Cricketology – The talent that needs to be acknowledged

Sep 16, 2011 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Sports Buzz

Since the past couple of years, the cricket team of Pakistan is facing a downfall. A breakdown. A dry patch with a heavy crisis. Crisis of what sort, you may ask? Well, everyone is aware of the fact that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has serious management issues. From spot-fixing issues to frequent changes in the team’s captaincy, the problems are endless. Consequently, the team has turned into underdogs from champions.

However, the other side of the story is extremely bright. The downfall of the team is one side of the story, and the hidden talent possessed by the team, is the other. Management issues have dug a ditch victimizing the extremely talented players we have. The cricket team of Pakistan is not behind when it comes to holding records and appraisals, but the current phase the team is undergoing has proven to be difficult for everyone. Only the flaws in the team are seen and highlighted. The real story is something else. The cheetahs and tigers we have in the team are its real strength and backbone. This team of 11 men, if properly trained, has enough potential to knock out some of the best cricketers from around the world.

Let us have a closer look at some of the existing players in the team who certainly have the potential to take the team way ahead.

1. Younis Khan

Starting from the senior level, we have Younis Khan, also known by the nickname of Fauji. Khan has given his best in many games and is one of the strongest Pathans in the team. He was the first captain after Imran Khan under whose captaincy, the team dared to bring the T20 World Cup to Pakistan. Younis Khan has proven himself as not only a good player but also a firm captain. With his batting performance being consistent, Khan has been strong, especially in the arc from backward point to extra cover. The middle order has always performed well because of his consistency. However, Younis Khan has also been famous for his dry patches, especially in the home series of Bangladesh and South Africa, including certain Test matches. He is one of the prominent fielders in Pakistan, holding a world record of four catches in one innings during the 2001-02 Asian Test Championship.

Khan is also known for becoming Pakistan’s most successful one-down in recent memory. His consistent applaud-able performances took him to the position of vice-captain and, eventually, the captain.  However, Khan’s leadership was not accepted by some senior players, and after the disaster in Sharjah against New Zealand, he announced his resignation as captain. Khan’s career hit its biggest controversy in March 2010 when, along with Mohammad Yousuf, he was banned by PCB from all teams of Pakistan for causing infighting within the team, in effect ending his career. Younis Khan, ultimately known as Fauji, has certainly proven himself to be one as well. Being a senior player, Khan has certainly given a lot to the team. Recently, in the series against Zimbabwe, Younis Khan made a terrific comeback with his excellent running between the wickets.

2. Shahid Afridi

This  name can never be forgotten. Shahid Afridi is another tiger Pathan who has ruled over the world of cricket with his all-round skills. Having a 10 year career in cricket, Afridi is a leg-spinning bowler and an aggressive batsman. Overall, Afridi is considered a dangerous package by many teams. His ultimate style of batting is quite popular among the masses and is famous for his two fastest ODI hundreds, including one scored at the age of 16. Afridi has also been a great bowler. He owns the record of taking most wickets in ICC World Cup 2011 and has proven himself as one of the best captains after Imran Khan. Ricky Pointing, the former captain of Australian cricket team, has called Afridi a dangerous captain. The self-control and team spirit displayed by Afridi throughout his captaincy tenure was commendable and gave a tough time to the teams in front of him. After bringing the team to the semi-finals of ICC World Cup 2011, Afridi has gained tremendous popularity. Despite undergoing a dry patch in his career with him retiring from international cricket due to issues with PCB, the player has shown great form in county cricket. Afridi’s loyal fans are surely waiting for his return in the team, which according to the present conditions, is expected pretty soon. Finally, due to his excellent performances and terrific shots, Afridi has been given the title of Boom Boom Afridi.

3. Mohammad Hafeez

Mohammed Hafeez is someone who is very underrated but is a great bowler and an amazing batsman. Although, he has struck a number of times, his inconsistency has kept him out of the team for some time. Hafeez is an opening batsman and an off-spin bowler making him a good all-rounder for the team. He has contributed a lot to the team, especially in his 30s rather than 20s. He entered the team after the disastrous performance of Pakistan in the ICC World Cup 2003, however, the player had a tough time with the bat initially. Nevertheless, Hafeez has given some fantastic performances with the ball, and the year 2011 became lucky for him in batting as well. He has given numerous fantastic shots with the bat and is now known for his tremendous off-spin and maiden overs. He is also very impressive in the field by consistently displaying the efforts he puts in. Hafeez has certainly given good days to the team. In the ICC World Cup 2011, he was given the nickname Professor for his field analysis which turned out to be pretty accurate. He was the danger man for West Indies. Being a good all-rounder, Hafeez is presently giving one of the best performances of his career, both in the field and with the bat. Recently, in the matches against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo and Harare, Hafeez scored his career best score of 119 for 177 balls in Test cricket and 139 (not out). It is expected that he will take the post of captain from Misbah-ul-Haq.

4. Saeed Ajmal

Saeed Ajmal is currently one of the best off-spinners we have in the team. Known for taking 38 wickets in 12 first-class matches and 12 wickets in List A games, he is one of those players who can force a good batsman to come under pressure. Ajmal was one of the major contributors for Pakistan in winning the ICC T20 World Cup of 2009 and also won the title of the second highest wicket taker in the tournament. He gave a fair performance in the ICC World Cup 2011, however, his fantastic effort in Pakistan vs West Indies Digicel Series 2011 gave Pakistan a boost with the ball. Currently, Ajmal is considered a danger man by many cricketers from around the world. Having spinners like Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan is certainly getting an edge in their bowling side.

5. Misbah-ul-Haq

He caught the attention of people during his terrific innings of two 50s, including one against Australia, in the 2002 Nairobi series. Afterwards, his career suffered an immediate slump, however, Misbah regained control in the T20 World Cup of 2007 and was known as one of the best players in the team. Misbah has given some nice performances and has contributed well to the team, taking the team very near to victory in South Africa in the year 2007. He was considered a promising batsman after a terrific performance in a Test match against India in which he scored an overall score of 464 runs (including three centuries) in three matches. Misbah rescued Pakistan on several occasions before the recurrence of his slump in 2009, which finished in 2010 again, as he is now consistent in his performances. He has contributed fairly to the score in some matches, though he was quite disappointing in the ICC World Cup 2011 semi-final against India, after which he was given a rather funny nickname of Tuk Tuk Misbah by the audience.

6. Wahab Riaz

Wahab Riaz is one of the emerging players in the team. Recently nominated as the Emerging Player Of The Year for ICC Awards 2011, Wahab Riaz is young and fresh talent in the team who is also expected to replace Shoaib Akhtar sooner or later. Wahab Riaz is known for his left-arm fast-medium bowling and has contributed a great deal to the team as a fast bowler. With Shoaib Akhtar retiring and Mohammad Asif banned from the team, Wahab Riaz has proven that the team can survive with his bowling, especially after the semi-final against India at Mohali in 2011. Riaz has been given a chance to prove himself and was seen to be given much importance under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi. As a young player, Wahab Riaz is a cricketer to look forward to and we can certainly expect a lot from him in the future.

7. Azhar Ali

Another new talent who has the potential to take the team ahead is Azhar Ali. Also nominated for the Emerging Player Of The Year award in ICC Awards 2011, Ali started his career as a test player, debuting in 2010 against Australia at Lord’s. Azhar Ali has given his ultimate best in a few Test matches and is now in the process of establishing himself as a prominent player in the ODIs as well. Although, Ali hasn’t performed much in ODIs, his performances in Test matches show that the selection committee will give him a permanent entry in the ODIs soon. In his 13 Test matches since 2010, he has scored 880 runs, with the highest being 92 (not out). Ali is also extremely popular because of his 11 hundreds in first-class matches. If issues with PCB resolve and the management pays special attention to Ali, he will definitely have a good strike rate.

8. Aizaz Cheema

Another budding talent to look forward to is none other than Aizaz Cheema. People who are interested in international cricket only see him as a new player, but those who have a track of first-class matches are well aware of him. Aizaz Cheema recently made his debut in the team and caught all attention just days after his terrific bowling in the Bulawayo Test match against Zimbabwe early this month. In his debut series, Cheema also received the title of Man of the Match in the 3rd ODI against Zimbabwe played at Harare just a couple of days ago. Aizaz Cheema is popular for his first-class and List A matches and has shown his efficiency skills in the recent Test match against Zimbabwe by getting 8 wickets in his very first match on an international ground, hence, securing many fans for himself. Surprisingly, his 32nd birthday turned out to be lucky for him as he displayed effective bowling against the hosts in Zimbabwe. Cheema’s name is now included in the list of fast bowlers and emerging players of Pakistan, along with Wahab Riaz. His debut has shown his skills, therefore, a little extra importance given to his talent might bring a lot of benefits to the team. The selection committee has indeed taken a good decision by trying him in the team.

The cricket team of Pakistan has a bag of talented heroes. This bag just needs to come under the limelight so that special attention can be given to players. Lack of proper management and proper coaching contribute a lot to the deficiencies of the team. Capable enough of being popular among the masses and around the world, all of the players in the team are full of spirit and enthusiasm. Emerging players like Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Azhar Ali and Aizaz Cheema can become the backbone of our team.

Rameez Raja said, “If there had been no politics in the dressing room, we would have been the rulers of this sport from the past ten years.” Rameez is cent percent right. The team just needs to get rid of all outside disturbances. Work needs to be done on the team. A proper coach, proper selection committee and a definite captaincy period will help a lot in the rebuilding of team. The team is not an underdog or underrated as proven in the ICC World Cup 2011. However, due to politics happening in PCB, the team is highly affected, and in order to cure this, the management must realize that it is called Pakistan Cricket Board, not Politics Cricket Board. The rest will be handled by the most talented players of the world.

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The Author

A crazy cricket fan in all the three formats. A patriotic Team Green Supporter and a fully biased Afridi and Hafeez fan.

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3 Comments + Add Comment

  • Wow… As in really wow.

    Every single word in this article is so true…

    We certainly have talent and it shd b acknowledged:)

  • Zahra:
    Wow… As in really wow.

    Every single word in this article is so true…

    We certainly have talent and it shd b acknowledged:)

    i agreee
    good research zainab

  • Quite an interesting analysis, indeed. Keep it up.

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