Saturday, September 10, 2011

YK and Misbah Ideally Suited For 3 & 4

I much prefer to see YK and skipper batting at 3 and 4 in ODIs as opposed to #4 and #5.

Gives them greater time to build the innings and greater responsibility which they deserve and are capable of fulfilling consistently.

They are the most “complete” and “accomplished” batsmen in the side. They are the senior figures. They are dependable. They can carry the innings, bat for long periods of time, play a big knock & hold an end up. They are technically and temperamentally solid to cope with higher quality of bowling, deal with better conditions & handle stronger intensity with their well renowned successful reputations in the 5 day game. They are the workhorses and backbone of the team.

As they are both in the ODI set up they should be utilised to their maximum advantage and where they mean business. I am in the view, that they have been under utilised to some extent. YK had an alright World Cup in all fairness. He failed in Mohali and in some preliminary group fixtures against Canada and New Zealand; however he did start the campaign with an 80 odd against England in the warm up fixture follow by back to back 50s against Kenya and Sri Lanka as well as valuable hand in a low scoring win against Australia. Misbah on the other hand had a superb campaign in his first WC scoring 3 50s and a valuable 37 in 6 innings at an average of 50 which helped Pakistan reach the WC semis for the first time in the 21st century with his batting and vice captaincy presence playing a key underappreciated part to the team success. There were a lot of people calling for their departures in a bit of a knee jerk fashion following Mohali, nonetheless I was always in the view that Misbah should carry on until retirement in all formats with his hunger, proven credentials, captaincy, stabilising presence and stupendous run of form whereas I would not mind Younis if he is used properly to carry on, although I feel we could have coped without him. I firmly believe had Misbah been batting in the top 4 in the WC and others batted better around him his innings in Mohali would have been a match winning effort. His role and style is more suited for this role as opposed to having to do a rescue or re-establishing job continuously in the middle order.

If a proper genuine test class winner is brought into the shorter formats and is given a defined role and utilised in a favoured position there is little reason why they should not perform. The principles of cricket remain.

Let these old timers set a platform properly, set up a chase by seeing off the bowlers, coming to terms with the pitch and conditions, preserve wickets the good old Pakistan formula way by being solid, steady & watchful to start with & give themselves a chance to get set and really go hard & give them maximum opportunity to play the anchor sheet.

For example in a chase of 265. If these two get together at 50-2 after 12. They can at least take the game to 38 overs and be 170/2 after 38 and with both of them set and the BPP still available they will be on track rather than having to come to the wicket at 70/3 after 19 overs and get stuck. Your best players in top 4 are key. Alternatively batting first these two can take the innings up to 35 over mark at 160/2 & then challenge 270/280 scenario. Or when chasing under 200/220 they will be able to close the game down in no time by simply staying at the wicket & playing solid sensible cricket. There will inevitably be more gaps in the field due to the oppo being more attacking and therefore they can finish the job off with clinical purpose and efficiency.

Since Misbah has batted at 4 after the WC he had made scores of: 76*, 43*, 62* and 54. He is usually a productive player at the crease when it comes to the batting powerplay as well. A mixture of brutal force and intelligence.

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