Assessing Pakistan's World Cup Campaign

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Bruce Wayne, Jul 18, 2019.

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  1. Bruce Wayne
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    Bruce Wayne Smooth Operator

    May 22, 2012
    4,258
    Quick summary:
    This was the 12th Cricket World Cup, The first being played in 1975. Pakistan have played in all 12 - As they have been eliminated from the group stages this time. It was the fourth time in their history this occurred, The 2003 and 2007 World cup squads were incredibly poor and most people within the country as well as fans worldwide had a fair idea that expectations should be kept to a bare minimum. One featuring a team full of has beens and the other was just not good enough at all so from a perspective, This has been the worst showing in a World Cup by Pakistan since the inaugural edition.

    Preparation:
    You couldn't ask for anything better other than to play 6 limited over games against the hosts of the World Cup in their own conditions and arrive a month and a half earlier in comparison to the other 8 teams. So that cannot be an excuse for the team, They were the best prepped in comparison to everyone else. Pakistan lost all 4 ODI's against England with 1 match being washed off, But everybody saw the bigger picture that hopefully they don't make these major mistakes come crunch time. No major changes had been made to the squad, Amir was always going to be included from what I know, Wahab also came in afterwards controversially but both fast powers merited their places after performing well throughout the tournament so props to the think tank there.

    Results:
    Results of course are the most important part of any tournament. 6 wins and 12 points as I'm sure most would say would have always been the secured spot for a semi final place before the tournament began. Out of a total of 9 games, Pakistan accumulated 5 wins, 1 point from a washed out game and 3 losses. 1 in particular being very heavy which was against the West Indies. The other was a game which Pakistan were favourites to win as it went on but in their typical unpredictable fashion ended up losing against Australia by 41 runs. The loss against India was a clear as night and day. A superior team defeating a side that can only sometimes punch well above their weight.

    Campaign:
    My opinion always is; Before the knock out stages. In a tournament you can afford to have 1 bad game, You can take that L as long as its not extremely damaging and you learn from it and progress so it becomes a lesson to you instead of a loss. Unfortunately for Pakistan. You also need to have luck at times and for Pakistan they weren't lucky enough to get that in this tournament. So that 1 loss set their pathway from the beginning, Defeating England was a surprise to the world but like I said. They are a side who sometimes can punch well above their weight and they proved that but then as they gained massive confidence and faith within their abilities the game against Sri Lanka was washed off, Training was resorted indoors for 10 days due to the bad weather. If you play Cricket on a regular you would know there's a lot of difference between playing indoors and outdoors. The team had consecutive games against eventual semi finalists Australia and India which I've already spoken about and had to regroup.

    I personally predicted Pakistan to win all 4 of the last remaining games, But I did say this. 2 will be comprehensive, 1 would be a thrashing and the other will be a close game. All 4 occurred and with that, Pakistan proved the rollercoaster team they are.

    Positives:
    Unlike the last two times Pakistan have been eliminated from the group stages, The near future seems fairly exciting rather than declining. Babar Azam can easily play for any of the best teams in the World and he was outstanding at 3 in the World Cup; Imam-ul-Haq may not be everyone's favourite nephew but continues to prove his worth and is good enough for now and especially for his age there's not many available players in the country better as an opener, Haris Sohail should be hailed for the way he came in against South Africa and New Zealand after being dropped straight after the West Indies disaster. I know his fitness is a concern at times but ever so occasionally for certain players we have to make exceptions due to how much they contribute with the bat and he should bat at 4 for Pakistan for the foreseeable futures but will he is another question. Imad Wasim has started to find consistency again in his batting at a position which Pakistan desperately needed, His bowling in ODI's remains a concern and he's considered a genuine wicket taking option but with talks of him being a future captain he's proved his worth for now. Amir resurrected himself to the bowler we all knew he can be, Perhaps alongside Babar a very good argument for Pakistan's player of the tournament. For our sake let's hope he comes off age in bilateral's too now. Shaheen Shah Afridi is just getting started and already the youngest with a 6 wicket haul in World Cup history especially at Lords, He's got to keep up this hard work and thrive even harder than before now. Shadab Khan wasn't phenomenal, But he got some crucial breakthroughs throughout the tournament and as always was reliable on the field. In his 2nd ODI tournament especially with both in England and him being as young as he is, He is learning extremely well and just keeps developing so without doubt he will be one of the worlds finest cricketers in a few years time. Wahab Riaz did well, Much better than many expected. But he's already 34 and should be moved on. The management wanted someone with pace - control and well, He did that but you also gave Mohammad Hasnain a 3 month holiday and I'm sure he'll provide us plenty of pace in the years to come. Apart from Haris and Imad, Everyone else is 26 or under. So there's a lot of hope yet.

    Negatives:
    Fakhar Zaman was below average throughout the World cup, His consistency is starting to decline tremendously. Over the years we've seen selectors with other boards have faith in their openers and persist with them series after Series of poor scores and with pretty much all of them that decision paid off but will Fakhar be as lucky as them? Time will tell. Shoaib Malik has been horrendous in England since he made his debut in the country 20 years ago and gracefully he accepted his retirement and went with it as he said so. But his performances were really poor and he was one of the worst Pakistani players in the tournament. Mohammed Hafeez is said to be 38 and the Professor doesn't look like he's going anywhere either after coming out saying he has no plans of retiring. A below par World Cup for one of the senior Pakistan players and the selectors should really consider dropping him if they are looking to the future. Asif Ali played the whole England series before the World Cup and still got picked and didn't prove to be any better. That should be his International career over for a while. Sarfraz should stay for now, He's not earned it. But nobody else in this side looks ready to be a skipper either despite what the reports say of who wants it. Also, His batting didn't have much to show for either which is the major concern as Rizwan keeps piling up the runs elsewhere but as soon as his leadership abilities are caught lacking he somehow manages to inspire and after the India game the least he could have done was prove he can play and lead a side to win 4 crucial games in a row and he did. Just like Fakhar Zaman; Hassan Ali seems a shadow of the player he was 2 years ago and the former No.1 ODI bowlers decline is consistently occurring and he was very poor. He'll most likely keep his place as the management rate him extremely highly but by the next World Cup he was supposed to be the leader of the attack alongside Amir but Shaheen and who knows even Hasnain may leave him behind in the pecking order.

    Verdict:
    I've written the ages of the players from the current squad in 4 years time and most of these players should play the next World Cup unless a string of low performances occur for an extremely long period of time:

    Imam (26)
    Babar (27)
    Haris (34)
    Imad (33)
    Shadab (23)
    Amir (30)
    Shaheen (22)

    That's 4 more players; An opening batsman, A wicket-keeping batsman, A middle order batsman and another fast bowler to complete an XI. It's not going to be easy. It never is with Pakistan cricket. But by the next World Cup pretty much all those players will be well and truly at their prime, Well they should be anyway and they should be playing the best cricket of their careers so don't look down on some of those men in green yet. The best is perhaps yet to come.
     
  2. Shahzad.Firdous
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    Shahzad.Firdous Cornered Tiger

    May 29, 2010
    12,326
    They did not know their best combination till the 6th game of the tournament, that says it all about the preparation!! Ideal preparation is when you know your best combination 2 months prior to the tournament and have backups also for each player!!
     
  3. Del
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    Del Cornered Tiger

    Dec 21, 2016
    12,276
    THIS... I have said this many times. Also, this time luck didnt favor Pakistan - had that game against SL wasn't washed out, who know what could've happened.
     
  4. ShokoTolo_LoloMoto
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    ShokoTolo_LoloMoto Talented

    Apr 16, 2010
    1,139
    Didn't read the whole shmear but I think it's a good effort and some nice contents.

    What I have beef with is the exposure of this classical "Misbah mindset" of being on the back-foot by default.
    This thinking process seems like a car that has only one gear - the reverse gear.

    What you are saying, these players will play as long as the car remains in neutral gear. And these players should be discarded if the car moves (which is reverse only).

    Sorry to say but this is a defeatist mindset.

    The actual mindset should be like this.

    These players must improve their game to play fierce cricket and become wise enough to be able to take calculated risks.

    Here is the minimum for starters.

    1 - If Imam wants to play the next WC - he must play winning innigs and he must prove that he is not a short ball bunny. And he MUST improve his run rate. If not, let the door don't your a$$ on the exit.

    2 - Babar. No sir. You need to shift your focus from "playing lovely looking strokes" to "have a very strong defense (your weak point), and your exposure to spinners when you go down the wicket and try to hit over covers. (This is your weakest point - you got out like this twice)". Not acceptable.


    3 - Haris - For God's sake. Lose at least 25 lbs. You are a burden on the field. In your current shape, can you even imagine making a run out happen like Guptill did to Dhoni - or can you take a catch like Neesham did to Karthik? Not in a million years.

    It was embarrassing to see you panting and needing to take a water break after every single when you crossed your individual 50. What do you think? You are a Ranatunga in his 40's playing his last innings? I mean, are you sure you are playing a world class tournament?

    Guptill took NZ to WC finals only and only because of his fielding - and that too, not in the Semi only but during the entire tournament. He saved 40 runs JUST by his fielding.

    4 - Imad. Same issue. Reaching Pak team is the end of the world. He does not seem to believe that there is anything to learn anymore or to improve on anything anymore, in an effort to compete with an increasingly high intl cricket standard. The arrogance must be replaced with meekness and docility.
    His bowling is potent only and only if the wicket has skid and the ball is new, otherwise, what is his role in the team? All rounder? It's not even funny.

    He must improve his bowling with the inclusion of effective variety. He should be able to bowl at a very tight line and length and set the field accordingly to put the pressure on the batsman IF the wicket has no skid and it does not support him.

    5 - Shadab, Amir and Shaheen ALL THREE Bowling good - BUT they MUST improve with the bat. With additional work for Shaheen to improve his fielding. What a mess is he in the field?

    Seriously, look at the Australians. If the top order fails, their lower order and pace bowlers step up, and become batsmen. Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and even Starc, when it matters they hit fifties with the bat.

    And then look at our lower batting end. Majority of our pace bowlers bat as if they are playing cricket reserved for mental retards. Don't even seem to know how to hold the bat.

    All three of them, should make a daily routine of hitting the nets and practice big hitting for at least 2 hours EVERY day.
    They need to build those big hitting muscles and sharpen the hand eye coordination. This skill is imperative if you want to become part of a good team.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019

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