Cup. The most infuriating aspect of all is the fact that this is an open World Cup where there is no stand out team and Pakistan genuinely have the resources to flourish as well as the favourable modified structure, but some mind baffling decisions and strategies are standing in their way of going the distance just like the liability of Kamran Akmal's shoddy keeping. Legendary greats like Wasim Akram and Imran Khan have lashed out and repeatedly warned the skipper of the dangers such an approach can bring during the big games. Surely this should be enough to convince him? Whether he takes on the highly logical and recommendable advice or not it totally within his court, but it certainly can bring the team down and become exposed in the big games. Whether fortune is kind to him and he is able to get away with it is left to be decided. However, the warning has been given in advance and Pakistani fans can almost be prepared to be disappointed with only their leaders at the centre of question. To rely on sheer individual brilliances to overweigh the areas of vulnerability is arguably unreasonable thinking and a step too far. There has to be desirable planning, balance, effective composition and intention in place which simply do not seem to exist in his dictionary. Either he has to immediately come to terms and get a grip or leave 170 million hearts banking on exceptional incidents to happen on the playing field which is risky territory to be in even for a dangerous and multi-talented side like Pakistan, but it can be done, but why would you want to over complicate things at the expense of depth, utility and safety? Hence, I was never in favour of him leading the side in the World Cup prior to the build up and captaincy corundum as hopes would have been significantly more secure, maximisation of effectiveness and intact under the leadership of Misbah or Younis for example where they would have assessed the situation and confidently had a solid game plan in place in an attempt to extract the best out of the unit as a whole as opposed to purely operating on emotion and instinct which is not bound to get you far alone whereas it could be moral shattering if the slightest of things do not go accordingly. There is widespread indications that he is behind Rehman's inclusion in the starting line up rather than Ajmal. Usually a captain has a high say in his wanted selection and therefore suggestions are pointing towards Rehman favourability who is not necessarily fulfilling the requirements or bringing in the credentials to complete the attack. There are possible explanations of him having fall outs with Ajmal after his personal attacks against him in the media during the course of the South African series in the United Arab Emirates. Also, he does not seem to be fussed by playing 8 batsmen which has been unnecessary and opening soft spots in other departments. This is rather futile and reducing the team's chances of bringing out the best usefulness. As Wasim Akram sarcastically stated something along the lines of :" Afridi must learn he cannot always play his friends in the team and some spaces have to go for others." At times one gets the impression he himself wants to be the show pony with his face in the action all the time rather than considering the needs and wants of other star attractions in the team namely Razzaq and Umar Akmal who are getting limited opportunities with the bat and are not been given defined roles and acknowledged for their credentials in the manner they should. Failing to think one step ahead of the opposition and instigate plans out of the ordinary such as taking a Power Play earlier on rather than just following the flow of the game and waiting for things to happen. The arrogance, yelling and stressfulness in the field only lets others down too and gets the better of him at times. He sometimes watches like a spectator or gets into the skins and teeth of his players. He has also been guilty of leaking out misleading information in the press and dressing room secrets which others have correctly highlighted and criticised him for. The unwillingness to utilise or unleash the surprise package in Junaid Khan just adds to the list. Was Afridi really ready to manage more than what he is himself as a player and human being?


  1. @ Maaz

    We caan't blame Afridi for continuing with K Akmal because I don't think he has any other choice but to continue with him.

    I agree with you that he has been very defensive so far in the tournament and has made quite a few tactical errors in the field but if we take the game against NZ out then he has performed reasonably well.

    I think at this stage the team needs full support and encouragement we should forget what happened in the match against New Zealand and should just back our team in the knock out round.

    We should give Afridi the margin that despite having much stronger outfits in the previous two world cups our team couldn't move into the next round and this time we have done that, Afridi has been super cautious in his approach in this round.

    Rahman after the series against SA and New Zealand emerged as thr frontline spinner,Ajmal played very poorly in England and against SA perhaps this is the main reason that the management is giving Rahman preference over him.

    But I do agree with you that we should have gone with Ajmal as he has more variety.

    Only one team is going to lift the cup and all the rest will go home empty handed.

    Our batting was never good enough that we should start fancy our chances, we have moved into the second round thats an achievment and unlike in the past we didn't had to depend on a miracle we earned our spot, so that a positive.
    Lets hope that the team does well in QF and against Australia.

  2. Maz,
    I think the coach and captain were handicapped by the squad, first and foremost. Whilst Afridi would not be my choice of captain either, I think he has done ok up until now. The only game where he messed up badly was against New Zealand and most of that stemmed from the fact they opened the bowling with Rehman without considering who will bowl where during the rest of the innings. That issue was borne out of the fact that we are playing one too many batsmen to account for our lack of batting depth, so an extra bowling option such as Wahab or Ajmal cannot get into the side.

    My main criticism of Afridi is his batting. He cannot bat like he did against Zimbabwe because then there is not difference between him and Ahmed Shahzad. Poor attitude and disrespect for his opponent, playing a poor shot, trying to win the game in one swing.

  3. Well Afridi is not the ideal captain Pakistan could have gone into the World Cup with but the main thing is that he has performed and led from the front when required. He is electric in the field and a killer with the ball. We all know about his batting as it may click once in this world cup which will win us the game as he does click with the bat every now and then!

    Yeah he has made some technical errors in his field placing and can lose the plot at times when things are not going his way which is why I admire Dhoni's captaincy as he is so calm and don't show any pressure! Well I think we have got a brilliant chance to win against Australia, I will personally open with Hafeez and Shafiq, then Razzaq, YK, Umar (so Misbah and YK can guide this youngster), Misbah, Kami (if we have to otherwise I prefer Umar as wk), Afridi, Gul, Ajmal and Akhtar!