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Futile changes

The change of leadership could not change the fortunes of Pakistan’s cricket team against Australia ...

Futile changes

The change of leadership could not change the fortunes of Pakistan’s cricket team against Australia in the UAE last week.

First, in the only Twenty20 match, newly re-appointed Shahid Afridi captained the team. ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq skippered in the first two One-day Internationals both of which Pakistan lost. Misbah sat out for the third ODI and Afridi took the command in the last ODI, but this musical chair game could not give a single win to Pakistan cricket team.

The one-run defeat in the third ODI was Pakistan’s fifth successive ODI loss. By winning this match, Australia also completed the third consecutive whitewash against Pakistan.

Australia have regained the top spot in the ICC ODI team rankings after completing this 3-0 series victory. Pakistan stand sixth.

Before the series began, it was a general view that in the absence of experienced Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Hafeez and Junaid Khan, Pakistan’s bowling will be less effective but in every match the bowlers restricted the strong Australian batting to average totals.

Pakistan’s bowlers did not concede an extra until the 45th over in the third ODI.

Once again it was our batting which disappointed the nation. The Pakistani batsmen made the same mistakes again and again.

Except wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed (131 runs), no Pakistani batsman managed over 100 runs. Asad Shafiq (92), Ahmed Shehzad (91), Umar Akmal (51), Fawad Alam (27) were the ‘leading run scorers’ for Pakistan.

The most shameful performances came from the two captains. Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi scored 15 (average 7.5) and 13 (average 4.33), respectively.

It must be mentioned here that skipper Michael Clarke and all-rounders Shane Watson and Michelle Marsh were not available for the ODI series, but there were no signs of frustration in the Aussie camp. The new players provided full support to their captain in every department of the game.

If the Pakistani batsmen failed to score in UAE’s conditions which are quite similar to those in Pakistan, how can the fans expect they will deliver in the tough conditions in Australia and New Zealand in the World Cup?

Now the ODI series is over and the real business of Test cricket begins. Pakistan are scheduled to play two Tests against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from October 22 and 30.

The Pakistani side is comparatively young and lacks experience. But the important and positive thing is that it’s a talented bunch of cricketers, especially in the bowling department.

Before the tour began, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq showed confidence in his boys and was hopeful about his team’s chances in the Tests series.

A total of 57 Test matches have been played between the two countries so far. Australia have the edge with 28 wins. Pakistan have won only 12 matches.

Twenty Test series have been played from 1956-57 to 2009-10 between the two nations. Australia won 11, Pakistan five and four were drawn.

Pakistan’s former captain Javed Miandad is the most successful batsman with 1797 runs in the bilateral series. He hit six hundreds and seven fifties, averaging 47.28.

Allan Border is Australia’s most successful batsman in Tests against Pakistan with 1666 runs at an average of 43.69. He struck six centuries and eight half-centuries.

On the bowling side, great leg-spinner Shane Warne took 90 wickets in 15 matches at an average of 20.17. Imran Khan with 64 wickets in 18 Tests remains the most successful bowler from Pakistan.

Khurram Mahmood

Khurram Mahmood 2019

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