Pakistan’s 2011/12 international season kicks off tomorrow. Junaid Khan expected to debut in the whites. An 18 day tour of Zimbabwe followed up by a 19 match home itinerary across all formats of the game against Sri Lanka and England in the United Arab Emirates and finally the 11th Asia Cup tournament scheduled for March in Bangladesh to round things off.
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2011 fixtures released. Cricket returns to Sharjah after several years.
Pakistan vs Zimbabwe
Test: Pakistan wins comprehensively
ODIs: 3-0 Pakistan
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka
Tests: 1-0 Pakistan
ODIs: 3-2 Sri Lanka
T20: Sri Lanka
Pakistan vs England
ODIs: 3-1 Pakistan
T20s: 2-1 Pakistan
Asia Cup 2012: Pakistan winners
T20 WC 2012: Finalists
U19 WC 2012: Semi Finalists
Who would you guys play at #6 in the first test? Shafiq or Umar Akmal?
1)Mohammad Hafeez (last chance for him in tests)
7)Adnan Akmal (WK)
8)Yasir Shah (leg spinner)
Bench: Umar Akmal, Imran Farhat, Ramiz Raja, Aizaz Cheema, Sohail Tanvir
I'd have gone with 2 specialist spinners: Yasir Shah & Ajmal. Leg spinners always provide that attacking option. Sohail Tanvir in tests is not a good option IMO, but is a decent player in the shorter formats. Malik won't play at any cost. He shouldn't be playing ahead of jnr or Shafiq in tests.
Hafeez is not a test quality opener. No doubt about it. Serious deficiencies in his technique and temperament. Hits a couple of boundaries and then is on his way back. He’s gone 11 innings without a half century here. He gets away with it in ODIs with his overall utility & the fact he has more freedom to play his shots in the PP overs. Nonetheless he has been bowling well in tests as well, but you really need to have a proper opener there at the top.
I have a feeling he will come good. He must be feeling the heat. His bowling will always be there in whatever format, he just needs runs under his belt. They should experiment with him at #6 when the balls get softer and older. He can play with freedom there. I don't think this will happen, buts its a serious suggestion.
Alot of pressure will be on Ajmal. He is in great form and the most experienced bowler available. Plus these lesser sides are always vulnerable to unorthodox finger spinners. Don't have the exposure or skills to handle them. He is set to get a handful of wickets in this test. Last time Pak played here in 2002 Saqi got a 10 for. Sohail Khan has played a test match before in 08. Tanvir bats as well which will give him an advantage which is what they might be thinking as Adnan is a lesser of a batsmen than he is a keeper so they require some extra depth at number 8.
Anyway regarding the 224 AO in the 2 day warm up the new tour manger has labelled fasting as one of the factors for the below par display as all the players played the game whilst they were fasting.
Last 6 tests
5 scores of above 340+ in last 11 innings.
3 times have not been bowled out looking to save the match.
Only 3 times scores have been less than 300 in last 6 tests.
The signs are good.
I rate this batting line up. They are solid and dependable. Have been one of our better batting line ups in test matches over the years. There is a sense of discipline, application, determination, responsibility, gutsiness and fighting resilience in the batsmen who are willing to spend time at the crease, dig in hard and put a real price on their wicket i.e. Azhar Ali, Taufiq Umar, Younis, Misbah Asad Shafiq. They can now play out lengthy periods of time and sweat hard which has its own charm and significance in setting platforms, giving themselves every chance of making a substantial score and playing out long sessions confidently when the odds are against them. There is resilience and stability to take the innings to over 110+ overs so they can make opponents really work and eventually go on to earn respect by dictating terms. A classical but workable approach has been adopted. Test match batting disciplines have never really been associated with Pakistan batsmen since MoYo and Inzi departed especially. We are seeing some encouraging signs ahead of future series.
I'm hopefully putting this 224 AO as a one off.
Misbah's 36 ball duck in the warm up
7 50s and a ton in last 11 test innings - you can't ask for much more
a century in the warm up game before the WI test series (101*)
a century in the warm up game before the NZ test series (126*)
one rare failure and we are on to his case
double standards being shown
But yeah 36 balls without troubling the scorers isn’t the greatest start to the tour