As i write this, the Pak Vs India ODI series is now over, India having won it by a 3-2 margin. It was not a one sided affair by far, with most of the matches going down to the wire, as they often do when both these teams play.
Team Pakistan under their new captain Shoaib Malik and Coach Lawson have been performing at quite a stable rate since the start of the 20/20 world cup but along with the old problems of bad fielding and irresponsible batting, we seem to have developed an entire new category of headaches. That is we are failing at an alarming rate as of late to finish things off!!
I do not think it has got to do anything with the Captain or the Coach changing though. I think some of our newly drafted players although well on in age and skill lack the necessary finesse to deal the crucial killing blow to the opposition.
I know it seems bad to crucify someone who deals in spades until they reach the final hand and suddenly fold their cards but we have now had ample time to analyze the said scenario. It happened in the 20/20 final, and in this ODI series as well, comically on the same shot! A behind the stumps whack it all which resulted in a catch in the 20/20 final and a couple of stump breakers in the currently finished series. True our tail is batting better than it used to and taking some of the pressure off our middle order, which the opening should be doing by the way, but it still lacks the finishing touch.
The immediate solution to this seems to be to bring back Abdul Razzak who is a far better batsman then Misbah and has the experience, which he has time and again proven to take it to the opposition at the end. However Misbah might be used in an opening position as we have tried everyone and their carpenter on that slot and still fail. We have seen he can bat slowly as well as explode onto the opposition.
What could we lose anyways? What we would gain however is another bowling option and a reliable batsman down in the order with Boom Boom, who no matter what the situation is still plays like a man on crack. I really still do not understand how he merits a place in the side and not Razzak?
Still even if he is there for his bowling, which i must admit he does well off lately, we need more stability and the onus to take pressure and succeed under it at the death.
Another serious problem is that of the wicket keeper, which someone has to handle at some point, because lets call a spade a spade as Kamran Akmals batting and keeping are going so far down the drain they may be un salvageable. He needs some time away from International cricket and rest, the under19 captain who is a fantastic keeper comes to mind here.
Frankly unless we hold onto the catches behind the stumps and get our finishing touch back, we are going to keep sinking in the ratings because lets face it “nearly there” is not enough in cricket or life!