Pak vs India, Asia Cup: Pakistan Cricket Team Marred by Politics & Poor-Play

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Robin Soderling

Cricket News
  • Pak vs India, Asia Cup: Pakistan Cricket Team Marred by Politics & Poor-Play

Pak vs India, Asia Cup: Pakistan Cricket Team Marred by Politics & Poor-Play


There was a time when Pakistan cricket team used to boast of superstars like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Saleem Malik, who used to play for a win, and win matches as well, but that was a long time ago.


The side hasn’t won a single One-Day match this year, and it is only because of politics - the one the country’s cricket board is involved in, and the one the players are a part of.

Despite the cricket team’s poor recent performance, the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ijaz Butt, is not being removed because his relatives are close to President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the Patron-in-Chief of the board. Butt and his yes men continue to take decisions that don’t have any logic; yet he is untouchable in the country.

The same goes for the cricket team, where planning takes a backseat. No one in his right mind would have discontinued Abdul Razzaq after he bowled 5 overs for just 18 runs. Nobody who understands cricket would have let Shoaib Akhtar bowl the penultimate over. No selector would have selected Kamran Akmal in the side due to his hopeless performance. However, all of this was part of the Pakistan India match that usually makes the Asia Cup one of the most interesting tournaments in the world.

Pakistan continued its wretched form in the tournament, and crashed out of the event’s tenth edition with one match to play. The Pakistan and Bangladesh clash will mean nothing since India and Sri Lanka, two teams with better captains, safe fielders, dependable lower order batsmen and a wicketkeeper who drops lesser catches, have already made it to the finals.

If one compares Pakistan and India after today’s match, one can find only one difference - common sense. Salman Butt once again proved that despite being one of the most stylish batsmen in the world, he can self destruct at any given time. His decision to take a single when the ball was in the hands of the bowler was illogical, improper, and meaningless. Yet it cost Pakistan the match because after his dismissal, no batsman except Kamran Akmal was able to make use of the batting-friendly conditions.

Comparatively, Gautam Gambhir played a more sensible knock because like Salman Butt, who opened with the shaky Imran Farhat, Gambhir also had a partner in Virender Sehwag who seemed out of sorts. Yet Gambhir played well, converting singles into doubles and striking the odd boundary. He was also supported by his middle order batsmen unlike the Pakistan side, where constant shuffling in the batting order saw no one score big.


Umar Amin, the left hander who made his debut against Sri Lanka at number 3, came in at number 5 today, while Shoaib Malik, who had refused to come at number 3 after the Champions Trophy last year, came and went without impressing anyone except wife Sania Mirza, who is an Indian tennis star.

Similarly, Umar Akmal might be a good batsman but he is no Kevin Pietersen, and if he wants to stay in the side, he will have to first learn to play it right, and then innovatively. His unusual dismissal for the second time in as many matches might get him nowhere except the record books where there is a position vacant: about player with most consecutive unusual dismissals.

As for the bowling, fast men were hit for runs even though the wicket wasn’t unsupportive; the Pakistanis seemed more generous than their opponents in gifting runs. India gave only 11 extras, which included 5 leg byes, whereas the Pakistani bowlers gave away as many as 24, with 15 runs coming from leg byes, and the rest from wide balls and no balls at crucial stages of the match.


Shoaib Akhtar couldn’t bowl at his usual pace - a fact that will leave the selectors rethinking their decision - because he was limping at the end, couldn’t bowl at a stretch and seemed a force well past his best!

Fielding proved to be the biggest difference between both sides. While the Indians jumped around, took catches and hit the stumps regularly, this was only occasionally the case for Pakistan. With the team for the Twenty20 matches in England to be announced on Sunday, Pakistan selectors might make some big changes and take players with potential rather than big names with no recent performance to help them.


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