Cricketology – 2011, a Dream Year for Cricket Pakistan!

Feb 5, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Sports Buzz

After the disastrous series with England in 2010, the cricket team of Pakistan faced a huge downfall. From spot-fixing cases to management issues, the team suffered immensely. Frequent changes in captaincy and the team squad caused a lot of disorder in the team. However, it is known that after every dark night, there’s a bright sunny morning. For Team Pakistan, the year 2010 was the dark night, and the following year of 2011, was the bright sunny morning.

2011 was unquestionably a dream year for the cricket team of Pakistan and its fans, because in this year, the team of eleven players became the Mighty Eleven. Winning became a habit for the team. From defeating New Zealand to Bangladesh, Team Pakistan left no stone unturned to bring a smile to our faces. Let us have a quick recap of what 2011 brought for Cricket Pakistan.

In the beginning of the year 2011, a new phase was seen emerging in the team. In January, the series against New Zealand was played under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi. The team had a bunch of youngsters and a couple of players returned, making it a pretty decent team of eleven players. Among the prominent players, the youngster Ahmed Shehzad impressed everyone by his batting performances. The spinners, too, displayed noteworthy efforts. Pakistan won the Test series by 1-0 and the ODI series by 3-2. The captain, Shahid Afridi, took the eleven players to New Zealand and with some emphatic victories, secured a series win. Surprisingly, there were certain comebacks, starting with Mohammad Hafeez, who proved himself as a great opener in the series by giving his best and impressing everyone with his all-round performances. In the 3rd ODI, he made his maiden century after almost 7 years of his inclusion in the team. Along with him, the monstrous Shahid Afridi immensely dented the team of New Zealand through his terrific bowling. It was the intelligent captaincy of Afridi that took the team of eleven men to New Zealand and came back as the Terrific Team Green. The series victory was a motivation for the team as the next mission was the World Cup 2011.

Though we couldn’t make through to the final, Team Green led by Shahid Afridi made it to the semi-finals. All the matches played by Pakistan were certainly worth watching. A slight dip in batting was covered up by the bowling side. From Saeed Ajmal to Shoaib Akhtar, everyone gave their best. We also found out the strength of Pakistan Cricket Team, and that was, our spinners. Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, and Mohammad Hafeez, all impressed us by turning the ball flawlessly. Saeed Ajmal was slowly going for his ‘doosras’ that made him one of the most prominent bowlers in the World Cup. On the other hand, everyone’s favorite Lala, Shahid Afridi, became the highest wicket taker in the World Cup by getting 21 wickets. The dramatic quarter-final against West Indies in Dhaka made history as West Indians were bowled out for mere a total of 112 runs and Pakistan chased the target in a few overs without losing any wicket. Though the World Cup 2011 ended on a sad note after Pakistan lost the semi-final to India, the cricket team of Pakistan became the pride of the nation. Shahid Afridi became the hero. Rameez Raja, in his commentary, said that it is this team that has turned one country into a nation.

After the World Cup ended, the important series against West Indies awaited the team. This was the last series under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi and was a fair success. Though the Test matches were drawn, the one Test match that Pakistan won was an emphatic success. The second Test was won by 196 runs. The ODIs were won by 3-2 in Pakistan’s favor. The youngster Asad Shafiq performed extremely well, whereas, Saeed Ajmal made his place with spin bowling. The all-round performances of Hafeez once again impressed everyone. Taking the opening stand, Hafeez made sure that the scores raced to more than 220 and 230 runs. However, the last ODI was won by West Indies with 10 wickets. This was slight disappointment but who cares when our team had sealed the series in the first 3 ODIs. :)

A happy ending in West Indies demonstrated that the team was no more an underdog; however, the management crisis ruined everything again. With a tiff between Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis, the air became slightly sour. As a result, Afridi was removed as a captain and was replaced by Misbah ul Haq who was already the Test captain. Afridi also announced a temporary retirement from the team, though he continued with domestic cricket and counties.

Nevertheless, it was the team of Ireland that became the next target for Team Green. The small series with only two ODIs went certainly in Pakistan’s favor. The best part was that despite a sudden change of weather conditions, Team Green continued with its victorious position and was almost aiming to win every match coming their way.

After Ireland was Zimbabwe’s turn. Zimbabwe was another weak opponent, but some interesting figures emerged during the series. The pitch in Zimbabwe was good for spinners, therefore, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez ruled the series with Professor Hafeez performing in his best form and giving some of his best figures, leading to his permanent place in the team. The series ended with a clean sweep. A glorious victory against the hosts boosted Pakistan’s performance against their next opposition.

The dangerous Lankans who were ranked higher than Pakistan were the next victims. This series was the most awaited series in the year 2011. Both the teams had been performing well. Pakistan, however, had played some weaker teams. Therefore, Sri Lanka was taken as a big and serious challenge and this challenge surely resulted in Pakistan’s favor. Pakistan won the Test series by 1-0 and the ODI series by 4-1.

The ODI series was historic because of the return of Shahid Afridi, who once again proved that he is an important asset for the cricket team of Pakistan. By getting a 5-wicket haul in the 4th ODI, Afridi completely lalafied the Sri Lankan team. Along with him, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez displayed that with strong spinners in Pakistan’s baggage, the future is surely bright. The weaker side remained the batting side. The batting performance can only be improved by having a separate batting coach, as Waqar Younis has proven himself as a bowling coach by tremendously improving the bowling conditions of Pakistan.

The Sri Lankan team, under the captaincy of Tilkaratne Dilshan, deeply acknowledged the talent possessed by Pakistan Cricket Team. A couple of young names; Taufeeq Umar made his first Test double hundred, while Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali showed that Team Pakistan is full of aggression. In the ODI squad, some terrific performances by Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Aizaz Cheema and Sohail Tanvir, raised the team’s position from no. 7 to no. 5 in the ICC World Rankings. The team has proven that however bad the situation may be after the spot-fixing scandal and other controversies, they have not lost hope and will continue to fight till Pakistan gets an even higher rank. Thus, the winning streak of Team Pakistan continued in the series against Bangladesh. Even though it was a weak team, it resulted in yet another clean sweep.

Pakistan won three trophies of Tests, ODIs and Twenty20. According to Rameez Raja, Team Pakistan is now habitual of winning. And that is exactly what we need in the year 2012, starting with the much awaited series against the no. 1 Test side in the world, England. Misbah ul Haq, the Captain of Team Green, is ready to face the big challenge and Pakistan is certainly strong enough to crush the English team.

Here’s hoping that Team Pakistan continues its winning streak in the ongoing series and the upcoming Asia Cup in March and the Twenty World Cup in September 2012. Good luck, Team Green.

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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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1 Comment + Add Comment

  • yaay!
    iam a proud pakistani..very well written.

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