ISLAMABAD - Green caps senseless batting, pathetic team selection, worst captaincy and average bowling cost them dearly as below average England outplayed Pakistan to take 4-match ODI series 3-1.
It was hoped that keeping in mind Pakistan’s bottom place in the ODI rankings the team management would have some pity on long suffering masses and select a balanced squad. But once again highly questionable team selection was witnessed. Zafar Gohar had taken 2 wickets in his first match but he was strangely dropped and Yaisr Shah, who remained a flop in the entire ODI series, was given nod of approval. Once again Ahmed Shahzad failed to justify his selection in the squad. Despite sitting out in the Tests and 3 ODIs, Shahzad didn’t learn anything and just gifted his wicket while attempting to pull a ball out of the park. Azhar Ali bitterly disappointed as skipper. His body language, his decisions and mishandling the pressure situation clearly indicated he is a big misfit as far as captaincy is concern.
Azhar completely failed to rotate his bowlers and highly misused strike bowler Wahab Riaz, who was otherwise highly economical in the series. Despite getting some quick wickets, Azhar’s causal and defensive approach cost team and country dearly. Drop catches and pathetic fielding further added to green caps woes. The way Buttler hammered all the bowlers showed Azhar’s inability to handle the situation. If there was any other aggressive skipper, England could have restricted well beyond 300 runs, which could have brighten Pakistan chances of chasing down the target. Pakistan are never known to chase down even relatively smaller targets and history was also against green caps as they had never beaten England when chasing 280 or plus target.
It is true Buttler played some outstanding strokes but everybody knows Buttler is a slow starter. Had Azhar immediately utilised his best available bowling options and put pressure on Buttler, things could have been far different. Even 350 plus target was not impossible one to chase down. The way Pakistan kept on losing wickets at crucial stages of the match, it made their work almost impossible. Pakistan kept healthy run rate throughout the innings but losing wickets was the main reason behind their failed attempt. Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Azhar, Hafeez all gave solid starts and scored runs but failed to carry on with the momentum when it matters most.
Azhar just gave a dolly return catch to Willey. Who is going to tell Hafeez, how to run between the wickets? Why Malik and Babar after playing so well just throw it away? Rizwan after hitting the earlier ball out of the park just played no stroke and gave wicketkeeper routine catch. What was Sarfraz and Anwar Ali trying to show against no more than average English bowlers. It exposed tall claim s of few certain quarters who were praising Sarfraz and Anwar so high and termed them complete all-rounders. The way Anwar was playing, it was hard to believe. He looked scared from average fast bowling. What would he do when he had to face express quick’s in English conditions and in coming New Zealand ODI series? When selectors would finally wake up? When PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan would show his authority? Why such below par team was selected for the ODI series? If things continue in same fashion, the time is not far Pakistan had to play qualifying round to be able to play in mega events and no one else but PCB’s wrong and dubious policies would be held responsible for the entire saga.
Now three match T20 series starting from 26th and finally the PCB had shown some commonsense and cleared Umar Akmal and included him in the T20 squad. Had Umar be part of the ODI team, he could have played much better role then the so-called all-rounders. The way debuts were given to players had also raised many eye-brows. Shaharyar Khan must admit his responsibility and show the door to army of coaches including Waqar who is a big flop. Despite earning hefty amount monthly, his results are not even ordinary. Grant Flower should also be relieved from his duties. Mushtaq Ahmed has destroyed spin bowling department. Fresh, hardworking local coaches should be preferred. It would encourage local coaches, who had performed on consistent basis in domestic cricket and also help players to remove their flaws.