Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pakistan at World T20 2012


Pakistan have won 12/20 matches in T20 WCs
Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi are the two Pakistan players playing their 4th T20 WC.
Pakistan have won 5 series and lost 5 series with 1 drawn since the 2010 T20 WC
Pakistan have played the most T20 games since the 2010 T20 WC
Pakistan have only chased above 150 once in T20s

One of the Favourites?

Jeremy Coney, Sourav, Wasim Akram and Shane Warne have all backed Pakistan's chances to lift the trophy. Pakistan fans can take plenty of hope and optimism from this. 4 successful former captains of their respective countries feel Pakistan might do it again.

Pakistan’s targets should be as follows:

1)      Reach the knock outs/semi-finals and maintain their record of being the only side to reach the semi-finals as many times as they have or even better in all 4 editions.

2)      Win at least 4 games during the competition and make their mark in the tournament and provide some memorable moments to take away from the competition for their own confidence and of course their passionate fan base

3)      Win the initial preliminary pool where they will play New Zealand and Bangladesh. Pakistan obviously should qualify for the super eights, but they top the initial group and try to go into the super eights on a high, having gone further than New Zealand and Bangladesh in the initial stages.

4)      Beat India, the old foes, in a world cup encounter which they have not done to date let it be 50 overs or 20 overs.  Overcome the mental block which should put them in better stead of delivering against them in tournaments to come down the line. Even if they do not beat them, if they can win the televised warm up encounter on the 17th of September, the day before the tournament officially gets under way, that will be somewhat of a consolidation.

5)      Overcome the semi-final obstacle which has been their undoing in the last 3 world competitions over the last 3 years.

Why we can expect Pakistan to have a successful campaign:

Experience – Pakistan have played more internationals than any other country at this level. Numerous players in their side are playing their 3rd or 4th WT20 so they know what it’s like playing in one and what they can expect and what needs to be done to have a good competition from a team perspective.

Conditions – It’s the first time the WT20 is being held in Asia and the conditions should aid the Pakistanis, particularly given they have played a lot in Sri Lanka over the last couple of years or so. This should give them an advantage and added confidence.

Preparation – Going into this WT20 Pakistan have played many in the time gap between the previous one and this one. They have just recently completed a 3 match series with Australia in familiar conditions and many of their squad members have been playing in the SLPL before that.

Spin attack – Spin will be a crucial factor during this tournament and Pakistan has plenty of choices and quality in this department. It’s Pakistan’s biggest strength and for this competition it’s a great strength to have with the nature of the wickets.

Coaching Staff – Dav Whatmore is highly qualified and experienced.  He’ll know how to perform impressively in Sri Lanka better than many. Julien Fountain has been drilling the fielding unit hard and Mohammad Akram is keen to work with the seamers as a newly appointed bowling coach. Pakistan has all the tools in the coaching unit and the players can use their services to enhance their performance.

Excuse my pessimism, but why Pakistan will not win the tournament

Captaincy change – To go into a WT20 with a captain that has only captained in 2 series was a risky move. Hafeez has credentials and has led well, but is still relatively untested. Time will tell whether continuing with Misbah would have been a better choice, but I am not going to hesitate in saying Pakistan’s chances would have been higher if they had continued with their test and one day captain in this format as well and he can consider himself unfortunate to be replaced so soon to an ICC world competition which every captain wants to lead their side in and if his performance and results are anything to do by, he deserved to lead his side in as well.

New coaching staff – You’re strength can also be you’re downfall. With so many new coaches coming in all at once it can be difficult to build a side and develop a thorough understanding as this requires time and continuity. Pakistan will be short supplied as far as this is concerned.
Group of death – Pakistan’s super 8 groups is likely to compromise of South Africa, India and Australia. Pakistan will need to be at the races during the super eights if they are to progress and they cannot afford more than one slip up. None of the 3 previous editions have been as hard as this. Pakistan will also be pushed hard in the initial 3 team group by two sides who are capable of giving them a competitive game and even beating them.
Batting Fragility – The shorter the format, the greater are the woes of Pakistan’s batting. I recently selected my fantasy side for the competition and not one Pakistan batsmen was in it. Pakistan does not possess any stand out batsmen in contrast to other countries. The talent is there, but in many cases they lack the consistency or maturity to get noticed. They have boundary hitters and attacking players and it usually makes entertaining viewing, but they struggle to control their emotions and can easily get carried away. Temperament is an issue, even in the shorter format this ‘T’ is a significant trait.
Form Guide – For a side who are supposedly pioneers of this version of the gentlemen’s game, they have not been all that impressive in the lead up to this World Cup, losing several T20 series. When Pakistan lifted the title in 2009, their form guide leading up the tournament was the opposite. Can you expect to win the competition with such indifferent results?

Won 2-0 vs. Australia July 2010 in England

Lost 2-0 vs. England September 2010 in England

Lost 2-0 vs. South Africa October 2010 in UAE

Lost 2-1 vs. New Zealand December 2010 in NZ

Lost 1-0 vs. West Indies April 2011 in WI

Won 2-0 vs. Zimbabwe September 2011 away

Won 1-0 vs. Sri Lanka November 2011 in UAE

Won 1-0 vs. Bangladesh in November 2011 away

Lost 2-1 vs. England in February 2012 in UAE

Drawn 1-1 vs. Sri Lanka in June away

Won 3-0 vs. Australia in September in UAE

Key Players

Ajmal – How many more times are we going to have to praise him? The best, most feared, most valuable player in the world. Since January 2011 he has taken 171 international wickets which is considerably higher than anyone else. Ajmal recently has over taken Shahid Afridi as the leading T20 international wicket taker. It was a disgrace to see him not short listed for ICC test cricketer of the year and ICC cricketer of the year. PCB are right to feel angry and we should support their planned boycott of the ICC annual awards dinner.

Hafeez - At any sporting capacity it is important that the captain leads by example and sets the tone. Hafeez hasn't lost any of the 2 T20 series he has captained in and has made a good start as a captain. I consider him as a nagging bowler, decent fielder, active thinker, but a mediocre batsmen. However, in this version of the game his 20s and 30s can be accepted. The best all-rounder in the side. He should try to bat the bulk of the overs and make one of the bigger contributions to the team total as the anchor role. I personally would not like to see him open, but he has opened for 2 years running now and is likely to continue, so let it be. Many left handed batsmen should dread facing him as we have seem him make some of the very best batsmen look foolish. It's admirable how he has gone from playing division 2 league cricket in Liverpool to captaining Pakistan. Hafeez is a prime example of never losing faith and rising from failure.

Afridi - Afridi is Pakistan's talisman as we all know, but he is not the force he once was with the bat and has been bowling very average this year. The former captain is recovering from injury and I am not hopeful of him having a good competition from a personal point of view. However, as the man who was player of the tournament in the 2007 edition, MOM in both the semi final and final in the 2009 one and captained Pakistan in the 2010 one, as always the expectation levels will always be high when he is playing. However, as Pakistan showed in the recent series against Australia, they are capable of coping and delivering without him and there is still life to this team when he is not around. Pakistan can take a lot of confidence from this.

Gul - Missed the 2010 T20 WC due to injury. In both the 2007 and 2009 T20 WC, was Pakistan's leading wicket taker. The senior pacer has shown signs of form and rythm which Pakistan can take plenty of heart from. If he gets the radar going,  can be unstoppable. High class bowler in this version of the game, one of the very best.

Tanvir - T20 specialist who performed impressively in the SLPL. Playing his 3rd T20 WC. Knows how to bowl at the death, vary his pace and slog them out of the park. However, a liability in the field and tends to give away plenty of extras through front foot no-balls and wides.

No comments:

Post a Comment