Although the final result of the Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka series was not very favorable, considering Pakistan didn’t win a series in any of the format (Sri Lanka won Test series 1-0, ODI 3-1 and 2-match Twenty20 series drawn 1-1), I believe there were still quite a few positives that this series has presented to us and it was not a total loss.
I’m not saying that mistakes weren’t made; in that case would have won the series then wouldn’t we? Yes, as usual, there was no shortage of mistakes especially in the selection area, but what I am suggesting is that there was a silver lining this time around.
Let’s analyze what went wrong first (because talking about the positives will give this post a happy ending :) :
Major mistakes were made in the selection of the playing eleven. One wonders what goes on in the coach’s and Misbah’s head when one ponders upon their selection decisions.
Dropping Saeed Ajmal in the last ODI, bringing Sami in for Abdul Rehman in the crucial third test, axing Sami right after he won the opening ODI for you, the no reason benching of Asad Shafiq in the second ODI (seriously, give the kid a break for some time folks, I’m sure he’ll perform better).
Apart from the selection – as always – our fielding was below par; what else can I say about this that hasn’t been said already? In the words of Misbah ul Haq
“Defeats in the one-days and Tests are disappointing; we could have won the one-day series but our fielding let us down in the last two matches.”
(Uhh… He could probably use that same statement for 90% of all Pakistani team performances when he can’t think of anything else intelligent to say.)
Yes, the performances by Younis Khan and Umar Gul were disappointing to say the least! I have a feeling their performances will be a topic of serious debate in upcoming team and selection meetings. In fact, does anyone remember the last time Younis Khan actually performed? Younis, made only 5, 4 and 1 in the ODIs respectively and Umar Gul was completely overshadowed by the brilliant Junaid Khan.
Even the chief selector Mr. Iqbal Qasim has said that Younis Khan’s ODI future will be questioned after the series (If you ask me, this is for the better).
Okay, now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, let’s move on towards the positive angle! Like I mentioned in the beginning, there were quite a few positives that one can take away from this series.
Azhar Ali’s batting performance (217 runs at an average of 54) under pressure was a delight; Hafeez and Asad Shafiq also showed promise with the bat; and who could forget Junaid Khan’s 14 wickets in the three Tests, which included 2 five-wickets hauls, one in the second test and the other in the third Test.
It takes guts for young players to step up and perform in high pressure situations and this time around our youngsters performed well under pressure.
This series, I believe was an eye opener in terms of the performances given by our youngsters, an indication that the future holds good prospects for Pakistani cricket.
Image Courtesy: rushdi13