Monday, May 28, 2012

Azhar Ali & Asad Shafiq ODI Futures

Azhar Ali & Asad Shafiq in ODIs

My arguments are:

-A test cricketer is a complete product who should be more than good enough to adapt to the shorter easier versions. Once a player is doing well in test matches he deserves all the respect, backing & plaudits they can get because it simply does not come harder, tougher or more challenging than that.

-With 2 new white balls at each end you need solidity and steadiness at the top. The change in playing regulations has brought the classical batsmen & technicians back into the game even more.

-You cannot pack a team with attacking one day specialists, you can self destruct easily. The balance has to be there of calmness and flair. You need balance, variation & stability when selecting a side.

-The batsmen should at least be given an extended opportunity to show their worth. Azhar Ali averages 40 + in list A cricket with 5 centuries so has an impressive record. Meanwhile, Shafiq has not even played a full ODI series without being dropped.

-Traditionally Pakistan’s one day batting philosophy has always been based on being cautiously watchful at the top, steady consolidation in the middle through preserving wickets & building partnerships & then the carnage at the end. This is how they did it back in 1992. Raja, Sohail, Imran & Miandad would be looking to price tag their wicket, work the gaps, bat time, setting it up for an onslaught by Inzamam, Moin or Wasim.

-With the next World Cup happening in Australasia where Pakistan incidentally won the World Cup & the following one in England as well as next year’s Champions trophy scheduled in late September, the wickets will be more favorable for seam bowlers so batting will not be as straightforward as having the license or freedom to express yourself on placid tracks or hit cleanly through the line. Wickets will inevitably be falling early & the teams who can get through P1 without losing wickets will be better positioned. Here players such as Azhar Ali & Asad Shafiq with a more complete all round technique which they have demonstrated in the 5 day game will come in handy. Let me stress the September part in next year’s Champions trophy because at this time of the season the ball does plenty for both seamers & spinners.

-With the strength & quality of Pakistan's bowling attack they do not need too worry about posting 280+ totals or chasing 300+ targets. Here being able to hold back, not over estimate targets & just get the job done to a clinical & professional standard is all that is going to be required as opposed to innovative fancy one day batting which other teams are doing & have to do knowing their bowling is not as strong.

I accept that all 4 including Younis & Misbah cannot play in the same line up, but people even have problems of 2 of them playing in the same line up let it be Younis/Misbah, Shafiq/Ali or Shafiq/Misbah. In my opinion 3 obdurate batsmen is sufficient/needed.

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